Friday, July 29, 2011

Somewhat Crewel Friday

I've been working pretty diligently. I've been reading all of the library books--bouncing from book to book, I've stitched a bit on my sampler--nothing much to show, some lines and two laid stitch squares to be overlaid with filling stitches, and I've begun working on the second pocket, mostly the buttonhole stitch opening.  That last is what I'm going to discuss here.
Above is the diagram I used for my first pocket opening. It is from the "technical and miscellaneous hints" section at the end of Mary Thomas's Embroidery Book. It is called a Tailor's Buttonhole.  I found it difficult to keep the "purls" even and very hard to keep the plain edge even--unlike most blanket stitches, with this stitch you come UP at the plain edge. I finally stitched a split stitch row along this edge and it helped a lot. This is also the stitch diagramed in the 1913 8th edition of Needlework and Cutting Out by Walter and Strachan (I posted the cover last week).
This Tailor's Buttonhole stitch is from Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. It's in the main section of the book and is quite a different stitch--a basic blanket stitch with an extra wrap around the needle. This one was much easier to do, although I still had trouble making even "purls." This one also went much faster.

Below are several pattern sheets from two of my library books, both by Louisa F. Pesel: English Embroideries I: Double Running or Back Stitch and English Embroideries II: Cross Stitch.  Ms Pesel drew the designs from antique samplers (mostly 17th Century) and embroideries from museum and private collections. The charts are hand drawn. 
The first two are from book I and the last one from book II.
These books didn't do much to further my research into crewel embroidery but I'm glad I was able to read them and scan some pages for inspiration. 
Ms Pesel encouraged stitchers to take it and make it their own, to be creative.
She also was enthusiastic about encouraging English style and techniques, pointing out that the Danes had Hedebo, the Italians Assisi, etc.  She felt the British had a long and illustrious history of embroidery to build on and was concerned about the loss of this in the future. 
Both books were published in the early 1930s. 
An interesting publishing note: these were British books by a British author, "made and printed" in Great Britain by Morrison and Gibb Ltd., Tanfield Edinburgh--but published by the Manual Arts Press of Peoria, Illinois.  So far I haven't found out anything about the company except they seemed to be a prolific publisher of books on manual arts and crafts in the early 1930s.  I'm intrigued. 

2 comments:

Rachel said...

It's always fun researching in old books, isn't it! And Mary Thomas' is a particularly good reference, too.

underatopazsky said...

My mother (who did proper tailoring classes when I was little) has always maintained that blanket stitch and buttonhole stitch are different and Mary Thomas is the only place I've ever seen them as separate stitches. It's interesting to see the other references.