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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These Would Make Terrific Embroidery Designs…


Amazon Books

… but is it cheating?

You see, I just love daffodils, and I don’t go outside this time of year without seeing them, and thinking, “Golly. I just love daffodils.” I’ve never embroidered daffodils, and in fact, I’ve never seen them in any needlepainting kits or books… Why not, I ask! The daffodil is the Cheeriest Flower of All! And it is the harbinger of that happy season, Spring! Woe is me! Why hath the poor daffodil been overlooked??!

With such thoughts bouncing around in my head, I began to think of the daffodil as a subject for embroidery. Needle painting, of course! Sure, it could be cross stitched, it could be needlepointed – but needlepainting would do it justice!

I’m not an artist, when it comes to good sketching of realistic things. Oh, yes – I try, but … wow. Never mind! That’s one skill I’d love to have – to be able to sit down, whip out a sketch book, and produce something that looks real, with the correct proportions, shading, and so forth. Some people say it just takes practice. I think it probably takes a wee bit of specialized talent.

So, I jumped online and started looking for images, which brought me to the popular site, How Stuff Works. I don’t get how this fits under the heading of “how stuff works,” but they do have a section on there on “how to draw a ___ in 5 easy steps.”

I bet you’re thinking I sat right down and taught myself to draw a realistic daffodil in five easy steps, right? WRONG!

It’s the finished product on the “how to” pages that caught my eye.

Daffodil drawing for Hand Embroidery Pattern

The finished product of the five easy steps is supposed to resemble these daffodils. Well, there they are! I figure you can print out these black and white drawings, make some adjustments if you like, play around a bit with color using pencils or watercolors, then match threads and there’s a good needlepainting project!

Now, to make things really exciting, I started roving through the list of “how to” drawings and found the following plants, flowers, and fruits, all of which would make nice embroidery patterns:





Lily of the Valley


Flower Arrangement


Cacti Scene

Wheat Field





Palm plant


Plant Arrangement


Pumpkin on a vine


Strawberry and Blossoms


African Violets

I especially like the grapes, daffodils, tulips, lilies, and strawberries. The cacti scene and the wheat field could be the beginning of a highly textured landscape piece.

All in all, it was a successful search for the daffodil. I’m afraid I probably won’t be paying homage to the chipper little flower any time soon by setting it down in thread, but some day, some day…

I hope you find these drawings useful for your own embroidery projects!

In the meantime, I’m still plugging away on my goldwork iris, as well as the whitework sampler. I’ll show you a bit of both of those this week!


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(6) Comments

  1. Mary,

    I have some shadow applique patterns marketed some time back…before my divorce. Now, just in my garage. I would love to send you the daffodil if you’d like it…no charge, just one less thing to hold on too.

    You can see it on my flicker page at http://www.flickr/photos/shawkl it’s in the shadow applique folder…with several other flowers.

    If you like it…or any of them, just let me know where to mail it to.

    Love your site, it’s a favorite…and I check it out all the time. Thanks for all you do to share and promote the craft!!

    You’re a very special lady!!

  2. Hi Mary

    Once again you have come up trumps. The “how to” drawings are fantastic. Not being much of an artist myself, the shading on each drawing will make them wonderful for needlework. Perhaps Goldwork?

  3. Aaawwww….thanks, Shawkl! I'd love to see the applique patterns, but I can't seem to find your flickr account. I searched people on flickr – perhaps I'm doing it wrong?! Let me know!

    Hi, Yvonne – they're nice, aren't they? I love the fact that they're shaded! I think they could possibly work for goldwork, esp. Or Nue. Argh. Don't get me started! I don't need another project right now!! Or maybe I do… >:-)

  4. Hi again Mary. As always you give great tips. I can’t draw very well so these will be helpful. Thanks to you I’ve been able to start up embroidering again(the last time was in High School – in 1991) I used you’re tutorials and some patterns to do a valentine’s gift for my husband and thank you gifts to our parents during our wedding. How can I submit pictures of my projects? I’d really like your opinion.

  5. Dear Mary, I truly appreciate your site & doubly appreciate your generosity of time, ideas, expertise. As to “Is this cheating?” I had a teacher in art school who I will never forget. One of the things she said to us about ‘cheating’ is the Great Masters all copied each other. Raphael copied Michaelangelo. he copied Giotto etc, etc. And not just artists, some of the great composers copied all over the place. This statement was made by a great painter to one of his apprentices. “The apprentice mimics, the master copies”. Good enough for me. Art should be shared anyway. No two people can produce the same thing even if it is from the same object or idea. Viva la difference. If your French excuse the mis-spelling.

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