I decided to take a course with the Royal School of Needlework (based just outside of London). It is a certificate in technical hand embroidery, I have four topics to do, and decided to start with Crewelwork!
Crewelwork is worked in wool threads on a heavy linen twill. I had to design my own image in the Jacobean style. Sadly I struggled to find information on Crewelwork or the Jacobean style so had to wing it slightly. The course syllabus gave guidance on the elements that needed to be included, these where:
tree of life
over sized leaves and flowers
I managed to draw most the the elements, except the parrot and flower and leaf at the top of the image. I photocopied these out of the only book I could find on the subject, that was sadly short on words but, thankfully, heavy on design ideas!
My tutors at the RSN suggested the spray of "berries" at the top of the image and I was off! picking the colour palette was lots of fun, along with learning all the stitches. I have never worked this technique before, so I learnt an awful lot!
sadly I didn't get pictures of it in progress, so I only have the final project which is this:
As I have enjoyed crewelwork so much, I have decided I want to try a few small designs to play with stitches and colour, I have come up with a butterfly but am also working on a couple of other shapes to fill!
My next topic is blackwork - which I am also really looking forward to!
UPDATE: I have just realised I have some additional pictures of the piece, sadly it is before the "parrot-scaping" that is the trimming of a stitch call Turkey rug stitch (on the parrot's head). Turkey rug stitch is a series of loops and holding stitches that you then trim and shape! quite fun but quite unnerving when you take a pair of scissors to you work!!
Anyway here we go!
this is a close up of the middle leaf, the stitches covering it is known as trellis work. Basically, long stitches that come up at one edge and go down at the opposite edge, width and length wise with a securing stitch where they cross. This should form squares (that's when you know you have done it right) you then fill in as desired. if you look at the belly of the bird it is also stitched in this manor with french knots around where the threads cross. On the leaf I went all out and formed a sort of tartan pattern with large squares overlaid on the basic grid, with french knots to hide the plunged threads. I then couched the same colour as the french knots (yellow) with the basic grid colour (dark blue) using the basic grid as a guide to place my hold stitches.
this is a close up of the top of the piece, lots of decorative surface stitches, most of which I hadn't tried before. Also scary blending of block shading and long and short (where the turquoise blends with the purple just above the parrots head.
this is the bottom, mainly seed stitch and long and short shading, which started of fun, but became a bit of a headache! the two hillocks are burden stitch (on the left) which is made up of vertical long stitches with small interlock horizontal stitches over the top (it can also work with short vertical stitches over horizontal long stitches) and chain stitches on the right - that was fun to do, especially gettin the middle row straight ( or nearly straight!)
hope you like the close ups