Monday, October 19, 2015

Beginning Crewel Work

Hello Dear Reader,

I am linking to Super Mom - No Cape's Vintage Stitchery Party No 28, today.


The year I joined my local handicraft group the project we all worked on was "Creative Crewel". The topic was "fruit"! I think crewel work was new to many of the members. It certainly was to me!

I used to be hooked on cross-stitch, but once I started crewel work I couldn't stitch enough embroidery!

My fruit!
My first Crewel work

One of our members, who directed us in this project, had dyed all the fabrics that we used - the blue silk for the backing and the coloured blanket wool for the "fruit".  This was my first embroidery project and whilst I was working on this project I was also stitching my Embroidered Town Ruck, which was mainly inspired by the "fruit" project. 

Here is everyone's work being attached to the final piece, which is now hanging on display in our craft room.

Everybody's work!
The blue here isn't quite right, but you can see the ideas everyone else had.

The blue shown in this photograph does not truly represent the colour of the fabric (as it was taken under fluorescent light). The previous photograph, which was taken in natural light, reproduces the colour exactly.

Funnily enough, this month, we are again stitching Crewel work.

To my horror, the day we were getting our instruction my train was delayed, and I had been rushing around so much that morning that I had to buy a sandwich for lunch en route too! I was late to my handicraft group, and when I arrived the instruction was already under way!

My pattern.
This is my chosen pattern and I was intending to work
 from this picture, however it isn't really clear enough.

Our instructor, (not the same lady who took the aforementioned project) is yet another member of our group, brought along lots of patterns and books for us to choose from.

We used Hot-Iron Transfer Pencils to trace our chosen patterns on to tracing paper and were told:
  • be sure to press heavily with the pencil, and in flowing lines,
  • turn the tracing paper over, pin the design to the fabric,
  • press firmly over the design with a hot iron.
BEWARE: these pencils leave permanent marks and must be covered by your embroidery, as they do not wash out.

This was new to me, because in the past I have made my own patterns by drawing onto my fabric with an ordinary pencil, which usually fades in time or can be washed out - again beware, it doesn't always wash out.

The maxim is:  try on a scrap of the same fabric before you start!

Well, I learnt something useful here, and hope this helps anyone new to stitching.

How not to do it!
Unfortunately I scorched my fabric by over
pressing it, luckily it only shows in the photograph!

Hopefully, my stitching will take the eye away from the scorching.  I will be making this into a small cushion and when it is in use I am sure it will not show.

Tools of the trade!
Tools of the trade!

My colour choices
My colour choices - although they may change as I
progress with the stitching.


Ta dah!  I've finished the house view!  Although there are white stitches to be added (the stars in the sky!) when I finish the whole sampler, I'm leaving them until the end so they don't get grimy from being handled while I'm stitching.

 It's certainly encouraging to have finished two of the scenes now!

Cocoa sampler to date


To finish today, I'd like to show you some photos I took a couple of weeks ago. I was at the kitchen sink with my hands in soapy water when I saw a sparrowhawk sitting on our hedge.  I raced for my camera and the sparrowhawk watched disdainfully as I tried to photograph him! Sorry the picture is a bit blurred, but it was a rush to catch him, and it is also photographed through the glass window!



A few days ago there were a couple of birds briefly circling above our house and the surrounding area which I imagine were some form of buzzard.  No I am not imagining it!  We have quite a few nature reserves around this area, and we are next to a common, so its the ideal countryside for all these birds.

Also, some time ago my husband went on an organised nature open day in a disused quarry (again nearby) and he was told that there are a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons living high up within the vertical chalk face of the quarry, perhaps it was those I saw, but it was only a fleeting glimpse.


Once again, don't forget to pop over to see what the others linking to Susan's blog, Super Mom - No Cape's Vintage Stitchery Party are stitching.  Plus, each week Susan has a free downloadable vintage pattern for you to embroider! This week, the pattern is of a Ring-Necked Pheasant.


Thank you for visiting here today, and I'd really love it if you leave a comment to let me know you've been!

Until we meet again (oops, slipping into theatrical mode) I hope you have great week.


Barbara xx


Rachel said...

I have to say, I find the iron-on pencils more trouble than they're worth most of the time. Sometimes the mark spreads as you're ironing it on.

Amy at love made my home said...

All of your stitched pieces are/are going to be beautiful!!! The sampler by your whole class is lovely isn't it. xx

deanna7trees said...

love the colors in your crewel worked piece. you did a beautiful job with the stitching. and the crewel you just started looks like a Jacobean design.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I haven't done any crewel work for years and was thinking the other day that it was time I played with it again. Right now I'm heavily into cross stitch on waste canvas and can't seem to tear myself away from it. Love the sampler piece your group did, and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress on the new piece too.

Christine B said...

You made a beautiful introduction to embroidery with your crewel work piece and I love the pattern you have chosen to work on next. Your embroidered ruck is fabulous! Have a lovely week! Christine x

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I too did crewel years ago then settled in to embroidery. Your sampler is lovely. It's nice to have an ongoing project that can be worked on when time is available.
xx, Carol

Gillian said...

I'm sure your new embroidery piece will be really lovely. The cross-stitch is very nice. Isn't it just great to have these birds near us? I love watching them. We see buzzards regularly and sometimes a red kite.

FlashinScissors said...

Hi Rachel, That is very annoying! This was my first time using the iron-on pencil, and maybe I was just lucky, but I was told that if I didn't pin my tracing to the fabric the pattern could move - and actually one of the other ladies in my group said she hadn't pinned her pattern and hers made me feel I had double vision when I saw it!

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you, Amy, we were all quite pleased with the finish of the "fruit" sampler. I have only managed to stitch the stems on my Crewel Work flower so far, but hope to add to it this week! xx

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you, Deanna. I think it is Jacobean, and I'm really looking forward to stitching more of it. xx

FlashinScissors said...

We were all very pleased with the finish of the "fruit" sampler, and I am hoping to have something to show soon on my Crewel Work. I love your waste canvas cross stitch pictures, especially the lovely squirrel with the fluffy tail! xx

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you for your very kind comments Christine. I hope you are having a lovely creative week! xx

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you, Carol. Only trouble is now I have two ongoing projects and others I'd like to be stitching too! There's never enough hours in the day, are there! xx

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you Gillian. I'm looking forward to stitching both pieces, equally!
I can't always identify the bigger birds, but you just know when they are a bird of prey, and yes, it's quite amazing to see them! xx

Angela said...

Beautiful stitching!

CathieJ said...

I do the same thing with the white or light colored floss. It is usually my last color because I don't want it to get dirty. I love Cocoa. I am looking forward to seeing your newest embroidery.

handmade by amalia said...

This crewel embroidery is beyond pretty, Barbara. I think I may have found my next obsession :-)

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you Angela. And thank you also, for visiting.

Barbara xx

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you Cathie, I must get stitching! xx

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you so much, Amalia, I look forward to seeing your next stitchery! xx

Annet said...

I'm looking forward to see the progress on your crewel work, something I never tried. And great progress on your cocao sampler!

FlashinScissors said...

Hi Annet, There has been some progress on the crewel work, but everything else has ground to a halt at the moment! I hope to have work to show shortly. xx

Queeniepatch said...

Impressive crewel work. Perfect for autumn, don't you think?

FlashinScissors said...

Thank you Queenie! I keep changing my mind about the colours though! xx