Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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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Tag: crazy quilt

Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork – Book Review


Happy Friday!

It’s been mighty quiet here on Needle ‘n Thread for the past week – I hope you didn’t miss me too much! I missed you, though, and I’m really happy to be back today! For those who have asked, yes, I’ve been a bit ill this week, but I’m crawling out of it now, and things are getting back to normal. Thanks for all the encouragement!

To help celebrate this resurgence of energy, today I want to review a Very Energetic book for you. It’s Hazel Blomkamp’s newest book, called Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork, and let me tell you right off the bat – it’s different.

It’s not your typical needlework book. It’s a bit crazy, just like the name implies…but in a good, good way!

Hand Stitched Crazy Patchwork - Hazel Blomkamp
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A-Z of Embroidered Motifs – The Bullion Book


Once upon a time, when I was a kid (ok, back in the late 1900’s – like, 1999 – when I wasn’t really a kid), I came across The A-Z of Bullions on my sister’s bookshelf.

My next-oldest sister has always been My Hero when it comes to churning out arts, crafts, real cooking, and pretty much All Things Handmade. If she turns her hand to something that requires Making, she’s generally successful at it.

Heirloom sewing (this hand embroidered First Communion dress, for example) was one of her first loves. Long before I ever got into real embroidery, she was stitching bullion knots on her children’s clothes.

But then, that’s because she’s So Much Older than I am.

Chortle, chortle.

It’s no wonder, then, that, once upon a time back in 1999, I found the A-Z of Bullions on her bookshelf.

And given my growing infatuation with embroidery, it’s equally no wonder that I absconded with it.

This is the book that taught me how to work bullion knots easily and with confidence.

And it’s one of the many A-Z books that have been recently republished by Search Press, this one under the title of A-Z of Embroidered Motifs.

A-Z of Embroidered Motifs - book review
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Stitch Fun! Alternating, Laced Mountmellick Stitch


Oh, let’s have some Stitch Fun today, shall we?!

Several years ago, I wrote an article about why it’s important to play with your embroidery stitches now and then. My views on that haven’t changed, not a jot or a tittle.

Playing is necessary with any craft, hobby, or art. When you play around – when you loosen up a bit and try new things – that’s when the juices flow and the Muses sing. Playing is a creative catalyst.

Plus, it makes you better at what you do. The more you play with embroidery stitches, the better you get at stitching in general. Think of it as practice – not the drudging practice of the kid who never wanted to take piano lessons in the first place. Think of it as practice for the adult, who desires, enjoys, and embraces the lessons!

So, there’s your excuse to play with your embroidery stitches! It’s good for you.

Today’s Stitch Fun starts with Mountmellick stitch as the foundation, worked on alternating sides of the design line. If you’re not familiar with Mountmellick stitch, this how-to video will help you out!

This alternated and laced Mountmellick stitch would make a great addition to crazy quilt seams – and really, anywhere you want a slightly spiked, festooned stitch.

Mountmellick stitch, alternating and laced - tutorial
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What You Can Learn from a Crazy Quilt Square


It’s been a while since I’ve featured some embroidery from you, so today, let’s look at someone else’s embroidery project!

Sarah Aldrich recently finished this fantastic crazy quilt square, made from a combination of red fabrics, with embroidery done entirely in white. The result is striking!

Let’s have a look – and let’s see what good lessons Sarah’s red crazy quilt square can teach us.

(You can click on the photos below for larger versions…)

Red Crazy Quilt Square
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Saving Embroidery from Color Run


Today’s article has a two-fold purpose: it’s part of the series of reader’s embroidery stitched under the influence of Needle ‘n Thread, but better yet, it demonstrates a creative way of overcoming the Most Disappointing, Horrific Experience of Color Run from embroidery threads that are not color fast.

Have you ever embroidered something with threads that you thought were colorfast, only to have them inexplicably bleed their dye onto the ground fabric come washing or rinsing time? It can be a gut-wrenching experience!

You’ve put hours – possibly weeks or months – of work into a project and you come to the point where you want to wash it or rinse it. You do so, still confident and happy, glowing in the sunshine and satisfaction of your stitching accomplishment.

You remove the piece from the water, and



…there it is. DYE. Oozing all over the ground fabric. Blurring the lines of your beautiful embroidery. Seeping out of the threads and spreading a halo of destruction around your stitchery. Oh, woe is you!

And woe is me, too! It’s the hardest situation to advise people on, because there aren’t too many solutions that absolutely work, or that work in every situation, to clean up the mess.

And that brings us to Diana’s crazy quilt…

Embroidered Monograms - Color Run from Embroidery Floss
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Online Crazy Quilting Class with Allie!


Allison Aller of Allie’s In Stitches is a world-renowned crazy quilter who makes absolutely incredible quilts!

And it’s one thing to make incredible crazy quilts – but to bring it off with ease, and to make it look so dang fun? Well, that’s Allie.

Hers is a blog I follow faithfully. She always has something to teach or something cheerful or beautiful to show or talk about.

And she has an awesome garden and grows killer tomatoes.

Crazy Quilting Online Class with Allison Aller
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