10 Tips for Good Results with Crewel Embroidery

  1. Use the best materials you can afford.
  2. If you can, use a hoop or frame that’s big enough for the entire design.
  3. If this is not feasible, try to use a slate frame or other framing method that rolls the embroidery rather than crushing it. Or remove your hoop when you stop stitching for the day.
  4. Use SHORT lengths of wool. I can’t stress this one enough, though I often forget it myself. Wool stretches as you stitch with it, no matter how careful you are with your tension. Just the friction of drawing it through the fabric will stretch it. If your wool thread gets thinner this way, it just doesn’t look good when it’s stitched.
  5. If you are transferring a design to your fabric, try to use either a removable ink, or a transfer method that can create a line thin enough to completely cover with your stitching.
  6. Did I mention use the best materials you can afford?
  7. Make sure your needle is the correct size — it should be large enough that the wool doesn’t “drag” when you pull it through the fabric, and small enough that the hole in the fabric will close back around the yarn when you are done.
  8. Use a needle that isn’t discolored or worn out! Discoloration can sometimes rub off on your fabric, and burrs on a worn needle can wear the fabric or the thread, or both, depending on their location!
  9. Clean hands = clean and not grungy final project. Washing and blocking¬† will still do amazingly wonderful things for your project, but a black grimy fingerprint is a LOT harder to remove than just doing a cursory wash. Especially since wool can felt if you rub it too much! ask me how I know this one. I may not admit to it, but I’ve done it.
  10. Always use the best materials you can afford!!!

Yes, I know I listed this three times, but it really is that important, especially if you are just learning. The inexpensive kits often have yarn that is inappropriate for the fabric or the size of the design, and sometimes just poor quality materials in general. This all adds up to a really frustrating experience. And stitching shouldn’t be frustrating over the long term (we all have our moments!), it should be relaxing!

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