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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Setting up Embroidery Projects for the Gals, and Stuff!


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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take a couple of my nieces out to the studio and set up some embroidery projects with them. They wanted to stitch some “quick” designs onto flour sack towels to use as bread basket liners (and hopefully sell). So, out we went…

… to the studio that was clean and neat, and there we sifted through designs and ideas. Luckily, the towels were already prepared. I had two dozen deluxe flour sack towels from American Chair Store in the cabinet, awaiting designs and embroidery. These are consistently the best flour sack towels I’ve come across, by the way, and they are worth the cost of $1.60 each if you buy them in packs of 10. (Like everything else, the price, by the way, has gone up… I bought them by the dozen for about $15 not too long ago…)

Contemplating designs, we very quickly settled on the brilliant idea of making use of the iron-on transfers I told you about yesterday. After all, we could kill two birds with one stone: I could see how well the transfers work, and they could have their towels ready for stitching in no time flat.

Anna selected a few different designs: the three cups, cut out and arranged askew on the corner of one towel, the “B-I-S-C-O-T-T-I” design for across the edge of another towel, and a swirly floral corner thing for another towel.

Emma selected one design – a small bunch of plums that she insisted were peaches and are embroidering them as such, so they are coming out looking like apricots…. which is fine. Emma’s eight years old, so I’ve adopted a new policy with her concerning embroidery: Keep It Simple (despite her inclination to want to do what everyone else is doing) and One Thing at a Time. If she finishes the plums-gone-peaches-gone-apricots, she can set up another towel.

So, we got to try the transfers, and this, of course, takes me back to my reasons for preferring to trace rather than use a transfer.

Iron On Embroidery Transfers from Mani di Fata

The transfers took pretty well for iron-on transfers. For the most part, the designs came off very clear, and in little corners here and there where they didn’t, the fault belongs to the person behind the iron. These particular transfers are definitely made to give a good, bold first transfer.

We tried a couple of the designs twice, making up, for example, two Biscotti towels. The second impression of the design was actually better than the first.

Iron On Embroidery Transfers from Mani di Fata

One thing I remembered I don’t like about iron-ons is the thick line they can leave if you are trying for a bold impression. If I’m stitching up a towel for a gift, I generally use 2 strands of floss, which keeps the design bold enough, but not chunky looking. I’m not sure if these transfer lines will wash out, so the best bet is to cover them well when embroidering. This’ll require at least 3 strands of floss.

Anyway, as far as the transfer itself goes, these work well. Whil I may still prefer tracing my designs, I have to admit that ironing them on is really quick – we were able to set up about 8 projects yesterday in less than an hour.

After setting up the individual towels, we selected floss for each, then bagged up the floss and the folded towel to make up a “kit.” Now the gals will have something to keep them busy! They like to stitch and listen to audio books, which is a good passtime for summer, when they’re not in the pool or frolicking about doing other things.

That’s done, then.

What else am I up to? Well, I’ve cleaned up the studio (once again) and sifted through a few things to tie up some loose ends. Sometimes, it’s just easier not to go on vacation! Playing catch-up doesn’t always seem worth it! I’ve got a heap of mail ready to go out (the birthday give-aways from June! Finally!). I’ve gone through all my photos and organized them (about 10 times now), looking desperately for photos of the finished pall I embroidered recently. I never found any, which leads me to think I never took pictures of the finished piece! And now it’s delivered! I could kick myself for that one – so, for those of you who have asked about the finish, sorry about that.

I’m still trying to catch up on e-mail, but I fear some may have fallen through the cracks, and, just this morning, for the first time, I’ve finally caught my feedreader up.

The laundry room here at home has a new coat of paint on it (thanks to my niece, Bridget), but the dining room is stacked with all the shelf clutter from the laundry room. I need to tear down my bedroom this week and get it ready for new paint, which will be followed by new furniture and new linens, curtains, etc., in the next couple months. I’m going with periwinkle walls and white trim, all white linens, all white furniture – and the palest of greens and yellows for highlights. I’m excited about that, and am looking forward, especially, to carrying out my Curtain Idea. I’m going to make (or buy) some airy white sheers for both windows and stitch some very simple, loose scroll designs on them in colors to coordinate with the new paint job. It’ll be a while before this is realized, though, as the kitchen, dining room, living room and entryway all have priority.

And, in the midst of all that, I’m working on school work for next year, planning classes and so forth. As the summer passes all-too-quickly away, I must schedule several hours a day just to focus on school preparation. Anyone who thinks teachers have it made, with summers completely off, is rather incorrect in that assumption!

That’s what’s going on in Real Life right now. In Website Life, I’m still working on projects for Needle ‘n Thread, including the long-promised long and short stitch tutorials, as well as a slew of new videos. I haven’t had any prime video days yet, though – the days are too broken up with other work and visitors and all the hubbub of the summer.

I hope your summer is going well, and that you have time to relax and enjoy working with your needle ‘n thread!


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(4) Comments

  1. You talk a lot about your studio in your posts. I would love for you to post some photos of your studio and how you have organized your space. Just curious, since I may be inheriting a room (was the exercise room) later in the year. Also, do you only use the studio to set up projects or do you stitch there? Is it a room in your house or a separate space?

  2. Hi, Marque –

    Well, that's a good question… the room is attached to the house, but not accessible through the house – I have to go outside to get there (there's a covered walkway / porch area to go through). It WAS a garage, but never used as a garage, so it has been re-made into this storage / studio space. The room is lined with cabinets, but they aren't all used just for my needlework and hobby stuff – they're also used as extra household storage, for example – but the room itself is used as a hobby room.

    Anyway, you can take a look at it here:

    Setting up a Workspace

    Since then, it's been "filled up" a bit more, but essentially, that's how I use my space – all my needlework related paraphernalia is stored in boxes of various sorts, and sometimes in bags, and these fill up the shelves…

    I've also used the room for teaching children's and adult's classes – there's enough room in the middle of the room to set up tables and seat 12 people comfortably.

    Perhaps I'll do an updated post on this subject in the future! But I'm no organizational guru, I assure you!

  3. Good morning Mary ~
    Just reading todays post.
    Thanks for the information about the four sack towels. I see they also have Huck napkins – nice.
    You mentioned the iron-on transfers, if they would wash out.
    Probably not, because they are heat transferred.
    The blue you see on some needlework designs ( such as Brazilian Embroidery ) is using a special wash out or wash away ink.
    The heat transfer may fade a little over time, but it is permanent. Another reason for your hand drawn transfer.

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