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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Preliminary Stitching on a Wee Wool Project


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I’ve had a couple pleasant afternoons this week, concocting and then stitching, a wee embroidery project with which to test the wool threads that I mentioned here a while back.

I’ve not finished the project yet, but it won’t take too long to finish it, I reckon. That’s a Great Thing about most wool embroidery thread (crewel weight wool) – it stitches up really fast!

The first test stitching I’m doing is with the new Eco Vita line of crewel wool from DMC. I doodled up a little design that I thought would work well with the more muted, almost vintage-like natural hues of this thread.

DMC Eco Vita crewel wool

Eco Vita is a naturally dyed organic crewel-weight wool thread from Italy.

It’s a crewel weight wool, which means that each strand is made of two plies of wool softly twisted together. You don’t separate the plies – you work with the wool exactly as it comes off the skein.

And speaking of coming off the skein, the skeins are pull skeins. I’ve pulled thread out of six or seven skeins so far, and each time has been easy. No knots, no tangles, no bunching up of the skein. That’s such a good thing!

DMC Eco Vita crewel wool

So far, I’ve found the thread quite nice to stitch with – much easier than Appleton wool, which is probably the most common crewel wool these days. I definitely enjoy the stitching experience with the DMC wool much more than I do when I’m working with Appleton, which tends to be a cranky.

I’ve not had any cranky experiences yet with the DMC.

Keep in mind, Appleton is a popular wool because it’s been around for so long, but also because it has a MASSIVE color range, clocking in at over some 425+ colors and shades of wool. The DMC Eco Vita line has a mere 60 shades by comparison.

DMC Eco Vita crewel wool

But those 60 shades are pretty nice! They have some good scope for color combinations, and within color families, there are variations in shades that allow for gradual color changes if desired.

DMC Eco Vita crewel wool

So far, I’ve not had any major pilling or anything weird happening as I stitch with the stuff. I’ve found the whole experience of stitching with it to be very satisfying and pleasant.

I don’t find myself getting frustrated with the thread at all as I stitch, which sometimes happens when I’m stuck working with an uncooperative or cranky thread.

DMC Eco Vita crewel wool

I’m compiling a more thorough list of pros and cons while I work on this little piece. By the end of today, the embroidery will likely be finished, since I have a couple hours I can spend on it this afternoon.

Next week (or perhaps the week after – depends on how the Stitch Snippet stitch-along plays out next week), I’ll be a bit more specific and share a few more thoughts on the Eco Vita wool.

I’ll have a few other things to share as well. For example, we’ll talk about the linen fabric I’m using for the ground fabric on this project. Linen fans, prepare! We’re going to talk all about lovely linen very soon!

And there you have one more project materializing in the studio! Fun, fun!

Purple Posy Next Week!

Many of you have written in to say that you’ve received your kit for Purple Posy, the stitch-along that is launching next week here on the blog. I’m glad they’re arriving safely and I’m glad you like the kits so much. That always makes me happy to hear!

If you haven’t gotten a materials kit for Purple Posy, there are still a few in stock here in the shop. We stocked well this time! Hurray! But once they’re gone, we won’t be re-stocking during the stitch-along. So now’s the time to get one, if you want all the materials on hand to stitch this project.

You can read more about the materials kit and about the stitch-along for Purple Posy here.

And on that note, a Happy Friday to all! It seems like Fridays just keep popping up out of nowhere, doesn’t it?


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(10) Comments

  1. Happy Friday! 🙂

    My lovely hubby got me one skein of each dye of the DMC Eco Vita line for Valentines Day. He spoils me. I am glad you seem to like them so far. I have not tried them out as of yet…

    And—my Purple Posy kit should arrive today. Yay!

  2. Mary, I’m so glad to hear you confirming my experience with Appleton wool yarn/thread. I thought it was just me being persnickety and over-sensitive.

    Long ago I signed up for an EGA correspondence course in crewel embroidery. I traveled far afield to collect the right materials in person from Needle in a Haystack, did the design/redesign work that was required, transferred the design to the linen, stitched about 5″ of stem stitch and one small flower and simply stopped because I could not stand the sound and feel of the wool as I pulled each stitch through the linen ground. It set my teeth on edge like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Several years later, I pulled out the little bit of stitching I’d done and I embroidered the entire piece with standard floss. It’s finished and in a display hoop in my work room. I did find that I could use the wool on 18 count needlepoint canvas without it bothering me and made up a little pincushion. So the wool has not gone entirely to waste, but I vowed: Never will I ever try sharp needle embroidery with wool floss on fabric again! So don’t tempt me with this new DMC wool that behaves better! ;-D

    1. LOL! It’s all about the thread. There are several wools available on the market that are actually much more pleasurable to stitch with. Of course, it’s wool – it will always be different from cotton floss or silk floss. But just because it’s wool doesn’t mean that it’s automatically unpleasant. That part just depends on the brand, the type of wool, the process of creating the thread, dyeing it, and so forth. Appleton is cranky stuff. But Heathway wool – that thread is a pleasure to work with! There’s also Bella Lusso – it’s nice to stitch with. Fine d’Aubusson is nice to stitch with. And I’d compare this DMC somewhat to Fine D’Aubusson – kind of a cross between that and Heathway. There are many choices of wool thread out there! Don’t let one bad experience or brand throw you completely off the stuff! But just remember that the tactile experience with wool will always be different from that of cotton or silk. Some folks simply don’t like wool because they don’t like the way it feels. And that’s ok! The thing to note is that it doesn’t all perform badly! 🙂

  3. Lovely colors! Might get me back into some crewel embroidery. What’s the source of the design you’re stitching? I love that style, and I love anything with flowers.

  4. So exciting about that crewel wool. I am very interested in learning crewel embroidery and would really like to make a Jacobean design.

  5. The new DMC wool is very exciting. Not only because it has such pretty colors but also because it will (hopefully) be easy to find, assuming the big craft stores decide to stock it.

    It’s good to hear that it’s nicer to work with than Appletons. Aside from its large (and reliable) color range I’ve never like Appletons at all. I understand why the RSN uses it (particularly for their conservation work, where most of the items they’re restoring will have been made with Appletons) but I’d never choose it for my own projects if I can find the colors I need with other brands.

    1. Ditto! The color range is the one advantage of Appletons – but I think Heathway also has a wonderful color range (though not quite as expensive), and it’s a much nicer wool to work with.

  6. Hi Mary,
    I am a long time follower. I love your blog, your videos and your great reviews. Before Covid I taught hand stitching in a local quilt shop and at our San Diego Quilt Show. We have not had a show since sadly. I have always turned my stitcher’s to your video’s when they needed more help at home. You have helped me too with my stitching. I stitch on wool but I have always wanted to stitch with wool. I love the bouquet you made with the DMC Eco Vita wool. I understand why you made a practice piece. Makes sense to me. It’s still a beautiful bouquet. I look forward to dipping my toes into a wool project. I’ll be looking forward to the bouquet pattern and stitching it with some beautiful wool thread. Thanks for all the great years. Your work is marvelous!

  7. Love this project and have preoccupied with embroidering with wool lately. Hope this project becomes available-it’s brilliant (except for the tiny ribbed wheels! lol)

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