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Posts Tagged ‘crewel’

Wild Bunches Pillow

Once upon a time there was a little eggplant purple pillow that made all the other pillows on our sofa look ten times better.  Was it the 3 tufted buttons or its small rectangle shape?  The other pillows knew not, but they loved their little purple friend.

Then, along came a wild toddler who tore out the tufted buttons time and time again.  When nothing could be done to save the pillow, it was banished to a closet where it languished for years.  Occasionally mama bumped into it on moving days and the like, but generally the poor pillow was lost to all.

Until one day, when mama was drinking in the pages of Katherine Shaughnessy’s The New Crewel, she came across this page, entitled “Wild Bunch”:

The New Crewel

At last, a solution!  She set off to work making up this quick crewelwork pattern in a long, rectangle design that would suit our pillow friend.

Wild Bunches of The New Crewel

Out she yanked the last button!  With basting pins the finished crewelwork was pinned, then hand stitched to the front. And, voila!  The long-lost pillow returned once more to its square pillow friends, new and old.

Wild Bunches At home

P.S.  Let’s hope Living Color Pillow won’t be jealous.

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This morning Aria got comfy on the couch with our new pillow and my Colorbrick quilt.  It was a very warm morning…  I didn’t make them to match, per se, but Good Folks make good company.

Living Color Pillow w/Colorbrick Quilt
I put the final stitches on my Living Color pillow last night, while watching “The Invention of Lying” (which was a bust IMO).  The “twisted trees” design is from The New Crewel.  Because getting to the fabric store is just too much trouble for this busy mom, I recycled an old pillow, ripping out its stuffing to fill this new one, and backed my design with some yellow decorator’s weight fabric I had lying around.  Not sure if it was correct to do so, but I used one of those curved, semi-circular needles to hand stitch the bottom side closed.  A straight needle was causing a little ridge of fabric to form, but the circular needle made for a smooth finish.  So, I guess that’s right?

I was very tempted to try an invisible zipper closure via Sew Katie Did‘s tutorial, but in the end I decided to hand stitch it closed.  And, you know, for what it’s worth, I enjoy hand stitching so much that I’d probably just rip it open, remove stuffing, wash and restitch if necessary!  How’s that for stubborn?

By the way, gots to give credit to my mama who suggested a mirrored quilting design on the natural Essex linen/cotton frame.  I do love quilting patterns on solids it seems.

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Yesterday, on Mother’s day, I was gifted a leeetle extra time at the sewing machine during what was (for us) a relaxed Sunday.  Inspired by some of my Flickr favorites like this and this, I designed a rainbow of half square triangles to surround my finished crewel work.  It’s a pillow-front in the making.

Work in progress

I’ve never worked with half square triangles before, so it took some trial and error to figure out how to piece them without losing their points.  But, it was time well spent.  I forsee more half square triangles in my future!  I love that I finally have enough fabrics in my stash to do a rainbow like this without shopping. 

Half Square triangles are cut from squares, so each has a twin sister.  Now, I wonder what I’ll do with the rainbow of triangle “scraps” from this project?  Hmm….

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This weekend I spent a total of 7 hours in the car on a business trip to Atlanta.  My mom and business partner drove, so my hands were free as we chatted about this, that, the other and everything in between.  It was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at crewel embroidery.  Yes, crewel.  Odd name, I know.

I recently came across  The New Crewel by Katherine Shaughnessy when searching for modern embroidery books/projects on Amazon.  The designs inside are as delicious as the whimsical “Birthday Candle” motif on the cover.  Most are nature-inspired, and all have a chunky look that’s signature to crewel.  Apparently, crewel has been around for ages, but has lost popularity since its last heyday in the 70’s.  Traditionally it is done with wool crewel thread, which is more like yarn than like embroidery floss, and on linen twill.  Katherine’s book stays true to tradition but her designs are decidedly modern.

I love stitching.  When watching TV with my husband or riding along on a trip, I’d rather embroider than knit or crochet.  I settled on this twisted tree design from “The New Crewel.”  It reminds me of the gorgeous oak trees that arch over roads in low country South Carolina.  After tracing the design on a piece of natural linen/cotton Essex fabric, I packed my mother’s old crewel thread (there it was, mixed in with the embroidery floss she had passed down to me – what a happy surprise!) and set off.

WIP Twisted Trees

Here’s how far I got with at least 6 hours of stitching!  Wow, this is NOT quick work!  Or, I’m incredibly slow…  But, I love the process, so no problem!  I have another, lighter shade of green for the other tree in this design.  When it’s done, I think it’d look nice patched on a purse.  What do you think?  Any other ideas?

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