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 & Short Stitch Book Giveaway!


Amazon Books

To celebrate the (upcoming) end of the series of Long and Short Stitch Shading lessons, I’m giving away one of Trish Burr’s books!

You might be thinking, “But the lessons haven’t ended yet, because we haven’t seen the final leaf!” And, you know, you would be right in thinking that! The final lesson will be up soon. But I thought we could gear up for it with one give-away, and then follow up with a second give-away once the lesson is posted.

(Do you get the feeling that I think it’s worth celebrating the end of this series?!)

Now that you have the basics of long & short stitch shading down and hopefully feel more confident in tackling needlepainting projects, you need a good book with plenty of projects and further (and better) instructions within! Trish Burr’s books are just that – full of beautiful projects and excellent instruction.

Bonnie, a very kind reader, sent me a copy of Trish’s book, Crewel & Surface Embroidery: Inspirational Floral Designs, in case I wanted to use it for a give-away. Her timing was absolutely perfect – I received the book just at the beginning of this week, and I’m so happy to be able to pass a copy on to a lucky reader! Thank you, Bonnie!

Crewel & Surface Embroidery Inspirational Floral Designs by Trish Burr

I’ve posted a thorough review of Trish Burr’s Crewel & Surface Embroidery previously, and you’re welcome to read it to see what the book is about. I think you’ll find it a wonderful and inspirational resource.

To join the give-away, please follow these instructions:

1. Leave a comment on the website at the end of this post. Comments sent via e-mail and left on other posts can’t be included, so if you’re reading this via the e-mail newsletter, click on the title of the article, which will take you straight to the post on the website, where you can leave your comment.

2. In your comment, please include a name. You may post anonymously if you don’t have a Blogger account, but please at least sign your comment so I can announce a winner who has a name.

3. Answer the following question in the post:

When you stitch a design from a book, do you stick rigidly to the author’s designs, instructions, color choices, and so forth? Why or why not?

If you haven’t ever stitched a design from a book, do you imagine yourself as the type of person to follow rigidly the author’s instructions, or would you be the type of person who would branch out and try your own interpretation? Why or why not?

4. The deadline for this give-away is Monday, September 28th at 4:30 am US CST, so leave your comment before then! I’ll announce the winner on Monday.

5. The give-away is open to all. Should the winner live in a different country, I will mail the book the least expensive method, and please understand that I cannot be responsible for any difficulties with international mail.

Good luck!


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(148) Comments

  1. I usually follow the colour scheme and thread instructions when I am copying a design because it is the colours or the final photo that has caught my attention and made me think, Wow, what a beautiful picture, but I always add a personal touch at the end, being it a different stitch or adding beads or something that just makes it different and unique.

    Gillian Gonzalez

  2. Ooh good question – the last embroidery I did from a book I intended to stick to the colours – they were my colours and it was a new technique. I wrote them all down, got to the store and they didn't stock DMC, so I chose my own shades of anchor – slightly different from the original but still worked..

  3. When I am trying to learn a new technique I stay with the original designers ideas. Everyone approaches and teaches their work differently and I like taking the best of each one and combining it when I do some other projects that involve the same techniques. I will change colors and types of stitches just because I can!
    Annie in Virginia

  4. Looks like a great book! To answer your question – I never make something that looks just like the picture in the book. I like to learn the technique and then follow my own ideas for the project.

    Karen S.

  5. I started embroidery two months ago as part of a larger costume project, and have fallen in love.

    Planning to continue, books like these seem to be an excellent resource to hone my skills. However, I'm a bit of a 'free spirit' so to speak, so I really doubt I would follow all instructions to a perfect T.

    Having only done my own designs thus far, I think it would feel more rewarding to re-work color schemes and adjust techniques to create something that was uniquely mine, rather than a carbon copy of a lesson from a book.

    For me, embroidery is another form of art that I do now, and I see little fun in re-creating something that somebody has already done perfectly other than to say that "I can", which is just silly, since my embroidery project should be meant for me, first and foremost.

    Allie C.

  6. Thanks Mary for this giveaway!

    When I stitch from a book there is always something that I don't follow.
    Why? First of all because as a begginer I don't know how to do something in the design, so I dare to make it easier…
    second: I haven't the right material to follow exactly the author's instructions…
    third: I'm not very fond of copying

    (i'm not sure i've express myself properly)

  7. I am just getting into surface embroidery; the long and short stitch lessons being the first time I have ever tried such an animal. I still can't get that second leaf quite right. So my best quess on whether I would do exactly what a book said would be yes and no. Yes, I would try it out, but if I didn't like the way it looked, out it would come, and I would do what I thought looked best.
    Karen from NC
    P.S. I also love Whitework so color interpretation isn't an issue:)

  8. I almost never use exactly the colors called for. Sometimes it's because I don't have the colors on hand that are recommended, sometimes it's just because I want to change them. And I'll often use a stitched motif or part of a motif on a crazy quilt instead of on a pillow or framing it.

    However, when I'm learning something new like now, I try to stick pretty closely to the instructions and colors. I buy books mainly for the instructions and techniques, not for the projects.

    I get a lot of satisfaction from doing my own designs. I consider myself a beginner at this and have much to learn about embroidery and designing.

  9. Good morning dear Maria, this time I think I'm on time, the book is magnificent !!

    Well…When I have a book in my hand, generally follow the design of the author specialy if this is for to paint with the needle.

    If it is a book of designs for counted points, usually I can not stop for change it!! and add or remove something. LOL!

    And why did this? really I do not know, I like it!

    With regard to color: I change it often because I always think I see, another color to add or a reflecting color, a touch, a light that can enhance other color here or there.

    In any case constantly I'm learning from books and a they are a treasure to me ,all of them! actually I read all the time enjoying.

    Maria del Valle

  10. hello Mary,
    The very name of Trishburr is so exciting.
    Usually I dont carbon copy the same design or colours. If I feel Im not so perfect I will go according to the original copy. sometimes i feel dissatisfaction if I cudn't do the exact replica. I always prefer to add my own ideas once i master the stitch.

  11. When I sew a pre-made pattern, from a book or puchased design, I always change it some. I love what the esigner did, but I want to make it really mine. Sometimes it is a major change, like all of the colors, and sometimes it is minor, like using a different stitch on some part.


  12. I have never stitched a design from a book and after seeing some of the book reviews you have done..well I am very anxious to try it. I learned to embroider from my grandmother and then my mother took up the task of teaching me. We have limited stitch skills and I'm ready to move on. I believe I would try to follow the authors instructions with perhaps a variation in colors that may be more to my liking or decor. Once I master the concept and the different stiches then I'm free to be…me.

  13. When I see something I want to make, I always change things to suit my own needs, wants, desires, and available resources. In part, it's because I'm a bit of a rebel without a clue, but it's also because I like to shop from my stash (which gives me an excuse to shop for more items to keep on hand!) instead of having to mail order specialized items listed in the instructions. Sometimes, a design is intended to be made into a wall hanging, and I'd rather have it be a pillow instead. Other times, I love particular aspects of a design but others strike me as not being really "me."

    Most of all, I guess that the reason I craft is that, if I wanted something based exactly on someone else's ideas, I'd buy it in a store already made. Crafting for myself gives me the freedom to express myself, and that's part of the joy and the reward for all my painstaking work.

    Karen from Arcadia

  14. when i am stiching i use my own
    colour ideas
    why…just an old habit
    i see things done in my head and use those colours
    the outline and colours in the book are the beginning of seeing a picture
    that you want to finish
    i like seeing someone else's idea to work from not to copy
    never did like the pictures in school with the colours labeled and you had to follow
    i like my thoughts and then work from the book as a starting point

  15. Ummm… it depends. Before I start a project I think about what it is about the design that appeals to me. Is it every little thing? The colors? Just the technique? How closely I follow depends on the answers. Some projects I make a carbon copy of the cover photo – others… you can usually see where my starting point was, but the end result is very much mine.

  16. Jyoti Jaggi:
    While following a book,I like to and try to follow it stitch by stitch and color by color even if I have to research for the stitches used and practice them before the final look.And in INDIA,hunt for the threads or the exact needles and thread-count of fabric used.It's just is no fun to do otherwise.I always want to go a level higher in my work and for that religious following of a good book is a must.

  17. The book is fabulous, and would love to win it. As to what do I do when doing a pattern in a book, if it is a new technique I follow the book, at least the first time, that's the way I expand my knowledge. Barb in WNC

  18. Oh gosh okay this prize really is the best and most omg-I-want-this-so-bad so far! Thank you for the chance at least :))

    So to answer the question – I usually start out thinking oh, I'm SO going to stick to the plan this time and I never do. I usually change colors around to my liking first and then the design starts changing until it's exactly like I want it. Nonetheless, I find it's really good to start with an existing design sometimes because it helps to keep the inspiration in one direction rather than aimlessly bouncing off the walls. Hopefully that makes sense.

  19. I hate to read directions unless I'm really stumped, but I usually follow color suggestions because I'm not very good at putting things together.

    Thanks for your generosity. I can't imagine that anyone could give better directions than you!


  20. Great topic. When I stitch from a book, I always try to stick strictly to the directions at first. However, after I have worked the design I tend to change it up a bit the next time.
    Sharon Middlebrook of

  21. It all depends on the situation. If I am trying to improve my skills in a particular technique I will generally stick with the original design, or even add the elements I am trying to improve upon. Right now I am working a monogram with eyelets. As I find that these are difficult for me, I plan on adding many more for the practice, and turning some of the uglier ones into flower centers to hid the truly terrible stitching. Other times I will change designs freely according to my mood and change the colors, fabrics or types of threads to go with what I have in stock.

  22. Hm. Well, most of the stuff I do "from a book" is not from an embroidery book — it's from a book showing medieval pieces. Sometimes I try to make my recreation near-exact, but usually I'm simply "inspired by." Of course, the pieces in historic needlework books don't specify colors or stitches. Again, some I've followed the design exactly and others I've modified it in some way.

    Kandy Fling

  23. it's been years
    since i've put so much detail into embroidery –
    would be wonderful to win this book –
    not only to inspire me –
    but my neighbor's daughter who
    i have begun to teach to sew ….
    pick 'us'!

  24. When I stitch from a book, or any chart, I usually follow the chart exactly. Although, recently I have started making changes based on the silks and beads and such that I already have. I think this is because more designers are using fancy fibres which I often don't have and have a hard time getting. So, I've gotten more brave is changing things around.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful give-away. Best of luck to everyone!

  25. I am still new to embroidery, so when I stitch I try hard to follow the patterns, instructions, designer's suggestions, tips, etc. I consider this would be the best way for a beginner to learn, but I do hope that one day I will be able to change a design or create new designs. Oh, I would love to win this book very much. Cheers!

  26. Couldn't wait to participate in the giveaway for this lovely book because as a brand new "embroiderer", I was drawn to a floral design as a first project that incorporates only two stitchees; stem stitch and long-and-short stitch!

    For this beginning project I am faithfully following the instructions for two reasons: it permits me to focus on my stitching and two, it is teaching me a lot about the "shading" effect on leaves and petals-a topic you covered in the l&s; stitch lessons, Thank G!

    Later, will most certainly make changes, both to the colors and the designs, if even in a small degree, because it seems to me that embroidery is all about expressing one's individual creativity, and I think we all like to put our "signature" on our projects.

  27. Such a wonderful book! Thank you for offering it in a giveaway! I would love to be the lucky winner!!!

    Usually, I tend to follow the designer instructions as much as possible. But sometimes, more often than not because of material availability and budget, I'll change the fabric or the threads. I see the designers as artists and when I transgress their instructions, I've always the impression of degrading or violating their art. So, I really try to do it the less often possible.


  28. As I am starting on a big project that will contain thread embroidery, this book will help. I do not always rigidly follow a pattern. The colors may not be what I need or I may want to add something that ties in with decor. I figure the instructions as to method are important but there is always the artistic element that comes into play.
    Sandy Breuer

  29. I love doing any hand work. Never replicating any of the author's work, rather use it for inspiration.
    (which at times is definitely needed!)

    Thank you so much for the giveaway.

  30. Hi Mary,

    Thanks again for another incredible offer.

    I usually follow the author's instructions until I get the hang of it. Then when I start drawing my own designs I can add my own special flare.

    Good Luck everyone.

    San Diego, CA

  31. Thank you, Mary, for another nice giveaway and especially, thank you, Bonnie! This is very generous and timely for many of us, I think.

    As for following exactly what the author did, it depends. There are times when I absolutely want what I see pictured and will go to some lengths to reproduce it. Other times I may choose a new color scheme or ground fabric for reasons of my own. I do not feel bound by either method.

  32. Thanks for the nice giveaway, Bonnie & Mary!

    I often change colors when working on a design, whether it is from a book, a chart or a painted canvas. However, I notice that I change colors less on a painted canvas. I probably bought the needlepoint canvas because I liked the colors, so there is less likelihood of me making changes but I am not adverse to making any changes necessary to create the vision I have of a design.

    Jane, waving from Chilly Hollow

  33. I've never actually made a project from a book (unless you count monochrome cross-stitch, which doesn't quite count), but I would imagine that when doing a long-and-short-stitch project I would be afraid to use my own color choices, and would end up going with the expertly selected palette.

  34. If I'm learning a new technique I don't change much – maybe just color or the occasional stitch choice or placement, or I might tweak the design a bit.

    Normally, I treat instructions for needlework pieces the way I do recipes: as suggestions. I don't think I'm capable of following directions exactly as written.

    It's not so much that I feel that I have to make my own "statement," it's just that when I'm working on a piece someone else has designed I immediately start seeing other possibilities and wondering "what if?" and can't resist experimenting with variations on the original theme. This sometimes gets me in trouble in needlework classes if the teacher is the type who is insulted if anyone tries to change her design. Fortunately, I haven't had many of those! — Janice

  35. Thanks for your kind offer!!! And the wonderful lessons…

    If I am stitching a design from a book for the to learn the technique, I will strictly follow the author's instructions…the whole works, including color. This is especially true in the case of something such as needlepainting/shading. I don't trust myself when learning to know enough about color in matters like this.
    Instructions…Absolutely! If I am going to bother using a book or sound instructions such as your website or Tanja Berlin's website I would be foolish not to do it the tried and true way! Follow the experts!
    Once I feel I have learned the actual technique then I will apply my own touches…possibly a combination of methods I have learned from more than one source-the ones that seem to work best for me.

    And we all love books, don't we?
    Susan Robinson

  36. Oh wow Mary I'm making such progress with my long/short stitch shading but still have a long way to go. I know this book would be invaluable to me. I'm still loaded with questions like, for example, is long/short shading always more successful with silk thread? Thanks again for everything. I LOVE your website. Judy in PIttsburgh

  37. I pretty much read the entire pattern, then I go ahead and do my own thing. Once I took a cross stitch kit and embroidered it like an old tapestry. Wow it was beautiful. I took shapes of real flowers off Flikr and reproduced them on my wall hanging.
    I still love books and patterns for their inspiration.
    Thank you Summersgabby

  38. When stitching a design from a book, I never follow it slavishly. But if the design is exactly what I want and I can find all the things required, I will do it exactly as presented.

    I have never been bound by the idea that the designer knows best and I shouldn't change anything. I look at most designs as starting points.


  39. Oh another giveaway, thanks so much. Yes I have stitched many designs from books. I have taken many classes but for many years was largely self taught. I will admit though that I am a follower. If I see something I like, I want mine to look just like that. So I am guilty of following precisely along with a given design. I am getting more brave and will venture out a bit. But not the norm for me.

    Thanks again
    Martha B

  40. Hi Mary. Well I'm one of those boring people that follows a pattern to the letter. Why. Well, I guess it was the colours and the pattern that attracted me in the first place. Take the picture on the front cover of Trish's book. I really don't think I could improve on that.
    Thanks for this giveaway Mary.
    Pam, Hampshire UK

  41. I try to follow the book's instructions but mine never seems to come out the same. I am currently taking an embroidery class from my local quilt store. We are doing a lot of ribbon embroidery and also using pearle cotton. Thread painting is by far the most difficult thing I've done so your lessons are very helpful.
    Linda Ritchie

  42. Most of the time I'll follow the original color scheme the first time through, but if I make something a second time, I'll change it to suit my tastes.

  43. When you stitch a design from a book, do you stick rigidly to the author's designs, instructions, color choices, and so forth? Why or why not?
    I usually consider my ground (linen, canvas, etc.) then the fibers I wish to use to stitch with. then I experiment – first I try the author's way exactly, then I see if that achieved the results I desired. if not, I asses what about it is not striking me since I was obviously struck by the book piece – is it too "shallow"? too heavy? etc. then I begin to adapt and achieve the results I want based on the book's inspiration. I find the color photos of some of the wonderful books give me great ideas and I cannot believe those artists who prepare the books would not celebrate my interpreting their art in a way that allows me to cherish it. thank you for the wonderful blog! sincerely, Monica

  44. I'm fairly new to embroidery, but in general I'm not keen on copying something exactly. Mainly because if I want to enter a piece in a Guild show or to sell it, I don't want to violate copyright. I also dislike making something that many others have made too – I prefer the originality factor.

    I've been quilting for years – and I feel the same way about quilting patterns! I hate following a pattern exactly – I want something I make to be recognized as mine, not as someone else's style. I'll follow a specific *technique* rather than a pattern.

    I DO copy colour combinations, though. I love seeing what combos others come up with! And I copy a few small design elements here and there but ultimately it will be my own style.

  45. I always STICK VERY STRICTLY to the design in the book. Since I am not a designer, I have a great respect for them. As a Needle Artist, my talent lies in execution of design. Many times I will go out of my way to make sure that I am following the design perfectly, which often means that I sit with a needle poised in the air, and my nose buried in a book or chart. The rare exception: if I cannot make out an area I then "allow" myself to deviate. The little details of an artists hand is what holds the "beauty key" such as the curl of a leaf or the way a shadow is drawn out. I cannot duplicate or improve it but I CAN copy it!

  46. Mary, you are a kind and generous person. Thank you for your give aways! Now,I almost always change something. It may be the stitch,color of thread, or even the pattern. If I change the pattern, it`s just a little bit. I don`t want to put alot of work into "my " changes then decide I don`t like it.I guess I like something that says I had help but put my stamp on it too.
    Karole King

  47. First of all……Yah Hoo! Thanks for doing this give-away. What fun.

    Second, I see myself beginning with following directions and then making little flourishes!

    Third, when I was a young girl I received a crewel kit to make a pillow. I LOVED making that pillow and when I became an adult I searched for books, kits, etc on crewel~to no avail. Thank is why this book is sooooo exciting to me! Thanks for posting it.

  48. Hello, all! I'm new to this, but already rarely stick to the designs and color choices – and honestly, in retrospect seeing my mistakes, don't always follow the instructions. So, I guess that's three strikes for me! But, I don't give up. I take my mistake and follow it to a pleasing conclusion, adjusting and compensating to work it into "my" design. I also like to use materials I already have, when possible, to save money and space in my non-existant atelier!

    Long and short shading is exactly what I am struggling with now. It looks like this book would be a big help!

    Thanks for the offer!

  49. I usually follow the instructions to a tee. Unless of course, I don't have the particular color thread then I substitute. But usually, I get all my supplies ahead of time. I guess I'm not a free spirit and like to play it safe.

  50. Sometimes I follow recommendations. Usually when I have the materials on hand or they're easy to get. I often change colors since to me color isn't really important in most of the work I do (yes I've done blackwork in variegated floss). If I'm learning a new technique I try to follow the book as much as I easily can. If I want something for myself, I personalize it.


  51. Great question. If I am learning something for the first time I tend to follow instructions. But I like to make it my own once I have learned the lesson. I will change colors tosuit my likes and always try to add a little something new or different. Warmly, Sharon Chapman

  52. I've seen this book and thought it was beautiful. I've been seriously doing hand embroidery for about 2 – 3 years and want to keep learning more. I've used patterns/designs in books just to challenge myself and chose the colors that would be appropriate for me or for whom I'm "stitching". Thanks for all you do to help us with our embroidery. Judy K

  53. Hi Mary-
    I study other work very intently in order to understand what works in color and design. I love taking in everything I can get my eyes on of other embroiderer's work. I love learning and perfecting technique.
    When it comes time to stitch myself, I may try a small sample of an exact form, using a different hue, but perhaps the same scheme. I've been concentrating on needle arts for the last year (I'm a lifetime seamstress) and am still in the learning phase–I haven't completed a full piece yet.
    I don't think i would ever spend the time to create a completed project using another's design. I'm most interested in what will appear out of me.

  54. I usually stick to everything the author suggests – if I make a change it is very, very minor. I'm afraid that if I change too much, I'll ruin the piece. And if I'm doing something from a book – it may be because it is a new technique or form of needlework and I am a beginner. When I'm a beginner I feel I'm better off doing what the experts suggest until I'm comfortable with the technique.

    – Dawn in New Mexico

  55. Mary what a kind deed to offer a copy of Trish Burr's book.

    When I stitch I do not always stitch directly to the design or colour. If I feel a project needs more colour, I add it, if I feel it is much nicer with some accents such as silkribbon work and embroidery combined with some accents of my own personal chosing.

    I am drawn to creative people who take the time to design a project and if it is one that I select because of the actual design, then I would probably follow it all of the way through as is, and only deviate if the type of thread/wool etc., were not available in my area.

    I do not stitch with infrerior projects and I do admire a great designer.

    Linda Boudreau

  56. Thank you for the lessons and the giveaway.

    When stitching a design from a book, I never follow the instructions, or color choices. Most of the time I may even alter the design. As much as I may like the original design, when stitching, I want to make it mine.

    Carol B.

  57. well, If I stitch from a book, I'll surely customise it according to my tastes in case Iam not ok with the instructions or color mentioned.As an embroiderer, I feel that whatever I do,the end result should satisfy me.'Me' should be happy with whatever I've created 🙂

  58. Hi Mary,
    I know what you mean by wanting to celebrate the end of the series as it is definitely an achievement.
    Anyway, when I stitch a design from a book I only use it as inspiration or I base my work on that theme etc, because if I am going to embroider something then they would have to be my own personal ideas, not those of somebody else's. Also, as a beginner I am still experimenting and choosing what I like best and how. Usually I am looking for a new technique and after that I add my own personal touches to it, either with a little change a something which differs in more than one way!
    (Thanks for the luck and the giveaway, hope i win!)

  59. I've never stitched a design like the short and long designs that you are presenting in the lessons. But it is something I really want to try.

    I would probably stitch the design as directed until I learned the technique and then would try my hand at personalizing the embroidery.

    Most of my learning of any needlework technique has been self taught so I don't need someone over my shoulder but it's always good to have well written instructions to guide you.

    Debby Parker

  60. When learning a new technique like long & short stitch, I try to follow the pattern. But, I hate to just copy a pattern because I do consider this an art form and want to make it my own by using different colors or an addition or just a slight tweaking of the design. I have one of Trish Burr's books but would love to receive this one. Thanks again for the lessons; they have been very thorough and easy to follow!!! SheilafromCA

  61. Hi, Linda Smith in Chattanooga TN here. I do my embroidery stitching on crazy patch projects for the most part.

    When I stitch a design from a book, I usually use the author's idea as a framework or stepping stone and modify it according to the project I am working on or the supplies I have on hand. I might simplify the stitches or elaborate on them. Likewise, I will use whatever threads, fibers, beads etc., that I have on hand and that are pretty close to the author's suggestions.

    Thanks for the great lessons on the long and short stitch. They are very clear and easy to follow. That is one stitch I have avoided, thinking it was too hard. Now, I have added it to my repertoire, and will use it more often.

  62. I usually change something in the original design. Sometimes this gets me into trouble, but I enjoy making the design my own.
    Thanks to both of you for making this lovely book a give-away.
    Susan N.C.

  63. Hi Mary. As a complete novice I have never embroidered anything from a book before, your lessons are the first time I've tried anything other than cross stitch for which I have always followed the design's colour suggestions. Despite have lots of DMC threads I still bought a couple that I didn't have for your lessons so I would probably have to follow the instructions completely, certainly to begin with. I started patchwork a couple of years ago and have to say that I find the colour choice the most difficult of all.

    Thanks again for these wonderful lessons.

    Kim J

  64. last 2 patterns stitched from a book – a Celtic-knotwork in counted cross stitch, and Holbein-stitch bands on a costume apron – I followed the pattern exactly but changed the colors – on the cross-stitch because their colors were DMC and I had Coats available (or vice versa – it was a while ago) and the bands because altho they're usually called "blackwork," black's far from my favorite color (I used dark red). Currently I'm adapting a border pattern for a blouse from a book on chikankari embroidery – I'm combining elements of about 6 different designs because they're the bits I like best, and I'll probably only do this once. I usually do follow the *stitch* recommendations, because, I guess, I figure the designer knew the best stitches for a given effect!
    – Sandy D in TX

  65. It depends. If the design is perfect as is, I might not mess with it. More likely though, I might use colors I have in my stash, simplify or add to the design and just make it what I want it.

  66. It depends. If the design is perfect as is, I might not mess with it. More likely though, I might use colors I have in my stash, simplify or add to the design and just make it what I want it.

  67. I am UNABLE to follow exactly a design or a pattern. That is exactly the reason why I cannot practice cross stitch or counted stitch.
    I am following your lesson. And I must admit that even for this exercise, I changed the color scheme of the square, I added or deleted some layers…

    Each time I inspire from a book, I change the design, or thread colors, add some details,… So the design becomes mine. But I also often draw my own design.

    Thanks a lot for this give-away. I was just thinking that after the course, I should buy a book… It would be so nice…

    Coeur de freesia

  68. I rarely follow instructions completely – rarely, but occasionally. Sometimes I love the given colors and stitches so much that I do follow them – at least until I make a mistake that requires me to improvise :>)

    Ellen in VA

  69. What a lovely book!
    I usually follow the instructions as I learn whatever new techniques are involved in the project. For the next one, I feel more free to adapt those techniques for my own ends. Occasionally, I will change the colors, but often the scheme is one that attracted me in the first place so not always.

  70. Hi, Mary. I do not always follow either the design or the color scheme. There are times where the design doesn't fit as well as it might otherwise fit if I add or subtact a piece of the design. And with colors, sometimes I just like my own colors better. Or I might not have the colors asked for and I'll substitute with a color that is very close. 🙂 Jeannine

  71. Hey Mary
    In answer to your question I do not follow the directions exactly. I live in an area where I have access to limited variety of supplies so I substitute. I also have a variety of supplies that I have puchased from garage sales. Like floss that is without its # so if it calls for a specific colour and I know it is light blue Ill just substitute another lt blue that I have. If I am working in a specific colour family on a Crazy quilt block I may use a embroidery pattern say for a flower motif and change it to the colour family that goes with the block.
    Melisa B

  72. Oh how I love these books. I usually don't follow a pattern exactly as printed. I think it is fun to change the colors and try to match the values of the colors and not the colors themselves. Although sometimes it is fun to do a kit and let someone else figure it all out. If you love the colors in the pattern, there is no reason to change them!

  73. Hi Mary,

    I read the book review thoroughly when it was first posted and it is a technique that I would like to try.

    When I am following any pattern chart, I do try to keep to the colours the designer has chosen, but when buying the thread,if a particular shade doesn't 'fit' with me, I change it for something that complements the other colours it will sit next to in the finished item.

    Not only does this 'personlise' the finished product more for me, but to use a colour I'm not happy with, that would make me unhappy with the finished product and not want to keep it.

  74. Mary,
    I do love your website so much!! Thanks!! This book looks wonderful. I have stitched from a book and have used "creative" license! I used the color thread that I had on hand and went from there. It turned out great and I would do it again. I have in the past used the directions strictly but find now that I enjoy changing colors to suit me,

  75. Hi Mary,
    Here I am trying to winn this giveaway although the difficulty to communicate me in English,(I used a translator this time)
    Recently I tried to strict follow the instructions of the book of Helen Stevens, but I did not obtain the material all, then I tried to give my interpretation to the drawing. The result you confer in mine blog. Shorts were waiting for yours lessons of long and short stitch therefore had much difficulty to mount one colors pallete to make the shade and its lessons really helped me very. Normally when I choose the project of a book I do not obtain to strict follow the instructions for the lack of indicated material, I have difficulty in finding store that sell the necessary products. Because this I always have that to appeal to my creativity and interpretation. On the other hand this is an excellent exercise, for another one is frustrating also.
    Thank you so much for your generosity.

  76. Coming at this from the other side of things, I actually freelance as a designer for a lot of craft mags: a bit of everything from small quilts to smocking to needlepoint and even some pulled thread techniques.

    I think one of the earlier comments said they look on projects as "suggestions" or recipes. I know I certainly hope that's how people take my ideas – something that will make you enthusiastic about a technique but that gives you a starting point not a line in the sand.

    I've almost never done something exactly as written: either I don't have the exact supplies or the pattern or I want to incorporate something or take the project in a new direction (probably why I started designing in the first place!! :)). At least from my POV, the more original and distinctive you make something I designed, the happier I would be! IMHO it's a compliment to the breadth of any design that it can be reworked, not an insult.


  77. Hello Mary

    I have stitched a design from a book and I did follow the author’s instructions(color choice and all) Because, I loved everything about that design.
    I also have stitched a design and made it my own. Sometimes I stitch a design and take some instruction from the author and put in my ideas.
    For me it depends on how I feel when I see the design.
    What or where I will use that design .Sometimes it’s fun to add my ideas and other times the design is perfect the way it is. I’m so happy we have so many author's and their books because sometimes a book will help me with ideas like mixing colors and learning new stitches and a lot more. Books give me a lot of joy and the possibilities are endless. I would be very happy to win this book.

    Nicole in Canada

  78. If i have the materials on hand i'll normally stick to the instructions. But i love putting myown sin on things it makes learning a new techinque fun.

  79. I'd love to be enetered into the drawing for this beautiful book. When I do a project from a book I rarely reproduce it exactly. I pay a lot of attention to the technique used but vary colours and patterns. This is to do with my own personal preferences for colour or what the project will be used for. I do like to have a bit of creative design input somewhere as well. I also live in Australia so I find that we have quite different materials available to us and therefore substitution is often a requirement, not a choice.

  80. I can't follow a set of directions to save my life. It always seems like I get halfway through something and bump into something that I KNOW will just work *that* much better if I just do it this other way that the instructions never even hint at.
    Of course when you change one thing you're liable to affect the whole thing, and more often then not I've backed myself into some ridiculous corner and I then have to reinvent the wheel to get things back on track. I will say however that it's a great (if not necessarily easy) way to learn the right and wrong way of going about something, and I rarely forget one of THOSE lessons. *laughs*

  81. Please put my name n for the chance to win…I almost never do a project exactly like the pattern. I usually give it a tweak or two. If I really like the way a designer has done it I will follow it closely but it has only been a few times that it has happened. I really Like Trish Burr's designs so I would probably do them pretty close!

  82. If I'm learning a new technique or trying out something I haven't done in a long time, I follow the author's instructions (strictly!). When I know what I'm doing, I would probably tweak the design a bit to my liking, stick with the colours and play around with different stitches.

  83. Melanie Kelley in Indonesia said:
    I rarely stick to the author's strict instruction–often because I don't have materials on hand; or because I have another color or size combination in mind. The author's often inspire me to think about something differently. Some experiments are good and some are not so good.

  84. I of course always try to stick to the instructions as much as possible, because I figure they know much better than I, and their reccomandations are there for a reason! 🙂 However, I am a beginner and I don't have a lot of patience yet, so as I make mistakes I just change things so that my mistakes fit in. 😀 In the end it turns out to be not like the original, but I enjoy it anyway. ^^

  85. What an awesome give away Mary,,somebody is going to be such a lucky winner.
    When I'm first learning something new I pretty much follow the instructions, but once I get the hang of it, I will change whatever I think I would like better, color, etc. Instructions are there to guide us,,but as artist we can definately put on our own touches to it.

  86. I of course always try to stick to the instructions as much as possible, because I figure they know much better than I, and their reccomandations are there for a reason! 🙂 However, I am a beginner and I don't have a lot of patience yet, so as I make mistakes I just change things so that my mistakes fit in. 😀 In the end it turns out to be not like the original, but I enjoy it anyway.


  87. I often do not follow the exact lines and color scheme on a given design. Sometimes a leaf should go "here" to cover up a not-so-nice stem, or maybe a flower needs a bit of tweaking to make it really special. In embroidery, there are no "mistakes", just different ways to do things. And this might lead to a new stitch or a newly created flower.

  88. Hi Mary,
    First of all Thanks to you and Bonnie for the lovely giveaway.

    I have used books and charts but have mostly changed elements and colours to suit the creative me… But in the case of flowers, leaves and nature, I have mostly stuck to what looks realistic. This has balanced realism and has also given me scope to try a lot of new things.

  89. My answer… it depends! The last thing I stitched from a book I substituted some of the colours for similar ones as I wanted to use all the same brand threads instead of the ones they used as I didn't like working with one of the types of thread. It turned out beautifully. As a general rule I usually take parts of instructions (techniques and materials, but on my own design is common) and go with the flow with fingers crossed.

  90. I'm going to expand on the question a little. When I first started stitching, from under ten years old until my late teens, I did only kits. I didn't deviate because, hey, that's what's in the kit. Who knew you could, LOL?

    By now, over 45(?) years later, it's come to the point of taking bits and pieces of ideas from different designs, often trying something new. I rarely use the colors suggested, as many of them use pink and purple and I strongly dislike the color pink and purple comes a close second.

    Thanks for the fun, Mary!

  91. Hi Mary,
    In answer to your question – my answer is yes and no. I don't like to change the colours because when I find it difficult tomatch combinations. Sometimes buying the required threads I think these are never going match, and then… they look beautiful. So I don't mess up with the colours, but I do adapt the design to suit what I am doing, which is not necessarily the use the pattern was made for.
    I don't think I made this sound very clear but anyway I love needlework, it brings me such peace. Again I can't thank you enough for your newsletters which I avidly read every morning.

  92. Hi Mary,

    Yet another fascinating give away. I am a big fan of Trish Burr's work.Her work is so pretty and captivating.I wish I can have all her book one day.

    Now the answer for the question I do like to follow the instructions from the book but would like to alter the color scheme according to my liking but if I like the original design I follow design, instructions and color scheme rigidly.

  93. I enjoy learning new techniques, then trying them out on my own designs. If there is a design I like, I will adapt the design to include something of my own as well. I often change colors depending on what the piece may be used for and where, and I particularly like adding further textures and materials such as japan gold threads, silk threads, etc. Long and short embroidery is so painterly….I cannot think of any other style of needlecraft that inspires me more than working with this particular technique.

  94. Hi, Mary. What a lovely giveaway! I was on holidays when you started your lessons but I have downloaded them all so that I can work on them at my first opportunity. I've always had trouble with long-and-short stitch but I'm ready to tackle it again.

    Whether or not I follow instructions implicitly when I doing a project from a book or pattern, depends mostly on circumstance. If it's meant for a specific purpose or person, I might change some things to suit that person or purpose. If the pattern includes a technique that is new to me, I will stick to the instructions – at least the first time I use it. This can help me get stitches done properly and, in the case of colours, I can compare my results with the photograph. Of course, circumstance may call for a variation of the above – who knows?


  95. I've never used a pattern from a book before. I always draw my own. I've been experimenting with long and short stitch taking tips from your wonderful tutorials. Thank you for posting such detailed instructions and picture!


  96. Hi there,

    so far I have only done cross stich projects from books and I have always followed the instruction, but in case of for example a pattern for long and short stiches I would chose colors I like.
    Martina Lueneburg

  97. Hi Mary,

    it depends whether it's kind of embroidery I know or not. For example I already did a couple of Hardanger embroidery pieces, so when I do this one I tend to change colors to ones I prefer or modify the pattern a bit. But when I learn a new type of embroidery I tend to stick to author's directions, as for me it's the best way to see afterwards how much my piece differs from the one from book :). And how much it's still to learn.
    Some time ago I bought a book for Long&Short; Stitch but I haven't started to learn it yet. Recently I've come across your lessons and most likely I will start my journey with this embroidery from them. This embroidery looks great and the variations to use it seem endless.

  98. Another drool-worthy giveaway…thanks Mary and Bonnie! I dabbled in crewel work many years ago and mostly used kits so I was confined to the colours that were given in the kit. I haven't re-visited the art since then but I know that now I would tend to use my own colours and most probably would pick elements from the original design to use in my crazy quilt pieces. I use the colours I already have in my stash because I'm on a 'reduction' kick and trying very hard not to buy anything new.

  99. I can't follow a pattern (or recipe) exactly. I think it's genetic. Maybe, when learning a new technique or working from a kit, I might, mostly. I used your colors for the sampler–I want to figure out how to select colors for shading so I'm looking at why you picked the colors you did and how they work together. I did change the design a bit.

  100. I have been revisiting the beautiful art of embroidery over this past year while being part of a crazy quilt group. It has been fun to learn more than I did as a young girl. I have done a few simple projects from transfers. I have not stitched a design from a book yet and when I do I will not follow the instructions to a tea. I would make my own color choices and would change stitches based on my knowledge and ability to do them. That way it would become my own creation.

    Thank you Mary.

  101. I usually use the design as a guide and change it up a bit to fit my personality, color preferences, desired size, etc. I can't come up with my own designs, but I love taking a design from a book and expanding on it, tweaking it, etc.

  102. I've not yet actually stitched a pattern out of a book, but I can't imagine following it to the letter as far as colors go. I like to use patterns for the design (because I can't easily draw things myself!) but pick my own colors. Every pre-stamped linen I've ever bought that came with color suggestions, I've ignored them and picked out my own.

    I might use the pattern's colors as inspiration or guidance (say if the flower is done in 4 varying shades of pink, I might use 4 varying shades of purple instead) but odds are I wouldn't use the exact same colors. 🙂

  103. If it is something I haven't tried yet, I would copy the original. On the next one I would adapt it more to my choice of colors or alter the design. Thank you Mary and Bonnie for the chance to win a wonderful book.

  104. I am both types. If I am satisfied with the design or I am learning the technique included in the design or want to have almost exactly the same finished look, I try to be truthful to the design. I would occassionaly add my personal touch, like replacing some materials with my favorite materials, or adding favorite details, like a row of my favorite stitches. 🙂

    vincent (Berlin)

  105. I will try to follow the design in a book but often go in a different direction if i can't figure out how to do it. I'm rather a novice at crewel work and have been enjoying your lessons tremendously….please keep it up. You newsletters and blog keep me going and help to give me confidence to just try it. Thank you for all you help.

  106. Hi Mary , Thanks for the give away.
    The few embroideries that I have done were from outline drawings with no colour so I decided myself what shades to use.
    However, being a very indicisive person,and not good at colour co ordination, I would use the colours indicated by the designer of a piece if they were available. ( as with all your chosen colours recommended in the tutorials)

  107. I'm one of those that considers it a challenge to make the pieces I do from books unique- make them my own, that is. I don't think I've ever stuck to the same color scheme, and I try to incorporate different techniques and motifs to make something as "me" as possible. I consider books (and patterns, etc) not so much a map which must be followed without deviation as a compass which supplies me with inspiration and the occational guidance to keep me going in the right direction.


  108. When I stitch from a book (or any other chart or pattern) I usually follow the outlines, the plans as set forth but often change the colors of the threads *and* the fabrics…

  109. I would love to win this beautiful book to give as a gift to my friend.
    when I stitch from a book I only use the instructions as ideas and I never use the same colors or make exactly as in the book

  110. Julie B

    I love to play with thread shading
    and texture to try to imitate
    nature; I also like to consider how to make the design more 3-D with beads, buttons and possibly
    stumpwork and/or ribbon. Earlier in my stitching I always followed the colors and design meticulously
    and ripped out every "wrong" stitching – now I tend to work around that part Iif possible) and
    consider it my own "unique" design addition.
    Love the newsletters and projects!

    Julie B

  111. Hi Mary
    Usually when I stitch a piece from a pattern or book I try to stick with the overall design but must say that I often change the size, or fabric, or thread. Why, part of the reason would be trying to use some of my stash, the other just personal choice. Sometimes it works out and other times it would have been wiser to stick to the pattern.
    Thanks so much for the long & short lessons, I have learned a lot and really appreciate your time and effort.
    Joan from Richmond B.C. Canada

  112. My answer would have to be yes and no … it depends on what the design is being used for. If it is a new technique for me then I follow as the instructions given because I will learn the technique and also learn from the accidental differences I make as I stitch. And these can be quite substantial as I discovered when I did SRE for the first time this year. If I know the technique then it depends on what I am using the design for and to whom I am giving the item – then I will change and adapt accordingly.

  113. Sometimes I follow the dsign, sometimes I don't. I often adapt it to fit my needs (space, colors).
    There are times I'm so taken with the design that I do follow it exactly ;-).

    Thanks for the series and the giveaway!

  114. Hi
    Iam a revised new needleworker. I used to do all kinds of needlework in the 80's. I even taught needle punch loved to crazy quilt and embroidery. Then in the 90's because of some tragedgies in the family and developing cancer that took a 2 year fight into 2001 and losing my husband in 2003 I kind of got away from it. When I moved up North in 2004 to be closer to my son. I found that when they packed the truck and cars to move me they decided to leave some boxes of books behind that they said did not fit on the truck. After I got up here I told them I wish I had known I would have rather had them leave my couch behind. So I lost a lot of my needlework books. When I taught needlework I would experiment a lot with different colors then what the books or designs said but now that I am just taking it up again. I am working on a project that I am sticking to the colors on the chart. I am enjoying your toutorials and printing them as a resource for tips on how to do the long and short stitching and shading.
    Thank you

  115. Usually I follow the color scheme of threads presented when doing embroidery. It is the blending of colors, my own imagination of ideas,a personal touch with the final look that helps make my work presentable.


  116. I guess I'm a bit random, my own creativity won't let me just faithfully reproduce something. It's why I can't do kits, or cross stitch.

    I tend to use books for inspiration, I take the design, and improvise on it. For colours I choose from what I have in stash, and what I feel the recipient would like.

    Sometimes I stick fairly faithfully to the orginal, sometimes I completely depart from it (eg interpreting a freestyle design in silk ribbon).

    I can't make original designs, but I will search high and low for something that is a starting point for how I want it to be, online or in a book.

    I do however read instructions, and learn about technique. But there always has to be a bit of me in it, a twist, or variation. Even when the original looks "better", it's just not about a faithful reproduction, it's about trying to get as close as possible to how I see the design.

  117. I tend to follow the instructions as it. I picked the project becasue I liked what I saw in the first place.

    Donna Widerquist

  118. Thank you for the long & short tutorial! I do have a question – when working a large design, is it recommended that you work from background to foregound? As in, if I were to stitch the design on the book you're giving away, I should stitch the leaves around the center flower, then the flower??

    As far as changing from a published design, it's a definite maybe. Usually, I will leave the design, and usually the stitches as is. I will change the colors. My embroidery skills haven't progressed to the point where I can look at a design and picture what it would look like if I were to start changing stitches used.


  119. Hi! If I truly love the picture the way it is, then I'll stick religiously to it, but alot of times I take bits and pieces of a design (or leave out something I'm not fond of) and put them together with my favorite colors … or just tweek it to my taste.

  120. What a great lesson series this has been! I discovered it late, but hope do still do it because I've wanted to try this technique for a long time now, but never seem to have fit it in with all my other hobbies. 🙂

    I often change colours and/or design elements when working from a book/pattern. I like to make things unique, but may also change things to match specific decor or a finishing technique size. I'm not afraid to experiment. 🙂 Because of this, I often purchase patterns or technique books rather than kits.

    Kerrie Rusk

  121. I uaually follow a design. I don't think I'm brave enough to venture from the original. Love your work & read your sie every day! Paula in OH

  122. as a learner i would like to follow the pattern ,colours and instructions given to the detail to see if i have the same effect after learning .

  123. I tend to follow the design of the book or kit but make small changes, like using a brighter or a paler shade of thread if that pleases me more.

    Thanks for asking.

  124. Hi Mary I would love to say thank you for your lessons on the long and short. They have helped me immensely. I hink my favorte patters of trsh's is this one "Antique pink ribbon & rosebuds -" Needle painting / It is delicate and very pretty..thanks again

  125. Hi Mary,

    It's really awesome to see the gifts that you give away each time. Though I haven't been lucky so far, I always look forward to your give-aways.

    As a beginner in Embroidery, I don't have any collection/projects yet. I haven't stitched from a book as yet, I merely draw my own designs. But if I were to stich from a guide, I'd definitely follow the author's design and colour pattern, as I believe that it would yield the best results to begin with.. 🙂

    And by the way… I'm saving all your Long and Short stitch shading lessons for future.. I'm planning to pick them up sometime. I'm also planning to adopt your 15 mins session strategy!!!

    Dhivya (from India)

  126. Hi Mary,
    You are so wonderful! Not only do you teach us new skills but you give away awesome stuff!!
    I am a rule follower. I have not done anything except the long and short lessons but I followed them to the T…and I know mine doesn't look anything like yours!!! I need to practice alot more before I attempt anything like Trish Burr!!

  127. I have sure enjoyed your tutorials. This is the best place to learn needlework. I look forward to my e-mails on what you are doing. I am getting back to do embroidery since my children are married and to keep my busy. 🙂

  128. I usually make some variations, either in colors, threads, stitches, or both! I like to experiment, and many times I will get a kit or a pattern from a book and change it a little bit. For instance, I had a needlepoint design for fireweed. I did the flowers and leaves in crewel stitches (not like needlepainting…I need to learn that technique!) and the background in two different needlepoint stitches to vary the texture. When learning a new technique, I stick to the pattern but then I go off and do my own thing!

    Kathy from Kenai

  129. Hello Mary…
    I usually follow the instructions but try to add a little something in design or change of color to suit my taste and also to "make it my own". Thank you for the chance to win this generous gift of a truly lovely book!

  130. For a long time my only stitching was cross stitch. I was using the colours which were proposed. But now I become braver and stitch as I like, sometimes change a lot. But these changes are not for cross stitch.

  131. I don't often stitch from books, but when I do I usually end up at least changing the colors. If it's a historical design for reenactment purposes, I don't mess with the actual design much (although I might combine two designs), but I still use what I know of historical styles to pick my own colors and threads.

    With counted needlepoint, I tend to miscount a lot, but as long as it doesn't radically affect the design, I don't worry about it. Especially with patterns charted from historical sources, the original was usually stitched based on a drawing on the fabric, anyway! (In the future, I plan to do that because I think it will be easier, and I'll have more designs to choose from.) Even with "faithful" reproductions, there's always a choice between matching the current colors and guessing at the originals, and I tend to do the latter.

    Generally speaking, I don't follow directions precisely for all kinds of things.

  132. Hi Mary,

    I am a beginner and would strive to follow the directions that are given. In time and with patience I will learn more about the techniques and become more knowledgeable about colors so I envision I would then feel more comfortable to venture out and make my own changes as I go along. For now, I am more content on following the instructions as written.
    Pam Dunn

  133. I seldom use a pattern, but when I do it is likely to be for a quick cross-stitch for work in front of the TV or to develop skills in a new technique. Even then, I may change colors.

    For example, I'm working your long and short stitch series in different colors, but following the method closely.

    Thanks for the lessons and the great give aways.

  134. As a beginner, I've mostly stitched from kits so far, but I think it would largely depend on the type of design. For a technique like needlepainting, I think I would be more inclined to stick with what the designer intended, in order to make sure that all of the gorgeous shading effects stayed intact. With other sorts of surface embroidery, though, I tend to branch out a bit, especially if I have a particular setting for the piece in mind and want to match a room, a particular liturgical color, etc.

  135. I ALWAYS follow the colour scheme and thread instructions when I am copying a design because it's the colours of the final photo that has caught my attention, I start to embroider and I'm not happy until I finish it. arlettelk@gmail.com arlette0521.blogspot.com

  136. I usually follow the directions the first time I stitch from a book, but after that I may not. The reason that I do this is because I was drawn to the design based on the photo and the learning process. Pat at ndleartnut@aol.com! Thanks for doing all the giveaways!!

  137. I really like your videos for stitches and your lessons, for me, it is the best one on the net. I receive your newsletter and I like them, I read it several time.
    Long and short is one of my favorite technique.

    For your question, I like a lot Trish Burr I have three of them. I like also “Soft Shading” Audrey Francini.

    I do not have any kit from her, I like Rose bud and Red Puppy.
    Thank you very much to share your expertise with us.

    Excuse the way I wrote in English.

    Thank you,

    Nicole Gelinas

  138. I have really enjoyed working on the long and short stitch lessons. I feel I have much more control over my needle now. Christine

  139. hi mary just came across the website i know its far to late was very sisk for few years already now that i want to take up embroidery again life is very diffucult for me i am looking for rayon skeins as i want to do bunka embroidery and cant find it here in cape town

    any way that that you can assist me sharon

  140. I just discovered thread art and would to love to learn this craft. I’ve never done it. I would need to follow the pattern, exactly, to learn the technique. It would be like when I cook. I need to follow the recipe exactly as written. I would hope that when I became good at this art, I would attempt to try my own design. I think it would be a fun and rewarding challenge.

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