Summer 2021: Google has ended its email subscription service. I am searching for a replacement, but it might take a while given current demands on my time. I won't be posting again until I have a replacement. In the meantime, I will post occasionally on Instagram

18 April 2020

Crewel Test Drive

I have some new crewel wool that I need to try out. It's made by Gumnuts in Australia and is called Daisies. It's beautifully variegated and I want to see how it works with Heathway crewel wool.

Blue violet crewel wool from Daisies entertwined with Violet crewel wool from Heathway

Nouveau Bells and Willows as designed by Sarah Stevens from Melbury Hill
Nouveau Bells and Willows (Original)
Designed by Sarah Stevens
The project I'm going to use for my test is Nouveau Bells and Willows designed by Sarah Stevens of Melbury Hill. This is the same design source as my last crewel test piece Galanthus Collector (snowdrops). I appreciate being able to buy only the stamped linen so I can then treat it like a page out of a colouring book. Also, as with the snowdrops, I really enjoy finding non-Jacobean crewel designs. The Art Nouveau curves work well in crewel.

The lovely original design is to the right.

Because I have particular threads that I want to employ, I will not be following the stitches or colours of the original, except that I will use purple and blue violet on the flowers.

I have two sets of Daisies crewel wool colours that will be used on this bluebell design. One is blue violet (Jacaranda):

Four shades of Gumnuts Daisies Jacaranda crewel wool

The other is green (Rainforest):

Three shades of Gumnuts Daisies Rainforest green crewel wool

As these are variegated threads I don't want to overdo it. They should be featured, but not anchor the design. The blue violets will be used for the outer parts of the flowers and the greens for the leaves in the centre. The bulk of the embroidery will be Heathway crewel wool which is a joy to work with.

Stitching a test piece like this is interesting because you can't work in the proper order, i.e., back to front elements, top to bottom, etc. In this project the order is determined by the colours and how they look. If they don't work they'll have to come out. So, I'll be stitching single elements on one half of the design only. Normally, I would work the elements of the two sides together. I have a bit of trepidation about waste because these threads are expensive. Hopefully, I won't make too many mistakes!

I started with a flower because, well, it's purple! I filled the centre with Heathway Violet and then stem stitched rows of the two darkest shades of Daisies Jacaranda on the outer part. The bluebell looks like the That Girl  logo! Next, I tried the Daisies Rainforest on one of the big leaves. It turned out beautifully and the variegation is gorgeous.

Starting to stitch: bluebell in purples and blues and a leaf in variegated green crewel wool

I had some unwanted help from two of my cats. Oliver, in particular, got into a lot of trouble for chewing on some of the wool which now has to be washed. I had the Heathways draped across my lap as I worked, so the cats thought that was a great place to curl up.

Here's the completion of the colour testing on the right half of the design. I am happy with the Dasies and I think the Heathway greens and browns are going to work fine.

Righ half of design wth basic elements completed in crewel

The next step is to make the left side shading match the right.