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!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thread Tasting

In the past month we've bought so many new fibers, and since it's been a while since we've had one, we thought it's the perfect time for another thread tasting! If you've never been to one (or even heard of it!) it's similar to a wine tasting, except you don't taste the actually taste the fibers! We'll be giving you a goody bag with samples of each of the fibers, as well as a canvas, upon which we will show you how to use these threads and teach you how they would be best used! As with all of our classes, there will also be beverages and snacks served.

Some of the new fibers we have already received are: River Silks 7mm, Burmilana, Waterlilies, Weeks Dye Works Sample Threads (these are beautiful cotton overdyed pearl threads), Pebbly Perle, Neon Rays Plus, Rainbow Tweed, Trebizond, Accentuate, Petite and Regular sized Peluche!

AND, we have more fibers still to come! These include: Silk Serica, Silk Mori, Gloriana (both overdye ribbon and lorikeet wool)!

The class will feature a good selection of these new fibers, and will be an excellent way to see the shop, all the new fibers, and learn how to use them! The class will be held twice, so if you can't make one date, you'll have another chance! The class will be held Thursday May 19th 5:30 - 7:00 and June 4th 3:00 - 4:30. Reservation and prepayment is required. The class will be $20. If you are interested, don't hesitate to come into the store or call us at 215-563-4566. We'll be happy to help!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Summer Projects

Despite what the weather has been showing us here in Philadelphia, summer is right around the corner! If your winter projects are finished or just finished (or maybe you're just looking for a new project!), I thought I would compile a selection of canvases that would be perfect for the summer.

A good choice for beginners would be a key fob. We just got a selection of great key fobs that come with a piece of canvas to stitch, a matching ribbon for the backing, and the hardware! Plus, they're so easy to assemble that you could finish them yourself! This watermelon pattern is one of the key fobs available. It's 18m, and is really
sweet. We also got leather keychains, which have a small opening to insert your own design. You can customize it to fit your tastes, so whether you like something like a monogram, or a small design, you can do anything!

A fun idea for an intermediate stitcher would be this canvas, of a lobster dinner picnic! This would be good for an intermediate stitcher because it's stitch painted and on 13m, which is a good size mesh for people still learning. I like the combination of vegetables and pattern that really scream "summer." This canvas would be a lot of fun to stitch and would also look great as a pillow or framed once it's finished.

We have a lot of great canvases, so it was hard to choose one that would be great for a more advanced or adventurous stitcher, but I came up with a few that I think you'll like! This canvas, of a watermelon patch with black birds and a flag is a great folkart themed canvas. I surely love watermelon, and this landscape really reminds me of summer days in the country! Another canvas that would be perfect for a more advanced stitcher would be this harbor scene. I like the warm light that really evokes a "summer" feeling. It makes me want to go to Maine and see the ocean!

A different way to approach a summer project is to start a project for Christmas! This way you know you will definitely have time to finish stitching it and get it finished in time for the actual holiday! There are some really adorable ornaments by Ruth Schmuff that I just love. She has a whole series of "Santa's workshop" themed canvases. We have an ornament for Santa, Mrs. Claus, a cute dancing Elf, and more! Some of these come with stitch guides too, which is very helpful! This Shelly Tribbey ornament of a boy skating is really adorable and would be a great project to work on while you're at the shore or on vacation. Plus, when Christmas comes back around, you'll have an ornament all set to hang!

If you've been wanting to start a large Christmas stocking, this would be the perfect time to start one. We have just received a lot of new fibers, and many of them would look wonderful in a Christmas stocking! They would really bring it life and give it a lot
of originality. This stocking, called Winter Scene by Alice Peterson is just gorgeous. I love classic traditional scenes, especially for Christmas. It's a great stocking that can really age well, so if you intend to stitch it for someone in their teens, they would be able to grow with this stocking and use it for years to come!

One last idea for a summer project is working on a three dimensional project. These projects are great for the summer because if you tend to go away for the weekend often, you can easily bring a piece of the project and work on it in the car or on the beach! We have a lot of great 3D canvases, some of which I've mentioned in a previous post about 3D canvases.
This canvas, called "Mary Mouse" by Sew Much Fun is simply darling, and would be great for travelling because there are multiple pieces, and they're all small enough to be easily manageable on car and weekend trips!

All of these canvases are in stock, but we have many more available in the shop too! If you want to start a summer project, come on in and we can help you find one!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Needlepoint Belt Buckles

We all know that needlepoint belts are a fun way to spruce up an outfit and really make your ensemble unique. What you may not know is that belt buckles are just as fun! A good thing about choosing a belt buckle as a project is that it is a lot less of a commitment in time than a belt. They're usually not as detailed, so they're good projects for a confident beginner as well! Mandy and I are going to be doing belt buckles that we will be wearing periodically in the store, and personally, I'm excited to get started! With so many options though, it can be a little overwhelming, but that's also the plus of doing a belt buckle. Who says you can't make multiple buckles and wear one for each outfit? If you can't decide which one you'd like to do, they're so economical that you can do more than one and still feel good. :) Another great thing about making a belt buckle is that they're unisex.

We have a wide variety of different patterns, and I think there's one for everybody. We have some great canvases by Unique Designs that are relatively simple to stitch and have eye-catching bright colors that would bring a pop to your outfit. The buckle to the right is a great example of a fun floral piece that would really be eye-catching! We also have a fun leopard print buckle, which you can see below. This one would be a lot of fun to stitch and would be a sharp addition to your wardrobe.

For men, a classic stripe pattern like the one below could be a good choice. The great thing about these canvases is that they are customizable. If you like the pattern but would like slightly different colors, you can modify the canvas to suit your tastes!

Our painter, Jim, has also painted a number of designs and like always can certainly paint you something unique. The owl to the left is a fun choice that he painted, as well as the Cherry Blossom Buckle, which is delicate and beautiful.

Now is a great time to come in and look into picking out a buckle for yourself because we're having a sale on them! When you purchase a pre-painted canvas and buckle, you get 25% off!

I'll keep you posted on how Mandy and I do with ours. Hopefully we'll see you soon, and you can do a fun buckle too!