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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2018 (35) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Stumpwork Embroidery: Techniques & Projects – Book Review



Time to end the week with a book review!

I’ve been wanting to review Stumpwork Embroidery: Techniques & Projects by Helen Richman of Blue Bird Embroidery for a while now, but, after waiting for my order from the UK (it’s available in the States now), I still had to make my way through the book.

And once you see the book, you’ll understand why that took just wee bit of time!

If someone asked me to pin one descriptive word on Stumpwork Embroidery, it would be thorough

…and expansive… and fun… and detailed… and… well done!

If you’re a lover of embroidery in general, if you are stumpwork-curious or have already taken the leap into stumpwork, if you are into dimensional embroidery, historical embroidery, embroidery with texture, appliqué, or layering, if you just like a really good needlework book – well, you know what you have to do!

So, let’s look at the book close up, and then I’ll share a couple bits and bobs with you about resources and whatnot.

Stumpwork Embroidery: Techniques & Projects by Helen Richman
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On Thread Conditioning & Beeswax for Embroidery


Out in the embroidery world lately, there’s been a lot of talk about thread conditioners and about beeswax.

The topic surfaced when Thread Heaven – a silicon-based “thread conditioner” – went out of production, and since then, I’ve read and heard a lot of talk on thread conditioning for embroidery. And I’ve received a lot of questions in the old inbox!

So, today, I’m going to address a couple points addressing thread “conditioning” and the use of beeswax in embroidery.

Beeswax and embroidery threads
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All About Real Thread Color Cards


Real thread color cards – if you don’t know what they are, you should find out! Because I’m telling you, they’re the best thing since packaged chocolate.

You think I exaggerate? No, no!

A real thread color card is The Answer for needleworkers who like to design their own pieces or who like to reinterpret other designs and need to know what colors and shades are available in a specific line of thread.

For those who don’t have needlework shops on hand, real thread color cards are a much less expensive way of viewing the shades and colors in a thread line, in real life, without purchasing the whole collection of a particular thread.

If you’re not familiar with real thread color cards and how they work, never fear! Today, I’m going to show you what information you can usually find on a real thread color card, and the various ways you can put them to work for you.

For my model, I’m going to use DMC’s latest real thread color card, recently published, which includes their newly released colors.

DMC Real Thread Color Card - how it works
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Party in Provence: The Little Medallion


Happy Friday, folks!

If you’ve been following along with Party in Provence, an embroidered kaleidoscope that we’ve been working through step-by-step here on Needle ‘n Thread, you might find it hard to believe that we’re Almost Finished!

Today, we’re going to add a very little touch to the kaleidoscope – it’s the tiny medallion between each arm of the design.

Even if you’re not actually stitching Party in Provence, the tips below for the techniques used on this element can be applied to your own embroidery projects.

So…here’s the little medallion for you.

Party in Provence embroidered kaleidoscope medallion accent
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Stitch Tip: Short & Sweet – Eliminating Fuzzies


This is going to be the shortest stitch tip I’ve probably ever written.

If you know me and you’ve been following along on Needle ‘n Thread for a bit, then you know I tend to blather too much when it comes to embroidery.

This one won’t require a whole lot of blathering.

The question that came in has to do with fuzz and thread length when embroidering. And it’s a good reminder for experienced stitchers and newbies alike.

So here it goes…

Fuzzies on Embroidery Thread - stitch tip
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Weekend Embroidery: Learning & Starting Anew


I mentioned last week that I like to rotate the types of embroidery projects I work on, to give myself a little variety, moving from more intense to less intense projects and visa-versa.

This is all part of my time-and-enthusiasm-levels Management Program, and it works!

Right now, I’m in a less-intense project phase. After finishing a very quick little weedy thing, I set up a new project that I’ve been eager to get going on for a while.

I think of it as a leafy sampler of sorts.

Right off the bat, I changed my mind on some key decisions that come along with any embroidery project, and although I made decent progress over the weekend, I’m going to stop where I am and start this project over. I’ll tell you why.

Leafy Sampler - embroidery stitches in leaves
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Embroidery Projects: From One Extreme to the Other


This week, I finished an embroidery project.

Once upon a time, I disliked coming to the end of a project. As I approached the end, I’d start to feel a little sad. I called it the End-of-Project Blues. It’s that time when you realize that the enjoyment you’ve had in stitching a project and seeing it come to life is about to end.

And it’s that time when you realize that you’ve got to go through the whole process of deciding and setting up another project before you can settle into the bliss of having something fun to stitch.

These days, though, I have so many projects in the wings planned out for Needle ‘n Thread, that I don’t have a chance to feel blue at all! There’s that brief elation of finishing a project, pleased that it came out at least somewhat similar to what I envisioned, rapidly followed by The Next Thing.

There’s always a method in my project line-up when I’m stitching things in relatively quick succession, though. It’s not just a random grab-whatever-and-get-going approach. I put a little bit of thought behind the order of choosing projects, for very specific reasons.

Come along, and I’ll tell you my thought processes…

Silk Embroidery Project Sneak Peek
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