needlepoint sampler #2

Yesterday I finished the needlepoint sampler, added a fabric border and attached it to the footstool. Taa Daa! I’m not sure how well it might wear but it adds a nice splash of colour to an otherwise plain carpeted floor. I deliberately aimed for a different stitch in each of the forty areas but as I was typing the stitch list I noticed that I’d used Tent stitch in two sections. Too late now to unpick one of them but I won’t lose any sleep over it. I quite enjoyed doing this but it might be a while before I attempt any of the projects in the charity shop book that got me started on this in the first instance. Stitches used are listed below with the name that was given in the source I found it in but you may know some stitches by other names. If you spot any glaring errors between what stitch I claim to have used and what I actually stitched, please let me know!


needlepoint sampler

I bought twenty Appleton’s crewel wool hanks in a sale a few years ago and acquired a book or two on crewel embroidery with the intention of stitching up some fabulous work but nothing fabulous has yet materialised. However, finding two bags stuffed with crewel wool in one of my favourite charity shops was too good an opportunity to pass up and when less than an hour later I spotted a book* on needlepoint in another charity shop and liked one or two of the projects shown using crewel wool, I had to buy that too.

It took me an afternoon to sort through the new hoard and bag them up into colour groups as per Appleton’s chart. Before starting any project from the book, I’m stitching a sampler and when it’s finished I plan to upholster my workroom footstool with it. I’m keeping a note of which stitches I’m using and where and I’ll show that when I’ve finished. As you can see in the sampler image, I’m not too fussy about which colours go where – this piece is mainly about the stitches.

*The book is simply titled Needlepoint and the author is Sarah Windrum.

an orchard

A charity shop find of the BBC publication of Erica Wilson’s tv series of the 1970s, Erica on Embroidery, included a crewel wool version of one of Van Gogh’s orchard paintings and my version of Erica’s orchard is what the sneak peak of the last post hinted at. (Four episodes of the original tv series are available on youtube if you fancy a touch of nostaglia.)

Now that it’s finished I confess I’m not a fan of it. There are more wrongs than rights with this piece and the fox and the birds were only added because JP commented that it was boring and I agreed. The fox has injected a little life into the piece but not enough to make me feel it was a great improvement. Once I pressed ‘publish’, I was all set to consign this piece to a dark deep cupboard and just clock it up to experience but the more I’ve looked at the photograph, the more I think I’ll actually unpick a lot of the orchard floor and re-sew it with a different range of colours.


sneak peak

Recently, I was lucky to buy a decent amount of mixed embroidery wool for just £2 from a local charity shop. Last week I finally got around to sewing something using it plus the Appleton’s wool I already had. I didn’t have the usual linen union fabric recommended for crewel wool work and since it’s outrageously expensive to buy, the back of an old linen shirt of JP’s had to do instead but it has actually been a joy to stitch on. Here’s a little peak:

journey piece finished

I picked up my recent journey piece again this week and finished it less than half an hour ago. When I’ve posted this entry the embroidery will be put in the box that holds the other finished projects that I have no use for.  I didn’t enjoy sewing with crewel wool as much as I do with standard embroidery floss and I don’t know if it’s the wool itself or the fabric I was using.

journey piece2


journey piece

Whenever I travel to visit Big Sis I like to have some embroidery to do during the long train journey there and back and this time round I began a piece of crewel work. I had a supply of Appleton’s crewel wool, bought when it was on special offer at my local stitchy shop and I used Jane Rainbow’s book Beginner’s Guide to Crewel Embroidery for my inspiration. I had a close look at the fabric earlier and it appears to be 28 count Aida or similar and was chosen a) because it takes the wool easily and b) I just happened to have some – bought for a reason now unknown. It’s not a fabric I would naturally chose to embroider on as I don’t like to see where the warp and weft intersect when I’m stitching – it somehow upsets my stitching rhythm, and I also find that I can’t get the same degree of outline detail on it when using a single thread but it’s ideal for the fine crewel wool.

It might take a while to finish this piece. I didn’t take it out of my case during my visit or on the return journey and only stitched the green calyxes after rehooping it on Wednesday. What I should concentrate on is a half-completed kit piece begun twenty years ago by Big Sis which I coerced her into allowing me to take away on the understanding that I would actually finish it so I better get cracking!

blue flowers


oldest wip

I resurrected this wip on Saturday. I began it over thirty two years ago when I was pregnant and did most of what you can see before I gave birth. I lost interest in it for the next decade during which time it sat in a cupboard, the frame dismantled and stored with the embroidery in a bag I made specially for it. In the next ten years I unpacked it once more and added only a few more french knots to the trees before it was put away once more. In the last ten years I’ve looked at it once and then packed it all away without adding any more stitches at all, deciding that I hadn’t ever finished it because it was a kit and I had become used to ‘doing my own thing’.

I don’t know why I suddenly felt the need to start stitching it again but looking at it with a more experienced eye than I had when it was first begun, I shudder at some of my stitching quality of thirty two years ago. I know that my stitching is better now than it was then and I could of course do a lot of unpicking and start from the beginning but I’m not going to even though the differences will no doubt be obvious. Wish me luck!

crewel work