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: lighting

Hotel Room Stitching: The Whats and Whys


Certain times of the year, the yearn to go road tripping overwhelms me. There’s nothing I love better than a good road trip!

One of my favorite aspects of a road trip is staying in different hotels along the way. I love hotel life! I don’t really know why. It’s not as if I stay at swanky hotels or anything. But I think it’s fun to stay in hotels, especially if you’re traveling with family or friends.

When road tripping, I rarely bother to take embroidery with me anymore, because the fact is, I never get to it. There’s just too much else to do on vacation – too many things to see, people to visit, places to go. Embroidery ends up taking a back seat, if I remember it at all.

But lately, I’ve had the unique opportunity to stay in a hotel for some extended bouts of time, without the vacation vibe hovering over the whole experience, while I take care of some medical treatments. And I’ve been staying alone, so there’s lots of time on my hands! When I prepare to pack up for these chunks of hotel living, you can bet that, in these circumstances, my embroidery plays first fiddle. I’m not exactly getting out and about and “doing the town,” so I need something to do to while away those hotel-room hours.

Whether you’re traveling for business, pleasure, or necessity, packing needlework stuff for hotel stays is a good idea, if you know you’re going to have time to stitch.

Here are the stitchy things I’ve been taking along with me lately – maybe they’ll give you some good ideas for your next hotel stay.

Stitching in a Hotel Room
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I Spy with my Little Eye – or do I?


Once upon a time, just around when I turned seven, my teacher suggested to my folks that I should have my eyes checked.

Lo and behold, the discovery was made that I was very near-sighted. That’s when I got my first pair of glasses.

I remember coming home the day we picked up my glasses. We drove through winding New England roads, where the sun glints between tree branches and leaves, and I discovered, for the very first time, that it was possible to see individual leaves on trees. What always looked to me, from a distance, like a kid’s cartoon of a tree – you know the type, with a brown trunk topped with green blobs – now came to life, with quivering leaves and delicate branches.

That was the best ride home ever! I could see! And while, before, I didn’t know what I was missing, now, I was completely enchanted by it. Trees with leaves. What a wonder!

My enthusiasm for sight only got better as that first week in glasses went by. TV? Oh, yeah! I could sit on the couch and still see it. Chalkboards and bulletin boards at school actually had some kind of meaning to me now. And every ride home from school was deliciously detailed with distant houses, farms, people, and animals.

Then, Sunday rolled around and we went to church. Our church had a big stained glass rose window at the front. Before glasses, it was a kaleidoscope of blurred colors running over on each other like backlit watercolors all merging on the same round canvas. I thought it was beautiful! So much color!

When I saw it with glasses for the first time, though, I was floored. There were pictures in it! Saints and angels and stories, all there in a glorious arrangement that I could see for the first time.

Eyes are important. In most cases, they are the primary receptors of sensory information for us. As we get older, our eyes change quite a bit, and that can have a huge effect on what we can and can’t do, comfortably, with our needlework.

30 ct embroidery linen vs 25 ct embroidery linen
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A Case for Magnification, Light, and Newspapers


It was a bleak and grimy day. Clouds hung low in the sky with the menace of rain – the kind of day when mood mirrors weather.

But contrary to Nature’s cheerless condition, my heart was light, my step was springy.

This was The Day. This day was my carrot dangling before my salivating brain during three long months of focused labor. If I finish this project by this date, I will allow myself a weekend off, doing whatever I want to do.

Part of what I wanted to do was to spend a nice stretch of hours on a Sunday afternoon in the leisurely pursuit of stitching. In the company of a good audio book, I would hole myself up and revel in the delights of embroidery, with no interruptions and only the birds outside my window for company.

I could picture it perfectly, and I was all set to enjoy it.

With my work table clear, Late Harvest set up before me, audiobook selected, lights situated, tools accounted for, I settled down to a guilt-free afternoon of quiet stitching.

Ten minutes later…

Dublin Craft Light Magnifier
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Beam ‘n Read Light Give-Away!


Because it’s Monday, and I Love Mondays – and because Christmas is coming – and because we all need a little light in our lives – today, I’m giving away a Beam ‘n Read light, courtesy of the Beam ‘n Read folks who make it!

If you’re unfamiliar with this little light, you can read my review of the Beam ‘n Read light here on Needle ‘n Thread. It’s definitely a handy light, especially if you’re prone to electrical failures right when you’re in the middle of stitching – not too uncommon during the winter months!

Beam 'n Read Light
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A Little Travel Light for Needlework – Product Review


Lighting is one of those subjects that should be near and dear to every embroiderer’s heart.

And eyes.

I needed a little light – something I could use inside the house in the evenings that wouldn’t bother the rest of the family, something I could use in the car, and something that would work well in hotel rooms, without having to tote a larger light around with me. (Have you ever noticed that hotel room light is never adequate for needlework?!)

Enter a little light that’s bright, bright, bright – the Beam N Read light. It makes a great little traveling companion for the needleworker. If you want a portable light that’s usable in the car, that’s easy to take to needlework classes, that doesn’t take up room in your living room, and that’s affordable, you might take a look at this one.

Here’s my review of the Beam N Read light as used while embroidering, with pros and cons.

Beam N Read light for Needlework Review
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