Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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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Cleaning House on Needle ‘n Thread – and Your Druthers?


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It was inevitable. Besides cleaning my real living space this weekend, I finally devoted some time to cleaning house on Needle ‘n Thread!

Strangely enough, keeping up a website with any regularity can seem rather daunting now and then. I appreciate so much you dear loyal readers who keep me motivated to continue growing this website! Without motivation…. well, it’s easy to let things lag a bit.

Sometimes, the website goes through a content growth bubble. These are the times when I’m adding a lot of content, but not necessarily doing the behind-the-scenes work of linking up to various indexes, so the content is easier to find later.

So, this weekend, I did a little backtracking to index some content. I still have a little more to do (hopefully today!) so that you can see the results on a much more organized Needle ‘n Thread!

First, I updated my Hand Embroidery Patterns Index. There, you’ll be able to find the free hand embroidery patterns available on Needle ‘n Thread listed and described.

Then, I updated the Tips and Tricks for Hand Embroidery page, where you can find all “tips and tricks” articles – usually tutorials, how-tos, various ideas on organization, stitches, techniques, etc. – listed.

I began, but didn’t finish, updating the Gallery, where you’ll find links to posts with pictures of specific projects, embroidered works, etc. This is quite a time-consuming job! It’s the first thing I want to finish up today.

Squizzing through the site a bit, I started looking for broken links and so forth. I found out that I have several on my Embroidery Patterns around the Web list, so that’s going to take some attention this week, too! At the same time, I’ll be updating my links page with new resources and with new information sites.

Making lists is an inevitable part of my life. Lists help with general organization, and, at least for a while (until I lose the list!), they help me get things done. I’ve made up a long list of other things that need updating – like my bookstore (I’ve got a tremendous hand embroidery library that I’ve wanted to catalog for a long time and share with you some reviews, but …!!), the “editor’s floss” section in the top right column (I want to make some adjustments there), and my contact info form.

So much to do, so little time!!

In the meantime, there’s the ever-present question of new videos to be added to the Video Library of Hand Embroidery Stitches. Well, never fear, there are some coming. I’ve found, though, that with time, I’ve become a bit more persnickety about the quality of the videos. When I first started making them, video was still somewhat of a novelty online – certainly not as widely used as it is now. I wasn’t too familiar with the whole filming-editing thing, and I didn’t have any decent equipment. Now, I look back on my earlier videos and tend to cringe a bit at their quality. Eventually, I’ll remake all of them. In the meantime, though, I’m trying out new techniques and some new equipment and will be adding to the library as soon as I can. I’m in the throes of deciding whether to invest in a new camera, too – a video camera, as opposed to a regular snapshot camera that has a video function. For close up filming, the cameras become a bit more complex, though, which means they’re a bit more expensive. So I’m fooling around with that idea a bit… As things develop in the video line, you’ll be the first ones to hear about it!

Finally, I’m also contemplating a new format for the website. This, I undertake with trepidation. I know how difficult it can be to re-adjust to a website after you’ve become used to the format. But it’s an idea I’m playing with, nevertheless, always keeping in mind that I want the website to be reader-friendly.

And here’s my question:

I’d love to know what kind of content you’d enjoy seeing more of on Needle ‘n Thread. Often, I’m not sure what readers really like. This would probably be a good place for a poll, but polls are rarely specific enough. How about, instead, you leave a comment below, letting me know what you like on Needle ‘n Thread and what you’d like to see more of? That would help give me a better sense of direction!

As my mom would say, what are your druthers? (“Druthers,” Mom? Is that even a word?)

Thanks for your input! Enjoy your Monday!


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(20) Comments

  1. Mary,

    You are famous webwide for your superb videos, and while your reservations about the quality of the early ones is just a reflection of your personal development, may I say that to me at least the content is more important than the other production values? A bit like teaching in a classroom. Some teachers use all the latest gizmos, but the students learn little because the content of the lesson is pitched wrong or there just isn’t enough of it, or the teacher doesn’t relate it to their needs and interest or some other fault. Meanwhile some teachers are more “low-key” in their use of aids but the lesson is pitched right, staged right and paced right…. an students see its “use”.

    Of course, to have both qualities is good, as long as the technology doesn’t become the point of the lesson….

    So, no need to redo your old stuff. It’s perfectly serviceable, for me. But yes, I would like to see more stitch videos….. Oh how I love your stitch videos…. Perhaps one thing you could add to them is links to the picture/s in your gallery where you hav eused the stitch concerned. It’s always good to see it in a design as opposed to isolated. (Generally, I’m not wild about samplers for that reason).

    I love to see your WIPs too – that is endlessly fascinating. They have given me such a long list of “Oh, I want to try thats”!

    Personally, I still need to know more about thread and how thread behaves…. And a lot ore about fabrics and how to choose and use them. what are the differences, etc. This is partly because I am not American and we use different terms in British English and then I don’t even live in the UK so I have to be able to describe what I want to get it (I can’t just go and say “x amount of Belfast linen, please.” I have to find the local equivalent.) Here may I say that I love the super-close-ups of thread and fabric – very useful!

    I love to see your “embroidery in use’, ie, on towels, bags, purses, etc., and framed for walls. I think a “finish” should ideally be out there, not hidden in a box or rolled up under the bed! It’s not a vice! It’s a virtue!

    Your reviews are useful and your gallery is a dream = inspiring!

    Only one thing – the web is drowning in crazy quilting weblogs. While it clearly has an addictive effect on its practitioners, I visit your blog every day because it stands out as “pure embroidery”. Please, please, please, don’t shift to CQ blogging. I do not want to offend CQ’ers, but equally I don’t plan to join them. They are well-served already! There is really not enough on surface embroidery the way you do it. In fact, there’s no one like you!

    I don’t leave a comment every day, but honestly every day I am out here, radiating approval toward you…..

  2. Oh, and another thing (sorry to go on!). YouTube is not accessible where I live (it’s blocked) so Google is better. YouTube links don’t work for me.

  3. I appreciate seeing your projects…beginning to end. I’ve also liked the “What can I do with 15 minutes” pictures.

    On your site I really look for two things…the how-tos and inspiration. So really, that’s everything.

  4. Gosh! You are unstoppable and tireless, Mary! You spoil us!
    But I thank you so very much for everything you has been teaching me! There still so many things I want to do because of the content of your blog that I can’t answer your question.
    By the way druthers is in my pc English-Portuguese dictionary, oh! yes it is, teacher!

  5. I can honestly say I love everything you do and there isn’t just one thing I’d like to see more of. You’re doing a great job here! But if I had to pick one favorite thing (OTHER than your great pictures), it would be your reviews. Products, threads, books, organization systems, whatever it may be: you give background story, you take us with you through the process, you present pros and cons that have meaning to everyone, your opinion comes through without ever being offensive or pushy, and your conclusions always wrap the review up in a nice tidy bow. I wish I had reviews like this to read for EVERYTHING I spend my money and time on!

  6. First time here for comments…I have loved your site and am new to embroidery. In fact so new, that all I have attempted is to do some CQ stitches on a block and read, read, read.
    So I dwell here on your site a lot. I love the how-to’s and also the tips. The advice on equipment has been great too, especially when you are so honest about what is really needed and what is not.
    I, too, could use a great deal more information on threads.
    Another area would be what type of projects a beginner should start with. I am not exactly a kid. In fact I would say, over middle-age! 🙂
    Fabrics, cloth, etc., and their uses (especially with the thread types) would be a beneficial for me.
    Your links to others sites are awesome and also all the patterns/designs etc.
    I hope some of my comments pertain to others as well.
    Thank you for providing us with so much,

  7. I can’t add much to what Ruth had to say about your wonderful website. I look forward to it each and every morning, while I have my first cup of coffee. There is nothing I don’t like!

    So all I can say is keep it up! We are all so lucky to be the recipients on this end. You are tireless and inspiring, Mary. And I’ll bet you are just as good in the classroom!


  8. Mary, yours is the only embroidery site I visit regularly (every day if possible). I like it because it’s focused on surface embroidery, not counted work. I enjoy everything you post and every project you present. It doesn’t matter if I want to try the technique or not.

    I would agree with the other comments that request more information on threads and fabrics. I think that would be helpful. Sometimes it seems like knowledge in these areas is just assumed and it can often be difficult to suss out what is what due to terminology, etc. (I think this is one area where counted embroiderers definitely have an advantage over surface embroiderers.)

    I sometimes wish there was a way to keep a discussion going on some of the topics you present, but I’m not a big fan of forums.

    I know it’s a lot of work to keep all of this going, but long may you post and share!

  9. I agree with everything Ruth said in her first comment above. I appreciate the variety of your website: one day a look at your tool box, next a pattern for the letter J, then a book review, another day your wonderful comments on a fifteen-minute micro project, and then an inspiring video on an armless woman doing wonderful things including embroidery. And the list goes on. I am new to embroidery and an even newer reader of this website, and next summer I am going to go into your archives and read everything there. Every one of your posts is a treat. You do interesting things, and I love it all. Your tone is warm and friendly; I feel like I know you and the other stitchers, too. I don’t mean to gush, but I do thank you for this website just as it is.

  10. Love your site, the videos, the photography, the hints and information contained therein. Thanks for everything!

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 🙂 But if you are looking for something new to include, how about an occasional picture of Kansas? I miss Kansas. Or maybe organize a small swap or tea towel tour based upon skill level?

    btw, druthers is a real word, circa 1895, according to etymonline.com

  11. Hi its anna here mary. Firstly I must say I see what you mean about facebook it is going to become very bitty and I will give it a go but stop if I do not like it. Druthers .is’ I would rather’ said quickly….lol.
    as to content I have always enjoyed your chatty but informative style and wouldn’t change it , its very you.I must say I personally love seeing what you are working on as it goes along its like watching a series and hearing about how you teach etc I love when you show other peoples work too…But I would add more history but thats cos I love the whys and where fors love anna

  12. J’aime beaucoup ton blog et tout les apprentissage que je peux y faire, j’aime voir tes ouvrages avancer et le dictionnaire des points et les vidéos sont vraiment très utiles. merci pour tout.
    I love your blog and learning all I can do, I see your work progress and the dictionary items and videos are so helpful. thank you for everything.

  13. Thanks very much for the input, all! I do apprecieate it. Wow. Your remarks are very encouraging – I rather blushed a bit, as I wasn’t mining for compliments, that’s for sure! I am very grateful for the sincere evaluation of preferences, and I’m glad to hear that fabric and thread information, comparisons, and so forth are on the list. I’ve never been quite sure how well those go over! I like writing comparisons. The 15 minute series! Glad that one is mentioned, too… and Ruth, thanks ever so much for your honest input and analogy on the video filming. I never thought of it that way, but I can understand your analogy better than you can possibly imagine!

    Great! I have some really good ideas here!

    And druthers is a word! I think I’ll spring it on my students as the word of the day….

    Thank you all so much!

  14. Hi Mary, just to add my thoughts. I agree with Ruth, but should you decide to add anything, it would be read/accessed like everything else.

    Thank you for a great place to come for help.


  15. Me encantan tus bordados son de una finura y perfeccion que es un gusto verlos .Te deseo un feliz año y que sigas con esas maravillas de trabajo que es placer para los que te admiramos.

  16. I love your work and the information on your site.
    It is my “go to” for everthing that I need to read and learn.
    Thankyou for your work and dedication.

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