Back in the heyday of crewel embroidery, and by that I mean the 1960s and 1970s, Erica Wilson was the queen. She taught, sold kits, wrote books, and had her own PBS show about needle arts, many episodes found on YouTube.
It seems I am destined to return to wool every so often, and it’s been on my mind for a month or so. I like wool more than any other fiber, and in a strange series of clicks on the internet I found myself buying a 1973 Erica Wilson crewel embroidery kit of autumn plants. It’s supposed to end up as a rather groovy pillow.
It takes patience to stitch, and I’m surprised by how content I’ve been working on this. I love the textured feel and look of crewel embroidery, which is embroidery done in wool, and I’m figuring out quite a bit about embroidery. I’m learning stitches, too, so far stem, satin, padded satin, long-and-short, chain, and French knots.
And, yes, I’ve ordered another groovy kit (owls), some additional wool, and some linen backing.
About four years ago, I bought a jumbo potholder loom and loopers from Homestead Weaving Studio. I wove a bathmat, quickly bought ten more pounds of loops, and then just as quickly stashed it away in my closet. Fast forward several years, and I’m using up some of the loopers with this new bathmat. The other one still looks great, but I like this color and design better.
I probably have eight pounds left. What to make next?
I snapped a picture of this medium-sized woodpecker this weekend and discovered it’s a female yellow-bellied sapsucker. I took a 6”x8” Ampersand Claybord that had the start of a project that wasn’t going well and painted black ink over it. This drawing is mostly scratchboard with some additional Ampersand ink for the tree and bird highlights.
I’m on a gouache kick. I’m waiting for a set of acrylic gouache, and in the meantime, I’m using the Winsor and Newton set I bought a few years ago to remember the qualities of it.
It’s vibrant but dries matte, reworks easily with a little water, and is opaque so you can paint lights over darks. It’s very similar to casein, but casein dries fairly permanently after a period of time.
There are a lot of similarities with Neocolor II crayons, one of my favorite mediums. I’m looking forward to trying the Liquitex Acrylic Gouache set, however, as it dries permanently.