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 Stash Give-Away – Want Some?


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As promised, here’s this month’s embroidery stash give-away. I went through my boxes of embroidery supplies and pulled out random things that I’d like to give to one of you, just for the fun of it!

There are a couple options for embellishment of your embroidery projects (whether regular surface embroidery, canvas work, or crazy quilting)… and some of them are a little bit “Valentine’s-ish” since it’s February!

Embroidery Stash Give-Away for February, 2008

First of all, there’s some glittery gold stuff! You can add a little sparkle to your projects with these.

Embroidery Stash Give-Away for February, 2008

From left to right, there’s a spool of Sulky metallic (can be used for hand embroidery or machine), a spool of Kreinik blending filament (that you add to any color of your own floss), and a spool of Kreinik gold braid (medium, #16). The latter is good for couching and for some canvas work applications. It also makes great cords for Christmas ornaments, or great decoration for cards and so forth.

Embroidery Stash Give-Away for February, 2008

This is a little Valentine heart printed on cotton, good for crazy quilting or for card-making, or for anything your little heart can come up with!

Embroidery Stash Give-Away for February, 2008

And, finally, a tiny box of little things: three red jade heart beads, teeny tiny, and really pretty; a clear flower-shaped button (acrylic, I think), and some beetle wings. About the beetle wings: even if you think you’d never ever be interested in embellishing with these things (which can be trimmed and cut into different shapes and sizes), you should at least see them in person, as they are quite beautiful!

So that’s the loot. Here’s the deal:

Leave a comment here and let me know something about how you manage your time for needlework – or for anything else that allows you time to indulge in needlework. Time management tips are always appreciated, and I think other readers would like to hear what YOU do. So, for example, what do you do to make sure you’re using your embroidery time efficiently? Or, what do you do during the day to make sure you have time for embroidery? Anything like that!

(If you’re absolutely stuck and have no time management ideas, you can post your thoughts on “time and needlework” or “taking time to do needlework”!)

If you don’t have a blogger account, please make sure you leave your first name (and last initial is helpful, too!) in the post, so that the drawing is a bit easier.

On Thursday, I’ll draw names from among the commentors. I’ll post the name of the winner, and then you can contact me via e-mail with your snail mail address.

Thanks, Paula, for the idea for this month’s contest. Paula won last month’s contest, and her loot arrived in Australia less than two weeks after mailing! I thought that was pretty good, considering I mailed it first class, not priority!

The contest is open to anyone. I’ll mail overseas mail the cheapest possible airmail option.

(By the way, the reason I title these things “Want Some?” is because that is the only half-way clever phrase my silly parrot can utter. He says it whenever he sees something he wants – food, water…shiny buttons… )

Don’t be shy! And thanks for participating!


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(31) Comments

  1. I suppose this idea could be considered as much organization as time management, but now that I think of it, they are pretty much the same thing. Anyway, my idea is BOXES, lots of boxes! When I am getting ready to start a new project, I gather everything I will need for it into a lidded plastic storage box, sized appropriately for the project. I also prepare the space I will need for the project. Right now I am into beading projects, so a corner of the ping pong table is really all I need, but sometimes this part of project preparation requires cleaning out my whole sewing room and getting everything else organized so I have the space to do a big project like a quilt or a scrapbook. If I would only follow the same advice I give my children – when you’re finished with something, put it away where it belongs – this wouldn’t be such a big deal! So, gathering necessary items and preparing space so that when you do have the time, you can use it efficiently…that’s my idea.

  2. As for time management, I also use a baggie and shoebox system. I have several hoops and plenty of floss, so I put together kits for myself with the colors I want to use, fabric with the pattern already stamped on it, a hoop and a needle.
    This keeps everything together and I can easily switch from one project to another. The only thing I have to transfer about is scissors.
    This also keeps my projects portable so I can work on them on car trips, in the Dr.s’ waiting rooms, or during naptime!
    Mostly I get my time for needlework during naptime and bathtime ( my Husband’s job to bathe the boys!) and some on the weekends if there is nothing planned. It’s a good thing I work fast, or I would have more projects lined up than I could handle. Currently I only have 3 backed up, but hundreds *slight exaggeration* floating around in my head at any given time…

  3. I use the time after dinner. Dinner cooked (No 1 husband does dishes) days work over, and something trashy on the box = embroidery time. Also sometimes when I am sitting up in bed with my first cup of tea.

    In fact, in general sitting down time is embroidery time. I favour smallish projects, which can all fit in my embroidery box, and it travels around the house with me. I also take it visiting (to frock friendly firends only) like a lady of old would do.

    Currently I’m embroidering lapels and a yoke for an Artistic Reform Teagown.

  4. I carry small projects to do during lunchtime and breaks at work. Evenings and weekends, I multitask with my computer time, stitching while I wait for pages to load.

  5. Having given you the idea for this draw you’d think I’d have a spectacular tip thought up already, but I dont!
    My time managment tip: I get up at 5.30am for computer time, I race around doing everything before school starts, so I can do an hour or so of needlework during naptime. During this time I do NOT turn on the computer.

    As I won the last comp – if you happen to draw my name again, you can do a redraw!

    I was very attracted by the beetle wings- I was reading about them only yesterday – I was wondering where you purchased them?

  6. Hi Mary heres my tips for time managment when ever you use somthing put it back! have a place for everything and keep it there …searching for that certain red or blue in your stash that you need will eat away precious stitching time … also if you cant seem to even squeeze in even a few minutes a day cut out somthing that you know you dont need to do like TV or surfing the net or better yet multi task if you need to read a book then try books on tape ect …..well im still a beginner so thats my little tidbit i hope i win ive been coveting those beetle wings ever since the first day i saw them on your blog ———– macabrechaos

  7. Hi Mary,

    Last time I did not comment coz I didn’t want you to spend whole lot of money in shipping.This time too no compulsions from my part to include me in the lot (Iam from India ).
    As for time mgmt,whatever I decide doesn’t happen always since my 2 year old daughter insists on my giving her company all the time.Usually,when she sleeps I start with my stitching.My resolve for this year was whatever happens,everyday I would spend atleast half an hour for the same.Nothing else could pull me away from my needle’n thread for that half hour.

  8. Hi, Mary, your site is great. 🙂
    Here are my time-saving tips.
    I use an excel table for floss storage management. When I collect the flosses needed for my next project, I write the name of the design after the color code and amount, so if I’m searching for the elusive Anchor 352 floss, I know it is in the “Squrrel” project right now. I use small craft boxes for storing my many threaded needles as a needle organizer. 🙂
    KerGiz, Hungary

  9. Hi Mary!
    I absolutely LOVE your site! Here is my tip:
    Set your timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can quickly. You will be amazed at how much you can really get done. Do this twice a day. Then you can be in embroidery heaven with the time “saved”!

  10. Good morning Mary, I have learned so much from your blog and site. thank you so much for sharing.
    When I organize my needlework, I keep a current project in a big bag (I collect all kinds) and put all my supplies in one pocket and my project and hoop in the other.
    For time management, after supper and dishes are washed, my husband and I enjoy a tv program together, share our day, and I grab my bag and work on my needlework then.
    also if it is a bad day-very cold or rain etc, I grab a few hours in the afternoon with a hot cup of tea or cocoa and work on my needlework too.

  11. Hi Ya Mary
    I dont know if you want an Aussie posting to get in on the great stash giveaway but as soon as I saw those beetle wings I though I gotta have a go
    so my tip always carry a small bag with something tiny and when yo have a break from the dull jobs ie housework or going to the Drs oe any appointments- have this wee stash bag with you (its gotta have scissors and needles and the fabric and threads etc in your zip lock baggie) drag it out and spend a few minutes stitching. You have no idea how this will make those minutes/hours spent waiting flying and of course the comments and chat from others in the waiting room will introduce more men / women to our wonderful needlwork lives. Even a cuppa and a few minutes at home with a stash baggie will while away the minutes/hours happily,( after all I have found the housework will be there tomorrow if I get carried away on my stash baggie LOL)
    love n hugs Bear xoxoxoxoxo

  12. Hi! My way of making sure that projects get done (and that I stay in personal communication with people with the same love of the needlearts) was to start a lunch time “Handcrafter’s Gathering” at work. I put out the word, informally, and we started meeting once a week at noon for an hour. People exchange ideas, teach each other stitches and techniques, and share chartiable organizations we contribute items to regularly. We even have a sculpter that is interested in coming. This has been a great way for all of us to commit to at least one hour a week to push through those projects that have been sitting. Then we want to show progress for next time, so everyone has been squeezing in more time at home!

  13. I have a shelf in my craft room where I lay out my various projects with all the necessary items – needles, thread, beads, ribbons, etc – in zip-lock plastic bags arrange by degree of difficulty/time. I can see at a glance what the project is, which also serves as a reminder as to what is still waiting for my attention – out of sight out of mind! Having been sewing for nearly as long as I am old, I have accumulated multiples of nearly all my tools over the years, and I have a nice little stash of materials and embelishments, so including things like embroidery scissors, thimbles, thread or small hoops or frames in each bag isn’t a problem. Everything is ready for me to just grab and begin work whenever I have a little extra time. There are a variety of different projects, so I have a choice as to what I want to work on at any given time, so I’m never bored. This method really saves me the time it would take to gather up all my supplies from all over my craft room if I put everything away everytime after working on a project. Hope some of you find this a useful method.

    Lori N
    Auburn, WA

  14. I store my current projects in reinforced plastic zip bags. They go in my tote for travel. For thread storage I mostly use labelled plastic shoe boxes stacked on shelves in the sewing/computer room. My dream is to have a multi-drawer map cabinet where I can lay my threads flat and spread out and see them easily.

  15. Very inspiring comments!
    I take the time that is spent commuting on the bus to either stitch or plan out designs and projects. Lunchtime with my other crafty coworkers provides another few minutes to make incremental progress.
    I set aside any stitching time that is available on Sundays for either larger, non-portable projects or church-related stitching.
    I also put all of my supplies for the current portably sized project in a nicely covered slide box (roughly 8x5x1 1/2 inches). This prevents the threads from getting tangled and everything getting crushed as I put it in and out of my bag a dozen times a day. If it is small enough, the project can even stay on the hoop inside the box.
    The biggest time-saver is my project journal, however. Because the design phase is always the most time-consuming part for me, I carry it around to wherever I go and any spare moments when stitching isn’t possible for whatever reason, I can whip it out and sketch away.

  16. Evenin’ All,
    I have more time on my hands these days so I can stitch about anytime of day or night (and I do 🙂 )
    I keep my threads in those little crayon boxes that the kids use in grade school. I found tons of them on an end-cap at Wal-Mart for 50 cents each and stocked up. I put address labels on the ends of them so I know which threads are in them.
    When working on a particular project, I place all the threads, beads or whatever in one of the boxes and keep it by the sofa so when I sit down, I can just grab it and stitch away.
    Jackie C.

  17. I just find a comfy chair and table to set my thread holder on and directons and go to work. When ever the TV is on if I dont like the program Ill just sit and cross-stitch, with a good light!

  18. Be organized and have everything ready. Have more than one type of project going at a time. Short times of stitching can add up in the end.

    I get lonely when my husband is out of town. I find myself watching TV too much or reading junk books. So this time, I put together a couple cross stitch projects, borrowed a couple of good books on tape from the library, and after I get the kids to bed, I listen and stitch until I get sleepy.

  19. The way I make sure I have time to stitch or quilt is I devote the morning to household chores, then most afternoons are for sewing and evenings for stitching. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, but that is the plan. I’ll revise when spring comes and get the garden work in there as well, high heat of the day then is for sewing.

  20. I keep two lists by my basket, one for current projects (I keep four or five going at any one time) and one for WISPs (anything I’ve not finished for whatever reason over whatever period of time!). Every time I sit down, I pick up one or the other item, usually evenings when I’m watching TV. I have managed to finish six WISPs, and am almost done with two of my current five projects. This way I do not lose interest and things get finished in a timely (*grin*) manner!

    BTW, those beautiful beetle wings look like halves of jalapeno peppers…!!!

  21. I too sew in my lunch break which always sparks loads of interest. My best creative time is when I get the kids to ‘help’. My four year old will spend ages sifting through my boxes of goodies, often unearthing treasures I’d forgotten. He can pull out pins while I rattle something through the machine. Will is also painfully honest and suprisingly considered in his opinions. Hopefully I’m nurturing a life long ali in my creative pursuit.

  22. I guess this isn’t really new, but I divide each “work in progress” into it’s own canvas bag so it’s really portable. My husband and I have a travelling business. Fortunately he likes to drive, so I do a lot of needlework in the car.


    Sara Wisdom

  23. I take it along with my lunch and work on it during breaks and lunch. I put in gallon ziplock bag and take what I need for that day or project. I did greenwork embrodiery blocks for my brother 25 anniversary. wish I had a picture of it. and my grand daughter baby quilt block (still need to finish put together)

  24. Mary, I am sorry to hear you are ill – get well soon. I look forward every day to your email and wherever your links lead me. I work all day on a computer at work, but your site is so inspiring I spend an hour each morning before I go to work just reading your email and links. Many, many thanks for the hours of pleasure you give me. Ann J

  25. My way of gaining time is simple, but effective: no TV watching, ever.

    I recently read that the average person spends 14 hours per week watching TV. No TV means an extra 14 hours for embroidery. And one is left with something far more tangible at the end of that time, as well.

    About those beautiful beetle wings – years back I saw them in a museum in Japan. They had been used in inlay work in a table that was several hundred years old. They had lost most of their irridescence due to age, but were still intact.

  26. My time saving advice is to put stuff away when you are done so you don’t have to clean up before you sit down to stitch.

    Melisa Bakos

  27. Hi Mary I have tried to post this 3 times I hope it comes thru this time. I have 2 sewing baskets (the old fashion wones that stand on the floor). One is filled with all beads and beading thread and needles. All the beads are put into those plastic baby food jars with the lids, they are great for bead sotrage. The other sewing basket has my hoops, thread, needles, thread heaven and other supplies. If I havet o trace a pattern or motif or build a block that is already done during the day this way after dinner my DH does the dishes and I have at least 2 hours to stitch. It works out very well.
    Thanks for the opportunity

  28. I have a plan! Counted Crosstitch is my first love but I’m finding it too time consuming, so a friend has introduced me to embroidered greeting cards. After punching the design I will be able to take my stash of thread, paper and needles in a small kit for on the road trips to do while waiting for appointments and meetings which have taken over my life recently. I hear this pastime generates a lot of interest and will be a good way to start conversations with others in the same curcumstances as myself. It will also allow me to feel like I’ve been able to accomplished something that day. Happy stitching!
    Sandy S

  29. Being a widow, retired from teaching art techniques, I am finally in heaven with time to do projects—they make my life worthwhile …..Jilly

  30. Hi Mary, I will leave my great grandmothers tip that she gave me . She told me to have a work basket at every chair I sit in and always leave it ready for the next time. She said even two stitches is worth it because you are two stitches closer to finishing your project. VBH Debby Long in Michigan

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