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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (52) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Calling for Stitches


Amazon Books

Now and then – and really, as much as possible – I like to get reader input on my website content. Today, I want to talk a little bit about stitch videos and ask you some questions!

The Video Library of Hand Embroidery Stitches is a popular aspect of Needle ‘n Thread.

Drizzle Stitch in Hand Embroidery

Right now, the library features 55 videos of stitches and techniques, from the simple running stitch to more complex stitches, like the drizzle stitch pictured above.

Turkey Work or Ghiordes Knot

You’ll find line stitches and filling stitches, and even stitches that create a puffy pile on your fabric, like Turkey Work (aka Ghiordes Knot) shown above.

I Like It, But Not Quite

I like the Video Library, but there are some things about it that I’m Not Quite Satisfied with. I hope to gradually change these aspects during the course of this year, and especially within the next 5 months, starting now.

For example, it is time to switch out some of the older videos on the site with better, cleaner, more professional versions. When I first started filming the stitches, it was a trial-and-error process with a point-and-shoot digital camera and that’s about it. No decent lighting, no decent microphone, no decent camera! I think those problems are sorted out now, and I’d like to improve some of the present videos on the site.

Fishbone Stitched Leaf

Another aspect of the Video Library that I’d like to improve is featuring photos of each stitch on the corresponding video page. I’ve done this with many of the stitches – you can see examples on the Knotted Diamond Stitch page or the Fishbone Stitch page – but I haven’t done it with all the stitches, especially with the older ones. My plan is actually to go a bit further with the pictorial element, by showing how the stitch can be used in variation.

And What About the Index?

Right now, the Index for the Video Library is arranged in stitch types. I wonder if this is the best way to arrange the stitches. I considered arranging them alphabetically, but for newbies, the name of a stitch doesn’t say much. On the other hand, if you are following instructions that tell you to work a particular stitch – “Fill with Bokhara Couching,” the alphabetic arrangement might be useful. What’s your take on that?

Which Stitch?

Finally, besides improving the videos already in the library and the way in which they are displayed and categorized, I plan to expand the library considerably. On that note, I really want your input! What stitch (or stitches) would you want to see in the Video Library, or what stitch do you think would be particularly useful for folks to see in video form?

Input is Important!

I try to tailor, as much as possible, the content of the website to my readers’ interests. I know I don’t always succeed – I suppose I can’t please everyone – but your input will help me in this endeavor! I value your suggestions, so please don’t hold back – any input you have on what you want to see in the video library, or any suggestions on improvements (beyond the improvements of the actual videos, which I know need serious work!) will be most appreciated!

So feel free to bombard me with ideas, thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism, etc. I’m all ears, and eager to hear from you!

Up later this week on Needle ‘n Thread: A book review, the blackwork fish, pending project recaps, and maybe even some “Studio Talk” (of the organizational variety). I’m working out in the studio today, trying to get organized and get my space back so I can get some serious work done! Embarrassing as it may (certainly) be, I may have to show you some before and after pictures of my present mess!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(27) Comments

  1. Thank you for asking, Mary! Your Video Library is already fabulous & I admire your ambition in making it even better! Having followed your pomegranate project and having done some goldwork myself, I would look forward to seeing any techniques with metal threads: Couching pearl, plunging gold threads, manipulating gold threads around curves & corners, couching passing threads & making turns, chipwork, you name it. Also, any visual tips on stumpwork would be much appreciated.

    Thank you! Gail

  2. Index arranged by stitch type is a better way, because someone who wants to start learning embroidery would find it easier. For those who look for a particular stitch type (e.g. Bokhara couching ) can search for the stitch name.


  3. Hi Mary,
    Firstly, it was a random Internet search for stitch videos which led me to your website barely a month ago and all I can say is that I am so glad I found it!
    Although I did do some free embroidery when in my early teens, since then I have stuck to either needlepoint or cross stitch. However, your videos have inspired me to branch out! They are so clear and so informative that I can't thank you enough for all the trouble you have taken to share your knowledge so freely. So THANK YOU 🙂

    So …. I guess my input is as a beginner to free embroidery!

    Having the stitches grouped by type is very useful because, if you are searching for a stitch that does a particular thing or produces a certain effect, that is most useful. What might help is if there was a small thumbnail picture beside each one so you could get a quick idea if the stitch is what you are after …. and it would enable a quick comparison between stitches of the same group.
    An alphabetic listing by name would also be a useful alternative way of getting at a stitch quickly.

    But …. perhaps it's a bind maintaining both? Of the two, grouping by type is most useful since you can always search down the webpage for a particular name if required.

    Also, speaking as a beginner, seeing examples of how any one stitch can be used in practice to produce different effects etc is useful. I've seen some lovely outline pictures that scream out to be embroidered, but then hesitated over what might be the best approach to take. I realise the answer is to experiment, but for a newbie that initial start can be scary 🙂

    As a newbie, I can't comment on extra stitches!

    However, I can only say once again that I appreciate all the efforts you make to share your knowledge.

    Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, UK

  4. Hi Mary,

    While I love & use the video library as it is, I can only suggest that you keep the categories but list the stitches in each category in alphabetical order.

    Linda A

  5. Hi Mary!
    I have used your video library quite often and have found it so helpful! For now, I am still too much of a newbie to suggest more exotic stitches to add, but I can answer your question about the index. I like the current grouping by type because it shows the stitcher other options within the same stitch family. Should someone be looking for a specific stitch, they can always use the search feature on the site. I also really like your idea of showing the stitch applied to a piece of embroidery and surrounded by other stitches. That would be helpful.
    Whatever you decide to do, you and your site are THE BEST!

  6. I don't know that I add any helpful criticism on how to organize this. All I can say is thanks for your hard work and dedication. Without you, I might still be struggling with the colonial knot.

  7. Well Elaine beat me to the punch on my suggestion. Having a thumbnail beside the stitch name would be very useful. It would be easier to compare what the stiches look like to be able to decide if it would accomplish what you wanted to do. (please ignore the awful grammer)

  8. I would love to see a picture of the stitch on the index next to the name. I am not familiar with stitch names, but know the look I need.

    Love this site so much! Thank you!!

  9. Hi Mary,
    I love your site! The video library has inspired me – a newbie – to embroider a sampler of (hopefully) all the stitches. I have been cross stitching for over 30 years and following your site has inspired me. My plan is to use tea towels and to stitch at least one row of each stitch. A thumbnail of each stitch would be a great asset. A small little sample pattern using each stitch would be awesome but a huge task for you. Keep up the great work!
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  10. Hi Mary,
    Thank you so much for all your great information. I read your blog daily. Recently I needed to find more information on Turkey Work. Right away I thought of you and came straight here. Being a beginner I had trouble finding what I was looking for, but I did find it. I agree with Linda A. above that having the list by categories and then alphabetically in each category would be the most helpful. Thanks for all your helpful information.

    Claire A.

  11. Hi, Mary. I have not used your video library much because I have been stitching for a long time, but I know that there are stitches out there that I do not know about. So my suggestion would be to add stitches that are hard to find, i.e. plaited braid stitch (used on the jacket Faith, this stitch is not the one shown in the books as "plaited braid stitch") plus others that are being discovered on old needlework, and in old books. It seems like the same few stitches are used over and over, and yet the stitch books have so many stitches shown that are never used. If some of these were shown in your videos and in projects people might begin to use other stitches also, adding to the beauty and variety of the needlework that is being done today. Sandi

  12. Mary, I love your videos and use them often…thank you!! Would you consider adding some crazy quilting videos to the library? I love the beautiful stitching on these quilts and would appreciate learning how to make them. Your blog is an inspiration to me and I thank you so much for all you have taught me.

  13. Mary,
    The current index of stitches by type seems the most logical.

    Types of stitches I would like to see: different couching techniques.

    On my wish list, but perhaps not practical for this site: videos of how to do stitches left-handed.

    One interesting (and important to me as a beginner) aspect. I was recently watching the video on stem stitch, and I noticed the rhythm of your stitching, and the way you were stitching, and it showed me, well, how to approach the fabric with your needle, if that makes sense.

  14. Hi Mary, Firstly, Thankyou so much for your website. The video stitches are fantastic and I often tell people where to find your website. I love that the stitch types are grouped together, as I go to each section and then choose an appropriate stitch for whatever project I am working on, and have even advanced to some of the more difficult stitches. I wouldn't know what the stitch names were to find an option if they were listed by name. (I'm a newbie) It would also be great to have a photo next to each stitch to show what the stitch is so you don't have to click on everyone to go into the video and find out what the stitches look liek finished. I ALso love how easy to follow your videos are. Slow, step by step and simply explained for the beginner. I have often sat at my computer when learning a new stitch and you have helped me step by step. THANKYOU. Elaine (Australia)

  15. Mary
    I love your video and I use it .So firstly many thanks for this Library.
    I would prefer an index of stitches by type with a small thumbnail picture beside each. (For me -french woman- a problem is to find the good name of the sticch in english what about some translation?

  16. Hi Mary,

    Like so many of the others, I used your video library of stitches to learn various stitches, especially when a book diagram wasn't clear. Thank you so much for providing this resource to us all. A small photo of each stitch to see before watching the video is a good idea s many have said. One thing I would like to see are photos of the stitch done in different threads. For example, satin stitch done with wool, silk, cotton…just to give your readers an idea of how different threads affect the stitch. I imagine you have photos of almost everything in your embroidery photo library already!
    This would be a bit like you thread comparison posts – which are so helpful!


  17. Hi, Mary! First of all, thank you for your library, it's absolutely priceless. You should turn it in a DVD or video download to get some money back from your hard work.
    Now if money isn't appealing to you… 😉 I told you this before, please turn the library into an iTunes series so we can take it with us in our iPods. It's really handy to look at the video without having to go to the computer.
    I would like the pages to have a picture of the stitch, and also a picture of some work where it's been used.
    You could have indexes for different purposes, and if you could have a small picture of the stitch along with the name, that would be really nice.
    Any stitch you use in a work that still doesn't have a video could be the next one. I, for one, always want to replicate the beautiful things you share on your site. 🙂
    And the last thing would be to organize them in lessons. Where we could have a sampler (or many) in the end, just like you did with Long and Short stitches. Please, please, please! 🙂

  18. Mary, I think the stitch library is wonderful. I agree with a few before me and think that a little thumbnail would be nice next to the name of each stitch.

    Thanks for all your hard work and dedication! 🙂

  19. G'day Mary,

    I have used your videos and stitch library quite a bit. They are very, very helpful.

    I have a diagram somewhere of a problem stitch that I can't work out. When I come across it again I'll let you know. Thanks.

    Cheers Kath.

  20. Hi Mary,
    The video tutorials are good.
    If you dont mind, can you please create a category/album or something which shows the free patterns you have posted.It will be easy to search.
    Thanks a lot.


  21. I just found your website and therefore your stitch tutorial videos but I have to say that I really love you for putting these up for free. Finding your site, was the result of a 45 minute search for step by step instructions on hand embroidery and I've not come across anything as in depth. Most sites I found only used pictures and only showed about 12 or so basic stitches. I haven't been sewing too terribly long. Probably about 10 months or so and I'm trying to build my skills in more areas so your site is awesome. Thank you!

  22. Hola, felicidades por el enorme trabajo que has realizado al explicar tantas cosas y hacer videotutoriales excepcionales y gracias por compartir tantísima información con las que estamos aprendiendo. Este blog sirve de inestimable ayuda para cualquiera que esté dando sus primeros pasos en el bordado y por supuesto será una gran fuente de consulta, al menos, para mí.
    Gracias de nuevo, un beso.

  23. Hello, I am looking for instructions on Somersault stitch, also called interlacing. This is needed for a sampler which I am working on. Thankyou

  24. I would love to see an instructional video on the Shisha stitch for attaching mirrors to fabric.
    I frequently go back to your videos when starting a new project (to decide which stitches I want to use) or just for a refresher during the project to refine my work a little more.
    Thanks Bunches,

  25. Thanks Katy!! I just went and looked at the website 🙂 That’s one of the better ones out there! I have run across several versions of the shisha stitch. What I like most about Mary’s instructions is that she is very precise in where to put the needle, what kind of thread, tension, stitch length, etc… I have become a MUCH better stitcher and far more aware of WHY my stitches look better. Not that I am fabulous, just better, lol 🙂
    That was very thoughtful of you Katy! Thank you very much!!

More Comments