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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The Crewel Rooster – on a Platter?


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“So, what are you going to do with the finished project?” – this is a question I get quite often about a lot of the embroidery projects I work on! Truth is, I don’t always DO something with a piece of embroidery. Sometimes, it just goes into a sample binder, so that I can refer to it for demonstrations and so forth. I was thinking the rooster would probably go the same route. I had no plans for him. And by the time I finished working on him, I had learned what I wanted to learn and was (admittedly) a bit weary of the feathered beast. But then…. but then…. nothing feels quite so good as a finished project, when it’s really finished. In the deep recesses of my mind, I remembered something I had bought last year, and I decided to serve the rooster up – on a platter! Actually, it’s a tray.

Last spring, I participated in a needlework shop hop, and while hopping hither and thither between shops, I acquired a red Sudberry tray. Sudberry makes beautiful wooden boxes, trays, trivets, and other finishing accessories for needlework. You can find quite a slew of them available through Nordic Needle under “Finishing Accessories.”

Sudberry Tray for Needlework Finishing

I love this square tray! I love it for its redness and its squareness. (I’m a sucker for red!) I bought it, thinking that someday, I’d make something just perfect to display under the glass. The rooster was by no means my plan.

Sudberry Tray for Needlework Finishing

But for some reason, when considering what to do with the rooster, the tray popped into my mind. When I dug it out, I saw that it’s 9.5″ square size would probably house the rooster pretty darned well.

Sudberry Tray for Needlework Finishing

And, lo! Methinks it might! This isn’t mounted in the tray yet. I need to cut some mounting board to fit, and then lace the rooster onto it. Then I’ll fit it together and see what the finished product looks like. If I like it, I suspect I’ll keep it in the tray for now! So far, I like it!

What do you think? Good choice? Or …. should I consider a different finish?


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(53) Comments

  1. Excellent choice!
    But, how do you mount it on the tray? It's always a complete mystery to me how those things get finished. Are there any instructions that come with the tray?

    Gwen from Dordrecht, Holland.

  2. First of all I want to say I am new to your Newsletter, and thoroughly enjoying it. 🙂

    I love the Rooster and the idea of the platter is great too. 🙂

  3. I think that's a PERFECT choice! 🙂 The red on the tray goes so well with the red on the rooster and the other colours. It's beautiful! 🙂

  4. The tray is the perfect complement to the rooster. I love it! I wonder if it would be even better with some kind of border around the rooster? Just a thought.

  5. Thanks for your comments, all!

    Gwen, fitting the piece into the tray is simple, really – I'll remove the rooster from the frame it's on right now, then take a thin piece of mat board and lace the piece onto it, just like preparing it for framing. The back of the tray comes off very easily – it has little hooks that fit into a groove on the back, so you just turn the hooks and the back pops off. The glass comes out and gets cleaned, then the glass goes in, the embroidery goes in, and then the back goes back on, and – it's finished!

    Ann, I'm glad you enjoy the daily newsletter! 🙂

    Cindy, I think you are right, but I'm not really up to a border on this one. There's a lot of white space around him, that's true, but he's just going to have to live with it! The nice thing is, the tray doesn't have to be permanent! If I ever find something I'd like in there better, I can move the rooster to another setting.

  6. Hi-Mary,
    The Rooster looks great. Maybe you can paint something around the inside of the tray to match the rooster. Little flowers to match the stitched buds and curlyques to match the swoop of the tail. Then hang it up so that you don't accidently use it! Or are you placing glass over it?

  7. Yer Yes Yes, By the looks of it the colour of the tray and the colour of the flowers compliment each other. Regards Elza Bester Cape Town

  8. Mary, I also have to do some creative thinking when it comes to displaying my embroidery. I think the red tray is perfect! Brenda

  9. All I can say is… WOW! It looks great. I am trying the rooster for myself for my sister-in-law's Christmas. I am thinking she would love a tray.

    Good work lady!

  10. This looks just wonderfully perfect for Monsieur Knot-So-French. I have a friend who decorates her kitchen in Roosters. How appropriate would something like this be for her? Perfect I would say. He looks regal and happy in his wooden tray. Thank you so much for the wonderful stiching lessons Mary!

  11. Looks great on the tray. I love that red. Can you imagine using this when serving turkey dinner? A perfect finish for a perfect project (despite all your complaints). When you're done mounting it, you can send it to me, LOL!

  12. I think the colors go well together, but… I also think the rooster looks kind of small (too small!) on the tray. Too much blank white space around it. So it either needs a different frame, or more framing on the tray. Just my opinion, though.

  13. Wonderful idea, Mary! Just perfect.

    (thank you so much for your comments in my old stitch. I'm just arriving home after some time off. Do you really think is the knotted pearl stitch? i have to search for it…)

  14. Mary,
    I do agree that the rooster looks beautiful in the red tray. I am also thinking the white is to stark a contrast. Instead of a border how about some hand dyeing on the white just to give it some contrast. I am not sure how to go about it but I have seen some pretty embroideries with that done as an accent to a piece. After watching you create your designs I just know you could do it! Just an idea!
    Annie in Va.

  15. I think he looks quite handsome in the tray. The red is a perfect complement. After it is mounted, is it sealed? I wouldn't want him to get tea or wine stains on him.

  16. What a wonderful idea!!!! The rooster is perfect in that tray!! In fact, you just gave me the solution for the finishing of my current project. A thousand thank yous!!!!!

    I have just one question, do you think the glass will be waterproof? I would intend it as a tea tray and I'm wondering if some tea is spilled, will it leaks under the glass? Maybe I should put a little silicon glue under the glass close to the wood edge?

    Thank you again and again for your wonderful blog!

    Catherine from Québec

  17. Beautiful! The red tray is perfect! It would be a shame for such a handsome rooster to end up in a sample binder! You need to show off the new man in your life 🙂


  18. perfect!! I can just picture you serving ice tea in the summer on this lovely tray. I don't mind the white space – it shows off how grand he is!

  19. I LOVE the tray and him in it! I, too, think he needs to be framed, but he's not living at my house, so won't fault you if you don't want to put in any more work on this one! I love to see your work, Mary, and I really appreciate that you share it with us. BRAVO! annie

  20. I think he looks just great – but I hope that there will be glass over him, firstly to protect him, and secondly to provide a flat surface for cups and mugs!

  21. Mary,
    I love your rooster in this tray…the red is perfect. Don't do anything more to the insert because the rooster is quite busy all by himself…he deserves all the attention! Great job.
    Sheila from CA

  22. Mary, I agree with Debbie. What a neat idea!! And I"m always inclined toward something having a utilitarian purpose, although the tray still makes a lovely frame for a kitchen wall hanging. I might suggest having a piece of heavy poly-plastic cut at your local Home Depot in lieu of glass. More wearable, no worry about hot cups cracking the glass, etc.You go Girl Another Corbett Brainstorm! I'm going to use your idea to apply one of my own pieces on to a tray! Thanks so much !……Judy in Pittsburgh

  23. I think he's beautiful in the tray!

    I'd stitch him myself, but my husband has a strict "no chickens" policy in the house… It's a long story, but it's something I respect. 🙂

    Now that pomegranate pattern you posted last week… Hmmm. THAT might make a nice tray insert, too…..

  24. Great plan! That's one of the issues I sometimes have with needlework…what to do with it once it's done. I hate to have it languishing in a drawer somewhere but sometimes the perfect use doesn't come to mind. I think you're on to something!

  25. Your rooster is stunning and the tray is the perfect spot for him! I love to read your blog and you never fail to amaze me with your talent. Thanks for sharing so much of your techniques with us!

  26. Mr. Rooster has found a perfect perch! I think he deserves to be put on show.

    Have to say I don't see any kind of border around him – I think the red of the tray as a counterpoint to the rooster's colors is good. In my view, another border (embroidered or otherwise) would detract from the rooster. He should stand alone!

    -Sharon in France

  27. G'day there Mary,

    I reckon he's come home to roost in that tray and it looks really good as it is.

    I never would have thought of a tray. Good one!

    Cheers, Kath

  28. It is a perfect marriage! The tray frames Mr. Rooster very nicely. I love him.

    I looked for, but did not find, information on choosing needles for crewel and how long they should be expected to stitch before losing their sharpness. Some very different sizes seem to be suggested, depending on the project. I understand that the goal is to make as small a hole as possible, while causing minimal abrasion to the wool. Is there a formula based on the thread count of the linen? As I finish up my second Newbury small, questions like this are very much on my mind. Is there an article on needles that I did not see?

    Can't wait to see what you choose to stitch next. If it is your other Newbury small, I shall be very interested to see what you do with the big leaf and the berries (I was too chicken to try your circular long and short shading method for them, and they look rather phony).

  29. Me, again. At first, I thought: no border. Now, I am thinking that embroidered chicken wire, one and a half to two cells deep, might be a fun addition that would soften the contrast between the linen and the bright red tray. In cotton floche? Or, a narrow band of a chicken wire print fabric (the difficulty there would be finding one that paired just right with the linen).

  30. If I were a hen, I'd be all aflutter when I saw your crewel rooster in the beautiful red barn — sorry…. Tray. I think it's the perfect setting for such a spectacular bird!

    I tend towards the "maybe too much white space" spectrum, but have a simple suggestion — could you use masking tape and acrylic paint to mask and paint a narrow red square onto the glass you plan to put over him (with the painted glass face-down only after the paint is completely dry, of course!)? That way, you could bring the red of the tray down to curb Mr. Cock of the Walk and keep him from strolling off into trouble!

    The paint would probably help provide just a bit of air-space to avoid crushing all those beautiful French Knots, and would do double duty by preventing any future seepage (which is the reason I suggest acrylic paint instead of glass paint — acrylic will stop the flow of liquids).

    Karen (who's a little too crafty for her own good!)

  31. Mary, it's beautiful! I agree with Sharon..no border. I feel anything else around him would distract your eye from him. When just he is there you concentrate on his beauty and the exquisite needlework that created him.

  32. I think he looks impressive just the way he is! He would look awesome in MY Red and white kitchen.
    Keep up the good work Mary, I have found the ideas you come up with are inspirational to me. I'm looking forword to seeing what you do with your "doodle" I have it enlarged and ready to go as soon as you start it. I will be waiting for more of your thoughts.

  33. Oh, that tray is perfect. The color is great, and I think he looks awesome without a border. I saw a comment about keeping the french knots from being flattened. I like to use a plastic spacer from Frametek when I mount my embroidery- it gives the fabric room to breath, and protects the stitches from being squashed. The page is http://www.frametek.com/HTML/FrameSpace/index.html. I'm not affiliated with the company, just a happy customer. Great work, Mary!

  34. Mary –

    What a perfect roost for the rooster! Are you going to use spacers so the glass doesn't smoosh the millions of french knots you worked so hard on?

    The tray will be lovely as a tray, but would also look wonderful hanging on my wall. Sorry – I meant to say your wall!


  35. Hey Mary – I think the tray is absolutely perfect!! The rooster is beautiful. I have to admit I am not a fan of roosters, but I really like this one!
    Kathy in Kenai

  36. Hi Mary,
    I can just say "WOW". The tray is perfect and the white space around the rooster is just right to make him stand out. To me the whole thing is just perfect.
    Thanks for sharing with us. My dream is that one day I can do one beautiful piece of embroidery like you. Maybe it's around the corner.

  37. I love the rooster on the tray! It is perfect. I work in a cross stitch store and we do custom framing. I am always glad to see when someone goes outside the box and finishes a piece other than framing. Good choice.

  38. This is beautiful. I have just finished going through all the various postings on this rooster. I feel as though I have quite the front seat tutorial. I wondered about the French Knots under the glass of the tray–won’t they be flattened? Also, is there any practical way of protecting the fabric when the tray is used or does the fabric just get taken out, laundered and put back in as needed?

    1. Hi, Linda – glad you enjoy the series! The way the tray works, nothing gets through to the fabric. The glass and wood edges are the part that are closed together, and then the thing is mounted from the bottom, underneath the glass. Yes, the French knots got a little flattened, in a way, because they were up against the glass, but they didn’t look bad. They weren’t thick, fluffy knots, so they didn’t widen out and squish.

  39. hola .mary me encanta como da sus clases. sus explicaciones me gustan mucho. me gusto mucho este proyecto. ya imprimi y fui a conseguir la tela y mañana empiezo a realizar el lindo gallito. espero disfrutarlo tanto como usted.
    saludos desde mexico teotihuacan. muvhas felicidades por su trabajo

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