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: Stitch Fun

Playing about with Needle Woven Fillings


Playing with embroidery stitches is Good for You.

It’s good for you, like sunshine and fresh air are good for you. Or fruit and vegetables. Or … chocolate…

When you allow yourself to dabble about and play with stitches, you learn a lot!

Besides learning just the construction of a stitch, you learn how to be really comfortable with it, how to mix it up, how to combine it with other stitches, how to expand the possibilities of the stitch.

There are other advantages to playing with stitches: it opens up new possibilities for your own projects, it gets your creative juices flowing, it gives you new ideas on color and texture combinations.

Oh yes. I’m a huge Advocate of Playing with Stitches. That’s why the Stitch Fun! series came about, and that’s why I encourage stitchers to indulge in random stitch samplers and doodle cloths.

It’s Good for You!

Lately, I’ve been playing with needle-woven fillings.

Needle weaving embroidery stitches and fillings
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Daisy Stitch Petals with Beads – Working Around the Chain Stitch Problem


It seems quite a few of us have taken to adding beads to our embroidery lately, incorporating some of the recent Stitch Fun! tutorials here and there in current projects.

I know this is the case – and that I’m not the only fiddling with beads now – because I’m receiving lots of emails with questions about adding beads to this stitch or that stitch, or about how to get this stitch to work right with beads, or about what size bead to use with that thread for this stitch, and other similar bead-related questions. I love these kinds of questions, and thanks for sending them in!

But I can rarely answer them all via email, in detail, so I’ve been keeping a list. If I can work out a tutorial that will answer your question and make it available for everyone here on the website, I will.

One particular question that’s come into the inbox repeatedly is how to make a daisy-stitch-like loop that looks like normal petals or leaves when working it with beads. Since the stitch is a pretty popular one in general, I thought I’d answer that question right here.

There are a couple ways that you can work chain stitch and detached chain stitch with beads and get a decent result. Today, I’m going to show you the simplest approach to making a daisy stitch loops with beads.

flat chain stitch line worked with beads
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Stitch Fun! Fully Beaded Drizzle Stitch


Here’s a little follow-up on last week’s Stitch Fun! tutorial, where we learned how to bead the cast-on stitch.

We’re going to apply the same principles in that tutorial to the drizzle stitch, which is a fun dimensional stitch that sits up right off the fabric.

I’ve already shown you one way to bead the drizzle stitch, which involves placing a decorative bead just at the end of the stitch. What I like about that method is that the stitch really retains its curliness and the added bead on the end contributes a certain amount of weight to the stitch that makes it sort of floppy. I like that! It’s fun!

In this particular tutorial, with the stitch fully beaded up its whole length, you’ll see that the stitch, as I’ve worked it here, results in a rather stiff column of beads standing right up off the fabric.

Don’t be put off! You can make adjustments to this, which I’ll discuss below, to incorporate the twist that makes drizzle stitch so fun, and you can also add variety to the stitch by mixing things up a bit. I’ll talk about that at the end of the tutorial.

For now, here’s a quick little tutorial for a fully beaded drizzle stitch!

How to stitch a fully beaded drizzle stitch in hand embroidery
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Stitch Fun! Easy Alternating Beaded Chain Stitch


How about a little Stitch Fun?

For those new to Needle ‘n Thread, Stitch Fun! is a series of embroidery stitch tutorials that focus on the fun side of stitching – playing with various embroidery stitches that are perhaps more obscure, or that go beyond the basic stitch. Sometimes, we explore complex or composite stitches, sometimes we try something different with a simple embroidery stitch, or sometimes, we just play around with stitches to see what develops.

When I started the series way back in 2012, the idea behind Stitch Fun! was to promote the notion that embroidery should be fun, and part of that fun is in the exploration of what can be done with stitches.

Playing with stitches is a good way to reinvigorate your needlework. It can help you take your stitching beyond a set repertoire of the same repeated stitches, adding a whole new excitement to your embroidery.

Sometimes, even the simplest approach to a stitch can spice things up a bit. Today’s mini tutorial for alternating beaded chain stitch is a good example of how a simple modification to a stitch can dress it up.

Embroidery Stitch Tutorial: alternating beaded chain stitch
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Stitch Fun! Tulip Stitch Tutorial


For your weekend stitching adventures, here’s a super-simple, really fun stitch with a whole lot of options for further experimentation.

The stitch is called tulip stitch – it’s a slipped, detached chain stitch, and while it can be worked singly, as a detached, lonely stitch, it also works up well into a line stitch.

Tulip stitch works well as an individual accent stitch, but it can also be worked in lines, in gentle curves, for seam treatments in crazy quilts, on lettering, in garden landscapes, as borders, and I’m sure you can come up with many more possibilities!


Tulip Stitch Tutorial
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Tiny Buds on a Vine – A Stitch Fun Tutorial


Here in Kansas, the rapid onset of spring in the last week is forcing out the buds on flowers, trees and shrubs.

Yeeeehaw! That’s exciting!

To celebrate, I thought I’d share a little Stitch Fun tutorial with you, to show you a simple way to embroider a pretty little floral vine speckled with tiny buds.

This is one of the many combinations in my Stitch Sampler Alphabet (ebook coming soon!), and it’s one of my favorites. It’s quick to work, simple, and very adaptable – think crazy quilt seam treatments, borders, sampler bands, or a floral element in embroidered gardens and landscapes. The combination could also be reasonably adapted into crewel work for wide vines. There are lots and lots of possibilities!

Ready? Here it is – a Stitch Fun tutorial for a floral vine with tiny buds, using up and down buttonhole stitch.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial
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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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