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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Long and Short Stitch Shading Lessons: Sneak Peek


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Coming up on Needle ‘n Thread: a series of lessons on long and short stitch shading! May I tell you a bit about it?

Long and short stitch shading goes by many names in the embroidery arena, and the long and short stitch is a vital part of many embroidery techniques. Needle painting, thread painting, shading, silk shading…. crewel work, art silk embroidery… and on and on…

Long and Short Stitch Shading Lessons: Sneak Peek

Despite what it’s called, long and short stitch shading is a beautiful embroidery technique and it’s worth learning. There’s no better way in embroidery to fill a realistic-looking shape. And even if you’re working a stylized design and you want to fill an area with shades of color, long and short stitch is the stitch to use for a smooth, gradual shaded fill.

Long and Short Stitch Shading Lessons: Sneak Peek

It seems lots of stitchers are intimidated by long and short stitch. In a sense, there’s good reason for that – it’s usually considered a more “advanced” form of embroidery, and it’s often seen in combination with “advanced” forms of embroidery (like goldwork).

Like any new skill, long and short stitch takes practice to get it, but once you start working with the technique, you’ll find out a very important thing about it: it’s a “forgiving” stitch, more so than many other embroidery stitches! It allows you to make corrections as you go.

The concept behind these lessons is to take you through the basics of long and short stitch. While the lessons are in stitch-a-long form, they are not focused on one finished design. (We’ll save that for another time!)

Long and Short Stitch Shading Lessons: Sneak Peek

Instead, I will be working through a series of 8 design elements, each fitting within a space of about 2″ (and the elements themselves are smaller than that!). Each element will be stitched in sequence, from basic long and short stitch filling in a box, to angled long and short stitch shading, to filling in a circle, then filling in a ribbon, then working on natural elements – from the stylized leaf, to the more realistic, to the small flower shape, to a “real” leaf, with a folded edge.

By stitching these eight elements, you will learn the anatomy of the stitching technique and its applications in basic forms. The lessons will help you get the hang of shading and will prepare you for further adventures with long and short stitch.

Long and Short Stitch Shading Lessons: Sneak Peek

The lessons include materials list, design, picture tutorials, a couple videos, and, of course, text instructions (because you know I couldn’t do this without incessant babbling!) The finished product, should you stitch the whole thing as I drew it, will be a small sampler of 8 elements, with a space to personalize it, leaving you with a good reference point for later work.

I’ve been working like a fiend on the lessons, and I’m planning to launch them soon. Look for them!


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(21) Comments

  1. Wonderful! I'm thrilled that you're doing this, Mary! Interestingly, just this morning I ordered Tris Burr's book on Long and Short so I am excited to see that you are taking this stitch up, too. I look forward to learning from your lessons.

  2. Wow! Long and short stitch….This is the stitch I've never tried to try, it looks like way to difficult for me. I am happy to know you are launching a lesson on this scary stitch. Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait!

  3. Cannot believe… I've read this text twice and still cannot believe. I love your lessons, your videos. And once more a wonderful gift. Thank you very very much 🙂
    Your blog is like a big book, growing with every day…

  4. I will look forward to this. I'm anxious to see the method for angles. Of course I'm not sure how it's put in words, maybe working on the curve, I don't know, but looking forward anyway.
    Tammy T.

  5. Hm. It's never seemed very scary to me, but then I'm one of those folks that just jumps in over my head and figures out which way is 'up' on my way back to the surface.

    Wanna bet I've been doing it wrong?

    WHAT A GREAT IDEA THIS IS!!! 🙂 Thank you, Mary!

  6. Yay! I am so excited! I can't wait to learn this! I have tried before but somehow I think I am missing something trying to teach myself and your instructions are always so clear!

  7. This is something I have been wanting to get good at for a while now. I am looking forward to your lessons.

  8. I just got my copy of Trish Burr's book and have be waiting for your tutorial. Gosh I am excited!!. Thanks Mary

  9. Thanks in advance for this tutorial on long and short stitch. I got a Trish Burr book for Christmas and even that seems intimidating. I'm really looking forward to stitching along with you. I really want to learn how to do this!

    Cindy Bonnell

  10. Hi Mary

    I can hardly wait. I'v been looking forward to this since you mentioned it previously. So, you can count me in.

    Shari M i Canada

  11. Mary, you're the best! Can't wait! Thanks so much for you willingness to share with others. You're a real gem!

  12. Thank you Mary!! I have one of Trish Burr's book and I love it, planning on getting another one soon..This is fantastic of you to do this for us..Skye

  13. I am so glad that I found this and can't wait to begin!! I have just gotten hooked on this stitch and want to improve!!

  14. Mary, I am DROOLING for this lesson. Long-and-short stitch is something I am really drawn to but I feel is way out of my league. You have a way of making things approachable, so I really look forward to your tutorial. Thanks for your ongoing generosity!

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