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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A Thousand Flowers: Four Tapestry Smalls to Stitch


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For a while now, I’ve been hinting about a project I’ve been working on that I wanted to show you soon.

And Soon has finally arrived! Yay!

I’ve been working on a collection of “smalls.” Smalls are little pieces of embroidery or other needlework that usually get finished into (small) things.

I’ve called this collection of four smalls A Thousand Flowers. It’s a group of four tapestry smalls featuring animals set in a floral background, all as a nod to my favorite pieces of textile art that we chatted about the other day.

The title A Thousand Flowers hails from the French mille fleur. The mille-fleur backgrounds of medieval tapestries are delightful! And they don’t belong solely to the medieval age. Check out tapestries from the Arts & Crafts era, and you will find that Morris and his contemporaries, leaning toward medieval themes, incorporated this same background approach in their own textile art. A different stylization, perhaps, but no less abundantly floral!

A Thousand Flowers: Tapestry Smalls by Mary Corbet - dog with floral background
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Passion for Needlework, Factoria VII – Book Review


Good morning, my friends!

A Happy Monday all around, and Happy Veteran’s Day (well, yesterday, really)! If you’re enjoying a three-day weekend – perhaps you’ve got a whole extra day to devote to your needle and thread! – be thankful to the people who made that possible. (Thanks, Dad!)

Today, I’m going to review for you a hefty but incredibly beautiful book. This book combines projects and instructions into an artistic, gorgeous format that makes the book a showpiece in its own right.

If you ever wanted needlework to make a statement to the wider world – to the world that might not appreciate needlework in itself, but that appreciates beauty in a simple yet inspirational setting – then this is the book to present. It’s definitely a creative twist on the typical embroidery project book.

The book is A Passion for Needlework: Factoria VII, from Inspirations Studio.

A Passion for Needlework: Factoria VII, book review - cover
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Must-Have Little Tools for Finishing & a Sneak Peek!


The last two weeks, I’ve been doing a bit of finish work – that is, making the needlework projects that I’ve been working on into specific, finished things.

While I was working away, I realized how much I rely on the little tools I’m going to tell you about today, to make finishing much, much easier for me.

So, just in case you’re in the throes of finishing up, for example, needlework ornaments for the holidays, I must tell you that Clover’s mini wonder clips are a mini wonder – and they will help you!

Plus, you get a little sneak peek at a series of projects coming soon on Needle ‘n Thread!

Clover Mini Wonder Clips for Finishing Needlework
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Other Art that Inspires Needlework: My Favorites


If you ever cruise around social media – especially Instagram and Pinterest – you’ll often come across embroidery or other needlework that’s based on or inspired by other works of art from the past.

Van Gogh’s Starry Night shows up in surface embroidery quite a bit! Or the girl with the pearl earring – did Vermeer know that his tronie would show up in cross stitch, in surface embroidery, even in goldwork 350 years later?

We would be a dried up and dead world, completely disconnected from our roots, if we did not draw inspirations from previous centuries for any of our artistic pursuits. Just as ideas build on previous ideas, just as inventions morph from previous inventions, art builds on art. That’s the nature of the development of human endeavor.

Today, by way of introduction, I’m going to babble a bit about some of my favorite pieces of art that have been on my mind and in my needlework plans for a long, long while. And, for all you art, history, and textile enthusiasts, you’ll find an interesting lecture about these works of art at the end of today’s article.

Other Art that Inspires Needlework - Lady & The Unicorn Tapestries
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Tool Talk: Sajou Embroidery Scissors


Happy Monday all around!

This morning, a little Tool Talk! I love talking about needlework tools!

For those just discovering Needle ‘n Thread, occasionally I like to review tools and accessories for hand embroidery, to help you find those pleasant and useful little things that enhance your needlework experience.

Hopefully, these reviews give you an idea of what’s available on the market, where you can find it, the pros and cons of different tools, and sometimes, a comparison between other similar goods available.

Of course, you should definitely keep in mind that these are just my opinions about needlework tools that I’ve handled and used. I like them (or I wouldn’t be reviewing them) and think they’re worth passing on information about. But we all have our individual tastes and preferences, our needs and budgets – the reviews I write up are simply to add to your knowledge about needlework tools and accessories so that you can make well-informed and balanced decisions about your wants and needs for stitching.

So today, let’s take a look, up close, at Sajou embroidery scissors! We’ll look at the scissors, talk about pros and cons, I’ll share my experience with them so far, and tell you where you can find them.

Sajou scissors for Hand Embroidery
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Oh, Crepe! This is Nice Fabric! (Or, a Look at Linen Crepe for Embroidery)


In case you hadn’t heard yet, Access Commodities – the company that imports the linen I like to use for embroidery (their Legacy Linen line of needlework linens) – is expanding their line of fine needlework linen!

I’m very excited about this, because, you see, there’s linen, and then there’s Linen. Some linen is just better for needlework than other linen, and that’s all there is to it.

I’m not trying to sound like a fabric snob. I just think you deserve to know that there is beautiful needlework linen out there, specially curated to provide you with the best stitching experience.

Imported from Europe, where flax thrives best, these linens are made from the ground up with skill, oversight, and great care, to ensure an excellent fabric.

Today, I’m going to show you a completely different sort of linen called Linen Crepe. It’s imported from Sotema in Italy. We’ll look at it up close, discuss some of the features, muse about its uses, and I’ll tell you where you can get it at the end of the article.

Linen Crepe for Hand Embroidery
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Here’s a Treat: Embroidery Thread Skein Tips


I tried to come up with something particularly Halloweeny to share with you today. But the fact is, aside from this tutorial on embroidering a wee pumpkin (which isn’t necessarily “Halloweeny”), and this pillow case that sports (among other things) an embroidered jack-o-lantern, and this basket of pumpkins (again, fall-ish, but not particular to Halloween), I really don’t have any creepy stitching for you.

But if you squizz about online searching for Halloween stitchery, I guarantee you, you’ll find plenty out there!

What I do have for you today is a little treat in the form of some tips for handling your skeins of threads, whatever types they happen to be.

Thread skeins, as I’m sure you know, can be a source of aggravation, irritation, and downright consternation! They can be the beginning of the end of an embroidery project, if you let them get to you.

I’ve written a few articles over the years about handling different types of skeins of embroidery threads, and if consider them all generally (rather than specifically meant for This Particular Brand of Thread or That Particular Brand of Thread), you’re bound to find a solution for practically any type of skein of embroidery thread.

I’m also going to debunk a popular tip that’s spreading around on social media right now, just for the sake of preventing confusion.

Thread Tips: Taming Hanks & Skeins of Thread
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