Two Ways: Crewel Work

I recently happened upon some gorgeous crewel work fabric for an absolute steal, and I became a little obsessed with it.  It was at my favorite fabric source, the massive discount warehouse S. R. Harris, where you can't order fabric memos, there are no holds, and when it's gone, it's gone.  I bought 1/3 of a yard (to have a good sense of the pattern) and took some photos to show the overall design.


Pretty, right?  Do you know crewel fabrics?  The term usually refers to a decorative form of surface embroidery using wool on a linen or twill background. According to wikipedia, the technique is over 1,000 years old.  Most often I see them in richer colors on a white background.  In fact, here's an example from the Ballard catalog, where you can buy lovely panels for $169 (and up)
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Portofino Crewel Drapery Panel






















I love that the fabric I found has such a peaceful, muted palette, with a soft teal, muted yellow-green, and mushroom--just the colors I was after for a client's living room redo.  After thinking it over, said client also fell in love with the fabric and agreed to build the living room around the fabric--in the guise of 12 foot floor to ceiling drapes.  Gorgeous.

Of course, this got me thinking about different looks one could accomplish with crewel, which, to my mind, is not a fabric choice with a ton of breadth.  However....

Let's call this one Modern Gustavian.
Crewel- Traditional

Okay, that title is a stretch, but really this room is about rustic finishes and down to earth colors.  (Not enough color for yours truly, but it's fun to play outside my usual look.)

Let's cal this one Neo Victorian, shall we?

Crewel-funky

Here, the crewel is of a brighter variety, adorning an old fashioned tufted settee.  I put it in a dining room with a graceful set of tables and mixed it with some Louis Ghost chairs.  Pulled the teal down into the rug, and matched the energy of the crewel with black and white stripes that almost seem to hum.  Loving the way the ornate mirror picks up on the crewel pattern, but is stripped pf its color.  And of course: that chandelier!  Bamboo.  Acid Yellow.  The little black shades do me in.

What do you think: could you live with crewel?  Would you go muted and Scandinavian, or a bit more mad hatter?  I'd love to know your preference!

Heather