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Crewel Creatures
BY Hazel Blomkamp

Search Press
9 April 2018/ ISBN 9781782215257
How-To Books/Needlework

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


If Jacobean embroidery conjures up images of wool worked stylized flowers on 17th century upholstery then think again; this book brings it into the 21st century. The stitches are the same but instead of wool these projects are worked in cotton, silk, metallic and synthetic threads and adorned with glass and crystal beads. The subjects are all creatures – six gloriously decorated subjects from the author’s native South Africa.

I was told for years that Jacobean embroidery had to be worked in wool. Because of my allergy, I was unable to do it but then I obtained copies of this author’s Crewel Twists and Crewel Intentions and discovered that it had joined the modern era. The rule book had been thrown away and I was free to use any thread I wanted and use the stitches for any subject I fancied – great! This third book shows how the stitches can adorn wildlife, with beautiful Jacobean flowers decorating an ostrich, owl, cobra, rhino, elephant, and tortoise. If you are unfamiliar with the stitches there are several pages of diagrams and descriptions; some of which are the same or similar to those used in freestyle embroidery. There are useful tips about what to get, how to wash your work, what cloth, threads and beads to buy and a list of tools. As well as the stitches there are pages of the detached 3D beaded elements and how to sew on stones, single beads and how to work needlelace and needleweaving. As you can gather this is very much a book aimed at the intermediate and the upper skill level of the embroiderer. The clear diagrams and pages of detailed instructions that accompany each picture make it more doable and an absorbing project for anybody who wants a good sized ambitious piece to work on. Each chapter features a picture of the finished work plus close-ups of various details, the finished size, lists of everything you need plus many pages of instructions. The results are gorgeous and should impress just about anybody who sees them. Turn to the back for the outline patterns which require resizing and a list of the author’s other books from Search Press. A beautiful, inspiring and imaginative set of projects for any embroider up for an enjoyable challenge.

If you cannot find a good range of embroidery materials and beads locally try for a list of suppliers.

Reviews of other titles by this author

Crewel Twists
Crewel Intentions
Needle Lace Techniques For Hand Embroidery
Needle Weaving Techniques For Hand Embroidery



UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2017