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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Who Won the Owl Kit? And a Little News…



Good morning and Happy Friday! Sure gets here fast, doesn’t it?

Last week, I ran this give-away for one of Hazel Blomkamp’s embroidery kits – Maureen the Owl – and a copy of her new book, Crewel Creatures.

So, today, I’ll tell you who won the owl and the book and then share a wee bit of news with you…

Maureen the Owl embroidery kit
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Little Pieces of Embroidery – Covered Buttons and More!


Do you ever just want to stitch a little piece of embroidery, but then you don’t know what to do with it? Maybe you have little embroidery samples that you want to make into something, but you don’t know what. Perhaps you have some old vintage embroidered linens that are worn out, but still have usable and pretty bits of embroidery on them?

Well, that are lots of things you can do with little bits of embroidery. Two finishing approaches that come to mind and are pretty wildly popular are jewelry and covered buttons (which can be used in so many ways). Both are a terrific medium for showcasing small bits of hand embroidery, and covered buttons? Well, they’re one of my favorite ways to finish little embroidered bits.

The question is, though, what do you do with a bunch of covered buttons, once you’ve taken the time to make heaps of them? And, trust me, if you get into making embroidered covered buttons, there’s a good chance you will make heaps of them, because they’re awfully fun!

So here are some little finishing ideas for small pieces of embroidery, whether you’re using designs you’ve stitched specifically to cover a button make a piece of jewelry, or whether you’re recycling older pieces of embroidery, like vintage embroidered flour sack towels that are past normal use, but still have some decent bits of embroidery on them.

Embroidered Covered Buttons - Ideas for Using Them
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Stitch Tip: A Clean Start with Two Strands


One of the questions that I’m asked frequently concerns embroidering on personal or household linens, where the back of the embroidery is not covered in any way when the piece is finished.

When embroidering kitchen towels or a table cloth or placemats, a guest towel, pillowcases, or handkerchief, the back of the embroidery is not normally covered in the finish work. It’s visible, and it is mostly likely going to be seen.

When the back of the embroidery is meant to be visible – even though it isn’t the primary side anyone looks at – we want the back to look as neat as possible. No, it doesn’t have to look just like the front. But it should at least be neat.

One place where you can really control the neatness on the back of embroidery is the beginning and end of any thread. If you pay attention to your starts and stops and make them as neat as possible, this goes a long way to a nice clean look on the back of the work.

Since two strands of floss are a frequently used weight of stranded cotton, I thought I’d show you how I like to start a thread when working on such pieces and stitching with two strands. It’s a super secure way to start threads and it will keep the starts of your threads extremely neat on the back of your work. I’ll also show you my favorite way to securely and neatly end a thread – but the focus here is really the start of the thread.

Stitch Tip: Starting two strands of floss neatly and securely
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Maureen the Owl – Embroidery Kit & Book Give-Away!


It’s almost the middle of April, and what a great time to do a Fantastic Give-away for a Fantastic Embroidery Kit & Book!

You might remember that last week, I reviewed Hazel Blomkamp’s new book, Crewel Creatures, which is full of really fun embroidery instruction, projects, and ideas centering around fantastical creatures bedecked with all kinds of stitches, combinations, patterns, and a little bling.

Well, today, thanks to Hazel, I’m offering one of her kits with a copy of the book as a give-away! Yay!

Maureen the Owl, which is the largest and most elaborate of the creatures in Crewel Creatures. Here she is, in all her glory – and feel free to click on her, for a better view.

Maureen the Owl Embroidery Kit by Hazel Blomkamp
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Color Choices and Stitching Up Some Monograms


Do you ever have problems making good color decisions for your own embroidery projects? I do!

There are ways to help yourself when it comes to choosing colors for embroidery projects – I’ll give you some suggestions on that topic below.

But I thought I’d share with you some monograms I’ve been fiddling with lately. I gave you a sneak peek of one of them in this article about my leafy tree project a few weeks ago.

Since then, I worked up another sample letter in a color scheme that I thought I’d really like. As it turns out, I’m not that keen on it! We’ll chat about why, what I can do to improve it, what my limitations are in these particular circumstances, and what I’m going to do next.

Yellow, blue and white monogram in hand embroidery
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Unique and Beautiful: Harp Needle Case by Jenny Adin-Christie


Good morning, and Happy Monday All Around!

Once in a while, out there in the Wide World of Needlework, an embroidery project so unique and so beautiful catches my eye and makes my heart go pitter-pat – and compels me to share it with you!

This morning, by way of throwing temptation in your path (sorry), I want to highlight just such an embroidery project, created by Jenny Adin-Christie. And even if it isn’t something you would work yourself, I’m sure you will appreciate the beauty, delicacy and uniqueness of this needle case. Plus, there’s some fun reading about the original museum piece on which Jenny’s needle case is based.

Harpe Needle Case by Jenny Adin-Christie
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Crewel Creatures – Hazel, on the Wild(er) Side


If you’re one of those stitchers who loves surface embroidery in extravagant designs full texture, patterns, color, sparkle and beads, you may already be familiar with Hazel Blombkamp’s series of books featuring projects that hint at a Jacobean flavor, but are totally modern.

Hazel’s “crewel” books – punnily titled – focus not on crewel embroidery, but rather on fabulous and ornate stylized floral and similar surface embroidery designs. The projects are worked with a variety of mostly cotton threads in fantastic stitch and filling combinations.

Always fanciful, sometimes flamboyant, Hazel’s designs are wildly ingenious when it comes to her use of patterned and textured elements.

With her latest book, Crewel Creatures, she steps over (or just barely scoots over a hair?) to the wild side! The book highlights six curious creatures worked in a style that is definitely All Hazel.

Crewel Creatures by Hazel Blomkamp
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