New Crewel: A Chickadee Crewelwork Project

Have you heard of crewelwork before? Also called crewel embroidery? I hadn’t until I discovered a few posts about it in early 2010. Crewel is a type of embroidery. (Embroidery is when you take a needle, thread and fabric and stitch on a design or pattern.) The type of fabric you use, the type of thread, the type of design you stitch, the style of stitches you use–those variables all create different effects and are given different names.

Crewelwork Bird

I tend to think of all the different types of embroidery as effects. Want a simple, yet glittery effect? Try Goldwork Embroidery. Want something delicate and watercolor-like? Try Silk Painting Embroidery. Me? I wanted something traditional, natural and relatively quick. Hello, Crewelwork!

The technique of Crewelwork is at least 1,000 years old. So, I felt as though that was pretty traditional. Plus, there is no need to count stitches.

Crewel Embroidery is only Crewel Embroidery when you’re using wool thread onto a plan weave fabric, like linen. You traditionally stitch things that are found in nature like birds and plants and mushrooms and bugs. The threads are also typically colors found in nature. I think many would argue that in traditional crewel work you don’t see any neon colors.

However, what you do in your own home is fine by me! ;)

Crewel Embroidery Eyeglass Case

For the holidays this year, I embarked on my first, real Crewelwork project. An eyeglass case for each of my parents.

I purposely picked a smaller-scale project because I’d be done faster and I knew that it would really give me a good feel for crewel.

I found a great selection of kits at Purl Soho (you can order online!) and each of these eyeglass kits were just $10.00 and included everything I needed. I also used the thread from just one kit to complete both so I have a nice little stash of thread for my next project. {Here’s the link to the exact kit I bought: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/7235-Custom-House-Chickadee-Eyeglass-Case-Crewel-Kit}

Crewel Eyeglass Case

The stitches used in the eyeglass cases are:

  • Crewel Outline
  • Stem Outline
  • Chain Stitch
  • Satin Stitch
  • Straight Stitch

Both my Mom and Dad really loved these little cases. I probably spent 5-6 hours on each one so THEY BETTER, right?

So, not to shabby for my first stab into the land of Crewel, no?

Crewelwork Eyeglass Case

I know many Friends of Simplicity Embellished (AKA readers) are noted embroiderers….please link us up to a project you’ve completed. I know I would love to see some of what you guys do.

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3 Comments

  1. Oh I love this! I wasn’t familiar with crewel at all – thank you for sharing it. I’d also never heard of that website where you got your kits from… I’ve been like a mad-woman trying to find some great cross stitch/embroidery kits, so I’m super excited to check out this site.

    Thanks again!

  2. Kathleen Young says:

    Congrats Cole, beautiful work. I cross-stitch when I have time and really enjoy it and took up knitting a few years ago. I love that we can keep these handicrafts alive and well for another generation.

  3. wow! So crafty! I love it! I used to do such crafty things way back when (No time now), but I always enjoy seeing items that are already embroid! Beautiful!
    Cole, would you want this blog entry reprinted in our magazine? Just wondering.