Book Review: Crewel Embroidery

Drawing upon the work of decorative painters in the United States, Australia and Russia, Burr has created a garden of lovely, fully shaded flowers using a variety of embroidery threads. The projects are divided into three chapters based on expertise and sized smaller then traditional crewelwork for today’s busy needleworkers. After covering the different threads and fabrics available, a nicely illustrated stitch glossary goes over the basic stitches, shading techniques including directional work and some practice motifs.

Burr’s color shading is exceptional and set this collection of designs apart from the many, simpler patterns available. Line drawn, full-size traceable patterns with colored pencil and directional diagrams augment the many close-up photos showing the work in progress. Beginners will be challenged by the lovely Orange Poppy and Ribbon project that will hone their shading skills. The intermediate level Janey’s Poppy with Daisy Spray and Rustic Burgundy Rose would make a stunning insert on the back of a jacket. Be sure to check out the Yellow Poppies worked on a dark background then try to imagine your favorite design on a dark burgundy or deep green.

Most of the projects make use of several lines of embroidery fibers so the suppliers list at the back of the book will be a welcome resource for those who aren’t lucky enough to live near a full service needlework shop. Needleworkers needing a quick project are better off looking elsewhere but for those interested in creating a beautiful, enduring piece of art, these are just the ticket.


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