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 – My Supplies


Amazon Books

If you want to join me in working through a small long and short stitch shading sampler, here’s a little bit about the project and the list of supplies that I’m using….

The long and short stitch shading lessons series that I’ll be posting here on Needle ‘n Thread over the next several weeks will consist of a small sampler of eight elements, each focusing on a different shape.

Long and Short Stitch Lesson Design

The whole piece is a total of 7″ square, which keeps the individual elements rather small. The colors above are only approximate – I doodled them in while considering color schemes and shading.

The middle section is left empty. If you decide to do the whole piece in a square as the pattern is drawn (like above), then you can use the middle to stitch your own little something, shaded. Or you can add some personal information, to document when you stitched it, etc.

You can skip the whole “square” layout, and just do each element separately, on a bit of scrap fabric. It’s all up to you.

I’m working the square, as designed above.

When I’m ready to publish the lessons, you’ll receive a downloadable pattern in a plain line drawing, plus a downloadable color guide like the one above, just to give you the idea of the shading, and also a downloadable stitch-direction guide.

Long and Short Stitch Lesson Threads

Here’s the supply list:

1. Fabric – a 12″ square of cotton – high thread count muslin (calico) is suitable – in white or natural. I used a piece of good cotton from a new pillow case that I was going to stitch, but that I messed up on when transferring the design onto it. So you can use a “scrap” if you want to conserve a bit on fabric or expense.

2. Hoop or frame – you’ll want a hoop (either a 4″ or 6″ hoop will work). Alternately, you can use stretcher bar frames – 10″ work fine, if you’re working on a 12″ square.

3. Needles – #10 crewel

4. Sharp Scissors

5. Pencil – I use a mechanical pencil

6. Thread: I’m using DMC stranded cotton in the following colors. You are welcome to use the same colors or change them to suit you. I’ve arranged the DMC color numbers in numerical order for shopping convenience, if you’re going to buy threads. If you have suitable threads in your stash, though, feel free just to use those!

DMC Colors:
158, 159, 160, 161, 223, 225, 347, 349, 351, 353, 469, 471, 472, 613, 745, 814, 3011, 3012, 3013, 3052, 3855 and ECRU

I’ll be presenting the lessons in a sequential order, progressing from least difficult to more difficult. The first lesson will cover setting up the project. After that, each lesson will deal with an individual element (the group within a square).

There will be at least two videos accompanying the series of lessons. Unfortunately, my software did something weird when I tried to complete the first video, so I’ll be looking into that. The first video was 57 minutes long originally, edited down to 27, for the basic long and short stitch. I’ll try to edit it further! Aaack!

So that’s the plan! If you’re interested, you can join me in the venture! If you just want to watch from the sidelines, that’s fine, too! And if you aren’t interested, never fear – I’ll still keep up with some other content for those of you not inclined to shade!

I’m looking forward to this series – I hope you find it fun, too.


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(53) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    I am longly waiting for the lessons of short and long stitches.I am first to join in this venture.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. Bless you for this. My thread shading skills are rusty and I'm looking forward to stiching along with you.

  3. Mary, that's a very good idea!
    I have always wanted to learn, how to do the shading in needlepaint. Now, I can try it myself.
    Thank you for your work.

  4. Awesome! I am so excited to do this. I have all the supplies already. Thank you for taking time to do this or us.

  5. I'm so excited to get started on this, Mary. Thank you so much for doing this. I can't imagine all the hours you devote to this little group. I'm so grateful.

    Shari Masson

  6. Add me to the list of those who want to follow your lessons on shading. Been so long since I have done anything like this, so I am excited about doing some samples to update my skills. Thanks for offering your experience to help us on shading.

  7. Amazing how things come up just when I need them to. I am getting ready to work on a project that this will teach me what I need to know! Thanks for being so insightful, even if you didn't realize you were!


  8. Me too, Me too, Me too
    I am very excited to join in this project. Ihave a complete kit of Berlin's wild rose but I think this will give me the courage to face that. Thanks as always Mary, you are the best;.

  9. Thank you Mary for this …I need to learn long and short because i have two different samplers which require it in DMC!! this will be a great 'push' to get going!! Thanks you get!! Looking forward to following this!! Karin

  10. Hm, I don't think I have those colors of thread, I'll just *have* to go buy them. Such a pity. 🙂

    Thanks for putting this together! I can teach myself most stitches from books, but I'm glad to get a little more instruction on shading, it's not as easy to pick up.

  11. Mary your the best. I can't wait to get started. I dabbled in silk shading a few years back but can't get the hang of it.Some stitches seem to go the wrong way. Thank you so much for your time in doing this for us.

    Pam. UK

  12. I'm ALWAYS all ears and EYES when you do shading. My skills are still poor and my shading looks CLUNKY. Still trying to master the art of subtle movement from one color to another. Thanks Much Mary. I read your daily newsletters religiously.

  13. Oh, I so want to do this, Mary! You are so organized. Everything is so clear. I wish I had the time. I even have all the colors. You can be sure that I'll at least be "watching from the sidelines."

  14. Oh you poor thing with the first video! How frustrating!!!

    As you know, I'm a bit under the weather atm, but should be better in a month or so, and I'll join you then, before getting back into my sampler. This is too good an opportunity to miss!

    Thankyou So Much for putting this effort in

  15. Thank you so much Mary. I'm new to your site and just yesterday tried Trish Burr's little sample instructions (on her site) to try and make a shaded pansy. For the first time, I think it came out pretty good but your lessons will expand this information. I'm just now learning about embroidery (well, I did a little when I was kid), after spending years with cross stitch. Looking forward to studying along with everyone!

  16. Hi Mary,

    Count me in. Learnt this in school and that was a long time ago. Time to brush up before I teach my daughter. Thanks for the supply list.

  17. I've never entered a stitch along, but I can't miss this.
    I only have two colours. Today I'll buy all I need.
    Thank you so very much, Mary!

  18. Hi, Mary! I'm certainly going to try following your lessons! 🙂 Just hope I can find everything I need here in Brazil… I still have to find out what Ecru is! 😀

    Keep posting!

  19. Mary,
    I'm off shopping for the threads and looking for my material. I'll keep checking in to see where you are on the project and when the children are back in school (ahhhhhhhh) I'll pick up my needle n thread and join in. Thank you very much for your time and energy Mary.
    Maria in Kansas

  20. Hi Mary,
    I have been following your site for some time. Now I am so excited to be starting a class on your site. Looking forward to starting this class. I have supplies in hand. Will be waiting with bated breath.

  21. Hi Mary:
    I am really happy about getting started on our long and short stitch-along tutorial!!!

    Thank you so much!!!!!


  22. Hi Mary,
    I would really like to join this group. This is the first time I have had a look at your website and have spent the whole morning watching your stitch videos. so much easier than looking at book illustrations….. Thank you for all the hours you have put into your excellent website.
    North Carolina

  23. Welcome aboard, Stephanie!

    You'll be able to find all the articles relating to the long and short stitch lessons here:

    Long and Short Stitch category

    There will be some other posts in there, too, that aren't necessarily the lessons themselves, but eventually, all the lessons will end up under that category.

    To see the most recent articles on the site, click on "HOME" in the top menu. You can also subscribe via RSS feed or the daily newsletter (both options in the right hand column). With the newsletter, each day's blog post will show up in your inbox.

    Have fun!!


  24. Thank you mary.from so many days i am waiting for your long and short lessons.Already i have all the material.

  25. Thanks for the videos and the sampler project. I wanted to write and tell you that even though you posted this some time ago, I still found it and appreciate your help with my education.

  26. I have been wanting to try this kind of needle work. I have a book on it, but decided I needed something for a per-beginner. I do other hand work, but still consider myself a beginner because I can only work on things in small bits of time.

  27. Good afternoon,
    I am so glad this website exists. I have looked through many embroidery websites. Most are geared towards their products and they also include good information and instruction. But, your website outshines them all. The information and instructions you provide are comprehensive, easy to follow and always available. My first impression is that the creators of this site really want to share and keep alive hand embroidery. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Your ever faithful student.

  28. Hi Mary. First of all Thank you so much for thiscwebsite!!! Wow!!!! The amount of work put into it it’s staggering. It’s amazing how today, even somebody living in the most remote area, can learn thanks to the generosity of people like you.
    I wanted to ask you if the guides are still available. I was especially interested in the “stitch directions guide but all 3 would be great to have. Thanks Mary for all you do for us!!!!

    1. With long and short stitch, I use one strand of floss (from the six). Yes, I use other fibers when I want to or need to. You can effectively do soft shading / long & short stitch with crewel wool, with silk, etc.

  29. Hi Mary! Before I begin this Long & Short study, I want to ask you if you think I will be able to follow along being left-handed? Thanks

    1. Since the stitch is nothing but straight up and straight down into the fabric, there’s no reason why it would be complicated for a left-handed stitcher. Hope that helps!

  30. Hiya, long and short stitch has always frightened me. I’ve had a quick read through your tutorial and you’ve made it slightly less so. So I’m going to give it a whirl. I was just wondering if you could advise me on fabric. I live in the UK and when I type in ‘high count muslin’ it brings up stuff that doesn’t look right. Is there a specific name or thread count to look for? So sorry to be a nuisance.

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