Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Crewelwork Decor

For this week's Vintage Thingies Thursday I am showing off two of the crewel pieces my mom made in the 70s. She took all sorts of craft classes, crochet, knitting, ceramics, macrame, and our home is still a gallery of all her works. After she learned a technique, she taught my sister and me, and later organized our Girl Scout troop and taught them, getting all of us a lot of badges for our sashes! The hand-sewing she taught me is what really stuck, and I still enjoy cross-stitch, crewel, and macrame, when I am able to both see and not have shaky hands at the same time!Mom made me this dancing rag doll when we redecorated my room for my tenth birthday. She is worked on a rough muslin, and is still in the original frame we used in 1977. I have it hanging over the toilet in my powder room.
Crewel embroidery uses wool and a variety of different embroidery stitches to follow a design outline applied to the fabric. The technique is not a counted-thread embroidery, like canvas work or counted cross-stitch, but a style of free embroidery. It is usually worked on a closely woven ground fabric, typically linen or cotton. Based on dating of historical tapestries, the technique is at least a thousand years old. This pillow shows off a variety of different stitches. The mushrooms are pure 70s, of course! Recently I talked my mom into letting me have the pillow for my own house. All I did was change out the filling and did a hand wash to freshen it up, with a quick, cool ironing on the back side.
The origin of the word crewel is unknown is thought to come from an ancient word describing the curl in the staple, the single hair of the wool.
Crewel wool
has a long staple; it is fine and can be strongly twisted. Modern crewel wool is a fine, 2-ply or 1-ply yarn available in many different colors.
Sorry about the blur! I wanted to show the detail in this particular mushroom stem. First the grid is stitched, then you go back with a second color and connect the intersections.
Thanks for visiting my VTT! Stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen to see the other participants!
I hope you'll be back frequently, especially next week as I gear up for my Birthday Giveaway! Putting my button on your sidebar will earn you 2 extra entries and blogging about the giveaway anytime before October 9 will earn you 3 more extras!

26 comments:

ellen b said...

Hi Elizabeth,
How fun to have that crewel raggedy ann still! I really love the mushroom pillow :0)

Grandma Faith said...

Your needlework is pretty and special since it holds precious memories. Have a nice day. Take care.

Jewelgirl said...

Oh yes that's so 1970's, both the Raggedy Ann and mushroom pillow make me think of the decorative arts of
that era! Mushrooms were on everything, wasn't there a cookware
set and dishes too? don't know whats
up with the flashing maybe I was
posting something just at that moment
seem to be working now! Thanks for telling me! :)

marianedwardsdreamweaver said...

WOW...crewel embroidery I remember learning it at school. Love that Raggedy Ann stitchery...it's adorable!! xx

Smilingsal said...

This is so interesting. You've taught me something else. The close-up picture allows me to see what you're describing. Thanks.

I'm putting your button on my sidebar as soon as I finish this comment, and I'll mention your special week on tomorrow's post. I'm happy for you!

Amy said...

That's lovely! None of my embroidery or sewing is that tidy :-)

Coloradolady said...

I remember the doll embroidery, I seem to recall I was very much into raggedy ann, and my friend had this or one similar, I always loved it. Yours is very cute.

Ulla said...

I can remember the crewel embroidery my mother was making in the late 50's, it was something very modern and stylish at the time. It was interesting to read your post. The mushrooms certainly look like the 70's!

santamaker said...

Wow, talk about a flashback! How fun! Those were great...thanks for sharing.
What I thought was kinda neat was the was the wacky thought in my mind: The Evil Overlord brings you "Cruel Work".........
Anyhoo...that's just how my weird mind works...

Patty said...

I love the mushroom pillow! It's like a sampler since it has a variety of stitches. I've only done one crewel piece and that was years ago. Thanks for sharing these!

Michelle said...

That pillow is beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Diane said...

Very nice pieces. That mushroom is fantastic! It's great that you have some items so carefully created for you by your mum.

Ronda's Rants said...

Of course I am entering you for my Bonnie Hunt Show Give-away...The company name is The Thanksgiving Coffee Company it is out of Fort Bragg, California.
www.thanksgivingcoffee.com :)

Carrie said...

Your needlework items are very special...so beautifully made.

jeanne said...

Elizabeth, I came over from Sally's post. I adore the rag doll your mom made you. Things like that are such a treasure. The mushrooms are great. I did a crewel owl with a needlepoint background and it took me 7 years to finish it. lol. I loved the crewel part and hated the needlepoint. sigh.

I want to be included in your give-a-way and I will attempt to show it on my sidebar. I'll let you know though.

Hugs, Jeanne

Charlotte said...

Very pretty. I did some crewel work pieces back in the 70s. I think I have pictures of them somewhere. I'll have to look them up. Thanks for the reminder.

"The Queen in Residence" said...

I am so jealous of people that have talent. I have none.....

Thanks for coming over on the layover from BATW. What a shocker that one was.

mub said...

Oh I love the pillow! Most digital cameras have a macro function (the little flower symbol) so that you can get really clear closeups =)

The Summer Kitchen Interiors said...

Hey - glad you like the tip - here's another one - KEEP THE MUSHROOM PILLOW!!
Mushrooms, owls and just about everything (just about) is back from the
70's so hold on to that!!
Have a good week!
Karla & Karrie

Ginny said...

I blogged & put your banner on my side bar ~ http://momcontests.blogspot.com/

Jennifer said...

I really love that first picture you show. Very cute!

V's Wife said...

I LOVE the mushroom pillow!! It so invites curling up with a good book.

Lisa said...

I love the pillow with mushrooms on it.

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