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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Long and Short Stitch Project Idea – What do You Think?


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One of the most frequest questions I get regarding my video library of hand embroidery stitches is “when are you going to post a long and short stitch video?” And I think that’s a very good question… and here’s my answer!

I’ve tried to make a good video on long and short stitch – actually, I’ve tried it several times. But I haven’t been very satisfied with the results. The way I see it is this: long and short stitch is more than just a stitch. It’s a technique. And there’s quite a difference, you know!

For example, right now I’m editing two stitch videos (well, right now, I’m typing a blog post – but you get my drift…). In less than four minutes each, with a slow-moving, up-close video of the embroidery stitch, I can explain to you all the moves in the stitches, and then I can repeat them for you several times, so that you get it. No biggie.

But with long and short stitch, it’s a bit different. It’s more than “moves” – stitch angle, length, depth, color change, etc. are all important when considering long and short stitch. And to get this across in a video alone is somewhat difficult. And long and short stitch is not usually isolated – it’s usually combined with other stitches to make the whole design or picture. Needle painting, thread painting, soft shading techniques – whatever you want to call it – uses more than just long and short stitch.

Sooooooooooooooo…. to make the long story short….

What I was thinking about doing is a kind of stitch along lesson or project, only you don’t have to stitch along if you don’t want to – and once the lessons are posted, they’ll always be here, so you can always pick them up or put them down whenever you want.

But my thought was to take a simple pattern from here on Needle ‘n Thread, repost it in a cleaned up version as “step one,” and then to go from pattern to completion, with all the steps in between – coloring the pattern; marking stitch direction, shading spots, etc.; deciding on stitches, selecting supplies and making a list; preparing materials (including pattern transfer), and then the stitching – through the whole project – step-by-step – accompanied by several videos, and lots of photos, to work through the whole technique.

The individual lessons would be far enough spaced (not posted every day – I’m thinking once a week) that anyone who wanted to stitch along would have time to gather supplies, catch up on each step, etc., without having to really break your regular routine much. And we’d work in small-ish increments.

It would not be a complicated project – something simple and not too dimensional, to show how the basic techniques of thread painting work.

And finally, I’d post a photo gallery of the finished projects, if people wanted to share them.

But I thought I’d poll the audience for your thoughts on this:

1. Is it something stitchers would be interested in?

2. Is it something that people would actually stitch along with simulataneously? Or do you think people would prefer to watch the lessons unfold, just to see what they’re like, and then take them up if it grabs their interest?

3. Is it something other readers who aren’t interested in the technique might get bored with, when they see the lessons popping up regularly?

4. Do you see any pitfalls or anything that I might be missing? My personal biggest pitfall will be the time involved, but that’s something I can overcome with planning and organization. But is there anything else I’m missing?

Let me know you’re thoughts – are you interested?!!


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(31) Comments

  1. Personally, I would love to see long and short stitch via a project, although I know I won’t stitch along with it. I’m experienced enough with the stitch (which I use fairly often) that I don’t need a project but tips from you would be great.

    I think a weekly class would be just right–not too often to bore those not interested but close enough in time that folks can stitch along and not lose interest.

    So go for it!

    Jane, waving like mad from Chilly Hollow

  2. I would be very interested in following along with your project. Although I’ve done long and short stitch, and usually prefer to use split stitch for shading and shaping, I would certainly appreciate your tips and at some point, I might refer back to the lessons for a specific project on which I want to achieve that effect. It’s a great idea, but you should be charging for the lessons, as other online teachers do.

  3. Mary, I think this would be a GREAT online class for long & short stitch. Although, I'm self taught by reading in books but would love to learn from you. I will surely stich along with you…oh, I'm very interested & excited. Once a week is just right. This way both you and the interested readers have enough time. Can we start this class tomorrow :))

  4. You could also tell your readers about Helen Stevens online courses in silk shading. One lesson is free. I took several of the courses myself. The production on the lessons is very professional. Also, Tanya Berlin has very good instructions. You may want to look at these resources before you reinvent that wheel.

    Cheers, Marilyn

  5. I’m game … however, my vote is for an element of a design; I’m not interested in another full-blown project.
    By the way, your sketch of the lifetime ecclesiastical embroidery project is phenomenal, ambitious, impressive and, once finished, I’m sure it will be something admired for generations to come!

  6. I’m intrigued by the idea, but uncertain whehter I’d be able to find the time to do the lessons in realtime (I have twin toddlers, ‘nuf said).

  7. What a great project, Mary!
    Surely I’m very much , completly etc, etc interested!
    I’ll make every effort to stitch along, I’ll do my best!
    A weekly class will be just right, I think!

  8. I love long and short stitch, but have never thought about the technique behind it. From comments I have read, I am sure something like this would be appreciated.

  9. I would be interested Mary. DOn’t know if I would stitch along right now (must get quilt finished), but it would be something I would definitely come back to, and I would learn alot just from your posts.

  10. Me, me…waving hand in air…I'd love to try something like this! Long & Short stitch is one that I've never managed to master and I know I definitely need help with it.

  11. Hi Mary,
    Your idea sounds great to me. I’ve done the stitch alot but have never taken lessons and I love the idea of seeing how you blend the colors, select the colors, type of threads, etc.
    I’ll try to keep up and stitch along with you!

  12. I am really interested in this. I have done long a short stitching but, I’m never happy with the results. This is one technique that intimidates me.

  13. Yes, it would be something I am interested in. My EGA group just got done with a crewel piece and the long short stitch was what gave everyone problems. So I know there are people that do need help with this tecnique. I would stitch as it was posted.

  14. Mary

    I would really enjoy doing this with you. I have been trying to get started with Trish’s books so this would be a great help. Also, do not believe a once a week post would be objectionable to people who are not interested. I am not into goldwork but still enjoy reading your words on it.



  15. Hi! Mary,

    What a fantastic idea for long and short stitch. I am always fasinated by this technique and will really like to know how it is done. I will surely participate in this online class.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.


  16. Mary, you are surely a VERY special person to want to spend that much time on a project like this! But oh, my goodness, would I EVER appreciate it. I’ve made several attempts to do this stitch from book instructions and my results are way less than satisfactory. To actually be able to follow along and see you create it would be a blessing! I’m all for it and would probably try to follow along, but then if I had to drop it for awhile, I could always go back to it. Thanks so much for offering to even THINK about it!!


  17. Mary,

    It would be so cool to be part of a project beginning to end. I always learn so much from people who are willing to share the way they do things start to finish. Usually, there are steps in the process that would never cross my mind. I think weekly would be just about right…you’d keep us moving forward and those of us who wish to participate would have time to practice between sessions.

  18. Hi Mary
    I would really like to instructions on a project of the long and short stitch. I do not promise I could keep up but would appreciate seeing it done. I avoid stitches such as these because they are very unforgiving and frustrating. If you have time and can do such an extensive project, I would appreciate it. You are so blessed for giving us all the gift of your knowledge and time. Thank you so much for all you have done for us. Look forward to any thing that you decide you can handle time wise.

  19. Hi Mary,

    Your idea sounds great. I am definitely interested but I would watch the video first, then watch again stitching with the video.

    Two reasons for this: I am a visual learning and I like to see techniques explained before I start so I know what I am supposed to be doing; and, I live in a time zone that is about 17 hours ahead of you.

    But dont get me wrong, I would still love to join in.

    I am guessing that a person’s long and short stitch technique gets better with practise.

    I have not attempt this technique before because I didnt have the patience to keep trying, not even with a pre-printed canvas/linen picture.

  20. wow, That is something I would love to do. I will definitely try to do it along with your lesssons.
    Also please save the videos that can be used later

  21. Dear Mary:
    Here is another hand waving wildly. I am self taught (altho self-teaching as it is a continuous project is a better description) and would love to get your insight. Your stitch videos have helped me through several stitches I couldn’t grasp from a book. Since I live far away from any instruction it would be most appreciated. I would love to stitch along and think once a week would be a nice balance. Like another I have never attempted gold work, but I enjoy your posts on it. Thank you in advance.

  22. Hi dear Mary
    I am very interested!! and I would love to see long and short stitch, so I like very much this project!! if it outside every 15 days, better I think, it is my opinion of course!
    Anyway I will follow closely!
    A hug

    Maria del Valle

  23. Hi Mary, I am writing from India. Just a week back I restarted needlework after a decade's hiatus. Scouring the www for patterns I found your site as well as Lenna's 'Stitching Cow'. I do think you have done an awesome job of the video lessons. In answer to one of your questions: I would'nt be able to 'stitch along' with the video. Rather I watch it a couple of times to get an idea. I learnt Long&Short; Stitch on my own when I made huge mistakes in a Satin Stitch filler. You are right, L&S; stitch is more a Technique than just a 'stitch'. I am an Artist, painting landscapes in Oil and Watercolor. Do take a peep at my artworks here: http://www.samkrut.com/photo_gallery.htm

  24. Hi Mary,
    I would like to partake in this class of the long and short stitch project. I believe I could stitch along with you. I currently have two projects I am working on that are long and short stitch, but I am doing them to get the experience. One of the projects is a silk sampler. Because I spent more money on this project I would like it to look nice and to be satisfied with the finished project when it is done. So, yes, put me on your list for this class. Maria P.

  25. Thanks for all the feedback on this idea. I’ve decided I will definitely do it, but I want to fine tune the approach.

    For example, I think Joey suggested doing one element of a design, rather than a whole project, and this point certainly makes sense.

    I’m writing up a series of lesson plans right now, and I will keep you posted on the direction in which this will go.

    Thanks again for all your feedback!

  26. Mary, I think you're an angel sent to answer my prayers. I have bought so many books on long and short, satin stitch, etc., in the hope that I would one day master it. No luck yet.

    I would certainly love to join in in your stitch project, I have already got the threads out, including the "Ecru" and am still humming and haaing about which material it will go on. Can't wait for the first instalment.

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your fantastic skills with us.

    Your most enthusiastic fan

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