Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

06 October 2017

Slow Progress

I am slowly plugging away at the vintage Elsa Williams crewel sampler, emphasis on slow! I finished the largest of the motifs, the one in the centre.

The central motif is kind of a weird design, but I did as I was told in the instructions, well, mostly. I did take some liberties with the trunk/stems and didn't quite stitch them as directed. I am amused by the fact that the stitching on the color model in the kit's photo doesn't follow the instructions either!

Crewel Sampler (by Elsa Williams): Central motif nearly complete

The stitching on the central motif is far from perfect, but I decided to let it go. There are also issues with maintaining tension on the fabric. I haven't been using a screwdriver on the hoop's screw as I should because I'm concerned about crushing other elements. I think it'll turn out ok, but I miss using the screwdriver.

I'm saving the outline for later. It's done in chain stitch with a suggestion to whip it in a contrasting colour. I will probably do that stitching in hand vice a hoop.

While I like the overall design of the sampler and the fact that it's a small piece, there are problems with this kit. Because the design could almost be considered miniature, stitching with standard sized crewel wool is awkward. I think the design would work better with a finer wool like DMC Medicis or Fine d'Aubusson. The potential for detail is lost due to the large size of the crewel wool.

The elements could use some tweaking to make them work better for embroidery and some of the designs are just plain weird. (I don't know what the blue thing is hanging off to the right on the central motif.) There are also colour balance issues. For example, the use of yellow on the central motif is all on the left hand side. It would have been nice if there was yellow on both sides. (I might have considered moving the little yellow flowers at the bottom over to the right.)

Another challenge I'm having is that there is almost no extra fabric around the printed design. Notice in the photo below how close the left unstitched motif is to the edge of the fabric. The lack of fabric causes difficulties when mounting in a hoop.

Crewel Sampler (by Elsa Williams): Issues with hoop and not enough fabric

Mostly though, I think it's taking so long to stitch because of the kittens. Yes, I blame the kittens! (Prepare for gratuitous kitten photos.)

Crewel Sampler (by Elsa Williams): Fun with kittens

Crewel Sampler (by Elsa Williams): Sleeping kittens

They are cute, but when it comes to embroidery they are only cute when sleeping. I spent an inordinate amount of time today fighting to keep them away from my thread, scissors, scissor fobs, camera strap, pencil, instructions, etc. and off my lap. The above was their reluctant compromise position.

I managed to make a start on the last of the big motifs. I think this one will go fairly quickly as long as I don't have too much feline 'help'.

Crewel Sampler (by Elsa Williams): Beginning the last large motif


  1. Your helpers are very cute, but don't sound like much help at all!

  2. Hello , yes it is strange about the border around the picture not being wide enough ....... but it is a beautiful vintage Elsa Williams piece and you,ve done a lovely job with it . Daisy Debs :)