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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Stitches Built on Foundations: Texture & Dimension in Embroidery


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There’s little I love more than the composite embroidery stitch – that is, the stitch that’s built on other stitches.

Today, I thought I’d offer a list of stitches that are built on foundation stitches. Foundation stitches are the first stitch that goes down in a composite stitch, providing a base on which to build some sort of composite effect by incorporating other stitches and techniques into the foundation.

The final result of these types of composites can range anywhere from simple to complex.

The great thing about composite stitches built on foundation stitches is that they are, more often than not, highly textured and slightly dimensional. This makes them excellent techniques to add into any embroidery project where texture plays a big role.

Embroidery Stitches built on Foundations: Texture & Dimension
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Scissor Talk: 3 Claveles from Spain


A few weeks ago, we began chatting about embroidery scissors that serve as good alternatives to Dovo embroidery scissors.

Dovo has long been my favorite source for excellent embroidery scissors, but sadly, the business has gone under. Never fear, though! There are other good scissors available out there!

Some, of course, are very pricy, but I often find excellent scissors in middle prices ranges that are sturdy, sharp, mechanically smooth, and promise to be long-lasting.

That’s pretty much what I look for in embroidery scissors.

3 Claveles embroidery scissors
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Embroidered Grapes 3: Outlining Instead of Filling


Good morning and a Happy Monday all around!

Today, we’re going to pick on the Embroidered Grapes series and move along on five more grapes in the bunch. These grapes will be quick to stitch!

When we last visited the grapes, the first three at the base of the bunch were embroidered with fillings. Four of the next five are all simply outlined, to demonstrate two points:

1. you don’t always have to fill a design when you embroider; and

2. if you choose to outline instead of fill, you can use very simple outline stitches, and you can mix things up a bit to add variety.

Sometimes, when we outline embroidery designs, we tend to stick with one stitch and solid colors. But by opting for different line stitches and by mixing colors, you can add visual interest to simple outlined embroidery.

We’re also going to look at the seed stitch for lighter filling.

Embroidery Grapes: using outline stitches
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Embroidery Books – These are Coming Soon!


If you subscribe to the Inspirations Studios weekly newsletter (it’s a lovely newsletter!), you are probably aware that a couple books are coming to the embroidery world quite soon. In fact, they’re already out in Australia and en route to the US.

I’ve had quite a few inquiries about these two books from Inspirations Studios in Australia. I’m bringing them in for stitchers who want to avoid the cost of international shipping and the long (really long!) wait.

I thought I’d let you know sooner rather than later what’s coming to Needle ‘n Thread in the way of much-anticipated needlework books, and when you can expect to see them.

A Fine Tradition: The Embroidery of Margaret Light
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Embroidered Bicycle & The Punch


Home again, home again, jiggity-jig, as the nursery rhyme goes! I’ve been away from the studio for a little while, and now that I’m back to work, playing among fabric and threads, things are beginning to move again at a snappy pace.

One thing that didn’t happen at a snappy pace – in fact, it barely crawled – was progress on any stitching over the past week and a half. I thought I would have the bicycle that I showed you here finished… but alas!

As I work through my inbox, I’ve noticed a few questions about the last installment of the grapes project tutorial, so I’m going to answer the most prominent one – what is a 1/2″ mylar punch and where do I find one? – below.

So, today, just by way of catching up, here’s the progress on my casual stitching (the bicycle) and an answer to The Punch, so that everyone can be prepared for The Punch.

Embroidered Vintage Bike - Summer Wheels on Needle 'n Thread
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Stitch Fun: More Rolled Woven Picots


Oooooh, now it’s time to do something kind of fun with that rolled woven picot that we looked at on Wednesday!

I’m afraid this could just be the beginning. There are so many ideas brewing in my head – alterations, combinations, variations and whatnot on the rolled woven picot!

I love playing with stitches like these, to see where the exploration takes me. Sometimes, admitted, my explorations can end in a flop. But sometimes, they can lead to some surprisingly fun and fabulous results. I hope that you take some time to play with the stitch, too, to see what you can come up with!

Today I’ll show you a larger woven picot roll and what I did with it. The key point here is how to anchor a larger roll to the fabric. It requires a slightly different approach compared to the smaller roll that we looked at on Wednesday.

Large Rolled Woven Picot, Stitch Fun Tutorial
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Stitch Fun: Rolled Woven Picots


On Monday, we looked at how to make a really long woven picot without using a pin or needle.

Today, we’re going to look at one thing you can do with a long picot. We’re going to roll it!

For this first foray into rolled woven picots, I’m not using a very long picot. I did use a moderately long pin to create the picot, but overall, the picot isn’t much longer than one that you’d make with an average quilting pin.

Let’s take a look at the rolled woven picot!

Rolled Woven Picot - embroidery stitch
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