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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Book Give-away, and a Question!


Amazon Books

I happen to have an extra copy of a pretty nice book that I think you might want (for you – or maybe as a gift for someone else?)… so I thought I’d do a little give-away and ask you a Very Important Question!

The book is Trish Burr’s recently published Crewel and Surface Embroidery book, which I’ve reviewed here on Needle ‘n Thread.

Trish Burr: Crewel and Surface Embroidery

This is a gorgeous book! And if you’ve wanted to tackle long-and-short stitch shading but are perhaps intimidated by the techniques, this book will help you overcome your intimidation. The floral projects are arranged in order of ease, from beginning to advanced. For more details on the book, feel free to read my review.

Now, to be eligible to win, you have to answer a question in the comment section below. To do this, you scroll down to the bottom of this post (on the website, not on the newsletter) and click the link that says “Click to Comment” under the “Posted by” information.

The question is posed by Trish Burr this time, not by me. It isn’t too often that, as a consumer, you get a chance to give input on what you’d like to see in a book, but here’s your opportunity. Trish is gearing up for a new book, and she’s exploring two options:

1. Needle Painting Basics:
This would be a guide to stitching flowers, birds, animals, people etc. How to direct your stitches for the different type of motifs, how to choose the right picture for reproduction etc etc. It would be aimed at the beginner and beyond but might also be helpful to the advanced needleworker.


2. Color blending for Embroidery:
This would help the reader to choose color combinations for shading in embroidery. It would be made up of sections on each color e.g. red, blue, yellow etc and each section would show a number of combinations that could be used for each color scheme from the color chart. The idea behind it would be that the reader would learn to enhance their needle painting (or any other needlework projects) by the correct use of color. The color combinations would be visual and listed by number so that they could refer to it for future projects, and the book would contain sample projects worked in various color combinations. The book would apply to long and short stitch, but also to other techniques where shading and color blending are required.

The question is: which would you prefer, and why? or which do you think general audiences would prefer and why?

Leave a comment below, and your name will be entered for the drawing, which will take place next Friday (September 19) at 4:00 am (the deadline). The drawing is open to all readers around the globe.

It’s probably not too often that you can give input on a book and voice your preference! So speak up – don’t be shy.


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(74) Comments

  1. I would like to learn to blend my colors well so I would pick #2. I enjoy the long and short stitch used in thread painting. I am not very good at it but I keep trying. If I put so much time and effort in a project I think a good color combination plays a big part in the project. Maria

  2. As a beginner I would prefer the first Needle Painting Basics.
    Color blending, later perhaps…

    (i would like ask a question: what is the meaning of the word “crewel”? That word is always appearing in front of me!Dictionaries I have doesn’t mention that word, only “crew” as old use the past tense of “crow” or people working on a ship…- this I already knew! Thanks!:)

  3. I would prefer Color Blending for Embroidery, as this is something that I am interested in and attempting at this time. I feel this would also have broad general audience appeal because so many crafty types could interpret and apply this information to their work – not only embroiderers but quilters, knitters, etc.

  4. I vote for the color blending book, because it’s a more unusual topic — I don’t know fo such a book already in existence, whereas there are resources for learning thread painting.

  5. I’m so glad to see that crewel is enjoying a resurgence. I think I might just have to start doing it again. If I were given a choice about a book, I would choose the first option.

  6. Gosh, that’s a hard one. I struggle with colour, but overall I think Trish’s unique talent for choosing images and stitch direction making her needle paintings really come alive should be shared with as wide an audience as possible.

    The Needlepainting Basics would help new enthusiasts,(like me with one project nearly finished, from a Dillmont design, colours all selected by myself, doesn’t look too bad) and would probably also be bought by more experienced stitchers, so I think it would have wider appeal, and if I had to choose between the two, I think I would go for the Needle Painting Basics.

    Of course if both were available, I would probably be tempted to abuse the Card of Credit and get both!

    Just my 2p

    Su (UK)

  7. I don’t know of anything like No1 on the market (except in brief mentions at the back of one of Trish’s books).

    The skill was offered to be done in a custom manner by Tanya Berlin but she no longer seems to be offering it, and that was to do it herself, not teach you how to do it.

    There is a quilt book that seems very popular for colour management (10 Sumptuous Quilts????? um) that has recently come out, and so Trish might find the fabric colour enthusiasts momentarily satisfied with that one (tho of course it takes awhile to write a book!)

  8. Bubba’s Mom said:

    Option 2, please! and quickly! I can execute stitches fairly well but am overwhelmed by color choices. And it appears to me that the difference between a good project and great one—no matter how complex—is the color choice. So, yes, please teach me how to choose color. I’ve been wanting something like this and haven’t found it, whereas I’ve got several books on stitches and have a sense of when to apply them.

  9. I like the idea of the first book. I would like more non-floral examples of thread painting (similar to Trish’s apples in the a-z of thread painting). personally i think a two part book with sections on both would be ideal. (id buy a more expensive book that covers both, rather than one or the other)

  10. Another wonderful giveaway Mary! For me it would be the first book. As a Crazy Quilter motifs would be of interest to me.
    Both books seem to appeal to different skill levels, so I think Trish could keep herself busy for quite a while.

  11. Hi Mary,
    I’m in favor of the second book on color. I think it would appeal to most because it is applicable to all sorts and types of stitching. I’m moving away from kits and find that after achieving an acceptable transfer of a design, the color choices are overwhelming. I’d also like suggestions on the type of thread best used to achieve optimal color blending, different threads for different effects, etc.
    Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in!

  12. Both topics sound wonderful. I do hope Trish Burr publishes *both* books in the near future. However, I am very intimidated by needle painting, and I would like to see a true step-by-step guide with clear illustrations and simple starter projects. So, I vote for option #1.

  13. Mary,it all depends on the stitcher.If I were an absolute beginner with zero knowledge of crewel,I would go for the first one.Once Iam done with the basics,I would go for the second.At present,I would prefer the second,coz I truly want to learn to choose the colors for my embroidery.


  14. As a beginner, I would definitely choose the first book because it sounds like it would answer all those questions about what to embroider and how to embroider it…which seem to be common beginner questions.

  15. Both are so tempting that it is difficult to choose. I think I have to vote for #2. I'm still a beginner, but I believe that my long & short stitching technique will improve with practice. And I agree that the right color choices can take a good project to great – especially as I've a tendency to design my own projects!
    Thanks for your great posts.

  16. As a beginning stitcher I would opt for number 1, I also think that colour is so personal and playing with it gives people opportunities to explore so perhaps instruction in this is less important. Plus I really, really want book number 1 ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I think I’d agree and would love both, but I’d opt for number 2 as the principles could be carried into all other forms of embroidery

  18. I would pick number 2. There are several good needlepainting books, but I have never found a book which explains color blending in needlework so that I understand it.

    I have bought a number of highly-rated color books, and I look at their suggested colors combinations and hate them all. What is wrong, I don’t know. I love color, and some of the suggested color combinations in kits are wonderful, but when I try, I can’t find the exact -whatever – to go with something else.

  19. Hi Mary and Trish I would have to say nuber 2….color choice always seems to be a problem for me because their are so many wonderful colors out there. But using them to bring out the best is a much needed source for me. But I really think both 1&2 are much needed subjects and in my world both would be purchased…

  20. I think right now that I would choose #1, particularly if she covers how to do people as well, for me a particularly difficult area. However colors can make (or break) a piece and tools, tips and concrete help for choosing the right colors would be so helpful for all kinds of stitching. So frustrating to get done with something and find a color just-not-right.

  21. It would be great to teach the basics and color blending together so I could from scratch have a real good base for my stitching as I progress to designing my own designs hopefully!

  22. I would prefer the needle painting. I would love to know how to make my stitches look more advanced and beautiful , rather than look like they do , kinda childish. I’ve had no formal training in the needle arts and am self taught. As I am self taught, I can only go so far as the books teach and most of what they have at our tiny library are very old and simple. I think the needle painting would be very helpful to anyone !! Eileene aka noiseynana

  23. I would like a book about colors and how to use them together or not together. So, I would like option #2. I feel a book devoted to color combinations only would say more all by it self. I feel to have color combination book with needle painting would limit would would purchase the book. I feel that a book about color would be apealing to a variety of ‘crafty’ people (not just limited to needlework). Linda K.

  24. I would like this first book since I have not done any needle painting and I am not afraid of color. The 2nd one would be great to as there are so may people who do not know how to use color and will not explore it on their own.
    But my vote is for book one.

  25. I would buy any book that Trish would write but of the 2 options I would go for option 2. The shading is probably the hardest part for me. I have Trish’s other 2 books and just love to look at them. Plan on working with them this winter in Florida.

    Thank you Mary.


  26. As there are a lot of books on thread painting on the market I would plump (if I had to plump) for the 2nd option. The more I look at the picture I’m trying to thread paint the more I find different colours in it. For example, to get depth of colour in a petal you have to use a number of different colours, also the colours change where the light falls on the petal. To get a truly realistic looking thread painted picture is very difficult.
    Pru (England)

  27. Ooooh, what great topics! As an absolute beginner, I need both! Perhaps, the first would be better to start with. Then Trish could do a second book on the color usage. Love her book on long and short embroidery. This would be a wonderful addition to my library if I were to win it. Thanks, Mary!


  28. I would prefer the first one, needle painting basics. I think the hardest part is deciding where & how to put stitches. This appears to be a beautiful book…thanks for offering it to us.
    Sheila in CA

  29. I would vote for #2 Color Blending for Embroidery. In addition to color combinations for shading, please add a section explaining the numbering system for the different types of fibers, especially Anchor and DMC floss and Appleton Wool. Understanding the numbers is important in selecting the colors and the color families to stitch with. Maybe even a section with the color families listed.

  30. I prefer option 1 because the combination of designs and stitches would be endless and lots of fun to experiment with. Shading is not as important as design.

  31. I like both but really like #2 I am new to this kind of embroidery And would love to see how the different colors work together.
    Jammie in VT

  32. Can I say both ?;-)
    but as a beginner I would probably buy no1 first just to see how it is done… and then find a way to give hints to get no2 as a gift !

  33. I like both I ideas But I really like #2 I would like to know how the different colors work together and the different effect you can get.
    Jammie VT

  34. Hi Mary,
    What a wonderful surprise contest in the middle of the month. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would also vote for #2, because it can be used by all various forms of embroidery. And being visual, it can be referred to easily at any time.
    Thanks, Shrenika.

  35. Hi,
    I think the first option would be best for me. I have a hard time with long and short stitch, I think a book like this will be good inspiration to keep practicing.

    And also the second book is basic color theory, which can be found in a lot of basic art books. It isn’t hard to apply the same info from paint color selection to thread color. sorry, that sounds kinda mean but its true.


  36. I think I have to agree with Breeda on this. I would definitely pick choice # 1. As a professional artist, I know color theory backwards and forwards, I have no problem picking ranges of colors or figuring out what colors work together. I bristle a little whenever the word “correct” is used regarding colors. Just look to nature for your inspiration – there is a riot of color out there, and combinations galore, even some you would never think to use together, but they work beautifully. No,thanks, I don’t need another book telling me what colors are “correct”.


  37. Oops, I have to disagree with Breeda and Lori, there may be plenty of basic art books that cover basic colour theory, but I think mixing paint is a different skill from blending coloured threads to create shading. As a stitcher rather than a painter, I feel a book like this would be very beneficial.

    Of course, book 1 would also be very beneficial but I vote for book 2.

    (and have all my fingers and toes crosses that my name comes out of the hat).


  38. I like these ideas–both would be my prefferred choice. =)

    However, since I am still new to needlepainting, I wold choose book #1, then search out a book like # 2 once I was comfortable with the basics.

    How about a series?

    ruth m.

  39. I would pick needle basic because I have not done it then I would do the color blending , it sounds and looks very interesting. I have not try the crewel thread yet… I have bought some crewel threads at estate sale but the items did not have instructions in with them.

  40. Hello-Mary,
    Hope you are fine and fully recovered.
    To sell many books, Trish should publish #1 for beginners. It is, after all, newbies that purchase most technique books.
    Color can be “shared” but not taught as a technique in the same way that stitching can be taught and practiced to perfection. Love of color is more of a gift and a talent. Besides all that, I have found it to be true that “taste” in color becomes refined as one climbs in age. Yes, that’s right! The older we get, the better our color choices. As a Certified Color Consultant who thoroughly examines needlework, I can usually guess the age of the stitcher by the colors chosen for the project. The second book may have a limited readership as compared to the first book.

  41. I hope this is the proper place to reply. I LOVE Trish Burr’s books.

    Although a book on Color blending for Embroidery would be a great tool for us less than advanced embroiders – and who better to teach us than Trish Burr – doesn’t your heart quicken just a bit when you hear the words “needle painting.” Frankly, that’s why I started embroidering recently – and why I’ve already joined my local embroiders’ club, a club in the next county and the ANG and EGA chapters 45 miles away in Nashville. I want to create art and I truly believe you can do that through “needle painting..” Birds, flowers, animals……..oh, I just can’t wait! Trish Binkley

  42. Like most of the posts I read, color is more of a struggle for me too. I’ve made mistakes with color and it is not reparable nor unnoticable (unlike stitches that are not quite correct–for the most part it doesn’t show to the average viewer–although you see it forever!!lol)

    I have a suggestion for the drawing. Number the posts in the order they are received and keep a container with numbers and draw a number each time then match it up with the number on the post.

    Good luck everyone–this book looks awesome!

  43. Wow, I would have to buy both but I think I would buy the first one if it were available right now. I’m actually searching for tips in selecting good pics for reproduction. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

  44. Hi Mary,

    I would pick option #2, as I often try to visulaise how a project would look if I changed colours from those listed in the project sheet. But then I get a huge wave of indecision washing over me and don’t start the project, just in case it looks ‘wrong’ and I dont like the finished piece.

    Thanks to Trish for even thinking a book such as this would be useful.

  45. I would prefer 1 as we can start a lessons sort of thing where we can start the abcs and go till the advanced level. As for colors, i dont think there would be much as color choices vary from person to person and so will not be under liking by many.

  46. I would pick option 2, make it an advanced level book.

    There are books out there that cover the basics and it would be great to see how to take this further!

    I love the technique and have just signed up for a course at the Royal School of Needlework ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Option 2 is my choice. Picking colors is a headache for me.

    Long explanatory story:
    When I began embroidering a year ago, the owner of a small independent crafts/yarn store helped me pick out thread colors for two separate projects. That lady had a real eye for color! She would take our choices outside into natural light and go through the threads color by color and shade by shade until I had the best combination for the project. Those combinations were stunning! (As were the colors from the leftover pile, the ones that were just a shade wrong for the project. She said that she was often inspired to start a project with someone else’s color rejections.) Unfortunately, she moved her business online soon after I met her – there was not enough business for her to pay rent downtown. ๐Ÿ™ (And nowhere else have I found her level of customer service, nor her eye for shades!)
    Anyway, I realized how much I missed her help when buying a bunch of threads half a year later. I spent two hours going through colors and ended up with a cross-eyed headache! Nor was my selection anywhere near the delight and perfection of the lady’s picks.

    So anything to help with color blending would be greatly appreciated. I myself have not the patience or any natural talent for it.

  48. Hello Mary – my choice would be option #2 largely because there are already some good basic technique books out there; I am thinking here of Clare Hanham’s Beginner’s Guide To Silk Shading or the Country Bumpkin A-Z of Thread Painting and of course the Sally Saunder’s Royal School of Needlework: Embroidery Techniques. What I think is lacking is a good explanation and “how to” of color shading/blending particularly with the color challenged in mind!.

  49. hi marry, these are very interesting options to choose.but i would like to choose for second one because i m a very good hand embroider & iknow all the basics & little more .but sometimes i get confused about colour selection.ithink this will help me a lot & i think i could do much better & creat more stunning project with that book .it will be very great for any simple design to make very special.once your concept are clear u can make any thing amazing.so iwill go for colour blending.one more thinjg that there are lots of books on needle painting basics but colour blending is one of a kind its a differen i can learn new things what i was looking for very long time.so iwill prefer the 2 one.

  50. I like the idea of the needle painting book. In a dream world, I’d love to see that one come out followed by the other one – they both sound great!

    I’ve been working on trying to adapt photographic images to something I could stitch, and definitely finding that I could use some guidance.

  51. Hi. I think Option#1 should appeal to the general audiences as well as to me. Because, in these days girls fairly show any interest in embroidery and related techniques. Most of stuff is machine embroidered and is readily available in the market. So, they would not lay their hands of this beautiful traditional art. Ofcourse there are plethora of books on embroidery for beginners already in the market. But “Trish Burr” makes all the difference. Aim is this wonderful traditional art should not become extinct. A good book is always a treasure forever.
    Coming to the colour combinations, the idea of Option#2 is very good. No doubt about it. But, once a person gets interested in the art and learns it fairly well, she is the best judge of her own colour combinations. Sure, the intended project would provide good help in making choices. Yet, I think colour combinations are a matter of sheer creativity and imagination for which guidance in available in nature abundantly.
    These are my personal opinions. Please keep up your wonderful work. I have linked your NeedlenThread blog to mine (http://kshema-distancelibraryservices.blogspot.com) for my distance learners. I am sure they love it.

  52. I would be interested in #1 as I’m beginning a large ecclesiastical piece. The direction of the threads will play a large role. Although color is one of my weak areas also. Lets hope both books get written

  53. I think I’d choose #2 on color blending. Just because you see something with your eyes doesn’t mean that’s the way it turns out on your piece, at least that’s been my experience. I’d love to be able to get more of a handle on the problem!

  54. First i would like to thank you, Mary or this beautiful website.i have been painting and beading, wood burning, glass paining and some embroidery so i would say both, as i feel that one is learning all the time at least I am and if Trish can teach us some thing basic or advance that we might not know or forgotten, why not so please write both the books we are thirsty for knowledge here. Thanks

  55. #2 – I think colour blending is something that confuses a lot of people so needs some more explaining.

    [wolfkit on lj]

  56. I would choose #2. I love the way a well shaded piece of embroidery looks and would like to be able to choose colors in order to produce a work that looks good.

  57. I already have this book and it’s been very helpful…unfortunately my efforts are still kind of pitiful! If Trish wrote another book that goes into more detail, I’d grab it in a minute.
    I’d be interested to see how this art can be taught from a book…it sounds like a huge challenge for the author!

  58. I’m so happy to see a professional in the needlework industry coming to us stitchers with a question like this!

    Either book would be of interest to me, personally. However, I would recommend (and personally prefer) option #2 because I think a good discussion of color is of use to all needleworkers, and even extends well outside needlework. Option #1 is much more specific to those who do crewel and needle painting work — which, I admit, I love to look at but do not do much of myself (primarily because of the focus on using wool or wool-blend threads, as I am allergic to wool).

  59. Hi Mary!
    I think I arrived late because today received the news, however votes for the second point, because I think the choice and combination of color is very important for the work. I see from my expericencia in the embroidery contemplating the literature that I know personally, and also because it’s what I would choose if I could write a book
    Thank you very much to you and Trish Burr

    Maria del Valle

  60. I would opt for number2 .Choise color and combinaison of colors is very important.How can i get this books in Algeria? I guess the gold work design a hand bag, isn’it? Thank you very much to you and how you help me.

  61. I prefere number 2. It’s always difficult to find wright color so it will be more easier with sections on each color
    I hope to win this book

  62. I think both are important. As a beginner the first book is the one I’d choose however, snippets of the other book would be extremely helpful for the curious and those who like a good challenge. Also for curiosity.

  63. What a wonderful give away. I would to have this book Trish Burr is a favorite and so talented. Thank your for this generous give away.

  64. Hi Mary,

    As a novice, I’ve been practicing the stitches from your website and loving every bit of it. I took lots of flowers, birds, nature scenes and tried to embroider them “my way”. So far, it doesn’t look like anything like yours, but I’m proud of it ๐Ÿ™‚
    If I have a chance to win Trish Burr book, I’d love to choose Needle Painting Basics because it fits my level of experience.
    Thank You.

  65. I would opt for option 2. I love that there would be examples in each color family, both long and short stitches and samples! It sounds like the perfect learning tool for me.

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