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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Whitework Techniques Embroidery Sampler Update!


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Ok, here ’tis. This is the only needlework project I’ve really had going lately. It’s not a high-pressure-type project, which is nice. Basically, it’s just an exploratory, experimental kind of project. I’m playing with whitework techniques, and this is what I’ve done so far.

The techniques I plan to dabble in on this sampler include drawn thread, Schwalm, Hardanger, Ukrainian drawn thread embroidery, surface techniques (such as trailing and satin stitch and so forth), pulled thread, and whatever else happens to come to mind.

So far, it’s been a fun experiment, and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. Today, I’ll just give you a couple shots of what I’ve done so far. Later on, I want to go into various motifs and show you mistakes (yes, I make mistakes!) and corrections, and other points of learning.

Here’s the sampler so far:

Whitework Embroidery Techniques Sampler, progress so far

This is the lower left-hand corner of the fabric. The area is quite dominated by an incomplete Schwalm chicken. I wasn’t going to do this guy at first, but on a whim, I stuck him on there. For a chicken, compared to everything else on the sampler, he’s somewhat large – but, gosh, I love this guy! He’s the same motif I used on my Christmas Chicken embroidered card.

Whitework Embroidery Techniques Sampler, progress so far

And this is the lower right-hand corner of the fabric so far. You can tell that I jump around between motifs a bit. The Schwalm work pomegranate here isn’t finished – I still have to work the pinecone on the right and the little spray below it. The chicken above isn’t finished, either, and in the middle of the fabric, you can see a larger blank rectangle that’s marked out – and it’s not finished, either!

Whitework Embroidery Techniques Sampler, progress so far

Here’s the chicken close-up. Check out those chicken legs. There are some flaws on this fellow, and some troubleshooting I had to go through when choosing threads, but we’ll come back to that down the road.

Whitework Embroidery Techniques Sampler, progress so far

And here’s the crown of the pomegranate. This is perhaps my favorite thing I’ve worked so far on this! It was a bit challenging here and there, which was nice. Yeah, the eyelets aren’t so great, and – yes! – they are on crooked. The right side is higher than the left side!

We’ll go back to that later, too.

Whitework Embroidery Techniques Sampler, progress so far

I like this little section of drawn thread, which utilizes the coral knot to bunch things together. The other day I showed you how to do what I call a chain loop to bunch threads, but the method I prefer is this coral knot.

Whitework Embroidery Techniques Sampler, progress so far

And, here’s the whole panel in perspective. See what I mean about the dominating chicken??!!

That’s my progress so far – it’s really one of the more relaxing projects I’ve ever worked on, I suppose because it isn’t for anyone else, it’s purely exploratory, and I can do whatever I want! Kinda fun!

Anyone else out there working on anything fun or interesting? Feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your current project! Or, if you’ve finished something recently and want to share it with us, you can contact me, and I’ll send you my e-mail address so you can send photos!

Have a great Monday!


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(12) Comments

  1. It’s beautiful work! Can I just ask you: what is the name of that stich you used to finish the crown of the pomegranete, and also by the wing of the chicken (on the inside)? I found something fairly similar in an old embroidery work I’m trying to recreate … (that’s how I found you, your wonderful library, and blog!)

  2. Hi Mary! I found your whitework sampler very whimsical and inspirational this morning! I don’t think the chicken dominates but then I live in a house full of them…

    Maybe when you’re finished your sampler, you’d consider a stitch along…I know I would participate. I’ve always wanted to tackle something similar but haven’t liked the traditional look of a band sampler…it would be fun to do a section a week or something. On the other hand, you can keep playing and showing us what you’re doing and I’ll be just as happy…

  3. Hi, all – thanks for the comments! A stitch-a-long sounds like fun… I’ll think about it! I was thinking more along the lines of a stitch along for a long and short stitch sampler, which has been brewing in my head for a while. I need to get it fully cooked, though, before I present the idea!

    Francesca – the stitch filling the crown of the pomegranate is the reverse wave stitch, and on the inside of the chicken, those are just small straight stitches worked down the line, and pulled a little. At the intersection of each line, a three-thread block is left blank.

    I’ll be writing in-depth about each technique as time allows, with up-close photos and stitch tutorials…

    Thank again!

  4. Cute chicken!!! I love him and his card cousin!
    The fabric change was a sound choice; these pictures are beautifully clear.
    Keep up the lovely work!

  5. I don’t think I’d be tempted to do whitework,but I just love seeing what you’re doing…the centre of the pomegranate is particularly striking…and altho’ I love symmetry I don’t think I’d have noticed the lack of it on this,….it’s beautiful, Mary!

  6. I’m glad you changed the fabric, it’s so much easier to see your stitches now.
    I love what you’ve done so far.
    Even though I’ve got a gizillion things going right now (literally) in my stitching life, I really want to follow this and put it on fabric myself.
    I never gave much thought to white work in the past…. just thought it was pretty and left it for others.
    Following your blog has put a bug in me and I know I’ll have to follow through.

    Guess I’ll go on a fabric and thread hunt 🙂
    Hugs, Marlon

  7. I have never really been interested in trying whitework until watching your work in progress evolve. This morning when I saw the adorable little chicken and then the crown of the pomegrante I thought I would like trying something like that.

    Thanks again for all the time you spend educating the rest of us and thank you for visiting my blog and leavng nice comments.


  8. I have recently found this site and look forward to my morning dose of needlework news. It is SO nice to be able to see the work in progress. The whitework I am finding especially fascinating and have started a sampler myself. My many thanks.

  9. c’est un trés beau tavail! conseilles moi un site ou je peus obtenir des modéles à réaliser.tanks a lot for what you offer us.

  10. Really beautiful work. Wish i could do it but i think i’ve got a while before i’m at that stage 😉

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