Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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The Crewel Rooster: Finished!


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If you’ve been following along with my recent crewel embroidery project, you’ll be happy to know that he is finished. After my wishy-washy-what-to-do post on Saturday, I figured I didn’t like having a rooster hanging over my head. Besides, the majority of you encouraged me to do the right thing and finish it! So I got to it, and finished the thing off. I’m satisfied with the finish, more or less. What am I talking about?!?!?! I’m downright elated with the finish! Simply because he’s Finished!

When I started this crewel embroidery project, my purpose was to test out a variety of crewel threads that I had in my stash. I hadn’t really stitched anything significant with any of them – I had no idea which threads I would like better when stitching extensively with them. The rooster taught me several good lessons about crewel embroidery. I’m going to share those with you once I stitch up some small (very small – I’m wooled out!) samples of each thread.

In the meantime, here’s the Rooster Guy in all his glory:

Crewel Embroidery Project: The Crewel Rooster

There are (there always are!) plenty of things I wish I had done differently. But I can truly say that, on this project, for the majority of it, I re-stitched the areas I didn’t like, until I arrived at something I liked at least a bit better!

One point that will probably haunt me: I wish I had stitched the flowers the same, following the color layout of the flower on the left. But too much stitching went into the flowers to pick them out this last time! I picked out the flowers 6 times before settling on a stitch combination. It’s not necessarily my favorite combination, either – I just ran out of patience on those things.

The feathers just below the wing were the last things I embroidered, after picking them out. I chose the colors in the flowers – the darkest red and the medium coral. I like it better than the pinks that were originally there.

My favorite part of the rooster: his comb!

Tomorrow, I’ll show you what I plan to do with the fellow. I’ve got an idea, but I have to forage through some shelves in the studio to dig it out. I can’t wait to show you!

Thanks heaps for following along with me on this project, and for your encouragement, advice, and suggestions along the way. I hope I didn’t bore you too much with the stitching and re-stitching (and sometimes re-stitching) of the various parts! It was an interesting journey, and as usual, it’s always great to have your company along the way!

For further posts on this crewel embroidery project, you may wish to visit the following links:

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern for The Crewel Rooster
Setting up The Crewel Rooster Project
Choosing Threads for The Crewel Rooster – and the first flower
Crewel Design Books
Stem Stitch Filling on Flower Stems
Scalloped Feathers on the Rooster’s Body
The Beginnings of the Rooster’s Tail
French Knots on the Wattle
Adding the First Blue Feather using a Raised Backstitch
The Rooster Tail, Finished for Now
The Wing – Three Attempts
Adjusting the Tail Feathers One More Time
The Rooster’s Head, Neck, and Comb
The First Flower Attempt Comes Out
New Colors for the Flowers
Lots of Knots
Rethinking the Flowers Again
More knots on the Flowers and a Color Change


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(47) Comments

  1. Hey Mary,

    thanks a bunch for sharing this wonderful project with us… I admire your patience (and determination) in picking out and picking out and picking out… you get the drift… until you arrive at the perfect solution.
    The tail has come out absolutely beautiful, and though I wasn't too sure about the scallops on the body, now that it's complete I feel it's the best idea for this – this fellow looks like he's about to hop from his perch.
    And, last but not least, seeing some stunningly beautiful crewel embroidery being done, I dug out my own (sadly long abandoned) project, which brought me to your blog some time ago on the quest of finding out the difference between stem- and outline-stitch. Been around almost every day since then, looking forward to your newest projects and discoveries.
    Thanks a lot,

  2. He is beautiful Mary! I like his comb, but LOVE his feathers (main body)

    Funny, I was just thinking I would have stitched both flowers the same as the one on the left when I read you saying exactly that! GMTA!!

  3. It has been a pleasure to follow and I admire your patience and courage to restitch as many times as you did. He looks splendid and I can't wait to see where he will end up

  4. G'day there Mary,

    He's absolutely fabulous. I'm glad I was in on the start, eagerly awaiting each post as it came.

    I must make time to go back and find other post by post projects to read, absorb and dream over.

    Congratulations Mary, you've done yourself proud.

    Cheers, Kath.

  5. Dear Mary, It was fun to watch you and the rooster through all the trials and tribulations.The end result though, was worth it.That rooster turned out to be one handsome bird. Well done! Now don't forget that lilac breasted roller. If you don't start immediately I still have about 12 other projects to finish so I will wait , but please don't take to long. Kind Regards, Elza Bester, Cape Town.

  6. Wow. Way to go, Mary. He looks wonderful. I admire your perseverance, it's so easy to lay a project aside when you hit a rough patch- you worked through them all. I hear what you're saying about the flowers, but I think they look great as they are. The darker one on the right has more "weight" to balance that flamboyant tail, but recedes a bit so your eye goes naturally to the focal point, the rooster. So, although I also personally prefer the one on the left as a standalone flower, I think what you've stitched works best in the overall composition. Thanks for letting us all follow your process.

  7. cock-a-doodle-doo! What a handsome fellow he is. Can't wait to see what you do with him and what you decide to work on next.

  8. Hello Mary,
    A exciting project that kept me guessing the finished Rooster.Majestic is the word for this beautiul work.Thanks for keeping the spirit of needlework asking for more.

  9. All the hens will be falling all over their feathers to court this handsome fellow! You have something to crow about now that you've finished him. (Enough with the play-on-words…great job Mary!!).

  10. Dear Mary, This was a very fun project to watch. One of my favorite parts is the flowers (which you would change!). I love that they are not uniform. I think it makes the overall effect more interesting, and I noticed them (and loved them!) before reading your comment. This rooster is absolutely magnificent. Thanks so much for sharing your work with us! annie p.s. How will you display him? Pillow? Framed? Other?

  11. He's finished and he is BEAUTIFUL! I like the flowers as they are. Just adds a little bit of mystery (for those who didn't follow your process) to the design.

  12. I'm thrilled to see the finished rooster but sorry to see him go. I like the finished feathers under the wing/tail area. You chose colors that stand out but don't compete with the marvelous tail. The flowers are great. The large, lighter colored stem has the lighter flower; the darker stem has the darker flower. I get the feeling of looking at flowers from the front and from behind. Nice. Whatever you do next, I'll be here to watch.

  13. He is an absolutely beautiful rooster. I'm sure all the crewel chickens out there will be *flocking* in an very untidy and pushy queue to receive his flattery and attention!

  14. He is one sharp dressed fellow – you can almost hear all the hens clucking about him. Great job Mary! I really enjoyed following this project and can't wait for the next one – here's hoping you lean towards a box project.

  15. Hi Mary
    The rooster is fabulous. The comb is a fitting crown on this regal barnyard creature. I've missed seeing him these past few weeks. Through your stitching, he had become quite real and alive. Personally I like the variation between the flowers. It is another exotic touch to this fantasy scene of rich colors and textures.

  16. Hi Mary, It has been a pleasure following to the end.

    The Rooster is fabulous.

    I'm looking forward to your next project; thanks for sharing your progress

  17. Utterly beautiful! I greatly respect how often you were willing to tear out the stitches that didn't satisfy you. The pursuit of some form of perfection, the careful attention to detail and the realization that I can keep working (and re-working) until I've made something not only interesting, but extraordinary is a crafting philosophy I've been striving to apply lately, and your work is inspiring.

  18. He is Gorgeous! Congratulations! I would say that you should be as proud as a peacock, but that would be mixing my metaphors!

  19. What a handsome guy! I agree about the flowers, my sense of symmetry makes we want them the same. But about all the restitching, I take it this is the one time you didn't use a doodle cloth? I am looking forward to see what you do with him.

  20. Oh, HE IS BEAUTIFUL!!! The anticipation we all went through every day reading your posts, and watching the progress, and un-progress… You have such an "eye" for just the right stitch and color. To my eye, not having the flowers the same is more appealing and looks more like a natural flower in the garden would look – never two exactly the same. This was an exciting adventure and we all learned from your experience. Thank you so much for sharing, admitting when you didn't like a stitch or a color and when you loved a stitch or a color. You are inspiring to us all. I love Mr. Rooster. Bev

  21. Dear Mary,
    Congrats on completing your absolutely gorgeous rooster!! I could see him croon merrily with triumph in the air :).

    Yes I too love his french knotted comb, as well as his proud tail feathers…

    And though both the flowers look pretty, I too felt that the left flower is brighter (due to the dark outline scallops which highlights the textured light coloured petals) than the right one… But I see them as the same flower in different angle of light 🙂

    And could not wait to see what you have in store for him. I feel he could stand in your bedroom window and wake you up every morning 🙂

  22. Oh Mary! He is exquisite! Thanks for sharing the entire process with us. I loved following his progress from start to finish and all the starts and stops in between.

  23. Mary, he's magnificent! Look at him! I think my favourite part is the shading on his body. That's the kind of thing that intimidates me – I should probably just try silk shading and get over it 🙂

    Anyway, the rooster is fabulous; thanks for sharing him with us on his winding road to completion!

  24. Mary, you have inspired me to try my first crewel piece. I am going to attempt a smaller version of your original pattern for the crewel rooster. Thanks for sharing this project! Nita

  25. son preciosos todos los trabajos que haces. Me encantaría recibir los modelos, aquí en España no se conocen estas técnicas, yo estoy ilusionada con poder hacer estos trabajos, ¿cómo podría tener los patrones? No hablo inglés pero tengo traductor el la computadora….. Espero tu respuesta. Mil gracias Mari Carmen

  26. Hi Mary, I've watched for the posts for Mr. cockadoodle-do to become a very charming and creative crewel I really like the tail feathers and really luv the flowers with all of those fun french knots! thanx again, you keep me motivated on my family tree. angelw502

  27. What an amazing piece of work! I hope you don't mind, but I am adding this post to my "Techniques to Try" blog list. It will be quite an education looking through your process.

  28. WOW, that turned out beautiful. So I am doing a wool crazy quilt and am looking for wool embroidery thread. Got any suggestions what brand thread to use? I am hoping to find some cool thread at the Chicago Quilt Show in a couple of weeks. Thanks for sharing. I thought I was the only one that ripped and re ripped.

  29. Mary…I’ve recom’d yr site to stitcher friends…but they already Knew of You! You’re famous! The rooster project was very interesting in terms of the design process…never knew it required so much of the French “frog” stitch…you know…”rip it, rip it, rip it.”

    Have my golden hen from a garage sale so may give her a golden boyfriend…thanks so much for sharing!

    Kay in Lafayette IN (SF-EGA member)

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