Crewel :: A Four Generations Long

You may or may not be aware of my issues with embroidery. It seems that although I can follow a pattern just fine, my own pattern attempts have been, well, “okay”. Haha. The strange thing is that I don’t have any of these issues with crewel embroidery. Here, here, and here are some of my crewel efforts.

I told my mom about this interesting embroidery issues and she said how she used to do crewel and told me a really funny story about it… Her and my grandma and great grandma went to a crewel embroidery party, kind of like a pampered chef party except with crewel embroidery (so freaking cool!) and my Dad saw this huge tiger set (pictured above) and insisted my mom could do, could make it no problem…. so she did. My great grandma got a simpler kit for herself (which I don’t have a picture of). Well when it came down to it, my mom couldn’t do it, and so they switched kits. My mom said that was a labor of endurance and just took forever for my g.g. to make, and my mom said she was a pro. There are a lot of subtle color changes and it was huge! I mean huge! Like 24 x 32 inches or so. I remember seeing it as a kid and being so creeped out and amazed all at the same time. Those emerald green eyes stared at you no matter where you were in the room.

I did some of my own crewel work as a kid, it was so easy. I remember even thinking “this is easy” and I can’t even remember how old I was… i think 10 maybe younger. It was a little fisher boy.


I still have him around here and think he’s pretty cute. I had forgotten about my crewel beginnings though. That was until I was in dekalb, my first year of university, and I saw this great book at the library. It’s called The New Crewel. It sparked my interest in crewel all over again. I thought I had never seen anything like it. It’s funny how I was really surrounded by it my whole childhood. This great little piece (about 8 x 10 inches):


And then one for my sister that was a hippo. She named him and has him to this day (hence no picture). And of course the instances listed above. It’s strange how it turns out that I’m actually at least the forth generation of woman crewel embroidery lovers!

Back to the point. The The New Crewel: Exquisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s worth a look. It’s a smaller book, but it’s backed full of great contemporary designs and on top of that, it has all the information you need to get started, and finished, working with crewel embroidery. It’s one of the few books that met my “three checks buy it” rule. (If I check out a book more than 3 times, I should just buy it, haha).

It covers the type of yarn to use, fabric, stretching, and many types of projects to use it with. Not just mounting it (which is one option), but also a skirt redo, pillows, mason jar lids, lamp shades, and quite a few others. The way the book is set up is really nice too. They make it easy to use any of the designs with most projects and honestly, the designs are really great just on their own.

I’ve been cleaning out my apartment one space at a time. Today was my studio. After collecting up all the half skeins of Nature Spun I have floating around I was confronted with a whole shopping bag full of random colors. Some people may see this as overwhelming, depressing, challenging (what to do with all these random colors)… well… honestly… it filled me with childhood glee! You see, Nature Spun Sport or Fingering are both great for crewel… and all those random colors? A painters palette! Be on the look out for some new crewel embroidery patterns coming straight from that bag :)

I’ll see you all tomorrow! This is pretty fun posting two days in a row.

Keep it creative and crafty folks!

Kristin Roach

One thought on “Crewel :: A Four Generations Long

  1. I made that same little fishing boy embroidery when I was about 6 or 7 years old! My mom had kits for 5 or 6 different little kid embroideries like that; I remember thinking they were all so cool when I was younger. One was (I think) 2 blond boys jumping in some water and one was a little girl with braids, maybe in a rocking chair.

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