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What is Crewel Embroidery?
Crewel embroidery dates back to the 17th Century when the needlework designs were created with worsted yards. Crewel enjoyed a resurrection in the 1970s throughout the United States when kits made the craft both popular and easy to coordinate. Today, crewel embroidery is separated from regular hand embroidery by the thicker yarn. Wool embroidery flosses are still used for crewel embroidery, although many stitchers are using a combination of wool, silk, cotton, and blended threads.
Needles used for crewel embroidery typically have a wider eye than traditional sewing or hand embroidery needles. The larger eye nicely accommodates the thickness of the embroidery yarn typically used for crewel projects.
Hoops are generally required for crewel embroidery projects. Since the thread is wider than typical hand embroidery floss, the stitches tend to pull or skew the fabric. The best way to eliminate these troublesome obstacles is to hoop the fabric.Standard embroidery hoops work fine for crewel embroidery projects.
Machine embroidery enthusiasts have adapted many motifs to have a crewel look. These designs rely on simulated chain stitches and other textured stitches to give the crewel appearance. Typical machine embroidery thread spools are used instead of thicker threads.