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Book Review: New Crewel: The Motif Collection by Katherine Shaughnessy

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When I was younger, before I had children, I made a beautiful raccoon picture that I still have to this day using a technique called crewel. Crewel is a form of surface embroidery that uses wool and a variety of embroidery stitches. Crewel projects range from very simple to more complex projects that are really truly stunning. I totally admit to having fairly basic skill in crewel embroidery but it’s one of those crafts I’d really like to explore more.

New Crewel: The Motif Collection from Katherine Shaughnessy, author of The New Crewel: Exquisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery has truly taken crewel embroidery to the next level. This book includes thirty new crewel designs, five new stitches and ten projects that all use the crewel technique. For those new to crewel, the beginning of the book includes a handy chapter on the basics. It includes a break down of the different types of materials used in crewel including the fabric, threads, hoops, accessories and needles. You will also learn the tools you need to have on hand to create these projects and new crewel techniques from beginner to more advanced. There is also an entire section on crewel stitches with easy to follow pictures so you can see how to create each one.

Each design is presented in a gallery with a large, up-close photograph so you can see the finished design. For each design showcased, there are step by step instructions including fabric, thread, stitch, finishing, and helpful notes to create your own. Also included is a section with projects you can create using the designs showcased in the gallery. Just a few of the crewel projects included are a linen skirt, pillow cover, and a sewing basket. Each project has step by step instructions along with a list of materials needed and possible variations. The projects refer back to the necessary stitches and patterns you’ll need to know to complete them. There is a CD of motifs included in the back of the book as well.

This book has a range of projects from beginner to advanced. Beginners will probably want to focus on mastering the individual patterns before they move onto the crafts themselves. There is no counting and no grids to use. The CD makes it easy to size the motifs to your preference depending on what project you’d like to include them on. If you’re interested in learning a new craft or expanding your knowledge of embroidery or crewel, New Crewel: The Motif Collection: More Exquisite Designs in Modern Embroidery is a fantastic place to start.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.