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 Giveaway Announced…


Amazon Books

This month’s needlework stash give-away was really fun! I thought the question was tough (notice I didn’t answer it!) and it was fun to read everyone’s responses. It really makes you think, when you have to narrow something down to a “Favorite” of something you already like a lot, doesn’t it?

I know you’re just dying to find out who the winner is, but before I venture into telling you who the lucky person is who gets the abundance of embroidery threads (12 skeins altogether – that’s pretty good!), I feel like waxing loquacious for a moment!

Needlework Teaches You… about Yourself!

First of all, there’s this whole question of “favorites” among the many things we already love… I tried to narrow down the piece that gave me the most pleasure to stitch, and it was HARD! I was thinking I was a real meany for asking that question.

Then I realized I was looking at it the wrong way! The question wasn’t “What was your favorite embroidered work that you created…” It was “which one gave you the most pleasure to do and why?” There’s a difference, you know. The first question can be based solely on the outcome (whether you liked the journey of getting there or not); the second concentrates on the journey – the actual stitching itself, regardless of outcome.

Once I realized that, I thought it would be easier to decide, but it wasn’t! It seemed the problem of making that decision increased a hundred fold. I found out that, for me, the pleasure found in working a piece of embroidery is a combination of the journey and the outcome. It’s funny when you learn something about yourself that way.

It’s like this: I can intensely enjoy working a piece of embroidery, but if I finish it and find that I don’t like the overall finish, the journey ends up rather soured in retrospect. On the other hand, I can dodgedly plod through a piece that I am finding less than captivating, gritting my teeth in determination just to finish… the journey, you see, is not so pleasant under those circumstances… but if the finish is splendid, the journey, in retrospect, can seem a whole lot sweeter than it actually was.

So journeys and outcomes are pretty intimately connected for me. I think needlework teaches us a lot about ourselves, especially when we reflect on likes, dislikes, whys and wherefores, as we did with this question.

Anyway, if I had to pick just one, I suppose it would be the Agnus Dei project I did a couple springs ago. This is my favorite picture of it, though I do like seeing it head-on as well:

Silk Embroidery with Goldwork Agnus Dei

Why did I like it so much? Well, there are a couple reasons. I noticed these reasons among many of the answers you gave, too: 1. The purpose – who did I stitch it for? 2. The project itself – the challenge, the captivating qualities of it; 3. the outcome.

So there you have my reflections on that question. I hope you don’t mind being subjected to that!

By the way, along the same lines of tough questions, one of my students asked me the other day, “So far in your life, what was your happiest moment ever?” Try that one on for size!

Ok – enough about tough questions!

Embroidery Stash Winner

I did the name scramble, pulled a random number, and the winner ended up being Susan who stitched the Hobbit in the 70’s.

Susan, please contact me with your mailing address, and I’ll be happy to get all that stuff in the mail to you this week!

Thank you, everyone, for your participation in the give-away! It was a lot of fun reading your answers. Next month, I’ll try to come up with something equally enticing as far as the give-away is concerned (and maybe equally as daunting as far as the question is concerned!) Thanks, Su J, for the question.


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(6) Comments

  1. You make an interesting point. I hadn’t thought of favourite process vs favourite finished piece.

    My fav journey is the Historical Sampler I mentioned.

    My favourite piece is the Bargello cushion I did when I was 16 and it was compulsory at school to do a semester of “Fashion”. I was in the Science stream, and never did anything else ‘arty’ at school – and look at me now!! Nothing but!

    (My cushion lives on my couch)

  2. I know that I have a favourite piece of work when I don’t want the stitching to end. That means that I enjoyed the process and the outcome. There are a handful of pieces that I have stitched where I didn’t want the experience to end and I would gladly do again.

    Mary, the Agnus Dei is one of my favourite pieces of yours!

    Congratulations to Susan. Make something pretty and send pictures! 🙂

  3. Hello Mary, I received the give-away and it is such a generous gift. I am now planning a use for the beautiful threads. Thank you again. Hugs, Susan

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