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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Embroidery Project Progress: Likes, Dislikes… & Lots of Texture!


Remember the finish on this embroidered kaleidoscope project, Party in Provence, that I shared with you last week?

Well, I’ve been working my way through a variation on the theme, which is supposed to end up as a pocket on a tote bag. If you’ve been hanging out with me a bit on Needle ‘n Thread, you’ll probably recall this discussion on twill and duck for embroidery, following this discussion on some preliminary explorations of poor choices in linen.

The last time I showed you progress on this project was here, where I was just beginningto sample the embroidery on the cotton twill.

As I’ve worked my way through this little design excerpt on the cotton twill, I’ve discovered a few things – some likes and dislikes, some things I’d probably do differently if I were to start over, and the recurring joy I find in stitching certain stitches!

hand embroidery for the pocket of a tote bag
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Fancy Floral: A Free Hand Embroidery Pattern!


Good morning, and a Happy Monday all around!

Today, just a quick little freebie for you! This is a pattern I’ve been playing with off and on for a while, with the hopes of stitching it. I even got as far as picking out threads and colors, but I’ve never actually gotten to the embroidery. Who knows? Maybe one day!

It’s not on my current list of stuff to get done, though, which means it won’t happen too soon, so I thought I’d share the pattern, anyway. Maybe it’ll tickle your fancy, too!

Fancy Floral - Hand Embroidery Pattern
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Inspiration from Inspirations


You’ve probably gathered that I have a tiny weakness for good needlework books. I really do. And I’m weird about them, because, whether or not I use them as they are intended to be used – i.e. to stitch a project from, to learn a specific technique – I always read them.

I like to read needlework books like other people like to read novels. I read needlework books from cover to cover. And I get a lot of pleasure out of doing so. I also learn a lot.

There’s always something to learn from a needlework book, and reading one from cover to cover is kind of like a treasure hunt, wherein you gather up little morsels of knowledge, little surprises about approaches, techniques, designs, color choices that you never considered and that make you say, Wow. What a neat idea! or Golly, why didn’t I ever think of that?.

Inspirations Magazine Issue #95
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Weekend Embroidery Finish…and a question!


I love it when a plan comes together!

I wasn’t quite sure I’d finish the embroidery on Party in Provence this weekend, but due to the happy circumstances of rainy weather and not a whole lot going on, I put the last bead on at 6:59 yesterday evening! I was pretty pleased.

The only drawback of an evening finish is getting the light right for photos. For some reason, daytime photos work better for me. So instead of setting up my amateur version of a photo shoot, I made do with my phone and my stitching light. I’ll take “real” photos later, after damp stretching and blocking the piece.

If you’re just joining in here on Needle ‘n Thread, Party in Provence is an embroidered kaleidoscope design in a series I’ve been playing with for the past 10 months or so. I’ve finished three of them so far – this one, which I’m calling Tulip Festival (a shout out to ours here in Kansas) and this one, that I’m calling Octoberfest, even though I stitched it in November.

Party in Provence Embroidered Kaleidoscope Design by Mary Corbet on Needle 'n Thread
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The Seasons in Ribbon Embroidery: Book Review


Are you a silk ribbon embroidery fan? Have you seen Tatiana Popova’s lush silk ribbon embroidery?

Tatiana, a Ukrainian embroiderer who specializes in silk ribbon work, creates pieces that exude a definite ribbony richness – lavish ribbon, sumptuous color, deceptively realistic flowers. And she also uses ribbon to create some whimsical pieces as well – she likes owls!

Tatiana produces silk ribbon embroidery kits under the brand Little Owl Smart Crafts, which she sells through her website, Sovushka.

I first came across Tatiana’s luxuriant floral creations in ribbon embroidery through Di van Niekerk, whose blog I enjoy following. Di networks with silk ribbon enthusiasts all over the globe and features many of them on her blog.

So that’s where I first saw Tatiana’s work, and I was excited to learn that this year, she has published a book. It’s called The Seasons in Ribbon Embroidery, and today, I’d like to show it to you.

Seasons in Ribbon Embroidery by Tatiana Popova
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Embroidery Workroom Organization – Not There Yet. But….


Can you tell me about your studio space?

I often receive emails from readers in the throes of making decisions about studio space, who find themselves with a spare room at home that they can devote solely to needlework.

It’s a wonderful thing, to be able to carve out your own little retreat for pursuing embroidery or sewing or any craft! But the fact is, I’m probably the last person in the world to ask about this!

I usually gurgle out a few chuckles when I get this question. I’ve always been pretty forthright about my workroom.

While I’m quite blessed to have a room that is semi-dedicated to my work, it isn’t one of those perfect, cozy, ideal embroidery workrooms that’s organized to the hilt and attractive to boot. So I’m probably not the person you want to emulate on this point, if you’re looking for your own little Embroidery Haven.

I mentioned earlier in the summer that I was on a re-organization kick out in my garage-gone-workroom-plus-household-storage-catchall-area, and – though you can’t really tell from the pictures – much was accomplished. But there’s still a bit of work to do! And although it pains me to share some of these photos, I will, because I said I would.

Today, I’ll just show you where things stand, mess-wise. Down the road, I’ll tell you about some of the things that have become essential in my workroom, and we’ll chat about some things to keep in mind when setting up your own workroom.

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works
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