When I first started planning my crewel sampler, I ordered a couple of used (out of print) Erica Wilson books. I first came across Erica Wilson at my lace teacher’s house; she showed me one of her books as something a 1970s-lover like myself might like. And WOWEE, that woman surely did embrace the 1970s in her embroidery!
If you’ve never heard of Erica Wilson, well, neither had I! Apparently, she was the ‘big name’ in embroidery during the 1960s and 1970s, author of more than a dozen embroidery books, and host of her own stitchery television show, and owner of a needlework shop. Who knew?! I like to picture her like a stitchy Bob Ross, enthusiastically sharing her stitchy love with the masses – but perhaps without the cheese. (We love you, Bob Ross, partly because of the cheese.) I’ll have to look to see if clips of her show are available somewhere.
But anyway, her books: the first that I ordered is about crewelwork specifically and, somewhat disappointingly, turned out to be a really simple project book with not much informational value. Bummer. But Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book, which I threw into my cart as an afterthought, more than makes up for it. This book is copyrighted 1973 and is chock-full of incredible 70s-ness – which I love – but also shows historical examples of embroidery, both of which inspire me. It is a stitch dictionary as well as an encyclopedia of styles (blackwork, crewel, goldwork, etc) and is definitely my new favorite embroidery book!