Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book review: New Crewel. The motif collection

&Stitches book reviews

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)

Ella's wish

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.

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