Tuesday, June 26, 2012
To say that we're excited about this one would be an understatement - there's so much good stuff in this issue. And so many good people too! How does an interview with Jenny Hart sound? Or a pattern by Wendi Gratz?
That's all I'm going to say now... apart from: Issue 3 will be out next week!
Oh! Do sign up for the &Stitches newsletter - subscribers get the scoop on new issues. And special discounts too, yay! :-)
Monday, June 25, 2012
Many thanks to all of you who entered the New Crewel Giveaway and for showing a sense of humour with your crewel puns. :) I delegated the difficult task of picking a winner to Mr. Random.org.
Congratulations Justine! Please send us an email at email@example.com with your full name and home address so the book can be send your way. Enjoy your prize!
Friday, June 22, 2012
I must admit that I'm really a 'cat person' but even I can't deny that this is one cute Boston Puppy! Kristian (Urban Cowgirl on Flickr) did a great job stitching this fabulous Penguin and Fish pattern. I'm especially smitten with the colours Kristian chose for this piece and it looks like such a fun pattern to embroider too with all those lazy daisies and French knots!
p.s. have you heard we're looking for some inspiring Summer Bloggin' Guest Bloggers this summer? Read the details here.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
What/who are we looking for exactly?
- You need to send us an idea of what you would like to post about. Obviously it would have to be related to embroidery or stitching. You could write about your favourite vintage embroidery book, a technique or stitch you want to explain, your collection of antique embroidery hoops. A top ten of novels featuring embroidery. Or perhaps a (free!) summer pattern you made and want to share.
- Your style and photos need to fit our aesthetic. Good photos (for example if you are doing a 'how to' about a stitch) are really important to us. Patterns need to be clean and clear. And our style? We prefer original and quirky over ordinary, fresh and vibrant over stuffy and dull and we like to bend rules here and there... A quick scan through our blog post or zines will give you a taste of what we like.
And remember: writing a good blog post takes time!
If you think you fit the profile, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea. We'll get back to you in the next week or so. Might take a few days since we're busy putting the next issue of &Stitches together! :-)
If the experiment turns out well who knows where it will take us... (or you!)
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
|Lazy Daisy from Katherine's new book New Crewel. The Motif Collection|
If you want to know about Crewel Embroidery Katherine Shaughnessy is the person to talk to! Katherine designs 'Wool & Hoop' Crewel Embroidery Kits and is the author of the recently published book New Crewel. The Motif collection (read our review here) and the very successful The New Crewel (2005). We are giving away one copy of Katherine's latest book at the end of this post.
|Cover of Katherine's first book the New Crewel|
Your first book book the New Crewel was a huge success, did that surprise you at all?
Totally, but kudos to Lark Crafts for the beautiful layout and design. I think the keys of it's success laid in the easy to follow instruction and simplicity of the patterns. Each design required only two or three stitches and three of four colors. While I was surprised, the success actually makes sense because at this point it had been decades since anyone had updated crewel. I just took this simple modern design and incorporated an upbeat color palette.
What would you say is essentially the difference between 'new' and 'old' Crewel?
The only difference between the new and old crewel are the new designs and the color palettes that reflect today's sensibilities. Everything I've taught and everything I've written in my books begins with all the very most traditional materials. From pure linen to one hundred percent pure worsted wool thread and all the stitches that haven been around for hundreds of years.
|Pillow trio, a project from Katherine's new book|
I was surprised to learn that Crewel embroidery actually is not so much a different technique (compared to 'regular' embroidery) but it simply uses different materials. Can people with some embroidery experience jump right in and be successful Crewel Embroiderers too?
Absolutely. In fact, the most fun thing about Crewel embroidery is that it's so free form. You get to break out of your needlepoint and cross-stitch grid. You can use patterns, but you can really have fun just making up your own designs. One woman who came to my latest class brought some amazing Crewel work that she has designed inspired by my first book. It was so neat to see her creativity.
Your designs have a definite retro feel to them and for some reason 'Scandinavian folk' also springs to mind. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Certainly the designs for my first book The New Crewel were inspired by my love of retro designs from the 50's and 60's. However in the Motif Collection, the designs are much more organic. They were largely inspired by the colorful crayon drawings of my children that fill the front of the refrigerator.
Your latest book is dedicated to Erica Wilson (needlework designer, 1928-2011). In what way did her work influence your own work?
When Erica Wilson came to the United States, she reintroduced Crewel work to American needle crafters giving them excellent instructions. She also offered a colorful whimsical style that was far different from what anyone had ever seen before. Before I published the first book, I actually called Erica Wilson to get her approval. She gave me her blessing but not before giving me some corrections on a couple of stitches. I had always wanted to meet her in person and was quite sad in December when she passed away before that could happen.
Do you have a personal favourite pattern from your new book?
Yes, my favorite is Seed Pod. I like that with just two stitches and three colors I was able to create something with so much depth and play on texture.
Do you have a favourite craft book that is especially inspiring to you?
I have two Japanese books that fell into my collection that I adore. I cannot read the text but the hand embroidery work is super fun. The author embroiders on everything from underwear to organza.
Thank you so much for talking to us Katherine!
Find Katherine's books in your local bookshop or online. Visit the Wool & Hoop shop for Crewel supplies and Crewel Embroidery Kits.
If you'd like to win a copy of Katherine's latest book New Crewel. The Motif Collection please leave a comment on this post telling us why you should win this book. Cruel/Crewel puns are definitely allowed! It is hugely appreciated if you are following our blog but not necessary to enter. International entries are welcome. Comments close the 25th of June, 12 AM (Amsterdam time) Do leave some kind of trail so we can find you if you are the lucky winner :)
Saturday, June 16, 2012
New Crewel. The Motif collection by Katherine Shaughnessy is a wonderful resource with fresh, modern looking crewel designs. If you are familiar with Katherine's first book, the New Crewel (2005), this new approach to an ancient embroidery technique will come as no surprise. If Crewel embroidery is totally new to you but you like the 'New Crewel Look' then read on because Crewel embroidery isn't as hard or complicated as you may think!
New Crewel. The Motif Collection starts with a thorough introduction into the basics of Crewel Embroidery: what materials you need to get started, the different stitches (well the most used ones anyway) and how to start and end your thread (apparently Crewel Embroidery doesn't 'do' knots except French Knots). Personally I would have enjoyed a brief history of Crewel in the introduction as well but since this is a follow up to the first 'New Crewel' book (which if I'm well informed does deal with the historical bit) I understand the decision not to include it in the second book.
After reading the introduction my main conclusion was that Crewel embroidery isn't some 'distant cousin' in the embroidery family, it's actually very much like 'regular' embroidery! The stitches are essentially the same: backstitch, Turkey stitch, French Knot, you name it, it's all being used in Crewel Embroidery. The only difference (apart from the designs) with 'regular' embroidery is that instead of floss you use wool and the fabric you work on is linen, that's it! (Although Katherine does experiment a bit with the background fabric in the third part of the book)
The second part of the book is called the New Crewel Gallery. The Crewel Gallery shows about 30 stitched circle designs (see photos above of two of them) inspired by nature, spirograph designs and kids drawings. There is one design per page and each design has details on colours and stitches used and tips on how to display. The 'Crewel Notes' provide in excellent further stitch suggestions and variations on the patterns.
|Crewel Pillow Trio|
The third part of the book has eight projects: a fair amount of pillows (or cushions, depending on where you are), wall art, a sewing basket, a purse and a skirt. The projects are made with the designs from the New Crewel Gallery. All patterns have clear instructions for embroidering and most patterns also include instruction for sewing and/or finishing the piece. For the Skirt and Purse you will need a skirt or purse to begin with.
|Crewel wrap skirt|
The photography and illustrations throughout the book are beautifully done and the lay out of the book is very pleasing as well. As an extra bonus the book comes with a cd with the motifs so you can re-size them, move them around and compose your own designs.
New Crewel. The Motif Collection is a beautiful book with clear instructions and an abundance of contemporary crewel designs that are suitable for both beginners and, through further pattern variation suggestions and the cd, more experienced or adventurous stitchers.
P.S. We have an interview with Kathering Shaugnessy on our blog next week and we're giving away a copy of New Crewel. The Motif Collection next week as well!
Lark Crafts has provided us with a review copy of the book without any obligations. The reviews made here on the blog are our own personal opinion and we receive no monetary compensation for our reviews.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The squirrel was stitched by Murder Bird as a wedding present to her sister and her fiance, along with one of a red fox. The fox is pretty great too!
And there are more reasons to check out Murder Bird's Flickr stream because there's lots of great stitching there - not least a set of stitched birds of all kinds. I'm especially diggin' the rather creepy looking Turkey vulture!
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Since it's June, I thought I'd show you all some awesome embroidered March Hares, also known as Boxing Hares! Apparently hares go through a period of frenzy in Spring where they chase each other and hit one another with their paws (hence the 'boxing'). Katie (Mother Eagle) made this beautiful Boxing Hare pendant. The fill stitching and use of colour are especially lovely. Find more unique hand embroidered jewelry in her shop.
Sophie has a different take on the same theme. The details in this piece are amazing and it's well worth a closer look to admire the stitching!
Something else: it appears we have all the letters we need for our Stitched Blog Header. Yay! Thanks everyone who joined in the fun! We hope to bring you a 'new and improved' blog header soon. :)