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 (75) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

RSN Book of Embroidery: Huge, in More Ways than One



There’s nothing quite as convenient as an all-inclusive reference book for embroidery, that you can pull out when you need inspiration, instruction, answers to questions, or solutions to stitching problems.

Beyond a simple stitch dictionary, a technique book can walk you through the basics (and beyond) of a particular embroidery technique. Individual technique books for different types of hand embroidery are fairly common, but imagine having a technique book that covers many of the major genres of hand embroidery all in one spot!

Well, Search Press (in collaboration with the Royal School of Needlework) has recently released just such a book.

It’s called The RSN Book of Embroidery: A Guide to Essential Stitches, Techniques, and Projects, and it covers eight major categories of needlework.

Today, I’ll tell you what this tome is all about, and share inside details, pros and cons, and where you can find it!

RSN Book of Embroidery
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Don’t Underestimate the Fishbone Stitch!


It’s hard to pin down a favorite embroidery stitch, isn’t it?

But I’m pretty sure most of us must have favorites – those stitches we return to, time and time again, and that always perform well for us. The stitches that are comfortable and easy to be with, like good friends.

While I like many embroidery stitches, there are really only a handful that I’d call “Absolute Favorite Stitches,” and the fishbone stitch is right up around the top of that list.

Perhaps I like it so much because I stitch a lot of petals and leaves and similar shapes, and it just works so darned well in those circumstances! In fact, I’m willing to stick my neck out and say that, when it comes to petal and leaf shapes, the fishbone stitch is The Best. It’s where it’s at, if you want a nice looking leaf!

But there are other reasons I like it, too.

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the fishbone stitch, here’s a little encouragement for you to try it and use it.

Fishbone Stitch in Embroidery
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Weekend Embroidery: Filling Outside the Void


Howdy-ho and a happy Monday from the (very warm and sticky) cornfields of Kansas! Summer is upon us in full force in the Midwest!

During the summer, I love embroidering with bright and sunny colors, and last weekend’s project fit the bill perfectly. If you’ve been hanging out with me at Needle ‘n Thread for a while, the project should look familiar, because I’ve done it before. Well… something similar, anyway.

I’m working on a voided monogram, much like this one. There are a few differences, though, and I’ll tell you about them below…

voided monogram m in embroidery
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A Friday Finish – or Two! Embroidered Floral Corners


Sometimes, I have a tendency to go overboard when planning out embroidery projects for other people.

To keep myself in check when planning kids’ classes for this summer, I’ve got my niece working with me, too.

Anna’s 24, and she has embroidered since she was a wee thing. When she was ten, she took my summer classes. Over the years, she kept stitching, occasionally teaching other kids along the way, and dabbling with needle and thread when time allowed.

The fact that she now works with kindergarten children helps keep me in check, too. Sometimes, when you’re out of the “kid game” for a while, you forget what different developmental levels are (or are not likely to be) capable of.

For example, Anna raised her eyebrows at my idea of perfectly executed fishbone stitch for our youngest class groups this summer.

What a killjoy!

Hand Embroidery Floral Corner on Flour Sack Towel
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Embroidery Transfer Tip: Erasing Pencil Mistakes from Fabric


It ain’t pretty, but it works!

Lately, I’ve been free-hand drawing little motifs onto fabric using a pencil. Sometimes, I make mistakes.

Instead of re-drawing new lines over old lines and making a jolly mess with the graphite, and instead of washing the fabric and starting over, I use a little tool that helps me resume drawing on clean fabric with very little effort.

I’ve used this ugly little thing on several different types of fabric when I’ve wanted to remove pencil marks. It removes all or most of the graphite without smudging or damaging, fuzzing, or shredding the fabric surface.

For those who transfer embroidery designs with pencil or like to draw designs free-hand on their embroidery fabric, this tool is a time saver!

So here it is – a little handy tool that’s good to have in your arsenal in case you ever want to remove incorrectly drawn pencil marks from ground fabric before stitching.

Removing Pencil Mistakes from Fabric
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Navigating Needlework Floor Stands – Which One is Right for You?


What would life in the stitching world be without the tools that make needlework easier, more comfortable, and more efficient?

One tool that dedicated stitchers eventually invest in is the needlework stand – a device that holds a frame or a hoop so that you don’t have to! It is essentially a third hand (or pair of hands) that leaves your own two hands free to stitch. Or, in today’s terms, you could think of a needlework stand as a “third party app” that really does make things work better!

Wrist, arm, neck and back strain; finger and hand cramps; strange sitting positions to balance large frames; awkward stitching when you need to use both hands – all of these are things of the past, when you have a needlework stand!

If you haven’t reached the point of using a stand, but if stitching has become a major part of your creative life, chances are, you’ll eventually consider one. Or perhaps you have a stand you’re not thoroughly satisfied with?

Today, let’s navigate through the world of needlework stands together! We’ll talk about different types of devices to hold needlework, we’ll discuss the benefits of a floor stand, we’ll chat about what to look for in a good needlework stand, and we’ll explore some of the popular floor stands on the market today.

Needlework Stands - Overview of Different Types, Reviews
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Embroidery Supplies Rolling In & Preliminaries for Kids’ Classes


When preparing for kids’ classes in hand embroidery, there’s a whole checklist of things to go through before the classes are ready.

Setting goals, planning projects, stitching models, ordering supplies, constructing lessons, printing materials, kitting supplies, working out schedules, squaring away the space, getting in adequate lighting, seating, and work surfaces… there’s a lot to do behind the scenes when self-hosting embroidery classes!

Embroidery Classes for Kids - Supplies & Preliminaries
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