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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Needlework Inspiration – or Inspirational Gluttony?


Now and then, I like to see what the rest of the world is doing, needlework-wise. I don’t always have time for leisurely browsing, though! I did yesterday, and I was delighted with everything I came across (very dangerous, I know). It was kind of a binge of sorts – meandering through different internet haunts to see what creative things are going on in the world – and taking my time doing it! So, in case you haven’t discovered some of these online treats yet, I thought I’d share some goings-on that particularly caught my fancy.

These are in completely random disorder. About halfway through my glut on needlework sites, I started keeping a brief list of sorts, to see where things took me!

I always like to pop in at Jeanne’s blog, Just String, and this week – oh boy oh boy – she’s got some photos up of some gorgeous embroidery, including whitework, drawn thread, shading techniques, and even ecclesiastical embroidery. I was thrilled to see her post on Marion Scoular’s Royal School of Needlework experience. If you haven’t seen these photos yet, do stop in and look at them. You’ll be impressed.

Last week, Maria del Valle posted a link to a website called Randa – Handmade Lace. Now, I like lace. I do – I admit it – and I love netting. Filet lace, filet guiperre – oh, they make me shiver. I’m not a “lacer” myself by a long shot, but I’d like to be. I particular like this white point lace (hand-made netting) with the filet flowers. I can’t wait to see what it turns into. The flowers, if you look close, are worked in two different techniques of filet (which is more like weaving than embroidery). The middle is the simple over-under-over-under type of filling that doesn’t cross back into itself, as “real” filet filling does. The two on the sides are the “original” filet filling technique. I need to show this to my mom! She’s bent on taking up filet lace (the real stuff – not crocheted), but I keep trying to explain specifically these two different techniques to her. I prefer the flowers on the sides. She thinks all filet lace is worked as the flower in the middle!

While you’re visiting Maria’s blog, if you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely must take a look at this masterpiece – her Angel in blackwork. I never visit her website that I don’t go look at that. I think it’s an amazing piece of work, and ever-so-enchanting.

Allison Aller is possibly the busiest needleworking gardener (gardening needleworker?) I’ve ever seen. If you aren’t familiar with her blog, Allie’s in Stitches, you should be – it’s a source of inspiration for the needleworker in every regard. Her focus is generally crazy quilting, but even if you aren’t a crazy quilter, you will appreciate her use of color, stitch variety, tutorials, and all else. And then… there’s her garden. I don’t know about the rest of you, but to this Kansas corn-dweller, that garden looks like something akin to Paradise. If you haven’t seen Allie’s Spring CQ, you need to take a look at it – it’s vibrant and colorful and really detailed. Squiz through her posts on that piece to see up close the various details. Um… I wasn’t quite sure about the whole burner bag thing, but… ok. I’m kinda glad to see you spring back to the flowers, there, Allie!

Elmsley Rose has been plugging away at a sampler using historical embroidery techniques and elements. The whole sampler has a 16th / 17th century look to it, and she’s using all kinds of exciting threads and such to work the piece. It will be fun to watch this develop! I loved the recent snail photo she posted, and the link to the tutorial, which comes from the Floss Box, via Paula Hewitt’s website, The Beauty of Life. Paula has an excellent list of stumpwork tutorial links on her site – if you haven’t seen all these resources, you should check them out! They’re a grand source of inspiration and a great place to get started if you’ve ever wanted to give stumpwork or dimensional embroidery a try.

I love following the goings-on at Plimoth Plantation! The jacket is really coming along, and if you haven’t seen the post about Playing with Sparkle, you should! The combination of lace, gold, and color is mesmerizing. And it doesn’t help when they post links about handy-dandy organizers and such. Via the Embroiderers’ Story at Plimoth Plantation, I ended up looking at this Travis Case at Creative Imaginations – a really perfect-looking storage box for needlework supplies. While I was squizzing around looking at sources for this box, I came across a dressed-up version of the Travis case. This one is perhaps a bit too dressed up for my tastes, but it’s nice to know the box can be embellished.

Though I’m a bit perturbed with Wooly Thread right now because I still haven’t received my goldwork book (I know it isn’t their fault! They actually have very good service and are an excellent shop!), I must mention that I was excited to see that they have some back issues of Inspirations on sale right now, particularly Inspirations # 33. This is a “rare” issue, selling through CB at $60 / copy. Wooly Thread’s selling it for $8 + $2 shipping. This is the issue that has Jenny McWhinney’s gorgeous camels in it. I want this issue. But I can’t have it right now. It’s really weird to think that I can’t even spend $10 on embroidery goods right now. (Daunting medical bills… I mean, I gave them my gall bladder – you’d think they’d pay ME!) But you know, denial is actually a good thing sometimes! It builds character, I think. We can’t always have what we want, and that is a-ok. But I hope someone else can buy it and enjoy it! And if you ever make the camels, I want photos!

Alicia in Hawaii is doing crewel work! Yippee!! She’s got a stash of medici wools she’s putting to good use, and I can’t wait to see how her Tree of Life design develops. If you haven’t seen her various wristlet projects, you might want to check those out – they’re neat step-by-steps on creating this little wrist bag that is just so cute. I love the one made with the pinks and greens in the middle picture. *Sigh* I have got to learn to sew better.

Mary Grace McNamara at Hooked on Needles has been posting lots of video tutorials on knitting. I don’t knit. I might try some day, though, and when I do, I know where to go for tutorials. The one that caught my eye this past week was on adding seed stitch to your knitting. I’m probably knot saying that right. (Yes, that was on purpose…) Anyway, I’m a huge fan of seed stitch in embroidery, and I think I rather like the look of it in knitting, too. Some day, I might learn to knit. Maybe I’ll put that on the list, after learning to sew better. Anyway, MGM has a whole list of video tutorials developing – I like the ones on knitting and crocheting especially. Some day, I may take up those kinds of needles and threads…

JoWynn at Parkview 616 always has something pretty to look at on her website. Lately, she made a card for her friend Gina, and it’s stunning! On Gina’s card, JoWynn laid down a background of gold lattice, and then, in the monogram “G”, she worked a colorful selection of embroidered flowers. Take a look! This is no “Hallmark” card – it’s a real, true, sincere, meaningful, and beautiful greeting masterpiece!

I was sad to hear about Carol-Anne’s recent mishap, and I hope she’s stitching again soon. At Threads Across the Web, you will run into some of the most delightful goldwork and Japanese embroidery and other kinds of embroidery and neat needlework stuff and other interesting pictures and … and… well. It’s a favorite stopping point for me! I’m closely monitoring Carol-Anne’s Karahana project. What could be more stunning than goldwork worked on a red background? It’s so beautiful! If you’re new to the needlework blogging scene and haven’t seen Carol-Anne’s Flutterbies, you might want to check them out. Even if Japanese embroidery isn’t your particular fancy, these butterflies will impress you! I remember the first time I happened upon Threads Across the Web – Carol-Anne was working on the first blue butterfly. It’s been a heap of fun watching her projects progress!

Another stop I made yesterday was Hooroo Christine’s blog, Lady Jane’s Journal. I know that’s not really your name, Christine, but for some reason, that’s how I think of you! Christine recently ventured into this piece of cutwork and needlelace, and I like it. I like it A LOT. I love the colors, the stitches, the design of the needlelace. My prob is that I see things like this and it makes me say, “Oh. Yes. I want to do some of that…” There isn’t TIME to do everything I see that I like!

See what happens when you spend time squizzing around like this? Inspirational Gluttony can be rather hard on the system, you know.

But I’m not quite finished….

Where else did I go on my binge? Let’s see…

I visited Deepa’s blog, This and That, where I scrolled through her various tutorials on different techniques of Indian embroidery. I especially like this Pachis work, and the tutorial on kamal kadai. I think, in both techniques she demonstrates, it’s the red that gets me. I love the flower in the kamal kadai tutorial!

And I jumped over to Wormspit, to finally look at those silk reeling videos. Neat stuff! It blows my mind how silk is spun and dyed and everything else, just so that I can enjoy stitching with my favorite fiber.

Finally, to top off my gluttonous overload, I ended up at Stitchin Fingers. I started off at my page on Stitchin Fingers (I have no idea what my page looks like when I’m not me looking at it)… then I moved on to everyone else’s – and all the interesting discussions – and looking at everyone’s pho
tos. I ended up seeing too much. I had to shut down. It was like over-indulging on a super-rich dessert! To state the obvious: there are heaps of super-dee-duper talented people out there!

Creativity is a great gift! While I’m an advocate of the rule “moderation in all things,” I think creativity is something worth indulging in! So, thanks, all you creative people out there, for the hours (H-O-U-R-S) of indulgence! ‘Twas fun, and just what the doctor ordered. I’m heading back to work today. I finished Breath of Spring, by the way, so I suppose I may as well go back to work! I’m looking forward to getting back into a productive routine (of sorts)…

Enjoy the week!


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(12) Comments

  1. Oooh! Linkage! Linkage! I loves lots o’ linkage! Thanks, Mary! And I’m glad to hear you took it a little bit easy for a day.

  2. Oh my!! Mary,how long did this post take? My head is still spinning!!
    Thanks for the mention – you are my inspiration for the tutorials.

  3. Glad to hear you’re enough better to be getting back to work, although I’m guessing you won’t have time to continue posts like THIS one while working! Boo hoo for us, but I guess you have to earn a living!

    Thanks for all the great links. It will be fun to peek into each one and see what everyone’s doing. And thanks so much for the mention of my site too. I know you’d be a good knitter. Maybe when you come out to visit the Plimoth jacket, you could stop in for a one-on-one knitting lesson! It would be my pleasure.


  4. My goodness, I will be working on this list of links for years!!
    Well, days anyway.


    Thanks for the treasure map!!!


  5. Mary,I want to thank you for your post with all that information!! All those different works inspired me.
    And a special thank for your words about my lace randa.

  6. Gosh what a great round up! I now know what it feels like to have someone side track me again, and again and again. No, seriously thankyou, I know how much time a post like this takes to put together. Thanks for the mention too

  7. This is a “rare” issue, selling through CB at $60 / copy. Wooly Thread’s selling it for $8 + $2 shipping. This is the issue that has Jenny McWhinney’s gorgeous camels in it. I want this issue.

    Hey! I actually STITCHED those camels… twice! Made the blanket for my bellydance troupe director, and an individual camel each for the troupe members… Unfortunately the photos were a casualty of my sister’s divorce, and most of the troupe is no longer together… but maybe I can get new photos of parts of it… 🙁 They really ARE beautiful, though.

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