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 (118) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Weekend Reading: The Making of the Bayeux Tapestry


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When it comes to historical pieces of embroidery – large historical pieces of embroidery, especially – it would be difficult to conceive of one that is more widely known than the Bayeux Tapestry.

I like the Bayeux Tapestry. I like the history of the era. It’s a subject that always holds me fascinated.

So when this particular article popped up in the newsfeeds a week or so ago, I knew I had to share it with you – it makes good weekend reading!

The Making of the Bayeux Tapestry article
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Lampshades: A Bright Way to Display Embroidery


The first time I saw a hand embroidered lampshade was in a book on Schwalm embroidery, sent to me by Luzine Happel, an expert in Schwalm embroidery from Germany who writes beautiful books on how to do Schwalm work.

I marveled at the pristine whitework stretched taut over the frame of a lamp – and I thought, “Now, there’s an embroidery finishing technique you don’t see too often!”

If you’re unfamiliar with Luzine’s Scwalm website, you should check it out! She features a nice article on an embroidered Schwalm lampshade, here. This is the lampshade:

Schwalm Embroidery Lampshade, Luzine Happel
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Differences between Bluprint & Craftsy


Lately, I’ve gotten quite a few folks asking me about Bluprint, and what the differences are between Bluprint and Craftsy.

A while ago, I reviewed quite a few of the Craftsy online embroidery classes that I like, explaining why I like them, what’s in them, and how they can be of value to the beginner (and beyond). They’re especially suited to those who don’t have classes or guild groups close by, or who might not have the wherewithal (flexibility in time, finances, or what-have-you) to attend face-to-face classes.

Recently, Craftsy and Bluprint have been showing up together online, so I want to explain the differences and highlight some pros and cons for those who are curious about the two.

Craftsy vs Bluprint online embroidery classes
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Free Hand Embroidery Designs for Autumn – a Small Collection


If you’re still in Autumn Mode when it comes to stitching, but you’re floundering about for some embroidery design ideas, I’ve put together a small collection of free fall-themed hand embroidery patterns to help you out!

If you’re new to Needle ‘n Thread in the last couple years, you might not be aware of the extensive collection of free hand embroidery patterns on the website. You can find many of them listed here in the Patterns index found in the main menu. You can find the most recent additions listed here, organized with the tag “free embroidery patterns.”

In fact, did you know you can search Needle ‘n Thread by topic, by visiting this list of organizational tags? It’s a fun way to navigate the website. After 12+ years of blogging, there’s a lot of useful stitching information on Needle ‘n Thread – it’s fun to dig up old gems by foraging through the topic list!

But I digress – back to the fall pattern round up!

Free Fall Hand Embroidery Patterns
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Fantasia in Silk: An Embroidery Design Exploration


Earlier this year, I shared some sneak peeks on a hand embroidery project I was working on, but hadn’t finished.

I finished it! And that was quite a while ago!

But then I never showed it to you, completely. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it – maybe it’ll turn into a step-by-step project or something. We’ll see!

I thought I’d show it to you today and tell you a little bit about my thought processes while working on it, what my ideas were, why I named it what I did, and so forth.

If you’ve been hanging out with me a while on Needle ‘n Thread, you might already know I have a problem naming projects. It always amazes me how designers and stitchers come up with fantastic names for their needlework – names that just fit.

I’m not so good at that. But this particular project worked out ok, name wise. I think it fits.


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100 Issues: Inspiring Embroidery!


Many of you, I know, subscribe to Inspirations Magazine, which is one of the longest-running contemporary magazines devoted to hand embroidery.

It’s been going since the 1990’s, when I was in college. I’ve previously told the story of my introduction to the magazine (and how I used to steal my sister’s copies) here, if you’re interested in reading a bit about my backstory with Inspirations.

The latest issue is a fantastic celebration of needlework and an exciting milestone. The latest issue is #100, and that’s definitely something to celebrate!

When #100 arrived in the mail the other day, I just knew I’d have to share it with you, so that those of you who don’t subscribe will have a chance to know what’s in this issue, and perhaps take the leap and at least purchase the single copy (if not start your own collection of the next 100 issues!). Issue #100 is an excellent sampling of what Inspirations Magazine is all about.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t received your copy yet and you like to savor the surprises in each issue, you might not want to read ahead, because I’m going to highlight the projects in issue #100.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues
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On Needle Threaders – and a Really Small One!


I’ve been working lately on some tiny embroidery projects. Technically, they’re petit point – they’re worked on 48 count silk gauze. And they’re a lot of fun! (I will share them soon!)

As I work on any embroidery project, I troubleshoot to make sure the project can be accessible to anyone who wants to undertake it, too. And this can sometimes be tricky, especially when working with small scale embroidery.

When it comes to seeing small scale stitching, there’s always lighting and magnification to help.

But when it comes to doing certain things – for example, threading a little needle – it’s sometimes hard to find a solution if difficulties arise.

I’ve written about threading needles in this article here (read the comments, too). No matter what kind of needle I use, the pinch and saw method of threading always sees me through.

But for some folks, threading a needle is more difficult – and not being able to thread a fine needle can put them off their stitching game altogether. So I figured I’d seek out a fine needle threader that actually works for small needles.

Needle Threaders for embroidery needles and very fine needles
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