Wednesday, 17 June 2009

More about the crewel project

Except for doing some embroidery with my Aunty Suzanne, when I was about 9, I am a novice. However, I am getting pretty excited about this Crewel thing....its a cruel hobby, as it does take quite a long time to perfect the stitches, let alone get all the items together, and decided on what stitches to use. Once you start on a section, you just have to do that little bit more.

I am starting to collect together various yarns for my project. One of my first ports of call was the shop in Shipston. On this trip, and there will be more, as the little town is so interesting, I took my piece of cloth to match the colours I wanted.

This is the wonderful display of Appleton Yarns. They do come in smaller skeins too, but with hanks there would be enough to offer to my fellow crafters at our afternoon embroidery sessions.

I had two accomplices on this gallivanting session. After an excellent smoked salmon and prawn salad at the tea shop opposite the Needlecraft shop, we drove over to view the Patchwork Quilt exhibition at the Forge Mill Needle Museum on the outskirts of Redditch. The patchwork quilts were attractively set out on the ground floor of the museum. In the mill, needles were made from about 1730, till only a few years ago. The displays are excellent and the museum is well worth a visit. Redditch used to dominate the world of needle making, but sadly no longer. In the current climate of Globalisation, needles manufactured abroad are imported and packaged in the UK.

My mother who went to a small village school in Lincolnshire, knew a thing or two, and many more about her geography, and it seemed quite strange to me, as a youngster in Mauritius, that she could go through the names of many towns in England, and recite what were their main claims to fame in the manufacturing scheme of things. One I remember is Reading: Biscuits. I would have loved to have spoken to her about the needle industry in Redditch to see if that was one she knew of.

Looking at the wonderful antique works of embroidery from the Middle Ages, I have been wondering what needles were used. Last night I read that the 'modern' needle was probably introduced into England from China, and that steel needles were being manufactured in England by 1545.

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