Monday, October 16, 2006

Crewel and unusual in California

Crewel flamingo hand towel

OK, forgive the cheesy pun. I got back Saturday from visiting the Other in California and have just finished stashing all the fabric I bought (which is another story entirely). My quilting projects all require a sewing machine, but the Mother has passed on a genetic defect requiring a needlework project to be on the go at all times, so I embroidered my way across northern California. The Other likes a good flamingo, so before I left I creweled this towel for him based on a design in a Charles Harper book (more on him later, too).

Well, I say crewel, but The New Crewel defines crewel as embroidery with wool on linen twill, and since I'm using pearl cotton on a cruddy Ikea hand towel, it doesn't technically qualify. But the stitches are the same, and so is the basic look. The stretchy terry cloth was hardly ideal, though.

Crewel stars in the embroidery hoop

This grey cloth leftover from recovering my sofa works much better, as I discovered when I started embroidering these starbursts with spiderweb stitch and French knots.

The Other seemed to like my housewifely embroidering while we watched TV or drove on the freeways, though I made less of a stellar impression on the flight over. I'd decided that if I wasn't stuck right next to someone, I'd give crewel at 30,000 feet a go, and I ended up having a row to myself. So out came the embroidery hoop and I set to work. I caught the woman in the row behind staring; she quickly averted her eyes when I noticed. After the plane landed, she asked her male traveling companion if he had liked the copy of Running with Scissors she'd lent him. He had not. "Don't you like memoirs?" she said. He made a quick glance at me. "I'll tell you later." Three guesses what his objection to the book was—first two don't count. She also commented to him that my bag was cool as we trotted off the plane, but he was unresponsive. Behold the power of men with needles.

I can't be blamed entirely for the substandard nature of my materials. Despite begging the Other to stop at every craft shop in northern California, no crewel wool was to be had. We popped over a hill in San Francisco, an embroidery shop appeared, and I made one of those "STOP THE CAR NOW!!" demands. But though they had "crewel" painted across the window, there was still no crewel wool except that already packed up in kits for embroidering flowers and leaves and other grannyish patterns. So I'll either be pulling apart tapestry wool strands or sticking with pearl cotton.

Denyse Schmidt oven mitts

In other news, just before I left I made these Denyse Schmidt oven mitts for Mintyfresh, who's just moved. She helpfully left a comment here a while back to let me know what colors she likes together. Good luck, Minty! The mitts are quite fun to make (I made one for me a couple months ago), though I've yet to bind a pair without cursing like a sailor.

Stay tuned for more on crafting and thrifting in the Bay Area....


Alex said...

: )

Mintyfresh said...

I love those starbursts! They will go nicely with your dishes. Good for you for stitching in public (the flamingo is great, also). I have to admit, I only recently got over my hesitance to knit in public, and at least the stares I get aren't potentially so judgmental.

And I cannot WAIT to use my oven mitts. Right now they're in a box. But after this weekend, I should be able to break them out. I've decided that the best way to think of my new apartment's stove is like an oversized toaster oven . . .

gusnaz said...

I like your sense of humor... great mitts..
I am just learning how to hand bind,, and use a thimble with out sticking the needle into me..
hugs Gus