I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’m really surprised at how quickly this term at the RSN has gone. I’ve now got two lessons left of my eight to finish my Jacobean crewel work piece. There is still quite a bit of work left, but I do think it’s achievable if I knuckle down! Nothing like a deadline to get me moving.

I didn’t get my squirrel’s body finished before the last class, but both Heather and Owen gave the ‘right’ response when they saw him. I had to start again with him as I wasn’t happy (surprise surprise!) with my first attempt. But I did learn a valuable lesson for long and short stitch – the stitches really do need to be quite long for you to be able to get a good shaded effect.

The squirrel’s tail however is proving to be a tad elusive when it comes to how to stitch it! Any help from you on this will be much appreciated! My initial thought was to  long and short shade the tail to the edge, and then add in some turkey rug stitch. I was a bit worried this wouldn’t be traditional enough for the piece, and given Owen didn’t let me finish the sentence before saying ‘no’ confirmed that one! On Saturday I spent some time looking at images on the internet and in books, and I’m currently leaning towards rows of stem stitch, chain stitch and heavy chain stitch – a filling worked in Tracy A. Franklin’s book on crewel work. It is similar to what Owen had suggested, but I was struggling to picture it until I saw it in Tracy’s book. Another thought I had was working whipped woven wheels to give some texture, but I quickly decided against that idea. Shaded burden stitch is something else I am toying around with. What do you think? Any ideas?

shaded long and short stitch in crewelwork

I am also working a couched thread vein through the leaves I have worked in laid stitch. Currently I’m really unhappy with how that has worked out, and I’m hoping for third time lucky! It’s really tricky to get the crouching stitches evenly placed, and getting the couched down thread to take the intended curve is not working as well as I would have hoped! I’ll also be couching around these leaves once I’ve got that sorted.

Another new stitch to me on Friday was Cretan stitch. Again, design dilemmas! These top leaves on the right hand side are perplexing me. I’m going to work Cretan stitch through the middle of the two outer leaves (or are they petals?), and I’m currently thinking of working groups of three bullion knots around this, before finishing off with either a chain stitch or stem stitch outline. How do you think that would work?


As for that back leaf/petal? More because I want to use it than anything, I’m thinking battlement couching. What a great name! I will need to come up with a couple of other options too I think, especially given Owen’s response to my last thought on design! Then a little more tidying up around the trellis with an outline stitch, and probably a couple of French knots placed throughout the trellis and that part will be finished.

I worked these little twirls in whipped backstitch, with the leaves worked in fly stitch and satin stitch. Quite cute! Before working the one on the right hand side, I had to work in an extra few rows of raised stem band, as the paint was showing through- a big no no! Talk about nerve wrecking, but I think it’s turned out ok. I’m not sure the base of it is as tidy as it should be, but I don’t know how else to work these extra stitches in.

For the right hand trellis, I’m going to add in some French Knots in every second space. The spaces on the left hand trellis are proving a tad more difficult. After looking at this cushion I made from the Crewelwork Company, I’m leaning towards sheaf stitch, although it isn’t on the list of stitches. I don’t think that will be a problem,as Owen mentioned on Friday a few stitches I could think about that weren’t on the list. I’m also considering feather stitch, which is on the list. Both trellis sections will then need to be finished off with the edging, but until the squirrel is finished I can’t really do that.

One thing I did manage to do ok at and finish off was the French Knots on the two remaining acorns. Quite cute I think!

Jacobean crewelwork acorns

What else is on the list of things to do before next class? Some more padded satin stitch under the purple flowers and couch down the leaf edges around the van dyke stitch.  And finally, finishing off the leaf on the right hand side. I’m hopeful this will be reasonably quick, as I’m not filling the far right side with anything, and the left will just be seeding stitch. So the real struggle is going to be the satin stitch down the centre.


traditional Jacobean crewel work leaf being worked

So certainly enough to keep me busy before my (theoretically) second last class in a fortnight. And a nice balance between I know what I’m doing (so good to work on after work!), and I really have to get my thinking cap on and work out and test some ideas. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on these design dilemmas I’m more than open to your ideas!


For anyone interested in following this whole project to date, click here to get all the posts, or select the category named ‘RSN Certificate – Jacobean Crewelwork ‘ to take you there.

I’m linking up with the following blog linkup parties with this post. Be sure to head over and check out everyone else’s wonderful creations!

Crafting is my therapy, hosted by Me, You and Magoo

Super Mom, No Cape

Really Crafty, hosted by Keeping it Real

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