Introduction 8 General tips before starting 10 Materials 14 Tools 17 Stitches and techniques 18
Hazel Blomkamp has dabbled with all the needlecrafts since childhood. When her children were babies she developed a passion for embroidery to break the tedium of life with toddlers, using it as her evening reward for having got through the day with her sanity intact. Her children are now young adults and she still embroiders in front of the television every night.
She has been designing for the past 18 years. Preferring to design projects which appear to be traditional, she pushes the boundaries by introducing other forms of needlecraft into traditional techniques, exploring further in everything that she does. Along with designing, she runs a busy website from home.
She teaches at her home studio, in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, and travels throughout South Africa and Australia teaching embroidery and fine beadwork. She is a regular contributor to South African and Australian embroidery magazines and is a columnist for South African Stitches Magazine.
While the title of Hazel Blomkamp's new book appears to focus on the fanciful designs of her beloved African animals, she achieves so much more. A goodly portion of the book is a guide to surface embroidery, providing welcome information on tools, materials, and the transfer process; a comprehensive stitch glossary with more than fifty stitches finely illustrated and comprehensively described; thirty-five pages of unparalleled and detailed instruction for bead embroidery and beading flowers, petals, and calyxes; and a section detailing a variety of needleweaving techniques. Blomkamp provides a full materials list and thorough, thoughtful step-by-step instructions and stepped-out photographs for six elegant projects - tortoise, ostrich, owl, cobra, elephant, and rhino. While crewel embroidery is a basis for her work, she takes crewel much, much further into a world all its own.* Embroiderers' Guild of America: Needle Arts Vol. 49, September 2018 *
Always a delight to see Hazel's work and the new slant on crewel embroidery in this book Hazel has transformed 6 animals into crewel creations. The book offers sound advice on embroidery basics including a stitch dictionary, needle stitching and needle weaving and beading techniques, illustrated with line drawings. For each project, you see an image of the design plus close-ups, the dimensions, description, materials needed, general and stitching instructions. These instructions are very detailed step-by-step; for example, Norman the Tortoise has 11 pages of instructions. The other projects are ostrich, owl, snake, elephant and finally my favourite project, shown on the front cover, the rhino. There are templates, but they are not given actual size. Surprisingly the book has no index, although it is fairly straightforward, an index would have been useful to locate stitches and techniques in the book.-- Karen Platt * Yarnsandfabrics.co.uk *
If Jacobean embroidery conjures up images of wool worked stylized flowers on 17th century upholstery then think again; this book brings it into the 21st century. The stitches are the same but instead of wool these projects are worked in cotton, silk, metallic and synthetic threads and adorned with glass and crystal beads. The subjects are all creatures - six gloriously decorated subjects from the author's native South Africa.
I was told for years that Jacobean embroidery had to be worked in wool. Because of my allergy I was unable to do it but then I obtained copies of this author's Crewel Twists and Crewel Intentions and discovered that it had joined the modern era. The rule book had been thrown away and I was free to use any thread I wanted and use the stitches for any subject I fancied - great! This third book shows how the stitches can adorn wildlife, with beautiful Jacobean flowers decorating an ostrich, owl, cobra, rhino, elephant and tortoise. If you are unfamiliar with the stitches there are several pages of diagrams and descriptions; some of which are the same or similar to those used in freestyle embroidery. There are useful tips about what to get, how to wash your work, what cloth, threads and beads to buy and a list of tools. As well as the stitches there are pages of the detached 3D beaded elements and how to sew on stones, single beads and how to work needlelace and needleweaving. As you can gather this is very much a book aimed at the intermediate and up skill level of embroiderer. The clear diagrams and pages of detailed instructions that accompany each picture make it more doable and an absorbing project for anybody who wants a good sized ambitious piece to work on. Each chapter features a picture of the finished work plus close-ups of various details, the finished size, lists of everything you need plus many pages of instructions. The results are gorgeous and should impress just about anybody who sees them. Turn to the back for the outline patterns which require resizing and a list of the author's other books from Search Press. A beautiful, inspiring and imaginative set of projects for any embroider up for an enjoyable challenge.-- Rachel A Hyde * myshelf.com *
If you like hand embroidery but haven't had a bash at crewel work, this book is a great introduction. I think a little knowledge of basic hand stitching would be useful as tension is always key to this technique but practice also plays a part.
The book covers the basics of materials and threads and then launches into detailed instructions for a wide variety of stitch techniques, couching, beading, needle-lace and much more, all carefully explained in this section.-- Maggie * www.barnyarns.co.uk *
Crewel Creatures is definitely for the adventurous stitcher who loves colour, texture, beads, bling, lots of stitches, and a fun challenge! The variety of stitches and techniques, colours and patterns within in each projects is so extensive that there's just no way you could get bored while working any of them!-- Mary Corbet * Needle 'n Thread *