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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Cramming Another Embroidery Project


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When it rains, it pours. I had an embroidery project planned for the space after Christmas. Then my family from Florida decided to come up to Kansas on Monday and Tuesday, for a big even taking place in Kansas City on Tuesday – so they will all be here tomorrow. The event in KC involves our family, so I’ll be going to KC for the day on Tuesday. But all those plans were still ok – it left me Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday, as well as some stitching time Wednesday through Friday to finish my initial plans in relative comfort, without pressure…. But then…. Friday Night struck!

Without going into lots of details right now – time is scarce, and I can’t format photos, anyway – suffice it to say that on Friday night, a friend of the family called, in desperate need of a certain liturgical piece of linen about 5 or 6 feet long by 3 inches… and she needed it by Tuesday. In the ceremony for which it is used, this piece of linen is usually ornately decorated, with embroidery or with paint. (I’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous painted ones!) The decoration usually includes text – biblical verses, etc. – and embellishment.

My mother took the call. “Don’t worry about it,” I heard her say. “Don’t you worry a thing about it. I’m sure she has linen, and she will be happy and honored to take care of this.”

The Exclamation Point went off in my head. There was no Question Mark. I knew exactly what had just happened. I had been volunteered!

It’s true that I don’t mind. But the time contraints (this was Late Friday Night!) were a bit daunting.

Now, I could – and I should have – simply cut a piece of white linen in the required size, added a small center cross (stress is on small), sewn it up, and called it done.

What did I do? OH GOLLY!! I worked up an eight-word text, with elaborate initials on the capitals, and added a filigree cross at each end of the text, and a filigree cross at each end of the long strip of linen. The decorative text is centered in the middle of the linen.

And I have until tomorrow.

The letters are calligraphy, but they are only outlined – nothing in the piece is filled. Everything (practically) is done in stem stitch. I might have a few (very few) satin stitch dots on the filigree, but that will be last, if there’s time.

I’m only using two colors, blue and gold, with two shades of each. Fortunately, I had an excellent piece of linen exactly five feet wide, so that worked out. I also had at least 4 skeins of each color I wanted in Soie d’Alger. So that worked, too.

In fact, I had everything – it all worked so easily – the design was easy to transfer (first thing Saturday morning … until, actually, 3:00 pm, when I finally started stitching)… that I figured it was Meant To Be.

Sure, whatever! I think I’ve made a mistake, trying to do something this complex in this short of time! But this is my plan: I will stitch diligently all day, and tonight, I will see where I am. If I know by tonight it will be impossible to finish by Monday night, then tomorrow (Monday), I will cut a new strip of linen, put a small, simple cross in the middle, and sew it up and call it done.

Now, your job is to cheer for me, to “wish” it done…. !!! To keep your fingers crossed for me! (Well, ok, not literally – none of us would get much done that way!) I really want to be able to present the more elaborate piece!

And I will keep you posted, probably after the fact!

Wish me luck!


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(14) Comments

  1. Go for it!!! GOOD WISHES!!!!
    May the Stitching Angles sit on your shoulder and ease yours hands and help speed your stitches. Val

  2. I wish you luck, with all of my heart, and i am dying to se how it turns out..if u ever get the time to take a pict of it when it is finnished 🙂

    All of luck from me in Norway!

  3. Wow! That’s something, to be VOLUNTEERED for such a large project with such a short timeframe! It says a lot about your character to be so willing to accept it.

    Best of luck with your speed stitching! I’m sure it will turn out lovely.

  4. My prayers are with you. Both that this goes off well and beautifully, and that it doesn’t start a chain of short-deadline “volunteer” projects for you as it so easily could!!

    Mary, my hat is off to you. There is no way I’d be able to do something like that in that amount of time. Ever.

  5. Dear Mary

    How nice to know that your family think you can do ANYTHING. I am sure that their faith is justified. How many people out there actually have on hand a piece of linen that wide? Not many I’m sure of that at least here in New Zealand. It was meant to be. I’ll have my fingers and toes crossed for you.
    RobynK. New Zealand

  6. Just be sure to get up and stretch once in awhile…especially those shoulders!
    And enjoy your unexpected company and events!

  7. Wow–keep at it. I’ll look forward to seeing pictures when things calm down.

    Now brew yourself a pot of coffee and let those fingers fly!

  8. You can do it, Mary! Of course, you can. Why else would your mother have volunteered you for this job!!! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  9. Thank you, everyone, so much! Your good wishes must’ve helped – I’ve been stitching all day (with a couple little breaks to move and for a quick meal!!) and… I have five more letters to go and a decorative cross!

    So I’ll definitely be able to finish the whole thing – the more ornate design – hopefully before noon tomorrow – that’s what I’m aiming for. If I fall short and don’t finish until 3:00 pm, I’ll still be super happy, and still have plenty of time for the finish work – a few seams on the sewing machine, turning, rinsing (no serious washing – no time), and ironing carefully. I need to have it ready to leave with my sister’s family tomorrow night – I think they’ll head to the city by 7:00 pm….

    I’m not planning on doing any familial socializing tomorrow, needless to say! No worries – I get to spend Tuesday with them in Kansas City… yippee.

    Whew! Busy day. It’s midnight, I’ve been stitching since around 9:30 am. BED!!!

    Thank you again for your encouragement, one and all!

  10. Best of luck with your last minute embroidery project. Hope it turns out great.

    I want to take this opportunity to tell you how much I look forward to your posts every day. Thanks to your recommendation I received the Trish Burr Flower book for Christmas and can’t wait to learn more about thread painting.

    Also just took another look at your video library. Thanks for adding all the stitches. There are several there that I want to do more work on.

    Happy New Year!


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