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Crewel Fish

This week’s inspiration image was a textural one. It was a shot of the water in a swimming pool, taken on a garden visit last year. I loved the way the light moves through the water.

For me, the swirls and bubbles created the impression of a fish. I’ve never made anything with crewel embroidery before so I decided this would be a good time to learn. The fabric I stitched onto was a piece of silk from my stash, with a cotton underneath to give it strength. The threads I used were 8 weight cotton perle, again from my stash. I learnt the stitches from Creative Crewel Embroidery: Traditions and Innovations by Judy Jeroy. I stitched a rough outline of the fish with running stitch first as a guide.

Then I filled the body with a detached blanket stitch, anchoring it to the outside stitches.

The head was worked in padded satin stitch, with French knot eyes. The tail and back fins were straight stitch and the front fins were straight stitch with back stitch around each line, very similar to working Dorset buttons. I can’t remember the proper names for the stitches, and my head hurts too much to go and get the book 😬

My fish is swimming in a woven cotton pool, which I worked on my small frame loom. The cotton was a warp I had taken from another project I wasn’t happy with so it was cut into short lengths. This became the beaded tassel along the edge. I cut the fish from the fabric, and stitched it onto the weaving with back stitch.

Christine from Eves Garden kindly painted the purple canvas for me as my attempt was too dark. I’m really happy with how this one turned out. I’ve just got to find somewhere to hang it!

Next week’s image is below. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning some textile goodies send me your images via email at or add them to the comments below the image that inspired you.

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