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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Carol’s Rose Crewel Embroidery Kit Review


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Earlier this year, I brought up the subject of “designer” embroidery kits – that is, embroidery kits made and sold directly from designers (as opposed to kits bought in a big box craft store) – and their value.

Since then, I’ve been reviewing several embroidery kits from different designers around the globe, so that you can see these kits up close and get an idea of what different embroidery designers have to offer in kit form.

Today, we’re going to take a close look at a crewel embroidery kit designed by Jessica Grimm, an RSN graduate who lives in and works her embroidery business from Bavaria, in Germany.

Jessica explores many different types of embroidery on her blog, and in her shop, she sells her own embroidery kits that cover different techniques, too.

Her crewel embroidery kit called Carol’s Rose caught my eye, and so that’s what we’re going to look at up close today.

Carol's Rose Crewel Embroidery Kit from Jessica Grimm

Carol’s Rose is a vibrant crewel kit that involves all kinds of crewel stitches and some decorative beads in one compact piece that sports a Jacobean flavor, but is definitely contemporary.

The leaves and blossom in this kit give plenty of scope for working a huge variety of stitches! You’ll find something like 18 different stitches & combinations packed into the piece, making it a really good learning project.

Carol's Rose Crewel Embroidery Kit from Jessica Grimm

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the kit is simple color line-up. While there are only two color families involved in the embroidery, there’s a nice range of shades of Heathway wools in those two color families.

I love the combination of the vivid greens and pinks.

Carol's Rose Crewel Embroidery Kit from Jessica Grimm

The kit comes with linen twill for the ground fabric, needles, 10 shades of Heathway wools, a silver thread, beads, and instructions.

The design is not pre-printed on the fabric, and on this particular fabric, you’ll need to transfer the design in some way other than tracing (prick and pounce, dressmaker’s carbon, iron-on transfer pen – just some ideas).

Carol's Rose Crewel Embroidery Kit from Jessica Grimm

The instructions include a line pattern, a photo of the finished piece, and step-by-step photo instructions for the techniques in each section of the design.

The kit is listed as an “advanced” kit. After looking it over carefully, I’d say that anyone who is familiar with basic stitching and project set-up, and who is accustomed to following stitching instructions and troubleshooting where necessary, could handle it as an introduction to crewel work. If you’ve never done crewel, but you’ve done other types of surface embroidery, it’s definitely doable. The techniques are not difficult.

Where to Find It

You can find Carol’s Rose Crewel Kit in Jessica’s shop on her website. You can order Jessica’s kits with instructions in English or German.

If you’re in the US, don’t forget to take into account the currency conversion from Euro to US Dollar. Also, be aware that at checkout, there are two shipping methods offered. The default one is DHL, which is almost as expensive as the kit. If you’re not in a hurry, choose the second option!

While you’re there, do stop by Jessica’s blog. I’m especially enjoying her progress on this Or Nué figure embroidery.

Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread

The next kit we’ll look at down the road a bit involves an amazing dragon. Yes. A dragon! So, dragon lovers, beware!

I’ve got some progress to share with you on the floral voided monogram we looked at on Monday.

I’ve also been setting up another kaleidoscope project, and I’ll give you a sneak peek and chat a bit about a subject that can be troublesome to stitchers, but that we all have to face at some point. But hey, I won’t present a problem without discussing possible solutions, too!

And then some thread talk. I’ll let you in on a little secret policy that I’ve been keeping for the past year and a half, and it seems to be working out pretty well.

And we’ll tackle other stitchy subjects that might arise, too, as usual.

One of these days, for those who are asking, I’ll share a personal update, too – thank you for your solicitude! I’m doing well and I’m pretty confident I’ll have some good news to share soon.

Wishing you a marvelous Thursday!


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(27) Comments

  1. It’s so amazing and wonderful to “hear” how productive you are now – a sign, I hope, of better health and a long, happy life ahead of you!



  2. So glad to hear you are feeling better, Mary! Thanks for this review – I really love the finished design and the colors on this one.

  3. Good Morning Mary,

    I’ve been so busy, I decided to take time to refocus. I’ve missed so much in my absence. I am intrigued by this crewel kit. The colors of course draw me in, but I also love the variety of stitches. Most of them I have only done on canvas, so on twill would give me a new adventure. It looks so much more inviting than the simple stamped cross stitch kit that was printed on nasty ground fabric making it not so simple or even fun stitching, even though labeled for beginners. Always better to buy quality, but sometimes we just want a simple chicken and discover why we enjoy expensive fabrics and threads. Glad to hear you are feeling beter too! Debbie

  4. A lot of upcoming news I see. And it’s so difficult to wait. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dragon flying by on your blog. And another kaleidoscope design will be fun.

    The greens on this crewel project are quite bright. Hmm. I like that little thing at the bottom of the flower. It looks like the little cups that support beads on a necklace. Not sure what they’re called.

    It’s always good to read an update about your journey. I’m very happy that you’re managing it all as well as can be expected and that some good news is on the horizon. I’ll just keep on praying.

    Many healthy hugs to you.

  5. Hi, there! Great review with much of interest, thank you Mary. I was interested to read your comment – “you’ll need to transfer the design in some way other than tracing”. I have found this to be the case too having tried the tracing method using windows and light boxes and failed miserably. The twill fabric is just too thick. Prick and pounce seens best but can take ages. However, some crewel kits and courses recommend the tracing method for linen twill projects. Has anybody ever succeeded with anything other than very small, simple deigns I wonder? If so, is there a trick I am missing? Best wishes

    1. Hi Gill,
      I am not sure if it depends on the type of twill you use, but the one I use in my kits (from Agnus Weavers in Scotland) can be traced using a light box or a window. For better contrast, I usually do this at night and I might thicken the lines on the drawing with a black marker. But it definitely works!
      Happy tracing, Jessica

  6. Dear Mary

    Carol’s Rose embroidery kit looks a lovely bright design to embroider I do like the shades of colour threads very pretty and 18 different stitch combinations looks interesting to. The photo instructions look easy to follow so I’m sure a great kit to get those stitching fingers into. I’m looking forward to your progress on the voided floral monogram which I really liked and the next kaleidoscope project. Ooh what is the secret policy that sounds intriguing can’t wait. I’m really glad to hear that you have some good news concerning your health I look forward to reading your news on that. Thanks for sharing Carol’s embroidery kit and for letting us know of the coming projects you will be sharing with us, yes Happy Thursday.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  7. Glad to see Jessica’s design featured here, Mary! I’m a big fan of her work. And her shop!

    And, yes, to those who are ordering from here in the U.S.: don’t use DHL. I’ve ordered from four overseas vendors who ship via DHL, and it’s always been a hassle. (Sorry, DHL, but I’m not a fan.)

    1. Hi Liz,
      Thank you for your lovely words! I agree, DHL is only good for bigger parcels. Most of my products fit in a padded envelope and can actually be mailed as a letter at a much cheaper rate. Equally fast as far as I know.

  8. DRAGON! DRAGON! DRAGON! My favorite thing! I was actually trying to figure out if I could make a voided dragon and sunflower pillow the other day. Dragons are my favorite things to embroider. Hence I’ve yet to work up the courage to actually embroider them.

  9. Dear Mary,
    Thank you very much for your generous review of my embroidery kit! I will joyfully bounce down the village main road in a sec to post some orders. Regarding the difficulty level; you are absolutelly right from an Anglo-American point of view. However, in Germany or the Netherlands most people do not know that there are other stitches than cross stitch, other fabrics than aida and different threads than DMC stranded. Regarding the tracing; that’s possible too. I always trace my designs on twill with a blue aqua trick marker. However, I only use twill made at Angus Weavers in Scotland, maybe that’s a little different to other brands. It does help to tackle the job at night (using a light box) for better contrast.
    Once again, thank you ever so much! With gratitude, Jessica

    1. Thank you for the reply Jessica. I think tracing at night might be just the trick I needed. I will try it next time and see. When I need more twill I’ll order it from you and see if that makes a difference too. I had a bit of a hiatus over the transfer process and am really excited to get started again.

  10. Right up my “alley” I’ve been wanting to do some crewel but do not always care for the Jacobean motifs. So, I’ve sent my order in.

    I love working with kits because I am too intimidated to work up my own designs at this point and quality kits feed my hunger for stitching beautiful things.

    Stay strong Mary, I am hoping someday you will offer up some kaleidoscope patterns for us to play with.

  11. Love this design and especially the beautiful colors. I am a huge fan of Heathway, and like the convenience of expanding my stash right here in the USA! Tristan Brooks carries the ENTIRE range…and no international shipping hassle.

  12. Happy to read that you are getting there, Mary.
    And thanks for showing those lovely threads.
    I am still grappling with the concept of sprout green and crimson. They seem to vary with each language I google.
    And, for a change, HOT sun on the Isle of Wight!
    Take care.

  13. I ordered the rose crewel pattern you showed on your last email, and you mentioned that it can’t be traced, which I don’t like doing anyway, but, it does come with a pattern doesn’t it? I use sticky solvi stuff, do you think that will work? If, you’ve even heard of it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, David

    1. Hi, David – I wouldn’t personally use sticky solvy with crewel wools. But that’s just me. I haven’t tried it, but I could see it being somewhat tricky with th fuzzier wool threads.

    1. Good luck! 🙂 incidentally, Jessica said it does trace easily onto the twill, if the pattern is back lit….

    2. Another option you might explore is having the design made into a transfer pattern. I have trouble tracing due to problems with my hands, and I’ve used a service available from Jenn Sturiale at StitcharamaCraft on Etsy:


      Mary reviewed it here on needlenthread October 8, 2015:


      Jenn is really nice, and this worked like a charm for me.


  14. You have probably answer this question a thousand times, but I can’t seem to find the answer:

    When you embroider a monogram do you:

    1. Split stitch the section to be satin stitched, do the satin stitch then the sections that need to be stem stitched – do that last?


    2. Split stitch the section to be satin stitched, then do the stem stitch in the areas that need that, then do the satin stitch.

    I don’t know why I am having a problem with this, I guess I’m just trying to do it “perfectly”.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi, Lois – I usually do the satin stitching first, over a split stitch outline which acts as padding. And then when the satin stitching is done, I do the detail work with the stem stitch.

  15. Mary, you are always so inspiring!

    And this time you inspired me to buy this kit from Jessica. The kit arrived yesterday (8/17)! (I’m sure that there’s some Star Trek Transporter technology going on there.) I really like the variety of stitches in this playful design.

    I’m having so much fun exploring crewel embroidery. Over the past winter, I began accumulating a small library of reference books on crewel. I also began working on a couple of beginner kits (i.e. Crewel Works’ Acorn design). I’m doing a distance-learning class now, and in November I will attend a two-day workshop.

    My stash of crewel yarns is very small, but it includes a few skiens of Appleton, Impressions, Bella Lusso, Renaissance Dyeing, Heathway, and D’Aubusson — the crewel yarns you auditioned when working on your Crewel Rooster. I’m not sure which is my favorite yet, but I’m enjoying the learning process.

    As always, NeedlenThread is the best resource!


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