I am Cookie Ziemba, I live in South Florida for the past 12 years and originally come from New York. I am thrilled to be here and away from cold winters, ice and snow. I divorced, am the mother of two, grandmother of two adorable, perfect children (of course) and enjoy my time indulging in my favorite activities. I am an avid painter of watercolors in miniature and full size, love to work on my dolls houses and miniatures and hope you will visit my other blog, http://cookiez123.blogspot.com and Artistry in Miniature website, http://cookieziemba.weebly.com. Please write to me with any questions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org and put mention blogging, embroidery, miniatures, etc. in the subject box. I do not open unrecognizable emails. Thanks!
About 45 years ago, I learned traditional crewel embroidery and haven’t stopped stitching since. It is my favorite type of surface work and particularly enjoy the motifs, colorations and forms of Elizabethan and Jacobean embroidery.
I should define “crewel” embroidery here…crewel is the type of wool used, meaning a worstered or 2 ply twisted yarn. England is and has been a wonderful place to find this wool with their history of raising sheep in the Midlands and other areas. I have always used English Appleton’s wool, produced for over 150 years by Appleton Bros. Ltd. There are 421 colors and it comes in hanks, which equals about six skeins or as individual skeins. William Morris used this yarn and it became famous from his works.
Normally, I stitch crewel on English Linen Twill and nowadays, it has become more difficult to find a good quality linen, meaning a tight weave. There are many inferior copies but insist on the best which of course will cost more.
I enjoy working with a quality needle and they may be obtained from Colonial Needle (http://www.colonialneedle.com) in White Plains, New York. They carry the very fine English brands that I like including John James, Richard Hemmings, S. Thomas & Sons and Mary Arden.
If you are new to crewel needles, be careful, they are very sharp! Occasionally, I file them down a tiny bit with an emery board to stop stabbing myself in the finger. I have never been one to use a thimble but the only type I will use is a leather thimble. They can be found at Joann’s Fabric in the quilting or embroidery thread area. Be sure to replace your needle if it seems to have a rough surface inside the eye as this can fray your cotton, silk, gold or wool threads.
I have learned of Japanese embroidery needles but haven’t tried them yet. They are handmade and very expensive, approximately $11.00 each, and may be obtained from the Japanese Embroidery Center (http://www.jecstore.com) in Atlanta, Georgia. The insides of the eye are hand bored and much smoother than the commercial needles available. I am unlikely to invest in these as I have never had a problem with ordinary needles and if I did, I would simply throw the faulty one out.