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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 07 January 2021
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782219224
  • Carton Qty: 32
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 400
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $19.95
  • Series: RSN Essential Stitch Guides
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RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Crewelwork


Large format edition by Jacqui McDonald

Edelweiss Buy Now
Book Description

A new, larger format edition of the Royal School of Needlework's essential guide to crewelwork.

The Royal School of Needlework teaches hand embroidery to the highest standard, developing techniques in new and innovative ways. Written by RSN apprentice, and now tutor, Jacqui McDonald, this book contains an extensive stitch guide, as well as guidance on the materials and equipment you need; how to design your own crewelwork embroidery; framing up; and positioning and transferring your design. Each stitch is clearly illustrated with step-by-step photography, along with expert instruction on how to form the stitch and use it in your needlework. With an introduction to the RSN and a brief history of crewelwork, together with numerous traditional and contemporary examples, this book provides an essential guide, for the dedicated stitcher, to this classic form of embroidery.

Table of Contents

The Royal School of Needlework 6
Introduction 8
The history of crewelwork 10
Materials and equipment 12
Design and using colour 18
Framing up 24
Positioning the design 28
Transferring the design 29
Starting to stitch 30

Essential stitches 34
Filling stitches 36
Outline stitches 56
Surface stitches 70

Building up your design 84

Index 96

About the Author

About Jacqui McDonald

Jacqui McDonald's background lies in the conservation and restoration of antiquities and she spent seven years caring for the contents of some of the most beautiful houses in the National Trust. It was here that her passion for embroidery was born. Having been constantly surrounded by stunning textile furnishings such as tapestries, bed hanging's, tassels and furniture upholstered in the most exquisite petit point, her inquisitive, artistic and practical nature inevitably led her to recreate items for herself.

The passion for her new hobby was so powerful, that it was not long before she made the decision to sacrifice the perfect job to join the Royal School of Needlework's three-year apprenticeship. The long-term plan was to combine her conservation skills with all the traditional hand embroidery techniques she was learning, to preserve textile heirlooms for the future.

On graduating top of the class and attaining a triple distinction, Jacqui decided to become a freelance embroiderer and now works from her studio in Hampshire as well as attending the RSN in a teaching role where she enjoys passing on her skills and experiences to others passionate about embroidery. Jacqui's designs are still heavily influenced by traditional interiors and historical architecture that she enjoyed during her time with the National Trust and whilst studying at Hampton Court Palace.

To see more of Jacqui's work visit


Customer Review

Lovely clear photos and written instructions throughout the book. A clear guide from selecting materials, framing and transferring the pattern, which stitch to use and how to build and complete a design. I have always wanted to try crewelwork and this is the book to help me.

Amazon Customer Review

This was a great help in getting me back into crewel work, which I have not done in 20 years. I found the instructions easy to follow and the illustrations helped a lot. I found the book very inspiring and has given me lots of ideas for projects to work on.

Amazon Customer Review

I do quite a bit of embroidery which I enjoy and have done a little crewel work which is my favourite type of sewing. I particularly liked that this book because, not only does it describe each type of stitch with beautiful photos, it also explains what basic materials you will need, how to set up a frame and how to transfer your design onto the fabric. A comprehensive and interesting book, Im so glad I have this to refer to at any time when I am sewing. Ive also discovered a new stitch I hadnt used before. Fabulous book.

Amazon Customer Review

It's a great read and that the details on how to do the stitches makes them easy-to-follow.

Crewelwork is associated particularly with the Stuart period, but is still popular today and a beautiful way of working with 2-ply woollen thread. The Royal School of Needlework is based in Hampton Court Palace, England and has taught embroidery of all types to the highest standard since its foundation in 1872.

If you have the smaller format edition published in 2010 then you already own this book; this is a new larger edition. You can use this book as a brand-new embroiderer as it shows you in some detail how to prepare the frame and cloth and how to work the stitches. There are no projects in here however, as it is a guide that culminates in the stitcher being able to design their own. If this is not you, buying a different book on the subject might be wise, but I was impressed with the clear staged photographs and user-friendly instructions.

The book opens with the usual brief history before informing the reader what they need to buy and imparting some useful tips on basic design. Transferring the design is done the traditional way by pricking and pouncing; the pounce can be made at home by grinding up cuttlefish bones or charcoal in a pestle and mortar (thankfully it can also be bought ready-made). Most of the book contains the stitches, which are shown in very clear detail laid out in groups with some useful tips. The advantage of the larger size of this new edition is a greater clarity of fine detail; you can see every thread which is a help when mastering stitches or perusing finished examples. One particularly useful feature of this book is the order of working, so you can build up your design the right way and make it look its best. Instead of projects there are five typical examples of crewel designs (including a contemporary piece) with helpful notes about stitches and the reasons why these particular subjects were popular with this style. I found this to be a very useful book for anybody who wants to learn how to do this type of embroidery.

Amazon Customer Review

This is a really good book for both beginners like me and experienced embroiderers. Because it is a RSN book you can be sure that the information is sound and the techniques are proper. The book gives both historical background and ideas for more contemporary work. The technical information is given in a clear and easy to understand but light- hearted way and backed up by why the processes are done that way. Plenty of tips to improve your work are given. Possibly the best aspect of the book is the photography. Close-ups of stitches and finished works are great! I definitely recommend this book.

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