Thursday, 3 November 2011

Crewel Work

tapestry work on church cushions, Wansford, England
  As the days get shorter (and in England they get pretty short in winter!), I tend to spend more time on the couch watching series box sets and working with my hands, rather than spending the extra time on my sewing machine. This autumn I have been teaching myself more crochet, embroidery, and...crewel.

a different motif, each taking hours and days to complete

The art that can vary from fabulous to ugly...or maybe just misunderstood. When I think of crewelwork, I think of thrift store cast offs in terrible browns and yellows. But when I found this book, I discovered it could be something different. And learning the techniques, I have found a new appreciation for hand work that I may have found dull in the past - dull, maybe because I didn't really understand it.

Wansford Church, a local and surprising source of inspiration 
my current effort, split stitch and turkey work techniques

I did some poking around Etsy and found crewel work to be very under-represented there, but I did find a 1970's DIY kit for just $8 on Etsy. The finished piece is meant to be wrapped around a brick for a bookend or doorstop - honestly, if I had more wall space I would frame it. You may find them terribly ugly, or terribly cool, like I do. In truth, I find this piece unapologetically retro...and it's totally possible that it is a piece only a mother could love. 
16th Century worn tapestry cushion, Haddon Hall, Bakewell

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