For those of you who have been hanging out with me on Needle ‘n Thread for a while, you might recall a review I wrote about five years ago for the Royal Persian Blossom crewel embroidery instructional guide from Talliaferro Classic Needleart.
For those of you who are newer to the fold, if you haven’t seen that instructional guide, take a look at it! It’s worth a gander!
When that design first hit the market, I was thrilled! Here was traditional crewel embroidery, kicked up about a hundred notches into something new, something artistic, something fabulously exuberant, and yet worked in traditional crewel techniques, with wool.
Well, you’ll be most happy to know that Anna, the artist behind Talliaferro, has done it again, recently releasing a stunning new design called La Serenissima. Today, I want to show it to you and review the instructional guide for this gorgeous piece of modern, yet traditional, crewel embroidery.
This is La Serenissima, worked in a palette of pinks and shadowy greens, with highlights of golden honey and nut browns.
The design itself is quite large – about 14.5″ x 11.5″. It’s definitely suitable for an heirloom cushion, for a focal display on the wall, or I could even see it as an upholstery piece coming up the back of a small decorative chair.
Talliaferro’s instructional guides are just that – instructional guides, not kits. The instructional guide is a printed portfolio, very classily done, that includes all the information and instructions you need to complete the piece.
You’ll find information on crewel embroidery in general, information on fabric and thread choice, suggestions on pattern transfer and setting up the project. There’s a full-sized pattern included (and it’s huge!).
Finally, there’s a detailed booklet that takes the stitcher step-by-step through the whole piece, using very clear diagrams and written instruction. The most challenging part of the piece is the shading and direction of stitching with the long and short stitch, but the instructions are very clear, with each element taken apart and carefully mapped to ensure success.
The original design is worked in Heathway wool, which is a soft, beautiful merino wool. In the instructional guide, you’ll find the color and shade list for Heathway, but you’ll find a chart with color suggestions for Appleton wool, too, if you want to substitute.
I wrote about Heathway wool many years ago in this comparison of wool threads for crewel embroidery. It really is a lovely wool to stitch with!
The wool is produced by the folks who used to produce Pearsall’s silk embroidery floss (which, to my knowledge, has been discontinued), but I’m assuming Heathway is still strong in production. It’s used by several designers and is available online in various places. Barbara Jackson, for example, uses it in her lovely little crewel kits and sells the whole range of Heathway wool at Tristan Brooks.
Where to Find La Serenissima
There are two places I know of where you can purchase the instructional guide for La Serenissima:
1. Directly from Talliaferro Designs, where you’ll find Anna’s other instructional guides for her gorgeous crewel work also available.
2. Through Wooly Thread, which offers the instructional guide alone, or with your choice of the Heathway thread pack or the Appleton substitute thread pack. Thread packs are a great way to go – you get all the threads you’ll need for the project, without having to hunt them down individually.
Crewel Eye Candy
If you’d like to enjoy browsing through some really gorgeous pictures of crewel work, don’t miss Anna’s gallery on the Talliaferro website. I think you’ll get a good hint there of what’s to come.
I’m so happy to see Anna’s new instructional guide out, and I hope those of you who love crewel will find this project just as gorgeous as I do!
Next week, I’ll have a wee related surprise for you – I think you’ll like it!
I’ll be stitching up a storm this weekend – can’t wait! – and I hope you have a jolly weekend with your needle and thread, too!