|An Avon Products Crewel Kit I did in the 70s|
I was so inspired, after viewing the Bayeux Tapestry in France, to take up crewel embroidery again. Crewel Embroidery is a decorative form of embroidery using wool and a variety of different embroidery stitches following to a design outline on the fabric. It has a history stretching back to the early Middle Ages. It was used in the Bayeux Tapestry, featured in my blog In Bayeux - art, architecture and embroidery. After we visited the cathedral in Bayeux, just across the street , we saw a shop selling crewel embroidery kits of scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry. To me they looked like faithful interpretations of the scenes on the actual Bayeux Tapestry, including the colors used. I seriously contemplated buying a kit but could not decide right there and there. Instead, I picked up the shop flyer in case I decide to order online. Here is their site showing some of the kits they have on sale - Bayeux Broderie.
Once we got home, I was very tempted to order a kit from Bayeux Broderie but was dissuaded by my perceived hassle of ordering from abroad and having it shipped here. So I searched the Internet for another crewel embroidery project I would be inspired to tackle. During this search, I rediscovered the wonderful kits of Elsa Williams who was very popular when I was into crewel embroidery in the 1970s. I decided that I would like to work on one of her kits. I ran into great difficulty finding a project since most of the sites carrying her work appear to be out of business or out of stock. I resorted to Ebay where I was able to pick up a vintage crewel embroidery kit called Paul Revere. The finished embroidery is designed to be mounted on a stool which was included in the kit.
Considering how prolific Elsa Williams was in needle arts, having produced hundreds of crewel, cross stitch, needlepoint and other traditional embroidery kits and designs, there is little out there on the web about her life. She wrote several important books and a syndicated column, hosted a popular PBS TV show on the subject and taught correspondence courses and at her school, The Elsa Williams School of Needlework. She also opened shops In New York, Palm Beach, Southampton and Nantucket selling her kits and needlework supplies and where needlecraft classes were taught as well. And now. it seems that none of her designs and kits are being produced so if you really want to work on an Elsa Williams design, you will have to look for vintage kits in sites like Ebay and take your chances.
Elsa Williams (1912-2011) was largely credited for the renaissance of hand embroidery in the mid century, after it experienced a sharp decline with the introduction of the sewing machine, Without realizing it, she must have been my main influence in picking up embroidery again as a hobby in the70s.
|This is the kit I bought on Ebay|
I have now mounted the fabric on an embroidery frame and sorted all the wool yarn. All that is needed is to make the first stitch, Let's see, where do I begin?? I think I'll start working on this on New Year's Day...I hope to be able to share with you my work as I go along and more importantly, the finished product. Please check out this particular blog post for updates.
|Threads sorted, fabric mounted!|