Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crewel Work

WHEEEEEEE!!!! I learned crewel embroidery!!!!

I thought, you know, I LOVE embroidery, and I can think of scads of stuff I could do with it in my art, but I never seem to actually use more than a few different stitches; mostly because those are the ones I feel comfortable with. And yet I have several books full of stitches that I KNOW I could do if I tried, I just never bother. I look at the diagrams and say "yeah, I could do that one, that's easy", but when I actually plan out an embroidered piece I go right back to the ones I know, because I KNOW how they would look, and would work on a piece.

So I set myself the task last week of trying out every stitch in Erica Wilson's "Crewel Embroidery", 1962 (except the ones I already knew how to do and do frequently...)

This is all of them.

1. Close Buttonhole Stitch
2. Coral Stitch
3. Braid Stitch
4. Rope Stitch (narrow-left, broad-right)
5. Rosette Stitch (right (red)-poorly done, left (peach), better)
6. Roumanian Stitch
7. Cretan Stitch
8. Vandyke Stitch (top (peach)-line, bottom (red)-shape)
9. Knotted Pearl Stitch
10. Fishbone Stitch
11. Raised Stem Stitch
12. Raised Chain Stitch
13. Raised Buttonhole Stitch
14. Slanting Satin Stitch
15. Satin Stitch-Tied with Backstitch
16. Padded Satin Stitch
17. Block Shading
18. Long and Short Stitch-Tapestry Shading
19. Long and Short-Soft Shading
20. Laid Work-Tied with Cross Bars
21. Laid Work-Tied Diagonally
22. Shaded Laid Work (Tied with Split Stitch)

My coral, rosette and knotted pearl stitches not so good. Mind you, I don't like them much either. I can't say I like block shading or the long-and-short tapestry shading much, though I'm surprisingly fond of the soft shading and all the laid work. The fishbone is cool too. I definitely want to try using the fishbone for leaves.

The Van Dyke stitch seems to look better as a shape than as a line, which is a pity, as there's a variant of it that was widely used in many northern European cultures in the Viking Age as seam decoration, and I'd love to use it on a few pieces of Living History costuming, instead of the herringbone I usually use.

23. Burden Stitch (top-wide, bottom-close, right-line)
24. Squared Filling #1
25. Squared Filling #2
26. Squared Filling #3
27. Squared Filling #4 (skipped #5, because it was almost identical)
28. Squared Filling #6

Burden stitch-bleh. Except the closely worked bit with thicker thread (brown and beige). That would make awesome wicker work, or wattle walls. I have to admit I also like #26, even if it's VERY time consuming. Though after all these gridded square fillings, I'm really really REALLY tired of them. #31 (below) is also nice, but I don't think I'm likely to use any of these much.

I do very much still have a problem with both pulling the stitches too tight and tensioning the fabric too much. Several of the grids in this batch are only attached to the cloth at the the edges and as soon as I took the cloth off the frame they lifted right off and puckered. Hmm. The next batch is better.

29. Squared Filling #7
30. Squared Filling #8
31. Squared Filling #9
32. Squared Filling #10
33. Wave Stitch
34. Cloud Filling
35. Seeding
36. Weaving Stitch
37. Turkey Work

More gridded stuff. I swear, I was so sick of it after a while. I think that more than anything will probably keep me from using them much. Cloud and wave stitches are kind of cool. I wonder if I can do the wave stitch with broader loops to look like scales....

I think I like proper french knots better than seeding, though I've never been good at stippling anyway. I think I need to practice it with paper and pencil some.

Turkey work is neat. I still like weaving knotted pile rugs better, but it occurs to me this might be a better way to make miniature rugs. It's much more stable and non-pull-out-able than I thought it would be.

38. Cable Chain Stitch
39. Interlaced Cable Chain Stitch
40. Whipped Stem Stitch
41. Pekinese Stitch
42. Backstitched Chain Stitch
43. Threaded Backstitch
44. Interlaced Running Stitch
45. Interlaced Herringbone Stitch
46. Threaded Herringbone Stitch
47. Tied Herringbone Stitch
48. Spider's Web-Whipped
49. Spider's Web-Woven
50. Raised Spider's Web-Whipped
51. Raised Spider's Web-Woven
52. Raised Needle Weaving
53. Bullion Knots
54. French Knots
55. French Knots (triple wrapped)
56. French Knots (triple wrapped and stitched like Bullion Knots which is how I had learned to do them)

French knots done the way this book diagrams them is certainly easier and neater than doing them like bullion stitches. I might even start using them now that I've learned this way.

Some of these lacing stitches would be interesting to try using for vines, instead of stem stitch, especially for thicker vines. My cable chain stitching definitely needs work.

I don't know how I feel about the spider webs. Fun to do, but very 'crafty' looking. also wonder what they'd be useful for, since they look so much like, well, spider webs. I've done whipped ones before over beads to make later medieval buttons, but embroidery? Dunno.

Now on to planning out a few small projects to try the stitches out on.


K Spoering said...

Wow, you really did learn it! The samples are lovely. You should put them in a 'sample booklet' like they used to do, with a key to each stitch on the facing page.

DanielasNeedleArt said...

Thank you very much for this post. I want to learn this so for me it was very helpful ♥