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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Making Embroidery Stitch Videos – What a Hoot.


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Guess what I’ve been doing this weekend? Yes, the title gives it away – making more embroidery stitch videos. When I began (yesterday morning), I was organized, enthusiastic, and patient. After working all day yesterday and a good five hours straight this afternoon, I’m feeling a bit impatient and cranky – so I thought it would be a good time for a break! I also decided to take some photos of my embroidery recording set-up and tell you how I go about making the embroidery video tutorials.

The first thing I do is make a list of what embroidery stitches I want to get done during the recording session. I’m always Really Optimistic when I make this list! I end up with a list of 25 or 30 embroidery stitches that I’m just Sure I’ll be able to record. Um… well, suffice it to say, optimism is always a good thing at the beginning of a project, but it’s even better in the middle!

Next, I gather up supplies and frame up a piece of fabric suitable for the stitches I want to do. In this weekend’s recording session, I used all perle cotton, and so far, I haven’t changed my fabric yet (which indicates rather clearly how few stitches I’ve accomplished!)

Then, I make space to set things up. But it’s Christmas still, and I have a tree to contend with.

Making Embroidery Stitch Video Tutorials

In the miniscule living room, I set up a straight chair, my embroidery stand (more about that later! It’s new, and it’s a gem!), a light, a small portable table to hold things, and my tripod set-up for the camera.

Making Embroidery Stitch Video Tutorials

I make sure the light and the camera are as well situated as they can be. Usually, I have the light from the window as well, to balance things out, but there’s a Christmas tree in the way this time.

Making Embroidery Stitch Video Tutorials

As you can see, the couch and the tripod tend to vie for space.

Making Embroidery Stitch Video Tutorials

Once the furniture part of the endeavor is situated, I move the camera aside while I put lines and squares and such on my fabric, planning out the first video – what stitch, where on the fabric, and so forth. This weekend, I decided to mark very clear lines on the fabric, to help ease the stress of lining things up properly while stitching with a camera in front of my nose.

Making Embroidery Stitch Video Tutorials

This is my view as I stitch. The item that I’m recording is located right smack under the camera there. Now you know why some of the stitching seems rather slow and awkward! It’s a matter of getting my hands in and out and around that camera, without knocking the whole set-up over!

After I’ve recorded the stitches on my camera – starting over, clipping, stopping, starting, deleting, trying one more time, shifting positions, deleting again, and starting and stopping a few more times for good measure – I take the camera to my computer and unload everything, and recharge the battery if necessary.

Opening Nero Vision Express, I make a movie – only not the whole movie. In Nero, I blend together any clips and make any cuts in the clips. Then I export the whole movie as an .avi file, and take it into Windows Movie Maker, where I add the title clip and closing clip, and the transitions between those and the video. I mute the sound on the video (be thankful!), and then I save the whole thing as a “test” of the movie.

Then, I watch the test several times, thinking my way back through the stitching, and recalling what I was saying in my head as I went (sometimes, not a good thing… riffemrackemfrickemfrackem comes to mind quite often!). Now’s the time to open up Audacity, and, while I’m watching the test video, I record the voice instructions. I hate that part. I don’t like hearing my own voice!

Next, I take the audio clip into Windows Movie Maker and insert it into the video, and run through it once to make sure it’s in the right position, and the audio and video are synchronized.

Once the sound and the video are situated, I save the whole thing in “best quality” on my computer. I watch it again to make sure it’s not too horrid… and then I upload it to Google video, where all my hard work gets compressed and somewhat muddled, but is still clear enough to make a lot of people happy with the videos!

Finally, when time allows, I unleash the thing on the public by writing a post here about the stitch.

And that, my friends, is how I make the embroidery stitch videos!

So far this weekend, I filmed the following stitches:

Bokhara couching
Roumanian couching
Buttonhole filling – detached and … un-detached? attached!
Rope stitch
Raised chain
Raised stem
Coral stitch
Scroll stitch
Ladder stitch
Pistol stitch (elongated French knots)

(Ooooooh – so much for my list of 30!)

Well, tomorrow is another day!


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(24) Comments

  1. That’s an incredible amount of time, skill and effort, Mary. Thanks you so much for these marvelous videos!

    I consider our living room pretty small at 12 by 16 feet, how does yours compare?

    Cindy in Oregon

  2. Poor Mary! So much hard work (and SO appreciated)

    What I’d like to know is this – and it’s for other readers of Mary’s blog.

    I get the video streaming for about 2 seconds, then a 5 second delay … and repeat.
    It makes them about impossible to watch.

    My broadband speed is midrange (I forget exactly what) and my computer isn’t top of the range, but is only a year old.

    Are there any tips and tricks to force the video to be cached, and then played all at once?

    That would make me a very happy woman,


  3. That is fantastic. How did you learn to do all that stuff? Seems that creative people are usually not technical too. Thanks for all your work!

  4. Thanks, all! It is a lot of work, but I like doing it – kind of challenging, and still creative, so it’s fun.

    Cindy, 12 x 16 sounds palacial!! about 10 x 12 here. It’s a tiny little house; the living room’s in the original part, which was built around 1900, apparently! So, yes, small!!

    Megan, I’m looking into your video prob!! I think it’s a cross between connection, computer, and google video.

    Ah, marybeth, I must credit my brother for teaching me the technical side of things!

    Thanks, again, for the nice comments —- I’ll be recording more video tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe I will get up to 30!!



  5. This is fascinating, especially the bit about not being able to see because of the camera, it makes me appreciate your videos even more. This is a great resource you are creating,

  6. Mary, I never realized making a video had so many steps. But I do appreciate your hard (and generous) work. I’ve learned many new stitches by watching your videos. Thank you for providing them. I really appreciate your hard work.


  7. Thanks, Pat & Ginger. It really has its “fun side”! I like doing it, and I’m all geared up for another session today. I just did the “woven picot.” That was fun!

  8. You are truly the best and I want you to know how much I appriciate you & look for your email each time I turn on my computer!!!!!

  9. Hi Mary,

    Wonderful,Marvellous,Fascinating what not to say,U r doing a very much excellent job,
    that too on the part that u cannot see the stitching bcoz of cam,V shud really appreciate u for ur creativity,technical side and thinking of helping others by making a library and posting it ,
    Thanks and keep it up


  10. Mary:

    Thanks so much for the time and effort you take to do these tutorials on video. It is so much easier to see it and understand the instructions over reading instructions. I appreciate it as I know everyone does and it helps me to teach my granddaughter.

  11. It's 5AM and how to make a French Knot? Thanks for your effort. Your video is very well made and your illustration of how you make the videos is interesting.

    PS: who likes their own voice recorded? My thought, prior to reading your comment, was "she's got a confident, smooth tone to her voice." That goes a long way and is very helpful.


  12. I feel exhausted just reading the 'how to'. You are a marvel for putting together your teaching videos, which are much appreciated by so many.
    I have learned many easy ways to stitch through your blog. Especially the Twisted Trellis stitch.
    Thank you.

  13. Wow Mary,

    As if I hadn’t guessed; what an amazing amount of time and dedication you put in to helping us all.

    I am in total awe of your fabulous dedication.

    May I ask, will you add fagotting stitch to your repertoire in the future……..none of my books have step by step instructions and so I have problems and never get to completing the stitch………..help please.

    1. CJ – regarding the camera – I have a couple different ones I use consistently. I think I took most of these photos with an Olympus EP1. I also have an ancient Olympus point and shoot (Stylus 800) that takes excellent photos in macro mode, so I use that quite a bit, especially when I’m in a hurry!

  14. Hello Mary, Very nice you are one talented person. Regarding your camera stand, i am curious how do you call that kind of stand. I sometimes do video tutorials on card making and i have a tough time setting my camera. If dont mind me answering as to what do you call that kind of stand and where can i buy that kind. thank you and have a wonderful day. ashie

    1. Hi, Ashie – Actually, I don’t use that stand anymore – it’s way too wobbly and the slightest movement causes it to bounce around, even more so if your camera has any weight to it. I bought a tripod with a horizontal arm, which seems to work much better and which can hold a better camera. Hope that helps… ~MC

  15. Thanks, Mary, That is a great set up! So glad I found it. I just changed to high speed, and I love watching your stitch videos — without the waiting. I had to watch as it played with long loading pauses before and it had to be something I really wanted to see for that. Your clips are beautiful. Dolores

  16. Hey, I’m reading your historical posts, which i’m finding out all sorts of cool things. I just read this one today, and I didn’t realize how much went into the video making either! I’m impressed with your patience and skill with the camera.

    I wanted to add my thanks to those above for taking the time and effort to do your stitch tutorials. They’re clear enough that even with the sound off, I can follow and understand how to create the stitches on my own for most of them. (I’m not sure I can explain my issues with sound in a succint manner; suffice it to say that by the time I get home, I’m usually ready for _zero_ noise input for a while.) Occasionally I run into one that I turn the sound back on for, but most are awesomely complete even without. I consider that a mark of real craftsmanship for a video tutorial!

    I don’t comment very much anywhere, but I do love your blog, and am learning so much from it.

    -Monika in Mobile

  17. Hi…this article was a great help since i was wondering how to set up the camera for making an embroidery video for my students.
    could you pls tell me more about the stand and where i can get one like that

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