As a society, where technology is king, with everything from the weekly shop to reading the latest thriller possible to achieve on a machine, it’s hardly surprising that mindfulness is having a bit of a moment and along with is a surge in popularity of a number of non-technology based hobbies, including needlework.
We have been busy! As has become customary over the past few years here at the Crewel Work Company, over the past few months we have been working up to a significant Autumn release ready to hit our store in a few days.
We would like to thank you all for your great support over the past four months, which we know has been a very challenging time for many of you. Since lockdown began, we have been sharing a daily crewel work video with you and your response to these little films has been heartwarming. We are continuing with our videos and have some exciting new ideas coming up for the months ahead, which we will share with you in our newsletters.
Trish Burr is a Cape Town-based designer, author and teacher of hand embroidery. Specialising in Needlepainting and Whitework patterns, her artistic designs have inspired many to take up the craft. She has published 8 books, the latest of which has been published in collaboration with The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her online shop offers Needlepainting and Whitework patterns, embroidery materials and tutorials for all levels from beginner to advanced.
In the run up to our inaugural Lady Anne's Needlework Festival in 2021, Phillipa talks about how the life and legacy of Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1679) have influenced her and the company she founded nearly 30 years ago.
If you need to take a break from stitching for a brief moment and you fancy diving into a good book or audio book, this is a great read. We don't usually do book plugs but this is a special, and perhaps indulgent one, for it documents in most eloquent form a vibrant period in Phillipa's maternal grandfather's family history.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting impact on our work environment and event schedule for 2020, we have had to delay the launch of our Lady Anne's Needlework Festival website site by 3 weeks. Look out for news in the coming weeks for an update and to find out how you can book you classes.
On 3rd February our friends at Inspirations magazine will open booking for the 2020 Beating Around the Bush Needlework Convention! We are so excited for this years BATB, it's always a blast and Phillipa was busy stitching three new designs last year in preparation for her classes, which will take place during the week-long event.
We are pleased to show you the latest images of the embroideries that our six wonderful tutors: Mandy Ewing, Jessica Grimm, Nicola Jarvis, Jenny Adin-Christie, Phillipa Turnbull and Kate Barlow will be teaching during the Stratford-Upon-Avon Residential Retreat in March 2020.
As the Glasgow Bedspread takes its leave at the end of this year we wanted to share with you photos from some of the dedicated bedspreaders out there who are currently stitching the design (or who have remarkably already finished stitching it!) and a few quotes to hear what the project has meant to them.
We talked about the varioustherapeutic benefits of stitchingearlier but there is no denying that of its most powerful by-products is the opportunity for connection with others and the groups and communities it creates.
Marcia Alvis-Slinski, crewel tutor and Guild leader from Brownsburg, Indiana and her group the Crewel Jewels are no strangers to the benefits of group stitching. Marci (pictured above) has dedicated her career to teaching others to get the best out of their crewel work and shares so many our own passions about keeping crewel work alive, especially in the United States where access to supplies and interest in the art form has waned so much over the past generation.
Over the past 10 years Harriet has gone from inquisitive customer, to top fan, to becoming our US-based kit tester and embroidery consultant. Recently she has become an integral member of our team and has helped us create the most impressive and undoubtedly highest quality crewel work kit we have ever produced.
We are delighted to welcome Hazel Blomkamp as a tutor for the 2021 Lady Anne's Festival. Hazel will teach three fantastic designs during the retreat, all of which are brand new and feature in Hazel's unmistakable style.
Laura was interviewed last week about our Lady Anne's Festival taking place in July 2021. We also filmed the gorgeous Katie dressed up in our replica Lady Anne Clifford costume, which was embroidered by a team of local needlewomen in Appleby with Phillipa.
On Thursday last week the whole team travelled to Muncaster Castle to present our recreated Muncaster Bed Hanging to the owners Iona and Peter and also to perform the final colours and design checks before the final motifs are added to the replica embroidery by our consultant embroiderer Harriet Roberts.
Our All England tour drew to a close last week as we said goodbye to 20 wonderful ladies. We visited no less than 9 destinations of needlework interest and took god knows how many photos. While we sort them out here are a few to keep you going!
We are so fortunate that the UK's original British Festival of Wool takes on our doorstep in the Lake District each summer, and to encourage new businesses Woolfest have a 'Mini-stalls' section where I was delighted to meet Medieval Colours, established by Katarzyna.
The whole team is together this week to chat about the final stages of development of our next project design, the Muncaster Bed Hanging. Laura has flown over from Barcelona and our official kit tester Harriet Roberts is here from Memphis to perform the final colour and design checks ahead of the kit's planned release in mid-November.
We are so excited to release a photo of our almost ready Muncaster Bed Hanging. It is currently being tested by our illustrious kit tester Harriet Roberts and we can't wait to reveal all when it is released at the end of the year. This kit will replace our Glasgow Bedspread which has been on limited edition release since 2016.
My stag has just come off the frame. I enjoyed him very much. Not in any way perfect but I learned such a lot and just love the feel of the fabric and the noise the thread makes. The lazy daisies in the flowers were stitched jointly with my ten-year-old. A great moment of companionship for us. Thank you for the hours of fun and learning. (It turns out I love French knots! :)) I will definitely be back for more in future.
Summer fairs are a great opportunity to share our needlework skills by entering the local craft competitions. This summer we asked for your photos of your crewel work company kits that you had entered into summer fairs either this year or in previous years.
The embroidered bodice, which was expertly replicated and taught by Meredith Willett during our All England Tour Part I in 2018, is currently on display at the Jamestown-Yorktown Federation in Virginia.
The long-sleeved bodice, on loan from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, features an embroidered design of trailing stems and leaves worked in coloured silk and metal threads, with metal spangles.
On Tuesday I left the tranquility of Appleby to travel to the medieval town or York, about 1.5 hours to the south west, to welcome twenty needleworkers and our star tutors Alison Cole and Meredith Willett for the second installment of our All England Tour series.
The beauty of living in a rural town is our connection with nature and the seasons, which has been and continues to be a great inspiration for artists and designers.
As the magnificent trees start to see their leaves take on the golden glory of British autumn, the nation celebrates the wonderful apple. And the start of a new season is the perfect time to start a new needlework project, and what better design than our Elizabethan Oakapple?
These beautiful tartan needlepoints were recently completed by Sandra McFarlane and Pamela Clarkson, who attended the Scottish Highlands Tour in August.
The canvases, which were hand-painted with the MacGregor tartan, were provided by our tutor Meredith Willett who also taught a silk and metal thread design during formal teaching hours (this was much too fiddly to stitch while travelling!). Phillipa taught a beautiful crewel work piece in a deep blue wool. You ca read about all the projects from this tourhere.
For some time we have been working with our Seat Frame manufacture to fix a design fault on the bolt mechanism between the hoop and the stalk. In order to use the frame comfortably, one MUST have nice sturdy hoop, which means the bolt needs to stand up to frequent tightening. Unfortunately, as some of you will have noticed, it sometimes fails such scrutiny and you end up with a droopy hoop.
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