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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Hand Embroidered Spring Thing, and Why You Shouldn’t Hurry!


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Last week, I set up a “grab-and-go” embroidery project that materialized into a fairly nice Easter gift for my sister’s family. The project was an embroidered flour sack towel, with a spring garden design on the corner. I ended up using it to line a matching basket, which I filled with Easter candy and took to the fam. Here’s the completed project.

As Easter approached, I didn’t think I was going to finish the embroidery on this. By Thursday, this was the extent of my progress

Hand Embroidered Towel: Spring Garden Design on a Corner

…and I still had to work the tulip in the corner and the other side of the design.

The bulk of my stitching time actually came on Easter morning, when the world (at least at my house!) was relatively quiet. After going to church very early, I went home and started stitching. By 11:30 am, family and friends started popping in, but I was determined to keep stitching – I was too close not to finish!

Hand Embroidered Towel: Spring Garden Design on a Corner

The corner tulip ended up mostly purple, with pink highlights (opposite of the two end tulips)

Hand Embroidered Towel: Spring Garden Design on a Corner

I only finished the one corner. When I first set out on the project, I was wanting to stitch two opposite corners. Ha. Well, I’m perpetually an optimist on that kind of thing – I never gauge correctly how long it takes to embroider something!

Hand Embroidered Towel: Spring Garden Design on a Corner

I chose a rectangular woven basket in bright pink, to match the flowers. After finishing the towel, I washed it and, being in too much of a hurry, I only let it dry part way, then I tried to iron it dry the rest of the way!

Have you ever ironed something dry? I do it to linen all the time. But the strange thing about ironing something dry is that the thing can feel dry, when it isn’t actually dry-dry.

Yep. That’s what happened here. The towel was still just the slightest bit damp here and there when I arranged it in the basket. I know, because the jelly beans took on a kind of clammy skin after a bit. “Oh, that’s just from kids rummaging through…” No, no! The m&m;’s – you know, those things that melt in your mouth and not in your hands? They melt on damp towels!

When I realized what had happened, I pulled the towel out of the basket! But not before I got a shot of it with this little fellow:

Hand Embroidered Towel: Spring Garden Design on a Corner

… and not before the towel was completely bespeckled with pastel-colored-candy-syrupy-sticky-splotchy-gunky mess!

Did I take a picture of THAT?


Remember what your mother always told you: Haste makes waste! And learn from my experience! Rumor has it that the Laundry Queen at my sister’s house (that would be my niece Julie, who likes doing laundry for some bizarre reason) has removed the stains, and all is well again with the towel.

Now, isn’t that bunny just the cutest thing in the whole wide world?


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(15) Comments

  1. Ahh cute bunny – far more important than a stained towel, of course! LOL! The embroidery is beautiful – lovely colours.

  2. Wow! I’m thoroughly impressed that you finished it so fast! It’s gorgeous and I love how many different stitches you used. (Hopefully the spots will wash out!)

  3. That cute little bunny! Awwww!!! Is it a pet of yours or your sister’s?

    Glad the sticky mess was resolved! Just curious – but what type of flour sacks do you use? I’ve been looking for a good quality flour sack. The ones I found aren’t hemmed nicely and are really really thin (and don’t take nicely to satin stitches).


  4. I think the towel is really impressive, even more so than the bunny (which is naturally cute). It is so striking!

  5. Absolutely adorable! And the cloth is just gorgeous too! I love the bright colors with the bright pink basket.


  6. Hi, All! Thanks for your comments! It was a fun project, and quite well-received as a gift! (Well, my sister loved the towel – my nieces and nephews were, I think, partial to the candy!)

    I got this particular towel through EmbroiderThis.com – but I just ordered a couple dozen towels from
    American Chair StoreI had a sample of their 30×30″ deluxe towels, and they’re quite nice. They run, right now, $15.90 per dozen. I like the fact that they’re square, too. Many flour sack towels you find hither and thither are an inch or so shorter on two sides than on the other two sides, so not perfectly square. I don’t like the flimsy gauzy flour sack towels – they’re rotten for embroidering on.

    The bunny! They belong to my nieces! They have two litters this age right now – really cute!

  7. I love the design and the colors that you chose. It compliments the color of the basket perfectly. I have never really stitched anything before, but this project makes me want to give it a go. Thanks for a great design!

  8. Hello, my name is madoue and i have been reading your blog for 2 years now. I need to know what stiches you used for your Easter pattern of the tulips. I lke it so much i downloaded it so i can stitch. Let me know all the stiches yu used. I have been a cross-sticher since i was 9 years old. I fell in love with surface embroidery 3 years ago and i have embarked on sttiching almost every day. I love your site and has great info. yOU ARE THE GREATEST.

  9. Hi, Madoue! Glad to hear from you! Your comment made me laugh! The tulip is heaps of fun to stitch, and I’ve got the list of stitches on this post right here:

    Spring Corner Embroidered TowelYou’ll find the list right below the third picture down!

    I hope you have fun stitching the towel – I did!


  10. Yes that bunny is THE most cutest thing.. i have hd many.. n i hv one even nw.. but this one s cho chweet………. 🙂

  11. Hi Mary! I hope your spring is going lovely. Sorry to pull attention to an older post, but I am going to start this pattern on a tablecloth for Easter this year, and I’m curious if you stuck with the bullion stitches with the purple flower buds or if you satin stitched/fly stitched the rest? I was wondering what you found worked best – I’m a newbie and still trying to figure it out 🙂

    1. Hi, Risa – I used bullion stitch on two of them (either the ones on the outside of the design or the ones right in the corner – can’t remember which! I think it was the outside buds) and fly stitch / satin stitch on the other two. They both worked. I think the fly stitch / satin stitch is probably the easiest approach, but the bullion stitch adds a little more dimension and interest. ~MC

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