I just got back from a fabulous weekend. Last Wednesday I headed out to my hometown – Detroit – for a dual purpose visit. I got to see my Mom and I got to take a fabulous 2-day workshop with Phillipa Turnball. It was hosted at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford house, which is designed after a Cotswold cottage, so we had the right setting for English Crewel for sure.
Phillipa and her lovely assistant Harry started off Thursday night on a lecture on 17th century crewel work. Their knowledge is incredible and I will be checking out some books on the time period to learn more. One thing is we learned about a little competition going on all of you designers maybe interested in — through the Worshipful Company of Broderers. The prize is quite nice if you win, so please check out the competition here.
Friday we picked out our kits – I picked out the Mellerstain Parrots, which is designed to complement the fireplace screen by the same name. We started working some more complex stem stitches, shading stitches, and ended with some laid work. Saturday we continued on and did a acorn in satin stitch, learned a lovely French knot which was my favorite, and a fly stitch.
Mom worked till 8pm every night, so I picked up take-out for us and went about working on my piece more. I’m having so much fun with this, after I recuperated a bit from the long drive last night, I picked it back up and worked some more tail stitches in satin stitch.
So a few things I’ve learned from Phillipa –
- This is fun. Make sure to enjoy yourself.
- No ripping out. Add the new layer. —- I admit this is a hard one for me.
- Adding layers looks nice with wool. Stumpwork was not a separate medium at one time, so lots of pieces have a stump work feel. Like my little acorn, which was a lot of fun to do… by the way. I also layered some of the feathers, so they have a slight dimensional feel. If you were to feel my stitches they are hard. We got to feel and see lots of examples – I think that was most helpful.
I’m sure there is more, but those are the ones that stuck out for me. If I remember any more, I will let you know. If you’re interested in English Crewel work, make sure to take a class with Phillipa. If you can’t wait – she also has a very nice video you can pick up. I picked up both her hoop and video last Christmas time, so this time there may have been some kits purchased, which are lovely. I’ll get a picture of those with my next update.