Monday, March 23, 2009

embroidery sample - first look

my new tools... wool and cotton thread, round seed beads (which i have been doing bead embroidery with), and a large, colorful stash of 4x4 ultrasuede squares for backing my beaded embroidery pendants. yummy.

i wanted to share a few shots of what i have been working on today. although i bought a book on traditional embroidery techniques (the embroiderer's handbook) and one on crewel work (the new crewel), it didn't take me long to figure out i was pretty much interested only in crewel or crewel type embroidery.

i did find it a little frightening and bit disconcerting to discover that several of my ideas were very similar to the ones in the new crewel by katherine shaughnessy. oh well. there's another gal on etsy stacking vintage sequins too. of course, she's probaly actually SELLING hers, but let's not go there today, ok!

i guess i can't have everything. but i think my work stands on it's own and anyone who sees it - if i ever master the techniques - will be able to tell it's my work. i really can't wait to transfer some of my beading patterns to this new medium.

i am still not 100% sure exactly what crewel refers to - is it the wool, the style, or the stitch? if anyone knows, please feel free to explain it to me. the lady who tried to help me at the needlepoint shop near where i work just confused the beejaysus out of me. and she was a little condescending. reason # 15 why i don't play well with others.

i found her reaction to me utterly fascinating, and yet somewhat annoying as i attempted to explain to her that i was not interested in following patterns or learning every stitch in the book - that i had my own designs which i was interested in making.

she was a very "by - the - book" type who, you could tell had studied all types of needlepoint thoroughly and was very knowledgeable, but.... she just didn't "get" someone like me walking in off the street with a head full of ideas and just wanting to make sure i had loads of thread and fabric to play with until i figured out a way to do what i wanted.

she kept trying to explain to me the difference between crewel work and "regular" embroidery. i was there for 20 minutes and i still don't understand the difference. perhaps i just don't care.

i want to fill circles and squares with thread. whatever that's called - that's what i want to do.

so here are a few shots of the sampler which i worked on for a few hours today:

satin stitch in wool over split stitch. the lady at the needlepoint shop told me this was one of the hardest stitches to master, but i found it very easy and
fulfilling. all pun intended. this is the reason i wanted to start embroidering and then found crewel work - all because i wanted to make this circle! har! go figure.
i don't think it's too bad for a first try.

french knot ( black wool). sooooooo much fun to make. i didn't think it would be, but it was. i can't wait to fill an entire space with these in different colors!

bad stem stitch (black)- wool - before i figured out exactly how to place the needle.
better stem stitch (orange) but in cotton floss. still needs work. i think that is the hardest stitch i tried today. reminded me of mending pants. not as much fun as i thought it would be, but great for swirls and curves.

the whole kit and kaboodle. it's only about 3" round. so i was working small. i had a lot of difficulty near the edges, so i guess i will experiment with either moving the hoop or working bigger. since i an not that interested in working bigger, it'll probably be moving the hoop.


SarahKelley said...

Fascinating! i can't wait to see it done. I used to embroider all the time-- I have a mostly finished crewel project stashed somewhere . . .

Christina J. said...

I've often heard master beadworkers talk about how it seems like the same idea will suddenly surface in slightly different forms from different designers. There have been times I've come up with what I thought was a great idea and then discovered someone else had already thought of it. :) With all the art and things that have been made before, how much is truly a completely original idea anymore? I'm planning to frame my little bead flower in the embroidery hoop. I know there are people on Etsy who are framing their needlework in embroidery hoops and it seems like a new thing, but my mom did that 30 years ago.

I don't know what crewel refers to. I always thought it was the stitch, but now I'm not sure!

Carol Dean said...

Cool! You've got the fiber bug and I just love it :D

Okay, as I understand it, crewel refers to the yarn/wool. The same stitches using other threads ... like the floss or silk ... are embroidery/needlework. I may be totally off, of course.

Also, you might be happier with the crewel results if you use a tighter, more even-weave cotton or linen rather than the aida you've got hooped up. Aida is great for counted cross-stitch but not much else (in my not so humble opinion)

This promises some wonderful results from you! I'm excited!

Whatever YOU do with this, Amber, will be YOURS, even if you have some of the same ideas about techniques and media as one more people; it's your take that will make it unique. Remember, there really isn't anything new under the sun. It's what you do with it ;)

Amber Leilani said...

cd and christina- thanks for the info on crewel - i went back to my crewel book- duh! - and she says it is a form of embroidery using 2 ply worsted wool threads.
i bought the wool i am using just to play with. the wool used in the book seems shinier and less fluffy. that's what i want. the only place i seem to be able to find it is through her website. too expensive and not enough choice of color. i bought the cotton floss to see what i could do with it and i like the even, smooth look of it, so i am still experimenting. it's not as easy going as the wool.

and thanks for the pep talk on designing. i too have noticed that ideas seem to come in groups. and that is fine with me. my mom and one of my art teachers in college said there is no such thing as an original idea. i always liked that and stuck to it. i love the look of framing needlework in hoops and hanging it on the wall. i had neve seen it until etsy came along, but i had a feeling it wasn't new. christina, that flower you stitched up is lovely. i hope you will post pics when it on the wall!

Carol Dean said...

Just came across this, Amber, and thought of you: The colonial knot is supposedly more consistent and more secure than the French knot. worth a try?

Beka said...

I really can't wait to see the outcome.
Thanks for the pics and updates!