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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Tag: needlelace

Whitework & Needle Lace at the DMV


What’s the DMV? you might understandably ask.

This could be one of those blog posts where the writer (yours truly), traveling to exotic and interesting places, visits an elaborately named museum affectionately known by its initials, where she discovers some worthwhile textile and embroidery-related acquisitions to share with you.

It could be…

But it’s not.

The DMV really is the Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s the place we Americans go to register our cars, pay our car taxes, and get our licenses, tags and stuff like that.

Rather unjustly immortalized in Disney’s Zootopia, the DMV might not be the Most Thrilling Place in the world to go – and you certainly wouldn’t choose it as a vacation destination – but it’s one of those Necessary Places. In fact, I never mind going.

In my rural county in Kansas, our DMV is located in the very rural county seat, which is one of those geographical oddities (being 40 minutes from everywhere), and known primarily these days for two things: the DMV and the county courthouse and jail.

While there is an Oregon Trail crossing close by, I have to say, there’s not much else to recommend the place. But it’s a pleasant drive – hilly (yes, even in Kansas), green, with beautiful vistas. Once arrived, the lines are never long (if there are any), and the folks who work there are friendly and efficient. I’m always in and out in minutes.

And on my way in and on my way out, I always pause to look at this:

Whitework Wedding Dress
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Needle Woven Fillings: a Huge Variety of Them!


You might remember that, last autumn, I was fiddling around a bit with some fun needle woven fillings that can be used to add color, texture, and pattern to large areas of embroidery. The final tutorial for that little sampler of easy woven fillings can be found on Commonthread by DMC.

Needle weaving is pretty much just weaving embroidery thread on the surface of fabric. In concept, it’s not too complicated. But the results that you can achieve by following a variety of patterns and by working with different types of threads, colors, textures, and whatnot are pretty amazing!

If you’ve had a bit of a hankering to try out needle weaving on your embroidery projects, you’re in luck! Hazel Blomkamp has put together a terrific little instructional book called Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery, and it’s chockfull of so many patterns that you’ll never tire of the offerings!

I’m excited about this instructional book! Let me show you why…

Needle Weaving Techniques for Hand Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp
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Lace Making, Drawn Thread Work, Embroidery – for the weekend!


There are very few needlework / thread-related arts and crafts that I haven’t tried.

At least once.

They don’t all click.

There’s one thread-related art that I’ve tried to teach myself many times over, and that I’m still determined, some day, to get the hang of, and that’s bobbin lace-making. I don’t want to be an expert at it. I just want to be able to flip some bobbins about with semi-confidence and end up with some kind of ordered pattern showing up on the board in front of me. Is that too much to ask?

In any case, I feed my desire to learn that particular lace-making art by reading about it, watching videos now and then, and even, occasionally, sallying forth with the same beginner’s kit I’ve had for umpteen years.

And then, a day later, embroidery takes over my life again, all the bobbins go back in their bag, and I concede that “it isn’t going to happen this year.”

Lace Making, Drawn Thread Work, and embroidery videos in Italian
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Tool Talk! Embroidery Shoes, or Half Cone Sticks


Today, a bit of tool talk! Are you familiar with half cone sticks and trumpet cones used in dimensional embroidery and needle lace making?

Today, we’ll look at these curious little tools, which are also called “embroidery shoes,” and later on, we’ll explore how they’re used. We’ll also take a look at trumpet cones, which are used in a similar way to half cone sticks.

Half Cone Sticks, embroidery shoes for stumpwork
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Hedebo Embroidery – A Book Review


Hedebo embroidery is a type of whitework originating in Denmark, perhaps as early as the 15th century (according to Flora Klickmann in The Cult of the Needle).

Hedebo is unique style of whitework, in that it involves seven distinct types of stitched elements in its composition, each type being added to the general make up of Hedebo over time as Hedebo developed and evolved. What began as stylized, rather stiff geometric drawn thread embroidery eventually evolved in the early 1800’s to a freer type of openwork ornamented with satin stitch, cutwork, and needle lace.

Today, we associate Hedebo mostly with cutwork and needlelace, as these make up a recognizable part of most Hedebo embroidery.

Guida al Ricamo Hedebo, or Guide to Hedebo Embroidery, by Laura Marzorati and Stefania Bressan, is an excellent beginner’s guide to the basics (and beyond!) of Hedebo. Here’s a closer look at the book.

Hedebo Embroidery / Ricamo Hedebo
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Needlelace: Designs & Techniques, Classic & Contemporary – Book Review


It’s always a good sign when twenty or more years can pass, and a needlework technique and instruction book is still in demand and relevant.

Needlelace: Designs and Techniques, Classic and Contemporary by Catherine Barley is just such a book. It was first published in 1993, and while you can still find copies of the book available through used book sources for a pretty penny, you can now buy a reprint of the book, new, directly from the author.

If you are interested in needlelace – or in its application to stumpwork embroidery projects, to historical needlework projects (think detached stitches in 17th century embroidery), to contemporary whitework – Catherine’s book should be in your reference library.

Needlelace Designs & Techniques, Classic & Contemporary by Catherine Barley
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