Saturday, April 30, 2011


Crewel work is an ancient form of embroidery, dating back 1000 years. It is a decorative form of surface embroidery which employs a large variety of stitches to bring a design to life. You can do crewel work on fabrics like linen, cotton, and even silk, rayon or velvet, so this form of needlework is very diverse! Crewel is also diverse because depending on what you like to stitch, and your personal style, you can stitch almost anything using crewel embroidery! If you have a basic knowledge of embroidery stitches, you'll find crewel to be quite similar! This is because Crewel uses stitches such as stem, chain, split, satin, couched, and seed stitches as well as french knots. You can use Crewel embroidery to decorate cushions, curtains, clothing, wall hangings, and more! The pillow shown above is a vintage Bucilla Crewel kit.

This Crewel Owl uses wool like Appleton, and looks like so much fun! This pattern reminds me of vintage owl designs. It would look great in a child's room, or if you have a quirky style yourself, as a pillow in your house! The great thing with Crewel is that you can use many different stitches and really determine how you want the finished product to look. With a pattern like this owl, you would be able to really use your creativity and make a really fun piece!
A more traditional option would be something like this floral canvas found at Purlsoho. It resembles a Jacobean design and is very pretty. This would make a great pillow or cushion and I see a lot of room to really make it your own as far as stitches go. Depending on the threads you used, whether it was Appleton, Vineyard Silks, Impressions, or other vibrant threads, the colors would really stand out as well. Beautiful!

Crewel, like all types of needlework, has really come a long way. There are books dedicated to Contemporary Crewel patterns, and if you like more abstract modern patterns, you can definitely use Crewel! This work in progress by the creator of Wooly Fabulous, a great Etsy shop, is beautiful. The color choices are so vibrant, and the shapes are really eye-catching as well.

If you're interested in learning Crewel, you are in luck! We are working on developing a Crewel class and hope to have one set up soon! If you would like to be on a wait list, please don't hesitate to contact us at the shop, and we'll put your name down and will contact you when we have a date set and have more information! This is a really fun type of needlework and really has a lot of room for customization, especially if you like to make projects your own and put your own touch on them!


  1. I'm in love with the vintage floral bucilla kit in your first picture! I've been looking all over for the kit. Do you have any information on what the kit name could be or where I could find it? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Actually I just found that photo online when searching for Crewel pictures. Unfortunately it has been so long since I wrote this post that I don't even remember where I found that picture. You can probably create something similar using an old Crewel book. Unfortunately we don't have any in stock that have similar patterns or I would recommend one. You can probably find one on Amazon or at a Used books bookstore.

      Good luck, and happy stitching!