Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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2016 (110) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Messing About with Colors


You know, I love embroidery thread. But there are times – there are many times – when sitting down with the stuff can be rather frustrating.

For me, selecting colors for my own projects is usually more frustrating than not.

The other day, I sat down under a good, true spectrum light with a Whole Heap of Embroidery Floss on the table in front of me. My goal was to select a range of colors from that Whole Heap – a range that would impart a certain impression or idea that I have in mind.

Do you know, it took me forever to finally say “That’s it. For better or for worse, I’m done.” I sat there picking through floss for more than two hours!

At the end of that ridiculous amount of time, this is the range of colors I came up with:

Selecting Embroidery Floss Colors
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Early Style Hardanger – A Give-Away!


It’s Tuesday, and since we’re past the halfway point in October, I think it’s a perfect day for a give-away!

If you love whitework, if you love open work embroidery, delicate embroidery, geometric design and drawn thread work – you’re going to love Yvette Stanton’s newest embroidery book, Early Style Hardanger! And if you don’t have a copy of it yet, here’s your opportunity to win a nice addition to your needlework library!

Early Style Hardanger by Yvette Stanton
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Autumn & Late Harvest Embroidery


It’s finally autumn in Kansas. The nights are chilly, and the days can’t decide between chilly and warm. The skies are a mesmerizing deep blue. The trees are changing. The gnats are swarming (sort of ruins the picture, doesn’t it?), and the year is ticking to a slow close.

With the harvest going on all around me, my thoughts naturally have turned back to Late Harvest, an embroidery project that I started eons ago and that’s finally ticking to a close, too.

When last we looked at this project, the right side was completely finished and I had finished most of the stitching on the left side. I still had one large leaf and two small flowers to work, along with all the beadwork on the stems and the leaves.

Well, the other day, I put my fingers to it and got down to work on the last stitching on Late Harvest, and here are the results.

Late Harvest: Hand Embroidery Project - left side finished
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How to Tame a Big Hank of Floche


Oooooh, you’re excited! You just bought a new skein of embroidery thread!

You can’t wait to try it for the first time!

You take it home.

You cut into it.

You pull a strand, you cut a piece, you stitch a bit, and you reach for the skein again.

Where is that dagblasted end?!

You find it. You pull. And then it happens.

A Nightmare Mass of interlocking, intertwining, interconnected, angry thread mushrooms forth with every inch you pull from the skein.

Excitement turns quickly to consternation, and consternation to downright frustration.

Before you know it, you’ve got a huge, convoluted jumble of thread rupturing from your lap.

I’m guessing this has probably happened to you before. I know it’s happened to me more times than I can count. And it’s always frustrating!

How to Manage a Hank of Floche Embroidery Thread
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Needlework Terminology: Surface Embroidery


Grab your morning cuppa and let’s have a chat about surface embroidery!

Terminology can be a huge source of confusion for beginning embroiderers, and even for stitchers who have been plying the needle for years.

While there are lots of terminology lists with short definitions out there, I’ve always found that the one-line definition of A Thing doesn’t always do that Thing justice.

For example, take the term “surface embroidery.”

Wikipedia (which, next to Google, is apparently The Source of All Instant Knowledge) defines surface embroidery as “any form of embroidery in which the pattern is worked by the use of decorative stitches and laid threads on top of (their emphasis) the foundation fabric or canvas rather than through the fabric; it is contrasted with canvas work.”

The Wizard of Wiki goes on to explain: “Much free embroidery is also surface embroidery, as are a few forms of counted thread embroidery such as cross stitch.”

And then, a list of forms of surface embroidery is presented: appliqué, art needlework, crewel embroidery, cross stitch, goldwork, Jacobean embroidery, stumpwork.

To a beginner, that’s probably about as clear as mud. To a non-beginner, it still presents a few problems. Let’s chat about it a bit!

Embroidery Terminology: Surface Embroidery
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Coloris Kaleidoscope: A Colorful Hand Embroidery Project


Well, hello there!

Ready for a really colorful, super-fun hand embroidery project?

The concept for these hand embroidered kaleidoscopes that I’ve been playing with this year developed from a combination of inspirations and ideas: the whole adult coloring book craze, the desire to embroider with lots of lively color, and the addictive practice of doodling repeat geometric designs.

Earlier this year, the folks at Commonthread by DMC sent me a set of their new thread line, Coloris, and I agreed to work up a project and write an article about it for them. You can find my overview of the Coloris line here, and a handy chart of DMC floss colors that correspond with Coloris here.

Coloris Kaleidoscope: A Hand Embroidery Project
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