Rabbits at Dawn

Rabbits at Dawn, design by the Crewelwork Company

My husband is a big fan of the Crewelwork Company. It’s not that he wants to embroider the kits himself, he wants to buy them for me to do.

So after me telling him for most of 2022 that I had too much to do, I finally gave him the green light to get me a kit from them in November.

I finished stitching it in mid December, a nice, small project. It uses stem stitch, long and short, satin, padded satin, french knot, and laid work. The fabric came pre-printed with the design, so there was no guesswork (ruler work) for the laid work.

Laid work

Crewelwork is nice style of embroidery, it’s wool threads (in this case from Appletons) over linen twill fabric.

The Crewelwork Company has many designs in the Jacobean style, like the one below:

The Muncaster Bed Hanging from the Crewelwork Company.

What makes it Jacobean is the design elements: the tree of life, the laid work, mounts, stylized flowers, etc. It could technically be made in cotton threads and still be Jacobean, but it is closely associated with crewelwork.

I think the Muncaster Bed Hanging is the Crewelwork Company’s largest/most complex kit. It is very expensive, but you are getting a large piece of fabric 100 x 145 cm (40 x 57 inches) with all the threads, needles and instructions. Not to mention all the work that went into developing it. It is a replica of a bed hanging from Muncaster Castle in Cumbria, UK.

A project like this could easily take a couple of years. That’s why I already told my husband to not even think about it!


Southern Charm – Counted Canvas

Southern Charm, design by Debbie Rowley

I had never done a counted canvas project before (does the canvas sampler I did in elementary school count?) so when I saw that Debbie Rowley was doing a special class for the South Central Region of the EGA, I immediately signed up for it.

I’ve been curious about counted canvas for a while. Gary Parr from FiberTalk always talks about it, so what better chance to try it out.

The class came with the kit, all the materials and a very nice instruction booklet with very clear diagrams. Once the class started (once a week over four weeks online) we had access to a Groups.io site with all the handouts, and videos for each individual stitch.

Debbie is a great teacher, very organized.

Debbie uses very interesting threads:

  • Finca Presencia cotton floss and pearl.
  • Kreinik metallic threads.
  • Rainbow gallery.
  • Threadworx overdyed.

I’m glad she chose these threads from smaller, independent providers. The colors are beautiful and the texture is amazing.

Central motif in progress

The stitches were very interesting with names like amadeus, jessica, fish head, etc.

One thing about counted canvas that I did not like is that it’s not very forgiving. If you make a mistake you will find it in the next set of stitches because they will not fit right. After I finished the green fish heads in the center, I realized that I had miscounted previous purple amadeus in the center, so I had to pick everything and start again from scratch.

Must count and re-count!

Lots of Jessicas

The colorful swirls are called jessicas and they are very interesting. The last few stitches are tucked under the first ones, making the swirls very neat.

I used a laying tool to make the pink woven squares nice and smooth. The color grading is achieved by adding more threads of another color as they advance to the left and to the top.

It was a great class, I enjoyed it a lot!

Encanto sureño – Cañamazo contado

Encanto sureño (Southern Charm), diseño por Debbie Rowley

Nunca había ensayado un proyecto de cañamazo contado (¿puedo incluir los cañamazos del colegio?) entonces cuando vi que Debbie Rowley iba a enseñar una clase especial para la región Sur Central del EGA (Gremio de bordadores de América) me inscribí de inmediato.

Hace rato le tengo curiosidad a esta técnica; Gary Parr de mi podcast favorito, FiberTalk, siempre la menciona y entonces qué mejor oportunidad para ensayarla.

La clase vino con todos los materiales y el librito de las instrucciones con diagramas muy claros. Ya empezada la clase (semanal por cuatro semanas en línea) la profesora nos dió acceso a una página de Groups.io site con todos los papeles y videos para cada puntada.

Debbie es muy buena profesora, muy organizada.

Debbie usa hilos muy interesantes:

  • Finca Presencia de algodón perlado y de madeja.
  • Hilos metálicos de Kreinik.
  • Rainbow Gallery.
  • Threadworx sobreteñido.

Me encantó que escogiera estos hilos de compañías pequeñas e independientes. Los colores son muy bonitos y las texturas maravillosas.

Motivo central en camino

Las puntadas son muy interesantes con nombres como amadeus, jessica, cabeza de pescado, etc.

Una cosa que no me gustó es que no perdona ni un error. Si se comete un error, va a ser evidente en la próxima puntada porque no va a encajar.

Después de acabar las cabezas de pescado del centro, me di cuenta que había contado mal el amadeus anterior en morado. Entonces tuve que sacar todos los hilos y empezar de nuevo.

¡Hay que contar y recontar!

Muchas jessicas

Los remolinos coloridos se llaman jessica y son muy interesantes. Las últimas puntadas van escondidas por debajo de las primeras, para que los remolinos queden bien pulcros.

Usé un colocador para que los cuadrados rosados tejidos quedaran bien lisos. El cambio de matices se logra añadiendo hilos de otro color a manera que los cuadrados avanzan hacia la izquierda y hacia arriba.

Fue una clase muy interesante, ¡la disfruté mucho!

Summer of Goldwork

This past summer I worked on two goldwork projects:

  • Leaves of Gold by Kelley Aldridge as part of the RSN Summer School.
  • Japanese Cherry Blossoms by Jane Nicholas as part of the EGA National Seminar.
Leaves of Gold, design by Kelley Aldridge
Japanese Cherry Blossoms, design by Jane Nicholas

Goldwork Techniques

The Leaves of Gold project had three types of padding.

I’ve done felt padding before, where pieces of felt are layered to achieve a curved surface.

Felt padding

New to me, this project introduced me to hard padding using a waxed cord

Hard padding

And soft padding using a cotton yarn that is waxed in order to be manipulated.

Soft padding

The project used Japanese and Rococo threads for the outlines of the stems and inside the leaves. The gold threads are couched onto the fabric using sewing thread.

Japanese thread over the hard padding
Japanese thread and rococo thread on the stem outlines

The leaves also had rough purl, and chipping (cutwork) and broad plate.

  • Rough purl is a coiled tube that can be cut and attached like a bead. The needle and thread go through the purl.
  • Chipping is down with a checked purl (very textured, catches the light really well) that is cut in small pieces (one or two millimeters) hence the name “cutwork” and attached with needle and thread like a bead in a random pattern.
  • Broad plate is a metal ribbon that is attached with thread as it is folded onto itself. The folds hide the thread.
Rough Purl over the soft padding
Broad plate over the felt padding

The broad plate was new to me as well as the s-ing of purls to make them look like stem stitch.

S-ing of check and rough purl in the middle of the stems, small outlines on pearl purl
S-ing with rough purl and spangles.

The Japanese Cherry Blossoms included some Or Nué (thread shading on the gold threads) and some felt padding in the leaves with rough purl and chipping (cutwork.) Pearl purl was used for the outline of the shapes.

Japanese Cherry Blossom in progress

The Or Nué shading is done as the gold thread is laid onto the fabric

Or Nué shading in progress.

The Leaves of Gold design was exclusive to Kelley’s class.

But the Japanese Plum Blossom can be seen in Jane’s new book, Japanese Motifs in Stumpwork and Goldwork. It includes the pattern, instructions, etc.

Jane Nicholas’s Book
Chapter 5 of the book is the Plum Blossom

I think goldwork is becoming my second favorite type of embroidery after whitework.

It is full of texture and it’s so showy! I feel like I need to frame each project.

EGA Seminar

I’m a member of the EGA (Embroiderers’ Guild of America) and I attended 2022’s National Seminar in New York City.

EGA’s 2022 National Seminar.
Mercedes seeing the samplers for the first time in three years.

At the seminar I met up my dear cousin Sandra that lives in Florida and is an EGA Member-at-Large and my Calado de Cartago teacher, Mercedes Lopez.

Mercedes has been teaching me Calado de Cartago (Cartago openwork or drawn thread work-see here for more info) via WhatsApp for the past three years. This was the first time in those three years that we’ve been able to see each other.

Mercedes gave me a book profiling different embroiderers from Cartago by Lina Rodríguez

During the Seminar we took a class with Jane Nicholas, her Japanese Cherry Blossoms. They were a motive of three cherry blossoms in goldwork.

Here I am working on the Japanese Cherry Blossoms by Jane Nicholas
Myself, Jane Nicholas, and Mercedes

It was a great time, catching up with friends who live far away, learning new things and meeting new stitchy friends.

I did finish the project at home.

Congreso de EGA

Soy miembro del EGA (Embroiderers’ Guild of America – Gremio de Bordadores de América) y asistí al congreso nacional del 2022 en la ciudad de Nueva York.

Congreso nacional del EGA del 2022
La primera vez en tres años que Mercedes ve mi muestrario de calado

El congreso fue la ocasión para verme con mi querida prima Sandra que vive en la Florida y es también miembro del EGA y con mi profesora de Calado de Cartago, Mercedes López.

Durante los últimos tres años, Mercedes me ha estado enseñando Calado de Cartago (para más información) via WhatsApp. Esta fue la primera vez en tres años que nos hemos podido ver.

Mercedes me dió un libro con entrevistas a bordadores de Cartago por Lina Rodríguez

Durante el congreso tomamos una clase con la bordadora australiana Jane Nicholas, sus azahares de ciruela japoneses. Fue un motivo de tres azahares de ciruela hechos en la técnica de bordado en oro.

Aquí estoy bordando un azahar de ciruela japonés de Jane Nicholas
El burro por delante, Jane Nicholas y Mercedes

Lo pasamos muy sabroso haciendo visita con viejas amigas, conociendo nuevas y aprendiendo cosas nuevas.

Sí acabé el proyecto en la casa.

RSN International Online Summer School 2022

The Royal School of Needlework’s summer school was over two weeks in July, 2022. They had two options: in-person at Hampton Court Palace or online.

Since I could not travel to the UK this summer, I opted for the online option.

I signed up for two classes:

  • Introduction to crewelwork : snail by Jung Byung
  • Leaves of Gold by Kelley Aldridge

They were both great, I learned a lot.

Crewelwork Snail. Design by Jung Byung

The project included straight and satin stitches, seeding, trellis, etc.

Crewelwork snail in couched stitch.

The snail’s shell was couched is a spiral, very cool.


For the trellises, I used a ruler to keep them even, I tried eyeing them with my needle and they came up crooked.

Leaves of Gold. Design by Kelley Aldridge

Goldwork is always fun. I learned to work with broad plate along with different types of gold threads (Japanese, rococo) and s-ing of purls. Plus soft and hard padding, along with the more common felt padding.

This year was the RSN’s 150th anniversary and the summer school package came with a commemorative kit that we stitched together online to celebrate World Embroidery Day (July 30th.)

Online session during World Embroidery Day.

It was a great experience, I just wished I could have done it in person at Hampton Court (where the RSN is located.) Maybe someday.

La escuela de verano internacional en línea de la Real Academia Británica del Bordado, 2022.

La escuela de verano de la Real Academia Británica del Bordado fue durante dos semanas en julio del 2022. Ofrecieron dos opciones: presencial en el palacio de Hampton court o en línea.

Como no pude viajar al Reino Unido, escogí la opción en línea.

Me inscribí en dos clases:

  • Caracol de lana por Jung Byung
  • Hojas de oro por Kelley Aldridge

Ambas clases fueron magníficas, aprendí mucho.

Caracol de lana. Diseño por Jung Byung

El proyecto de crewelwork (bordado con hilos de lana sobre sarga de lino) incluye puntadas rectas, satinadas, arroz, enrejado, etc.

Caparazón en puntada de boloña.

La caparazón del caracol fue hecha con puntada de boloña en espiral, muy chévere.


Para el enrejado utilicé una regla. Traté de hacerlo al ojo con la aguja y me quedó torcido.

Hojas de oro. Diseño por Kelley Aldridge

El bordado en oro siempre es muy divertido. Aprendí a trabajar la hojilla y los diferentes tipos de alambres (japonés, rococo) y a intercalar canutillos. Además del relleno suave y duro como también el de fieltro que es más popular.

Este año era el centésimo quincuagésimo (150) aniversario de la Real Academia y el paquete de la escuela de verano venía con un diseño conmemorativo que bordamos juntas para celebrar el día mundial del bordado (julio 30.)

Sesión en línea durante el día mundial del bordado.

Fue una experiencia maravillosa, lo único es que me hubiera gustado hacerla en persona en el palacio de Hampton Court (la sede de la real academia.) Algún día.

Bordado Colombiano

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Colombia! 20 de julio de 1810.

Para celebrar, vamos a hablar de algunos de los bordados colombianos.

En Colombia manda el tejido (algodón, lana, caña flecha, fique, calceta de plátano, etc.) pero el bordado también es apreciado.

Calado de Cartago

Comenzamos con el bordado más famoso, el calado de Cartago (Valle del Cauca.)

Penélope, monumento a la bordadora, Cartago, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

Es una clase de bordado en blanco. Se hace sobre lino o algodón, pero tejido en ligamento tafetán. Se sacan los hilos y luego se vuelven a coser formando diseños geométricos muy lindos al sesgo o biés.

Calados de Cartago en progreso.

Los bordados se usan para decorar sábanas, manteles, cortinas, y las famosas guayaberas caladas

Guayabera calada

Bordado en lana de Fonquetá

En el altiplano cundiboyasense, se produce lana de oveja, y esto llevó al bordado de lana sobre lana.

En Fonquetá, Cundinamarca, se bordan las mantas de lana con hilos de lana.

Bordado en lana del taller artesanal de Fonquetá (@tallerartesanalfonqueta)

Gobelinos de Pasto, Nariño.

En la ciudad de Pasto, Nariño, se hace un bordado sobre paños de lana usando aplicados de tela de algodón, con detalles en hilos de algodón.

Gobelinos de Pasto de la cooperativa Ecotema

Vestido bordado del niño de Praga

Y cuando estuve en Praga, República Checa, pude admirar la labor de doña María Mercedes de Duque, que le hizo un vestido al divino niño de Praga con los símbolos patrios.

Vestido del niño de Praga.
La bandera, el escudo y un mapa en oro con una esmeralda.
Artefactos pre-colombinos en oro, orquídeas y mariposas.
Y el café que no puede faltar.
La artista, doña María Mercedes de Duque.

Colombian Embroidery

Happy birthday, Colombia! July 20th, 1810.

To celebrate, we are going to talk about Colombian embroidery.

In Colombia, weaving/knitting is king (cotton, wool, Gynerium sagittatum, Furcraea, banana fiber, etc.) but embroidery is also appreciated.

Cartago Openwork

Let’s start with the most locally famous, Cartago (Valle del Cauca) openwork.

Penelope, the monument to the embroiderer, Cartago, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

It is a type of drawnthread whitework. It is done on linen or cotton, but always evenweave. The threads of the ground fabric are drawn (cut) out and then new threads (cotton) are needlewoven in to create beautiful geometric designs on the bias.

Cartago openwork in progress.

The embroidery is used to decorate sheets, tablecloths, curtains, and the famous openwork guayaberas (Panama shirts.)

Openwork Guayabera

Fonquetá Crewelwork

In the highlands of the Cundinamarca state, sheep are raised, and with their wool, fabric is woven and embroidered.

Crewelwork from the Fonquetá artisanal workshop (@tallerartesanalfonqueta)

Nariño Appliqué

In the city of Pasto, Nariño, they weave woolen blankets which they then embroider with appliqué using cotton fabric and threads.

Nariño appliqué from cooperativa Ecotema

Infant of Prague Dress

When I was in Prague, Czech Republic, last year (2019), I was able to admire Ms. María Mercedes de Duque’s beautiful work. She made the Infant a dress embroidered with the Colombian national symbols.

The Infant of Prague’s dress.
The flag, the shield, and a map in gold with an emerald.
Pre-columbian gold artifacts, orchids and butterflies.
Can’t forget the coffee.
The artist, Ms. María Mercedes de Duque.
%d bloggers like this: