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 (8) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Embroidered Treasures: Flowers – Book Review



If you love flowers, if you love needlework, if you love historical and modern embroidery techniques, if you love museums and collections and threads and unique things, if you love costuming and accessories…well. Here’s a book for you!

Embroidered Treasures: Flowers is a book that brings to life, for you and me, the embroidered flowers found on items of needlework in the collection held by the Embroiderers’ Guild of the UK. It’s a fascinating book – one that you’ll want to pore over, contemplate, and absorb.

When I first heard this book was coming out, I immediately put it on my List and then eagerly anticipated it for months. It does not disappoint!

Let’s look at it up close! I’ll show you just a mere portion of the inspiration offered in this incredibly beautiful book – enough to illustrate what it’s all about – and tell you where you can find it today. It’s not available everywhere just yet, and I kind of suspect it’s going to be a popular book (like museum collection catalogs – they never seem to hang around long enough!).

Embroidered Treasures: Flowers - a Book Review
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Embroidered Mittens Progress – the Good, the Bad, the Ugly!


Thanks to a bit of home-bound weather on Thursday, a bit of determination on Friday, and a bit of down time on Saturday, I’ve made some progress on the wool mittens I started last week!

This project is an ideal project for deep winter, especially when you live in a house that’s about 150 years old. There’s nothing quite like being able to stick your hand inside your embroidery project for a quick warm-up!

I’m learning a lot as I work through the first mitten, and I’m keeping track of little tips to share with you, should you decide to embark on a similar project. So, let’s talk progress!

hand embroidery on wool felted mittens
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Party in Provence: First Round and Layering


Happy Friday!

Today, we start the actual stitching on Party in Provence! Yay! For those just joining in, this is the embroidered kaleidoscope project we discussed week before last, when we talked about the materials and supplies needed to embroider the design.

If you plan to embroider Party in Provence and you’re not ready to start yet, no worries! The articles will be available on Needle ‘n Thread when you’re ready, and they’ll be indexed under Tips & Techniques in the main menu, where you’ll find other step-by-step embroidery projects and tutorials that have been previously covered on Needle ‘n Thread.

In this installment, we’re going to launch into the first stitched layer around the kaleidoscope, which actually might not be the layer you expect! I’ll tell you why I started with this particular layer, explain how I stitched it and what threads I used, link you to pertinent tutorials for techniques, cover some tips to help you stitch the round successfully, and even show you a failed experiment on this layer of the design and talk about why the attempt didn’t work for me. At the end of the article, I’ll mention some supply information, for those looking for supplies for Party in Provence.

Even if you’re not working Provence, I hope you find the tips and musings in these follow-along articles helpful for your own embroidery projects!

Party in Provence Embroidered Kaleidoscope - First Rounds, Layering, Order of Work
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Hand Embroidery on Felted Wool Mittens


So, you know how on Monday, I showed you my first embroidery finish of 2018?

Well, this morning, I’m going to show you my first start of 2018.

Now, you might think that the little needlepainted bird from Monday would fall in this category, but in fact, I started it on New Year’s Eve, so it doesn’t count.

But this adventuresome project I’m going to show you today was my first Big Start in 2018!

It’s not a huge project, size-wise, but I suspect that it’s going to be a time-consuming (and attention-consuming) one. I’m excited about it, I’m having a lot of fun with it, I’m learning a lot from it, I’m making some decent mistakes along the way, but I think, in the long run, it might actually turn out ok!

Hand Embroidery on Felted Wool Mittens
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A Wee Needlepainted Bird – First 2018 Finish


Oh boy, oh boy! I’ve actually finished a whole entire embroidery project, and we’re only a week into 2018!

Of course, the design is only about 2″ high. And it’s not all that detailed. And it takes a whopping 6-7 hours to stitch…maybe.

Yes. Well. So much for bragging.

But I’ll show it to you, anyway! I have mixed feelings about it. I like the outcome, but there are some things that I wish I had done differently, and there are some things I did do differently.

So, let’s take a look at this tiny needlepainted bird. I’ll tell you a bit about the kit, how I approached the stitching, the mistakes I made, and the things I changed.

Needlepainting embroidery: small bird kit from Maison Noel
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5 Tips for Successful French Knots – Every Time!


It’s time to overcome, once and for all, the Fear of French Knots – to achieve mastery over this tiny bump of an embroidery stitch, to claim it as your own, so that each French knot you make for the rest of your life is a successful French knot.

French knots are one of the most frequently used embroidery stitches. I rank it right up there among my Top Ten embroidery stitches you should know. Nothing adds a dot or a bump – or creates a whole carpet of textured filling – quite like a French knot does.

So it’s definitely worthwhile to take the time to master the little booger!

If you aren’t perfectly satisfied with your own French knots, here’s a lrefresher course so that you can create perfect French knots with ease.

How to Make French Knots in Embroidery - 5 Tips
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Let’s Get this Party Started!


To kick off the New Year with a rather grand – and fun! – embroidery project, let’s travel step-by-step together through Party in Provence, a colorful embroidered kaleidoscope project reminiscent of the sunny region of Provence, and perfect for kicking the Winter Blues!

Today, I’m just going to introduce you to the project in a little more detail, tell you what you can expect from it, and for those who want to stitch along, I’ll list the supplies I used so that you can line them up if you want to use the same colors, threads, materials, stitches and whatnot.

If you’re not planning on stitching Party in Provence yourself, don’t worry! We’ll be covering plenty of embroidery tips and techniques that you can apply to your own needlework projects. So you won’t get bored (I hope!), and you might pick up some handy bits for your own stitching endeavors.

I also encourage you to tell a friend about the project! Maybe you can drum up some buddies who want to stitch Party in Provence, too! It’s always fun to work through projects together!

Party in Provence Embroidered Kaleidoscope Instructions: Introduction & Materials
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