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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Chain Stitch Corners & Sharp Points: Embroidery Tip


Let’s start off the week in a good way, with a little embroidery stitch tip!

Have you ever wondered how to make a really pointed tip or corner when working a line stitch like chain stitch?

We’ve previously covered embroidering stem stitch corners, but chain stitch is different.

If you employ the same method used with stem stitch when chain stitching, pointy tips and corners will end up being just slightly bulkier than they need to be.

So today, we’ll look at how to embroider chain stitch lines into a nice pointy tips and sharp corners.

Embroidery Stitch Tips: Chain Stitch Points & Order of Stitching
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Needlework News Snips – October 14, 2017


I have Big Stitching Plans this weekend. By Sunday night, according to this weekend’s schedule, I will have spent 15 hours on embroidery, plying my needle and pulling my thread too many times to count.

And by Sunday night, Birthday Bash will be – must be – finished. And then I’ll take you step by step through the stitches, materials, and project in general.

What about you? Any stitching plans?

Perhaps it’s too early to start binge stitching on a Saturday morning. No problem! Pour up a cup of something nice and warm (it’s chilly here in Kansas), and let’s go for a little browse through some needlework news snips for this first half of October!

Needlework News Snips: October 14, 2017
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Berlin Embroidery: A New Look – and a Discount!


Tanja Berlin, a well-known and well-travelled embroidery designer and instructor living in Canada, has recently revamped her needlework website, Berlin Embroidery, and it is rife with all kinds of treats for the embroiderer!

My first contact with Tanja and her website was some fifteenish years ago, when she became my go-to source for goldwork threads, which were practically impossible to find in North America at that time. But Tanja had (and still has!) a magnificent selection of them available, along with goldwork kits and instruction. I’ve been a regular hoverer at Berlin Embroidery ever since.

Since first finding Tanja way back when, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting her in person at an EGA event. She’s a lot of fun, very frank and friendly, and I had a great time getting to know her a bit.

So let’s browse some of the highlights of Tanja’s new site, so that you can take advantage of all she has to offer the needlework world. I’ll also share a discount code that Tanja set up for Needle ‘n Thread readers, to celebrate the launch of her new look.

Berlin Embroidery new website
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Buttonhole Stitch vs. Blanket Stitch: The Name Debate


The buttonhole stitch is a super-versatile embroidery stitch. Perhaps because it isn’t a skinny line stitch and it isn’t a typical filling stitch, it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.

But one area where the buttonhole stitch seems to garner some scrutiny is in a question of semantics – that is, in the area of definition or meaning.

I’ve recently heard from a few stitchers – some of them new to embroidery – who are a little confused about whether or not the stitch we call the buttonhole stitch really is the buttonhole stitch.

The question is basically this: Is buttonhole stitch, as it is most commonly known, actually the blanket stitch, while “true” buttonhole stitch is a completely different stitch altogether?

Every time I write about buttonhole stitch, I get a few emails with questions like this. I’ve heard from stitchers full of good intentions, encouraging me to be careful of causing confusion by calling the buttonhole stitch the buttonhole stitch. And I’ve heard from stitchers on a buttonhole crusade, who harshly reprimand – “you should know better” and “shame on you” for perpetuating this heinous misnomer.

Let’s chat about the stitch, discuss the name debate, and examine some clarifications and historical references, so that we can clear up any confusion over what’s what with the buttonhole stitch!

Buttonhole Stitch on a Flower - shaded filling
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The Art of Bead Embroidery, Reviewed


Bead embroidery and embroidery with beads, in my mind, are two different things.

When I talk about embroidery with beads I’m usually referring to regular embroidery featuring surface embroidery stitches worked in floss, with the addition of beads as accents.

Bead embroidery, on the other hand, is a specific embroidery technique, wherein beads adorn the surface of the fabric, and stand on their own as the decoration. It rarely involves decorative stitches with embroidery threads, and if it does, the visible stitches are minimal, compared to the bulk of decoration done with beads.

I have no idea if this is a “technically correct” distinction, but since I like to add beads here and there as accents on some of my embroidery projects, I’ve had to make a distinction in my head, and that’s how the distinction established itself.

Today, I want to show you, up close and personal, a book on bead embroidery, or the embellishment of fabric predominantly with beads. The book is The Art of Bead Embroidery: Japanese Style by Margaret Lee, and it’s a doozy.

Let’s take a look!

The Art of Bead Embroidery: Japanese Style by Margaret Lee
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Embroider a Pumpkin Basket for Fall: Free Pattern & Stitch Guide


If you’re looking for something smallish and fallish to embroider, here’s a simple little design for you, with a stitch and materials guide.

You can substitute any materials you have in your stash, and you can even switch up the stitches and use your own favorites.

This little basket of pumpkins would look great on the corner of your table napkins for fall. It would also make a cute cover for a little needlebook (like the ones featured in Lavender Honey & Other Little Things), or, if you’re an ornament-for-every-holiday-and-season sort of person, you might like adding it to your autumn, Thanksgiving, or Halloween ornament collection.

You can also incorporate the individual basket into a larger design – maybe you’re stitching an autumn landscape or you’re working on an autumn-themed crazy quilt square?

It’s a simple little motif, but fun to stitch, and especially good if you’re keen to practice bullions.

(Yes, I said bullions! Don’t fear them!)

Pumpkin Basket for Hand Embroidery
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I’m Guilty: 6 Bad Stitching Habits


Talking about bad stitching habits seems like such a negative approach to things, doesn’t it?

But I’m all for presenting a negative lesson, if it can achieve a positive outcome. And don’t worry – I’m not pointing the finger at anyone here. Well, at anyone but me, anyway.

I’ve developed all kinds of bad stitching habits over the years. Some, I’ve overcome; some, I still cling to. I know they’re bad habits, and I know I need to overcome them. But my Will Power and I haven’t come to terms on them yet.

With this in mind, I’ll Bare All and tell you about some of my bad stitching habits over the years so that you can learn vicariously through me and avoid them. Or maybe you have the same habits? In that case, we can work on overcoming them together!

6 bad Stitching Habits and how to overcome them
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