When I was contacted by author Kristin Nicholas to review her upcoming Craftsy class, Stitch it with Wool: Crewel Embroidery, I was excited about my first experience with Crewel embroidery. I really enjoyed this experience and recommend this class for crewel beginners - Kristin is a great teacher with a Matisse-like colorful style and her thorough lessons give you all the tools you need to get started! I'll walk you through the class, the materials I used, and the small project I stitched for this review.
The class includes an 8 page PDF with a list of supplies and 2 large designs for the pillows above, with a clear breakdown of color, and which stitch goes where.
Here's a brief overview of the class, which is divided into 7 lessons: Lesson 1 goes into all the particulars of threads, needles, hoops, fabric, and transferring your design. You'll also learn great tips if you have never embroidered, like how to start and end your thread! Lesson 2 covers basic stitches - if you have embroidered for any length of time, you probably already know these - but I would still give them a watch because Kristin gives some great tips and examples. Lessons 3 and 4 are where the good stuff starts for an intermediate stitcher - introducing stitches that build on the basics. Lesson 5 and 6 introduced me to lots of unfamiliar stitches that were not yet in my repertoire - and stitches that lend themselves particularly well to crewel threads. Finally, in Lesson 7, Kristin tells you all about untangling and managing wool skeins, finishing techniques, and a really interesting topic - knowing when to stop. :)
Kristin is a fabulous and thorough teacher - she explains every stitch carefully, taking the time to explain mistakes that you may make, and how to avoid and correct them. Kristin is calming and personable, and I really like that her emphasis is more on creativity and not on perfection, which makes this class a great springboard to create your own projects. I also like that she shows you finished examples of every stitch, so that you can better visualize how each stitch can contribute to an overall design. Her own work features imaginative lines, textures and vivid combinations of color with a lively, painterly style.
You may be asking, do I really need to buy a bunch of crewel wool?
I was going to experiment with my regular embroidery floss or finer weight yarns until I saw Kristin's online store, and was hooked by her beautiful crewel wool. I bought the Some of Each set (above). Kristin was also sweet enough to add a large square of linen, in the color of my choice - I chose a neutral gray, to make the bright colors of the wool pop.
After taking the Appletons crewel wool for a test drive, I cannot say enough, yes, if you have never stitched with crewel wool, you should certainly try it.
Stitching with wool is SO distinct from stitching with embroidery cotton floss - the wool fiber is very thin, spongy, and springy. It has a marvelous matte texture that piles up nicely as you stitch. If you take this class, I definitely recommend purchasing a few crewel wool skeins. Another important note is that if you stitch with wool, you should definitely use linen fabric (something I learned the hard way, a few months ago). :)
Here is my small project:
I decided to practice the Spiderweb stitch for this review, tracing random circles to create this design. I used 3 bright colors of Appleton crewel wool, along with 2 light yarns and one thicker white wool yarn from my stash. I have to say, the Spiderweb stitch is addictive and meditative, and I can't wait to try even more stitches from this class.
So, to sum up, Stitch it with Wool: Crewel Embroidery is a great class for beginners to learn crewel embroidery, and it's also perfect for a complete beginner who has never embroidered before. There is plenty of detail, instruction, and inspiration to get you started - whether or not you chose to stitch the pillow designs as they are, or create your own designs. Thank you Kristin, for allowing me to review your class and share it with our readers!
And, thanks to Kristin, for a limited time, we have one more thing to share with our Feeling Stitchy readers - a 50% discount on the Stitch it With Wool class:
Have any of you experimented with crewel embroidery or stitched with crewel wool? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!