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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (52) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Canvas Work & Embroidery Sampler Update…


Amazon Books

A while ago, I posted the beginnings of my excursion into canvas work (or needlepoint). My plan was to make a little sampler, just to play with some stitches and threads. I haven’t made a lot of progress on it, but the little I’ve done has been a lot of fun and a good learning experience.

I’m work on 24 count soft congress cloth, and using a variety of threads – really, anything I pull out of my stash that looks remotely like it might belong to a general color scheme! I’ve been playing with all kinds of stitches, but nothing too magnificent. There are quite a few more stitches and combinations that I’m looking forward to trying!

Little Canvas Work Sampler

As you can see, there are lots of blank spaces to fill in, and a bit more growing room on the top. I’m not quite fond of that curl on the top right. I was trying to play with shading, but I’m not too keen on the results!

The paisley-looking thing in the middle is not very well or precisely done! I drew it straight onto the fabric with a pen, then stitched the outline first in stem stitch in several strands of floss, then filled in with tent stitch. I think that might be cheating!

Little Canvas Work Sampler

That zig-zag area is not quite true to color. I should have played with the photo a bit to get it more realistic. The greens are more yellow and less blue. Anyway, the fun thing about that area: I worked it in Eterna stranded silk, which is an almost-flat Chinese silk with a nice sheen. It can be a grouchy thread to work with in regular surface embroidery. I thought it would be a bear in canvas work, but I was pleasantly surprised! I like it!

Little Canvas Work Sampler

The background bluish-purple in the squares is worked with Soie d’Alger, and I think it is, so far, my favorite thread to work with on this canvas. I may very well be using too many strands (4, I think – but it may have only been 3!) on 24 count, but it was still really buttery-soft and easy to work with. The gold crossing over the purple is also Soie d’Alger. The camera doesn’t catch the soft sheen of the floss, but it does shine (not as much as the flat silk, but with a soft kind of glow).

The gold underneath the brighter green zig-zag is rayon ribbon floss. Interesting stuff to work with.

Little Canvas Work Sampler

I like to look at things from an angle.

Little Canvas Work Sampler

This photo shows the Rhodes stitch and tent stitch strip. The Rhodes stitch squares were rather randomly placed – I didn’t count them out or mark them first. You can also see, in the front leaf of the paisley-thing, how messy the bottom rows look. I think two things were happening: my thread was wearing out, and I changed direction in my stitching.

So, that’s the sampler so far. I am looking forward to hopefully a weeeeee bit of stitching time for it this weekend…. if the planets line up in my favor, anyway!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(10) Comments

  1. Yippee! Thanks Paula – I’m glad to hear they arrived. And thanks for the compliments on the sampler. I’m looking forward to some stitching time to finish off a couple blank spots!

  2. Mary – This looks great. Much more inspiring than my needlepoint sampler – ans a huge improvment on the first time you showed us! Those imperfections you mentioned when it was just 4 squares big, you dont even notice anymore. And I know i emailed you, but I wanted to say again – thank you – the threads etc arrived in the post!

  3. re: outlining and then filling in – by coincidence I got a Kaffe Fassett needlepoint book at the library a week or so ago – and that is exactly what he recommends for his designing work! If you haven’t checked him out, the book is very very lovely and (dare I say it?) inspiring. You seem to be adventurous and might like his ideas!

    Your sampler so far looks good – and makes me want to try some needlepoint!

    Beverly in CA

  4. ummm… I’m new to your blog – if you are really familiar with Kaffe Fassett and have already reviewed his books and discussed him many times…. sorry!
    Beverly again

  5. Thanks, Beverly! I will look him up – I’m not familiar with him. I haven’t done much in the way of canvas work – in fact, this is it so far. I’m mostly a surface embroidery nut.

    Thank you for the resource! I appreciate it!


  6. Mary This is all beautiful – however I particularly love the shading on the top left hand corner- it is so good! Csn’t wait to see the finished piece!

  7. I am using 100% cotton in making a quit and some of squares going to be embroidery. When I finish with all the embroidery, the back of it looks like rats been playing in it.

More Comments