Crewel Work Embroidery

Crewel Work was one of the traditional hand embroidery techniques I studied at the Royal School of Needlework.

This is a surface embroidery technique in which decorative stitches are embroidered, using a fine twisted wool thread known as crewel wool, usually on a linen-twill backing fabric.

Common stitches used are split and stem stitches for outlining and padding, satin, chain, and long and short stitches, seeding, french and bullion knots and couched stitches where a thread is laid on the surface and held down by stitches sometimes forming lattices to fill an area of the design.

The design below is a modern variation of the ‘Tree of Life’ embroideries which were so popular during the 17th century when crewel work was used to decorate the home, for example  upholstery and poster-bed curtains.

Crewel Work

Stitches used in this design are:-

Leaf on top left:

Stem stitch

Chain stitch

French knots

Cloud filling

Satin stitch

Flower on right:

Split stitch

Stem stitch

Chain stitch

French knots

Bullion knots

Blanket stitch

Spider’s web

Fly stitch


Cretan stitch

Seed stitch

Ermine stitch


Split stitch

Padded Satin stitch

Long and Short stitch


Split stitch

Stem stitch

Herringbone stitch

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One Response to Crewel Work Embroidery

  1. I dont think Ive ever seen a purple griffin before

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