In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Figured it out! Or a trip down memory lane . . .

 Yesterday I was trying to decide what I could do during Zoom meetings and stitch-ins that required very few brain cells to do while chatting or listening to programs or lectures.

I do not know why I even had to think about it. There is always the very first serious needlework technique I attempted, after, of course, stamped dish towels when I was really young.

Crewel embroidery.

I know there are a lot of people who refer to it as "cruel" embroidery, but when I was young, it was normal to work on crewel pieces. Counted thread techniques hadn't taken hold yet. Goldwork was something you saw--maybe--on ecclesiastical pieces. Whitework was found in pockets where the stitchers' foremothers had brought the techniques here. Quite frankly, I do not believe that EGA had been established yet when I was a mere child, so there really wasn't an organization that explored various forms of needlework.

There were a lot of yarn shops and department stores that also carried needlework, though. Basically, you had crewel embroidery or needlepoint, and a lot of needlepoint that I remember consisted of filling in the backgrounds of pieces that had the designs already worked in the center (this is why you may have inherited sets of dining room chairs with sort of drab needlepoint seat covers).

I went for crewel. And, like anything you learn when you're very young, it was easy to learn, and the stitches have actually become automatic to execute. 

I got away from it when all these other techniques became attractive, and different kinds of threads because available. However, I have quite a stash of classic crewel pieces accumulated over the years.

So, I started a crewel piece last night:

Wool is an amazingly forgiving fiber. It lofts up and fills in and blends quite beautifully. And it goes really fast! I mean, REALLY  fast!

If I ever get into a competition as to who can do the most projects in a year, I might do nothing but crewel. Actually, I have a friend who has a stash of crewel pieces that she is saving for her old age, so that when she can't see high counts of linen, she can still stitch. (I'm not sure when old age is going to hit her--she's 80 now and still going strong.)

Anyway, if you happen to be in a stitch-in or Zoom meeting with me, this is what you'll likely see.


  1. What an amazing start, Ann! Glad you found something within your stash to do while Zooming.

  2. I did a lot of crewel before cross stitch too. I also found my kits in a department store. We are revealing our age, Ann!!!

  3. Great start ,well done, Have a good weekend hugs June.

  4. This is lovely, are you using cotton or wool threads to stitch this? Elaine