Mary Corbet

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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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Embroidery Designer Spotlight: Laura J. Perin


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I like embroidery designers. I like the fact that there are people in the world with creative and marketing sense who help the rest of us enjoy embroidery or perfect a technique without doing the “hard work” – thinking about how to plan and tackle a project. I was perusing some blackwork links when I came across the designs of Laura Perin.

Laura’s embroidery designs are sold in shops around the globe (the first one I came across was actually in the UK – an online shop called Happy Hobbits, which seems to specialize in counted techniques depicting fantasy-type art). You can also purchase her embroidery designs through her own website, Laura J. Perin Designs.

Her designs are counted techniques, and what she sells on her site are the designs only – the charts and patterns. She doesn’t sell full kits, but she gives recommendations for threads and fabric.

She’s got a nice collection of blackwork patterns that include animals, flower motifs, angels, various stylized designs, and people in period costumes.

And then she’s got this section of quilt patterns that are worked in cotton and silks on mono canvas – I think these would be heaps of fun to work, and would make such great gifts for the quilters in our lives! Nice accents for walls, etc. And they are really eye-catchers. Some look more challenging than others.

To top everything off, Laura offers a free pattern page. This is generous – designers don’t have to offer free patterns, certainly, but it is an effective way of getting stitchers interested in their designs!

Laura’s also got a blog, The Two-Handed Stitcher, which features photos of her works. Don’t miss the blackwork knight on that page. He’s cool – I’d like to have him in my classroom! Reading through her posts is amusing and informative. She explains the origin of the name of the site (Two-Handed Stitcher), which is a good lesson for anyone serious about getting into embroidery.

And now a plug for designs and kits: I always have a kit or two on hand for what I call “casual” stitching – that is, stitching for my own pleasure, without having to do anything in particular with the product. If I buy a kit, it is usually one from a designer who specializes in a particular technique (like Tanja Berlin’s needle painting kits or Laura Perin’s blackwork kits). Working through a kit or a pattern by these designers is a GREAT learning tool. If you want to learn a technique well, it isn’t enough just to practice a few stitches of this stitch or that stitch, or to work one tiny thing in a particular technique, and then to move on to another technique. If you want to perfect your embroidery skills, then you need to explore somewhat deeply specific techniques. Kits and patterns give the stitcher a manageable way to complete a project, and they generally introduce the stitcher to the nuances of the specific technique. As you acquire skill in the technique, you can move on to more complex projects, all the while having fun while the embroidery unfolds before you. If you find you lose interest in the technique, that’s ok, too. Try another. But if you want to become skilled at stitching, I think it’s important to learn different techniques with depth – not just to skim the surface by learning to execute a whole bunch of different stitches.

Now this is just my opinion, of course! And if your goal is to just have fun with your needle doing whatever pops into your head – hey, that’s great, too!!

Enjoy Laura Perin’s site. I know when my schedule loosens up a bit, I’m going to get a couple of her blackwork patterns for some “casual” stitching.


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  1. Lovely work, thanks Mary. You should also know about the work of Helen Stevens in England. She also offers a series of classes online with video clips of every part of the design. She works with flat silk exclusively. I have very much enjoyed her classes and as you say, will do another as soon as I clear out some other projects.



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