For embroiderers looking for some inspiration, Hazel Blomkamp's book is an exciting take on Jacobean embroidery. It uses a wide selection of materials to update techniques within the confines of this classic crewel style. The original designs include incorporating beads and metal threads to add sparkle and texture, monochrome embroidery and needle-made laces - a delightful resource. * Craft Focus * Jul/Jul 12
Crewel work is often called Jacobean embroidery - but that's more to do with the designs than with the techniques. Traditionally stitched in wool, these crewel work designs are worked in a variety of threads, including stranded cotton, stranded rayon, cotton pearl and even lace-making thread. Beads, sequins and metallic threads are used to add sparkle and texture - and the resulting glitz really lifts the designs. Needle-lace stitches add another dimension to the embroideries, and traditional embroidery stitches such as satin stitch and many variations of trellis filling showcase the qualities of the different threads. Working with a fairly broad definition of crewel work, the ideas and stitches allow embroiderers to borrow techniques from other styles of needlework and produce a piece that is still recognisably Jacobean in style. A lovely book - it really makes you want to reach for your needle. * Stitch * Apr 12
It was the black and white cover that first draw my attention - it was so different from all the colours. Book was cheap enough so I thought I would order it and see!! The book took my breath away - the samples shown throughout the book are quite beautiful and I must admit I cannot wait to give a couple a go. Instructions are clear with stitch diagrams at the beginning of the book. The author writes as if she is talking to you - even advice on glasses etc. A lovely book worth every penny.-"Maureen Anderson", Amazon * Customer * June 12
I have been a keen embroiderer for years and confess a love for Jacobean (or crewel) work but I have never attempted it. This is because I am allergic to wool, and as embroidery experts have told me many times, you have to work this style in wool. But rules are made to be broken, and somebody has now done just that and produced a whole book of Jacobean embroidery where no sheep have been involved.Cotton floss, shiny rayon threads, metal goldwork strands and beads...yep, got all that right here and used it for years. Feast your eyes on this sumptuous treat of a book and look at all that lovely Jacobean work made using these modern and wool-free materials. To begin the author goes through all the aspects of starting that often get forgotten. These include how to obtain the right glasses if you need them, how to keep the work free of grubby marks and other helpful tips. Choose your fabric, get the right threads and tools and then practice the stitches shown over the next few pages, including needle lace. Most of these are unique to Jacobean work and quite complex; they are explained with a single drawn diagram showing the stitch being done and with a few words on working. No, this is not a suitable book for total beginners but anybody who is au fait with embroidery and has made a few projects ought to be able to make something to be proud of. All the projects have been made into items other than pictures; there is a box, stool and several cushions and pillows instead. They are beautiful too, shining with vibrant colors in most cases or worked in monochromes or shades or ecru and featuring those lush florals admired in stately homes and museums. The instructions are detailed but aimed at intermediate and upwards stitchers on the whole but nothing wrong with that as there are plenty of other books on this subject for beginners. This is a beautiful book that will make any embroiderer itch to start stitching...but not because of any wool! * Myshelf.com * May/June 2012
Whether you know it as crewel or Jacobean, this free form of embroidery has been around for centuries and is still popular today. Hazel Blomkamp uses a wide selection of materials to update the techniques in Crewel Twists: Fresh ideas for Jacobean Embroidery, whilst working loosely within the confines of crewel work styles. * Embroidery * Nov 12
If you are a fan of Jacobean stitching, or Crewel work as it is also known, you will love this book which presents a new slant on this traditional method. The author draws on the variety of stitches and surfaces available in Crewel work and updates the technique by using creative approaches to this traditional technique. Her use of metallic threads, beads and needle-made lace techniques bring new creative methods of stitching to an old technique. There is information on stitches which are beautifully illustrated, suggestions for threads and suitable beads, plus rich decorative illustrations of projects. She borrows techniques from other forms of needlework and integrates them beautifully into the traditional designs. Satin stitch, shading and variations on trellis couching are all well known methods and the author also uses these to create textured surfaces to enhance her projects. This book would appeal to the traditional stitchers who wish to develop their techniques to create sumptuous surfaces without loosing the richness of the Jacobean tradition. * Merseyside Embroiderer's Guild (megonline.co.uk) * May 12
This book aims to give you techniques to create your own modern version of Crewel work incorporating beads and metallic threads and using stitches from other forms of needlework. The start of the book is packed with useful tips and a comprehensive stitch gallery with clear diagrams and easy to follow instructions. The rest of the book comprises of projects split into the following categories: beaded Jacobean embroidery, borrowing techniques from needle-made lace and creatively traditional. You can find the patterns for the projects in the back of the book, most of them do need enlarging. The use of beads and metallic thread really bring a new modern twist to the designs featured in this book. * Sewing Directory, The * Dec 12
This is a soft backed book containing 143 pages of instructions on how to embroider six patterns. It is beautifully presented, using excellent photography and clear explanations to guide you step by step through each pattern. The designs are for use in fire screens, cushions, trays, box lids, runners and a doorstop, or adapted to whatever you fancy. There is a very explicit section on how to work the traditional stitches and some variations. Handy tips run throughout the book, charts guide you through the colours used. * The Lace Guild * July 12
Lovers of Jacobean or Crewelwork embroidery will love Crewel Twists by Hazel Blomkamp. The author takes a new approach with the traditional techniques of this form of embroidery to create six splendid projects you will find difficult to resist stitching. All the stitches used are illustrated with large, clear diagrams, along with lots of general advice, and each design is broken down into easy to follow steps. * NEW STITCHES * Have you seen Hazel Blomkamp's new book yet? It's called Crewel Twists, and it's a beauty! Published by Search Press, Crewel Twists is already available for purchase in the UK, and will be released to the rest of the world soon.
Crewel Twists is not your typical take on traditional crewel, although the techniques are much the same. Instead, Hazel combines beads and regular floss in her designs, so what you get are crewel-looking design, stitched with floss and beads - and wow! What a beautiful combination!
If you like the look of Jacobean embroidery and you like regular surface embroidery, using regular floss and combining lots of stitches and beads for embellishment, you will love this book!
The book begins with all the needful information about working an embroidery project, clearly laid out and discussed in a forthright manner that's clear and easy to understand.
One aspect of the book that I really like is that Hazel writes in a very direct, matter-of-fact voice. There's no pretension here; there's no highfaluting mumbo-jumbo about anything. It's easy to swallow direction, whether you're a beginner or an expert.
She peppers the book with little tips throughout, even in the introductory material. Her tips are direct and to the point, like this one: "You spend many hours working on a project. Use the best quality material you can afford." Boom. She says it. There's no beating around the bush here! And I like that!
There are several pages on threads, needles, beads, and supplies in general - all useful information, discussed easily and comfortably.
There's a nice bit on tools! I like tools, and I like to see them covered in a book. Sure, you only need a few tools to embroider, but it's good to know what other helpful items to have on hand to make your stitching sessions a success.
After the introductory material, you'll find a stitch gallery, with over 45 stitch diagrams and explanations. This include regular surface stitches, beading stitches, and needle lace stitches.
And then.... and then ... prepare yourself for the projects. They are elaborate, but accessible. Some are a riot of color, others are subtle elegance. There are six projects in all.
At the beginning of each project, you'll find color photos of the finished piece. This particular piece was made into a fire screen. It's stunning!
For each project, there's a complete materials list, with all the threads, fabric, and tools required. The thread colors correspond with Anchor threads, but in the back of the book, conversion charts for DMC are available.
The project instruction is made up of a color photo of the completed stitch area focused on in the instructions, and in the accompanying text, the reader is taken step by step through creating each little section.
There are highlighted tips throughout, to help the stitcher through the project.
See what I mean by a riot of color? This photo gives you a close up sense of the variety of stitches and the way beads are used to embellish several of the projects. Fun!
This particular project is worked in grays and whites and silvers and black - an elegant combination. Incidentally, this is one of the projects Hazel will be teaching at Beating Around the Bush in Australia this April. I like the clever finishing for this one - it's mounted in a silver candy dish!
Another elegant piece - a Jacobean-like design, worked in different needle lace stitches, in ecru-on-white. Very pretty!
And back to color! I love this piece - it's straight embroidery, in a variety of stitching techniques, and so pretty!
Again, the back of the book, you find handy thread conversion charts...
... and, of course, you'll find all the patterns, in easy-to-trace line drawings that can be enlarged on a photocopier, when necessary.
Crewel Twists is a beautiful book of beautiful stitchery! I thought it was fun to read, I think the projects are really interesting twists on Jacobean designs, I like the fresh look of the projects and the incorporation of beads and multiple types of stitching that help make the projects fun and challenging, without being daunting.
If you're a lover of Jacobean styled designs, and you like embroidery projects that incorporate a variety of stitches, and you have a penchant for beaded work, I think you'll like this book! -- Mary Corbet * Mary Corbet's Needle 'n' Thread *show more