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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July Embroidery Stash Give-Away – Simple, but Fun


Amazon Books

Rummaging through stash stuff this afternoon, I tried to figure out what would make a good, coherent collection for a little stash-giveaway. For those of you new to the concept, each month, I give away a little package from my collection of needlework goods, in an effort to reduce my stash (ha!) and just … well, for the fun of it, to give readers the opportunity to play around with new threads, stitches, techniques, fabrics, or whathaveyou. I decided to stick with something simple, but fun.

The contents of the package this month include a white kitchen towel awaiting your embellishment, four colors of perle cotton #5, an English needle (crewel size 1), and a book – the old Anchor freestyle embroidery book.

July Embroidery Stash Giveaway - Fun and Simple threads and a book

For advanced embroiderers, this might seem a mundane package, but you know what? I like the simple, fun embroidery that comes with these types of threads, a blank towel, and some new stitches and patterns from a good book. This brings embroidery to the level of ultimate relaxation for me, and the product is always something that is thoughtful, colorful, and fun as a gift.

July Embroidery Stash Giveaway - Fun and Simple threads and a book

It’s true that the least exciting thing in the package is probably the needle, but by including it, you’re saved a trip out, if you want to start a project right away and you don’t have the right sized needle on hand!

July Embroidery Stash Giveaway - Fun and Simple threads and a book

I stuck with some brightly colored, pretty perle cottons – three are DMC, the purple is Anchor. This will give you the opportunity to feel the difference between the DMC thread and the Anchor – there is one, you know! The Anchor perle feels “dry” to me, compared to the DMC. It seems a little less soft, too. But it stitches really well! They both do.

July Embroidery Stash Giveaway - Fun and Simple threads and a book

The towel is a 100% cotton white kitchen towel. It has a tag across one corner for hanging.

July Embroidery Stash Giveaway - Fun and Simple threads and a book

The best part is the book, of course. I like this Anchor book better than the new one. This is the “old” version, which has since been republished by Anchor. In the book, you’ll find stitch diagrams for a variety of stitches, and next to each new stitch, you’ll find a picture of a stitched piece utilizing the stitch featured in the diagram. This is always a great feature – it’s nice to see the finished stitch in a real embroidered work. The photos of the pieces featuring the stitch are also echoed in the patterns provided in the back of the book – and there are a lot of nice little, clear patterns that can be traced onto the towel (or anything else you want to embellish!).

July Embroidery Stash Giveaway - Fun and Simple threads and a book

The patterns provided are in bold lines, easy for tracing, and they’re mostly what I’d call “fun” patterns, that you can mix your stitches on.

And, conveniently, this is a little book – it’s not a full-sized book, which means it will fit in my shipping envelopes!

So that’s the give-away for July… and this is what YOU have to do!

Leave a comment below, answering the following question:

What’s your favorite embroidery stitch and WHY? You can also include any tricks you have for working the stitch, that make it easier or give it a better finish. That way, everyone can learn something from your comments!

On Wednesday, July 30th, the contest ends. I’ll draw a name Thursday morning and post the winner, at which time the winner can contact me with a shipping address. Overseas readers are welcome to join – if you win, I’ll mail the parcel the least expensive air mail option!

So – answer away!

And even if you’re not so keen on perle cotton or kitchen towels or needles or small books – think of it as an opportunity to get a postcard from me! Chuckle, chuckle….


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(76) Comments

  1. Herringbone stitch is my favorite stitch. I love the rythum of it when you are making it. I also love to overlap it and lace it. mnnm pretty.Melisa B

  2. I like a back stitch. It’s simple, straightforward, yet can be so elegant. I don’t have any special tips to doing the stitch. All I know is that making stitcheries is the best way for me to relax.

  3. I love the french knot. It was a real challenge to learn, so I felt like I had accomplished something. Also, it gives nice texture to anything.

  4. My favourite would have to be the blanket stitch. I know it’s plain on it’s own, but there is so much you can do to it to gussy it up. You can add chain stitches to make it into a row of flowers; you can add beads; you can vary the height of the ‘arms’; you can weave other threads through it; and on and on. I love it!

  5. I love the chain stitch-it is simple enough for me (a left-handed sewer) to do, and I find it relaxing and enjoyable to sew.

  6. I have, at the ripe age of 49, taken up needlework so my repertoire is limited. However, I love the French knot and I have been madly strewing it over some green velvet trying to make it look like the rows of trees you see bordering English fields from the window of a plane. I have been combining two strands of crewel wool with one strand of cotton perle and I am inordinately pleased with myself! I am not “neat” yet but I’m having a lot of fun.

  7. I could sure use this stash! This is something I wish to learn to help my quilting hobby and I can make a french knot. I just don’t know all the stiches or what to use where.

  8. I like almost any stitch that provides texture. I especially like one called ’twilling’. It’s a knotted stitch that can be used as an outline/border. I think it also has other names, but ’twilling’ is the name I know it by.

  9. Tough choice… I’m stuck choosing between cast-on stitches and colonial knots.
    I’m a big fan of colonial knots. I just could never get the hang of french knots and thought I would have to just pass on patterns including them, until I discovered the colonial…
    Now I use it everywhere!
    I just got proficient at the cast on stitch and try to use it everywhere I can!

  10. Chain stitch is my favourite as it is so versatile. It can be used as a fill, an outline or individually to make leaves and petals.

    For me the trick to chain stitch is in the tension. Not too loose, not too tight, to get that slightly soft loop.

  11. I have only just started and the back stitch is my favorite. I only did one project so far and it was a free pattern on Cinderberries website (needlecase). I am looking for a really good book showing the stitches, the one you have looks like it would be helpful. Look forward to your email everyday and love the pictures.


  12. Hmmmmm!!! “Right now” my favorite is the Bullion Stitch. I do enjoy making roses and daisys and all kinds of things with them. I use them a lot in smocking so now you know what “I” am working on!!!

  13. I would love to win this stash-as I am newbie to embroidery.
    My favorite so far is the back stitch-as I am still learning to perfect it so it looks nice.
    I had a hard time getting my stitches to be even, I am getting better it as I have been working on my first hand quilting project Kathy

  14. What a problem. My like doing lots of different things, so my favorite stitch is ‘a variety’. However, if you make me pick one, I’d say a Jessica. They are so pretty.


  15. The chain stitch is my favorite. It’s easy, it’s quick, it rounds curves and goes around corners easily AND as the lazy daisy, it’s easy to use to cover small splotches on clothes without too much fuss and effort.

  16. Oh, it’s difficult to pick just one! A few weeks ago I probably would have said the Attached Fly stitch. I think it’s very versatile.

    You can make the stitches very small, packing them together tightly, graduating them in size, and make sweet little teeny tiny leaves. You can make larger farther apart stitches and quickly fill in large leaf shapes on a pattern. Worked vertically, using just a few stitches graduating them in size and spreading them apart a bit, they make great little stems with leaves, waiting to be topped with flower heads. Or, my favorite use for this stitch so far was on a block I did for an old block of the month set that I found. I used it to create feathers on the turkey for the November block. I think it came out kinda cool!

    But that was a few weeks ago! After that I went on a Seed Stitch kick. The June BOM had a sailboat sailing under a sunny sky. Using one strand of bright orange and one strand bright yellow thread together, I filled the sun and its rays with seed stitches. I think using the two colors together offered a perfect sunny effect. 🙂 I want to fill everything up with seed stitches right now, but next week, who knows?

    Eep! I got long again, Mary. Sowwy! :-/ -Jeannine

  17. I have never embroidered before. I am looking to learn and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to start, as I don’t know what to buy to start off. I do not have a favorite stitch yet, but hope to real soon.


  18. Hmm, favorite embroidery stitch?

    I really satin stitch–boring, but really pretty. I use a laying tool to make sure any double threads or specialty threads lay flat.

    I like the Cretan stitch, just becasue it is a fun stitch.

    Lastly, I like long and short stitch, because of the wonder effect it has. I use a laying tool on this one too if needed.

    Ruth M

  19. It’s been long since I’ve embroidered, must be 25 years or so. My hands wouldn’t do what I wanted, but the last couple of months I just tried again and I make little embroideries again! I just don’t work that long at a time anymore. Since I’ve discovered those beautiful Crazy Blocks with embellishing I only want to make those blocks! I love the chainstitch, it’s a joy to see, looks “difficult” but is easy to do and you can “travel” miles with it. And it’s a good stitch to embellish further.

  20. I have to agree with several others that the chain stitch is my favorite “go to” stitch. I also like couching stitches, but don’t seem to use them very often.

  21. Cross stitch! I never get bored with it! Also I like doing the satin stitch, it just lays in so pretty! The book is beautiful, I’d love to win it! Thanks!

  22. My favorite Stitch is the Stem stitch because its the only one I can do so far. Im learning from your Videos and Summer student classes. I love the Bold out line of the stem stitch and the look of the item im working on which is the Cherry tee towels. Ive done the whole towel in the stem stich and my husband said it looks real pretty. It makes the towel look like real cherries after i finished i decided to use the stem stitch for my next project too. Im crazy about the Stem stitch . It makes your project stand out . Im trying to learn a new stitch now.

  23. My favorite stitch is the back stitch because it is a super easy outline stitch it is also the one stitch I know how to make very well.

  24. Hello-Mary, My favorite stitch is the Buttonhole Stitch. It makes a decorative edging, particularly when adding picots to it. Used on fabric, it creates eyelets and is also useful for Cutwork Embroidery. It is also used for my favorite hobby, NeedleLace as well as Battenburg lacemaking and other antique laces with connecting bars that are covered in buttonhole stitches. Used also to create tiny rings that are added to laces: (Instructions)–Sharpen a wooden pencil to a fine point-wrap thread around center of pointed area below the lead-then buttonhole this band of thread. Release from pencil end-and Voila! A hand made lace eyelet!
    The Buttonhole technique is used when Tatting, too (another favorite hobby) both by shuttle and by needle. I think I now qualify for Ambassadorship of Buttonhole

  25. Mary, even tho there’s many stitches available, I still enjoy the backstitch. It’s easy, relaxing and it always looks so nice on towels, pictures, just about anything. Dress it up or down, it’s my very favorite.

  26. My favorite is the wraped back stitch. It probably has another fancy name but thats what I’ve always called it. I think it outlines everything quite neatly and if my back stitches aren’t as even as I’d like wrapping it like that hides it nicely. the stitch in itself is the hint! 😉


  27. I don’t know if my previous post came through, I’m kinda new to this OpenID thing. anywho, my favorite stitch is the wrapped back stitch. I think it has another fancy name but thats what I’ve always called it. I think it outlines nicely and raises it up a little. Also if my backstitches aren’t as even as I’d like the wrapping hides it all. the stitch itself is the hint! 😉


  28. I would probably have to vote for blanket stitch – in memory of my embrodery teacher at my old school in England.

    It was a church school and if there was afuneral at the church – we were not allowed to play inthe palyground at recess or lunchtime, sothe boys were allowed to play cricket or soccer in the one half of the school hall and the girls had to do their embroidery. I lost count of the number of times my teacher put the scissor blades through my stitching and cut because some of my stitches were uneven – in spacing or length down from the edge of the pj case I was attempting. Sometimes the stitches would be only 1 or 2 millimetres different!! But it did teach me patience and a willingness to do better – regardless of her opinion.

  29. I’d have to say Back stitch is my favorite, probably because it was the first stitch my grandma used to teach me embroidery 15 years ago. And it was easy enough for me to pick back up after I’d not used embroidery for several years. I find that when you run into curves, the smaller your stitches the better your curves look. I’m just starting to learn some other stitches and had to utilize this website because my grandma passed away at Christmas. But I love the website. Plus I could really use this stash. 🙂

  30. It is hard to pick just one stitch. I do a lot of crazy quilting and my favorite part of it is all the various stitches and combinations you can do. If I had to pick I would probably start with the cretan stitch.

  31. I like coral stitch ( i’ve always known it as snail trail). Its different and fun.

  32. A newbie embroiderer here. So far the French knot is my favorite. It gives a nice textured fill-and it’s pretty up close, as well, since it looks like tiny flowers. Plus it’s a fun stitch to do! Thanks for offering the giveaway.

  33. How wonderfully weird….

    In Mary’s post today she is using Palestrina stitch which looked very familiar to me. I looked up Palestrina and it turns out that Palestrina is the same stitch as twilling! So, I think my favourite stitch is really called Palestrina.

    I also must really like long and short (for shading) because I find myself doing a lot of that.

  34. The french knot is now my favorite, because when Grandma was teaching me how to embroider I had trouble with it. But with Grandma’s patience and gentle hand to guide me, I finally mastered it.
    I still have the dresser runner that she taught me on. It had a lot of different stitches and was perfect for a beginner. Of course, my hand work back then was far from award winning, but it was decent because she had me take many stitches out and redo them to her satisfaction. I truly miss those moments with Grandma even at 45 years old. Thank you for giving me a reason to remember those lessons.

  35. My all time favorite stitch is the French Knot. When I first tried to learn the stich, my knots kept coming apart – I never found out why. It was SO frustrating. I kept trying, over and over, then finally it just worked. Since then, I’ve never had any problem with them, and they turn out beautifully. The only thing I can tell you is to keep your needle down close to the fabric where the thread comes up, wind the thread snuggly around the need, but not too tightly. I really think a French Knot adds textural intereast and a certain rich quality to just about any handwork.

  36. Margaret- that is weird! I was going to look up “twilling” to see what it looked like!!

    I love Palestrina stitch (just thought I’d mentione that again!)

  37. The chain stitch is my favorite–I fell in love with the look of tambour embroidery, but since I dont have the equipment to do that, I fall back on the chain. ^_^

  38. My favourite: chain stitch and french nots.

    (Wednesday I’m travelling to Lisbon… I hope I can get a pc to know the winner on Thursday!!!)

  39. I’m a total noob at embroidery, as I started about a week or so ago. So, today, my favorite stitch is the satin stitch. Its like coloring with thread! I love how it makes my work pop!

  40. I love the oyster stitch. I first saw it on another blog but wasn’t able to do this stitch until I watched the tutorial on your blog.

  41. My favorite is Chain stitch as it is very simple and if worked with different lengths would give different look and neat one

  42. I like the stem stitch because it is pretty. I also like the lazy daisy stitch and the french knot. My grandma taught me the stitches and whenever I use them I think of her.

  43. Hi, I like the Satin Stitch, because when you are finish it looks so touchable! I never could do the loop stich properly!

  44. Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch is my favorite stitch because it adds depth to my project. You have a great tutorial video.

  45. I have to admit, that if push comes to shove, the simple cross stitch is my favorite, as that is what started me in this hobby. When in the mood, I adore queen stitches and satin stitch, but I have to have be in the mood! LOL!


  46. You have a wonderful site – thank you. The first one I check. Right now I’m in love with Coral stitch and Roumanian but, for now, Coral wins. I love the way you can change the distance between the knots to change the look completely and how it adds definition to simple lines. Very pretty.

  47. Backstitch is my favorite because it’s the stitch that I use at the end to emphasize and outline my work. It’s the stitch that makes it all “come together”.

  48. I’m still a beginner and haven’t experimented with many stitches yet, but so far I really like doing the french knots. It took me a while to figure them out and now that I’ve got it down I love how versatile it is and how you can use it to add little details on your work.

  49. I enjoy the feather stitch, it seems to end up on all my work. I find it fun to add other stitches and embellishments to change it’s appearance.

  50. Not sure if my earlier post went through so I will try again.

    The feather stitch is my favorite, it seems to end up on all my projects. I like to add to it with other stitches and embellishments. It dresses up very nicely.

  51. Dear me, just one? My standby is split stitch for outlining and feather stitch for filling. I seem to do a lot of leaves and FS imitates the look of the delicate veining nicely. One that I have been experimenting with both for flowers and filling is one that I know as Pekinese stitch. It also produces an interesting effect when the backstitch base is done in a contrasting color. I just used it to make strawberries and used a pale green base with red looping to imitate the look of the imbedded seeds.

  52. My favorite stich is the Stain Stich, I think it makes designs look so elegant and refinded. I feel it gives something special to the piece of art.

  53. Hello
    For me, the favorite stich is the buttonhole stitch ,
    Buttonhole can also be worked in freeform manner with rows stacked to create texture and on my crazy patch.. There are many other stitch in this family.bonnet stich, feather stitch, closed buttonhole stitch… but “le choix” is difficult….I love all the stitches

  54. Hi Mary,
    Why my post didn’t come up is a mystery. I am not sure what I said, but I think it was the oyster and rope stitch right now. I can make them an outline and also use the oyster to make small flowers. The oyster is difficult but very pretty. The rope can be a thin, thick line or straight or turned slightly.

  55. Well Mary I would have to say the french knot. At first it was a little of a challenge to learn to get it to look just right but as time went on I got better at it and to me you can use it in so many ways…it can stand by itself in all its beauty or be used as a filler or as a flower, just so many things to do with it.

  56. My favorite stitch is the satin
    stitch. It was also my grandmother’s favorite stitch and
    she was my inspiration for learning to embroider. Every time
    I use the satin stitch I think of
    her with fond memories.

  57. My favorite is the chain stitch. It is very pretty and very relaxing to stitch. I enjoy learning new stitches though.

  58. My post didn’t seem to show up either. I chose the Wheat Stitch because it is beautiful and has nice variations.

  59. Hi Mary, I think so far my favorite stitch is the back stitch but I am looking at stitches differently since I have bine reading your blog!!!! VBH DebbyL. in Michigan

  60. Would love to win all your goodies, especially the book, it will be helpful and I need all I can get. I love you site, read it every day and the videos are GREAT.


  61. Hi Mary,

    I love the french knot. My grandmother taught me when I was little. I love how it looks like a tiny rosebud or a seed bead.
    I love your website, and am so glad to have stumbled across it. I had not embroidered much for years and it is such a lovely, rhythmic thing to do. I thank you so much for all of your inspiration.

  62. hi mary,
    i think i m little late.i just checked your mail & got to know about stash contest.iwant to take a part in this. just give me a chance.i am a hand embroider.i love mirror work [india].& ican do very nicely.imade lots of item with that
    & get lots of lots of appriciation.it gives stunning look to any project.i also like petal stitch very much.when mirror and petal stitch comes together oh they looks very very beautiful.

  63. At this time I am renewing my love for hand embroidery. I purchased a book and am practicing all the stitches. I am also using the video library from
    you. So I don’t have a favorite stitch yet but am working on it. pegilee

  64. My Favourite stitch is the herringbone stitch.
    I love to use it as it can fill areas fast. When worked on the reverse side, it becomes a shadow stitch. On Organdy fabric or any semi-transparent fabric this shadow work looks amazing.
    I sometimes use one colour for half the area, then attach another colour to complete the rest of the space. Shaded skeins don’t give the same effect, especially when I use more than one strong colour this way.
    What tickles me is I can vary the length of the stitch and get different effects. And on completion it looks different and I get compliments.

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