Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Loosely twisted worsted yarn used for fancywork and embroidery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Worsted yarn, slackly twisted, used for embroidery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Worsted yarn,, slackly twisted, used for embroidery.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An obsolete spelling of cruel.
  • n. A kind of fine worsted or thread of wool, used in embroidery and fancy work.
  • n. Formerly, any ornamented woolen cord, thread, tape, or the like. See caddis.
  • n. The cowslip.

Etymologies

Middle English crule.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The material used was through all the phases the same, viz., a twill fabric, of which the warp was of linen, the weft of cotton; the wools varied somewhat in the twist, but were always worsted, the word crewel being a diminutive of clew, "a ball of thread," and probably came into vogue with the importation of wools from Germany, the corresponding word in that language being _Knäuel_.

    Jacobean Embroidery Its Forms and Fillings Including Late Tudor

  • Old examples of work done entirely in crewel-stitch, as distinguished from what is called crewel work, are seldom if ever to be met with.

    Art in Needlework A Book about Embroidery

  • For work in the hand, CREWEL-STITCH is perhaps, on the whole, the easiest and most useful of stitches; whence it comes that people sometimes vaguely call all embroidery crewel work; though, as a matter of fact, the stitch properly so called was never very commonly employed, even when the work was done in "crewel," the double thread of twisted wool from which it takes its name.

    Art in Needlework A Book about Embroidery

  • Some of this "crewel" work, done in the seventeenth century, is described by M. Jourdain in "English

    Quilts Their Story and How to Make Them

  • #35 I have seen some nice old crewel work sold on etsy, but to take decent buttons & an ok bucket and make something this vile does seem evil or just too dum.

    Regretsy – Bucket List

  • An intricate crewel tapestry hung on one wall, and a large, square, ornate coffee table showcased two large white stone candlesticks shaped like cherubs.

    Starlit

  • I, too, would like to know how the crewel "stitching" was done - amazing stuff!

    Sunday Sweets: That Takes The Cake Part 1

  • Not to say that dudes don't enjoy a bit of crewel embroidery.

    Sunday Sweets: That Takes The Cake Part 1

  • I have to say, the crewel embroidery one is absolutely fantastic!

    Sunday Sweets: That Takes The Cake Part 1

  • I think I could excuse a headless dress cake if it employed the crewel decorating and made this dress:

    Sunday Sweets: That Takes The Cake Part 1

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