Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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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Needlework Goodies, Soap Boxing, and Your Input


Amazon Books

Access Commodities has announced two enticing new needlework goodies that I thought I’d point out to you. One is especially suited to fans of historical needlework and the other is perfect for those of us who like pretty accessories!

First up, if you’ve been a follower of the Plimoth Plantation Jacket project which was unveiled last week, you may be particularly inclined towards this beautiful set of threads now available. It’s a Plimoth Plantation Thread Pack, and it includes the various colors of silks used on the jacket, as well as a wee jar of spangles.

Plimoth Plantation Jacket Thread Pack

You can read all about the Plimoth Plantation thread collection on the Access Commodities Blog, where you’ll also find the contact information for ordering these beautiful threads!

Needlebook Kit: Germaine - from Access Commodities

The other new item just out is Germaine, the third needlebook in the series of French Maid Needlebooks designed by Roberta Chase and packaged and distributed by Access Commodities. The needlebook I’m currently working on (called “Nichole”) is from this same series. These kits have some Major Points that make them desirable, in my mind: 1. The designs are charming; 2. the instructions for creating the needlebooks are wonderfully clear; 3. the supplies are The Best – fabric, threads, ribbons, needles are all top quality – the kit is complete with everything you need to make the needlebook; 4. the reproduction fabrics used as the lining and inside pocket are pretty and unique!

I’ve never actually been a ‘collector’ of series items, but I love this series of needlebooks, and I’m pretty… uh… certain at this point that I’m going to be avidly waiting for each kit. I don’t know how many are projected, but I do believe there is at least a fourth planned.

You can read about Germaine on the Access Commodities blog. If you want to order the kit, I suggest ordering through The Mad Samplar – they are apparently carrying the kit in stock, and their whole ordering process on their website is very easy. In my experience, they have have excellent customer service, too – and who knows? You might even be able to get it before Christmas, if the shipping gods are on your side!

The more I learn about Access Commodities (which is a company not directly accessible to us retail shoppers, but is a wholesale distributor and manufacturer of fine needlework supplies), the more I’m impressed with what they do. The availability of some very fine needlework supplies here in the US is thanks to Access Commodities. From Au Ver a Soie products, Trebizond, Appleton wool, goldwork threads, Legacy linen, Hardwicke Manor hoops, slate frames, and so forth, we have access to them (no pun intended) because this company has a vision of supplying the best in needlework products. If you shop at your local needlework store and find that they carry Access Commodities products (such as Trebizond or Au Ver a Soie threads), and you are interested in other products (like Hardwicke Manor hoops and so forth), you can probably ask for a special order. I think it would be worth it to ask – it would benefit you, your local needlework shop, and the stitching public in general, because it would demonstrate customer interest in other fine products. I’m all for supporting the industry, especially when it means keeping quality needlework supplies available for all of us!

Ok, I’m off my soap box!

Christmas vacation officially begins for me tomorrow morning! I’m working on two Very Exciting Projects during the break, but I can’t share them with you until all the kinks are worked out and I’m positive that they will happen. But once I’m positive they’ll happen, I will be jumping up and down and shouting about them from the rooftops. (I’ll give you a hint: it’s about time – I’m going to produce something!) (I suppose that wasn’t much of a hint!) Anyway, you all will be the FIRST to know.

Besides those Big Looming Scary Projects, I’ve got a bunch of small things I must work on for sanity’s sake, plus a few tutorial ideas that I want to develop for you.

Can I have your input? I’m open to ANY ideas of things YOU want to see, that I can feasibly manage to do for you here on Needle ‘n Thread. Do you have any ideas? Any topics or techniques you’d like to see discussed? Hearing from you will help me shape content to your interests, so don’t be shy! It will also help me set a direction for 2010. I want your input! I need your input! I appreciate your input! So please – input!

Have a terrific day with your needle and thread!


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(21) Comments

  1. Dear Mary,

    If I could buy a DVD of your stitch library videos my life would be complete. I'm a beginner and would love to create a stitch notebook that detailed the stitch (sample) and it's use for different effects.

  2. I personally, Mary, never get enough of the old stuff.
    Any comparisons that you can show along with the why's and wherefore's that go with each project is, to me, just the sort of detail I love. Pointing out what is acceptable, what is okay to substitute, what is unforgivable, is the epitome of fine stitching. In the historical context, it holds most interest to me.

  3. Mary, I love everything that you do, and am in seventh heaven going back through your old blogs to find websites that I never knew existed. I have come to realize that I am a traditionalist, and want to learn about the techniques and threads and how to use them for a quality result. I know that the best way for me to learn is by doing small projects, and so maybe you could offer a series on a given technique, with a project that we could work along with you. I know that I want to learn how to do stumpwork, and goldwork. I love all that you have shown. Thanks for the quality blog! Sandi

  4. I like Cindy's comment about the nudge towards goldwork. I do have a suggestion: how about updated the link to the needlework book reviews? I just now looked at it and it is fairly old, I know you have reviewed several books since it was published and they are not listed.

  5. Mary, you do so much already and now you're asking for input for *more*? Wow! Finishing techniques are always something I'm interested in but I don't know if there's much you could do with that as subject matter.

  6. Mary,

    I'm almost ready to start that Indian girl project I showed you a while ago, and I have a couple questions–do I wash the linen first? Should I turn the edges under before I mount the linen on the slate frame? Should I start from the "inside" of the piece before I put in the sky? Should I work on it right after eating chocolate?

    Well, I know the answer to the last one ("Not unless I've washed my hands!") but could use some guidance on the others.

    Oh! One more question! I am doing a kit piece on a hoop. It's got silver purl and silver cord on it. Can I iron this piece (wrong side, of course) when I am done with it to get the wrinkles out, or would mounting it take care of those?

    Last but not least–I love reading about big projects you are doing, step by step.

  7. Hi, All –

    Thanks for your input. I really DO want input – it's what directs my plans for the website! Well, that, and my own self-absorbed interests! 🙂

    Carol!! Thanks for the list of questions – they're all good ones. You know, I always brush my teeth after eating anything like chocolate, too. I don't know why – I have a fear of sneezing or something on my work. I've never done it, but it's always a fear…. and I figure the one time I don't brush my teeth, I'll sneeze! And then I'll be sorry!

    Well, there's no need to wash the linen, if you are never going to wash the linen any other time, which I doubt you will, if you're working in silks and golds. That being said, sometimes it's nice to get sizing out, if the linen has sizing in it. If you do wash it, just make sure you iron it well, and cut it on the square, and mount it on the square. You can do this by pulling out threads along the edge, until you've squared the piece up – they mount parallel to the fabric's edge.

    You don't have to turn the edges under before mounting on the slate frame. You can, though. It's easy if you have a sewing machine, and it will give you a little more … stability? I usually like to do a kind of triple turned hem, not just a single fold. For the parts attached to the webbing, if you have a sewing machine and you line everything up right, you can just run those straight through your machine, making sure the tension is correct, of course, and the fabric is square.

    For the kit in the hoop. No. mounting won't take care of ring marks, usually. But ironing, with metal threads???? Oh no!!!! I would say try ironing just where the hoop marks are, if you have to iron. Wow. Hoops are no good, for projects that can't be washed!! But since you're already at that point, I'd say try at least to iron where the hoop marks are, if the iron does not come near the metal threads. I'd make sure there are no dust / dirt marks from the hoop, too – ironing might set them….. Good luck with that! I hope it works out!!


  8. I'd love it if you could do a beginner series… a learning from the ground up. I often feel lost looking at this site and think that a really good 30 day beginner series with simple patterns and projects would help me pull my skills together.

  9. I love everything about this website, Mary. Two topics that I would like to learn more about are fabrics and threads. I am mystified by fabric count numbers and not sure what fabric would be especially good for embroidery projects such as a runner or a tablecloth. I understand and work with cotton and silk threads, but what are good uses for wool (besides crewel)? What about linen? How are stranded linen and spooled linen thread different? When working with linen fabric, is it good to use linen thread? I have lots of questions, and I am eager to learn more since I am enjoying embroidery so much. Thanks for all you do for us.

  10. A while ago I think you have shown a complex (to me) tool to make tassels. Am I right?
    I would like to know how to do single tassels – the best threads, how to end them, how to attach them at a corner, how can we decide about the size…
    I think you have already written about it but I can't find where…

  11. Thanks for the answers, Mary! No worries with the silver project; I haven't gotten to the metal threads part, so I can iron it now and put it in stretcher bars. I did it in a hoop for portability, but at this point I wouldn't want to schlep it everywhere anyway.

  12. Mary, thanks for all the great info. Even when (like now in Advent) I don't have time to get any work done your blog keeps my brain working. I have a totally unrelated question – for you or any readers…I have inherited a LOT of Paternayan yarn – is it any good for embroidery? Any tips or suggestions? Many thanks for all your great work. Candyce

  13. Thanks, all, again, for your valuable input! I am keeping a list!

    Paternayan yarn is used mostly for needlepoint, Candyce. Maybe you could find a nice painted canvas that would work with the colors you have? I suppose it could be stranded and used for other techniques – maybe Bayeux stitch or something… but I've mostly seen it used for needlepoint.

    The list is growing, and thank you very much for the good ideas! I especially like the 30 day series for beginners. This is something I will definitely pursue. I will keep you posted on that. My plan would probably be to run it simultaneously with other blog content.

    A DVD? Funny you should mention that…. 🙂


  14. Mary,

    I would love to learn more about fabrics and threads. What type of thread would be best used with a particular fabric.

    Looking forward to the New Year and your wonderful ideas.

    Linda Adam

  15. I would love to learn Goldwork and stumpwork and if you could do a small stitch along it would be great. I really appreciate all the effort you put in for us.

    And this production of yours… has it got something to do with the post from Margie of CB?

  16. Hi, Jayashree –

    Goldwork and stumpwork are favorite techniques, so it would not be difficult to oblige you on that! I'll definitely put them both on my 2010 list!

    Nothing to do with CB, really…

    Looks like fabrics and threads is a favorite topic. Definitely, I'll have some information on materials coming up – in fact, I've been musing how a few of these topics can be combined logically into a series. It'll be a challenge putting what I have in mind together, but lots of fun at the same time!

    Thanks heaps for the input!!


  17. I would love to learn about using a frame. I always use embroidery hoop, and I would like to use a frame. I think it is necessary for project that you cannot iron when completed.
    I tried Q-snap frame, but I am not satisfied with it.

  18. I'd like to second what a couple of others have mentioned. I'm an embroidery neophyte, and am trying to learn things from the ground up. Your videos and other tutorials have been a great help to me! I'd love to learn about the little things that aren't talked about much, though. What are all of these fancy threads that you use? How should I process my fabric before using it? Hoop or frame? Do I tie a knot in the thread or tuck the end under?

    Thanks so much for your website! I wouldn't be stitching without it!

  19. I love your blog and visit at least twice every day. What I would like to see is written out instructions of the stitches you use. I can't seem to get my 'puter to use your videos. Not just yours but every one I've tried to play. What it does is play maybe 3 seconds the stops and reloads then plays again. Drives me crazy . Eileene

  20. I'm so excited about your "secret project"… whatever it is that is brewing (hmmm… I'm thinking it is a DVD !!! or perhaps a book ???!!!) I know it is going to be
    great !!! … and about time ;-D !!!!
    Will keep my eyes open !!!

    About ideas or input:
    I love all the needlework information you post here on the blog specially since you cover a wide variety of subjects and techniques.

    Perhaps… Online classes/tutorials on different techniques varying the length and amount of info a for different student levels (and perhaps some short ones for those of us with little time), maybe some SAL's, Show and Tell, etc.

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