Keeping with the crewel embroidery theme, if you’re looking for source books for designs or inspiration for your own designs, I thought I’d show you a couple books currently available that focus on crewel designs. Keep in mind, though, that the designs are not necessarily only for crewel work. They’d all be equally adaptable to surface embroidery of various types. You’ll see what I mean….
Frances Bradbury has written (or rather, drawn) several design books in different needlework techniques, but the two I’m focusing on here are specifically crewel: English Crewel Designs: 16th to 18th Centuries and Early American Crewel Design.
English Crewel Designs: 16th to 18th Centuries is a design source book. As such, you won’t find a lot of text herein. There are a couple pages at the beginning of the book that serve as introductory information, but that’s it. The rest of the book is devoted to designs – black and white drawings of crewel patterns taken from historical pieces.
While there are no stitch suggestions in the book (and no stitch instructions), it isn’t hard to imagine what types of stitches would look good on the various designs. The designs have a good amount of shading and filling – they aren’t merely line drawings.
Some of the designs in the book are given as negative images, with black backgrounds and white lines. The majority of the designs, though, are delivered on white paper with black ink.
The designs are adaptable to other forms of embroidery. For example, this panel brings to mind stumpwork embroidery. Now, wouldn’t that be fun?!
I did have a laugh at this fellow. This is such a simple treatment of the bird’s body. I probably should’ve looked at this before I marked up my rooster yesterday! I added scallops all over the main part of the rooster’s body – in pen, so I don’t really have a choice in embroidering them! Ah, well – live and learn!
The second sourcebook for crewel designs by the same author is Early American Crewel Design.
The designs in this book are noticeably different from the designs in the previous book. They’re not quite as elaborate. I like these four designs here – they’re very much like the “smalls” I’ve been working on recently.
Even the more elaborate designs in the book are relatively simple – and I think I like them this way. Both books definitely present a different “look” of crewel work, though the designs have obvious things in common – stylized flowers and leaves, woodland animals, and so forth.
The books are not huge, extensive sourcebooks, but for the price, they’re nice design books and good to have on hand for inspiration and ideas. Both books are available through Amazon: