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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Apologies and a Clarification


Amazon Books

Those of you who read my website regularly know me fairly well – you know that I try to be honest in my approach to my work and in everything I write about on Needle ‘n Thread. Sometimes, I am too frank, and sometimes, I obviously write without thinking things through completely. And this gets me and other people in trouble. I’d like to clarify a situation and offer an apology.

The other day, when I wrote again about the design transfer on the Floral Glove Needlecase project, my intention was to troubleshoot what I thought was a wonky design transfer. With every project I stitch, I approach it as a learning opportunity, and I troubleshoot anything that strikes me as troublesome and work my own way through it. I saw the transfer question as a “teaching moment,” the opportunity to troubleshoot a transfer problem, something that is not uncommon in the embroidery world. Unfortunately, this particular teaching moment didn’t come across right.

I should have been more careful, because the reputation of the designer and her business were involved, and I did not consider that people would view my post as “trashing” her reputation, which is apparently how it has been taken by some. This was thoughtless and inconsiderate of me. I came across as being critical of the project and class, causing real anger in others and risking damaging the reputation of another.

First, I would like to clarify any misconceptions about the Floral Glove course itself. The content is excellent, and the more I progress through the piece, the more I appreciate it. The materials are of the best quality – the linen, the silk, the gold – all of it. The instruction is thorough. The history portion of the course is enlightening, and it’s filled with photos of things that many of us will never have the opportunity to see in real life. For all of this, the course is unique, and the product of the course will be a beautiful floral glove needlecase, if I can do justice to the piece.

Second, I’d like to clear up the question of the transfer that I criticized. In response to the article, Tricia Wilson-Nguyen explained via e-mail to the class that the die-cut insert for the glove is off-set, and so the design is, too, on purpose, that this will work out when the finishing is done, and that the design itself is loosely drawn, on purpose, to imitate historical pieces.

I sincerely apologize to Tricia at Thistle Threads, and also to the person who does her design transfers and kit packing, who was only doing what she was supposed to be doing.



(16) Comments

  1. I have to say, Mary, that this is one of the best posts I’ve seen you write. While I did not see the previous posts on this as negative, I think it was terrific of you to write it and so nice to see this side of you. Thank you.

  2. G’day Mary,

    This is a very gracious appology. I’m not properly up with the where’s and whyfor’s (havn’t fully read those posts and comments yet) but feel this post portrays genuine feelings towards all concerned.

    Anne of Green Gables couldn’t have done better.

    May friendships florish and hurts be happily healed in all circumstances.

    With Love, Kath

  3. Mary, it is very sweet of you to extend this apology. On the other hand, rather than doing the design/class a disservice; it is my opinion that you did them a service by bringing to light a way a user approaches the project. How were you to “know” it was intentionally wonky? If this was the intent of the designer and the design will come out OK in the end, that info ought to be stated in a preface or intro to the piece. I would have been quite irritated personally to have run into this problem and would likely not been as kind as you in describing the problem and undertaking to fix it. By discussing the concerns you had when working the project, you bring user issues to light, allowing the author/designer, to see what happens when real people use the project.

    Tricia ought to be very thankful to learn about how a user might view this transfer and may find it useful to add an information slip to the project package. It could very much increase consumer satisfaction, result in great education re historical based patterns, and reminder to needle workers that if it looks wrong, it may be wrong – which brings in the “art” of needle work and use of eyes, brain, and hands in bringing a piece to a beautiful end. Many people believe the “pattern” to be flawless and get into trouble by trying to work it exactly as transferred. Many people need permission to either redraw the design, or permission to fix it as they stitch it.

    With kind regards, Jane

  4. I have to ditto Jane of Glorious Hats … I too thought the same she already expressed !
    I hope you are feeling well Mary and that this minor incident doesn’t cloud your day :-).

  5. Gracious as always, you are someone we all admire because of the way you approach things. Jane has really put down what I would have said.

  6. Dear Mary,

    It has been a teaching moment for all of us. I have looked at these online courses/projects and wished I could afford to do one – they are just beautiful! But I would have responded in the same way you did. I would have assumed something was out of kilter, not that it was intentional or that it would be corrected as the project progressed.

    Unless there had been instructions in the course or an email at the beginning of the course, I would have made the same assumption you made. I am sure that the designer didn’t realize how someone else would interpret the pattern.

    It’s exactly what makes you such a good teacher – you are always thinking of your students and doing everything you can to help us to avoid any pitfalls or misunderstandings or misinterpretations that may arise.

    Thank you from all of us for the gift of time and talent you share daily!


    p.s. My hands are sooooooo soft after your post the other day. I’ve been playing in the dirt (gardening) and your tip was perfectly timed!

  7. Hi Mary,
    Just a note to tell you how much I appreciate the effort you take to teach me so much about surface embroidery. I thought your comments on the Floral Glove Needlecase were appropriate and certainly helpful. Thanks for the wonderful blog.

  8. Hi Mary,

    You are a class act. I think the others who posted before me have covered it all. It is commendable to offer the apology as you did. So many others in the same position would just move on and not be concerned about the situation.

    Helen in SW FL

  9. I agree with Jane of Glorious Hats.

    I think it is gracious of you to offer this apology but I do not see the need. You brought up issues that I would have (all be it far more genteelly and nicely) and it is definitely something the designer should know for the next time.

    It isn’t trashing to describe things that are wrong.

  10. Hi Mary:

    I, too, agree with Jane. I didn’t see this as a slam of Thistle Threads; as a matter of fact, I spent over an hour roaming around her beautiful site yesterday, and found myself enthralled with the beautiful kits and threads!!! Now I’m plotting and planning how I can buy one of them. Also, after seeing the the book, Women’s Painted Furniture 1790-1830, I HAVE to own it, and will undoubtedly purchase it. Being a decorative/folk art painter, and a collector of antique and vintage needlework tools, I found myself soooo appreciative that Tricia chose to include this delightful side of needlework!!!! So exciting!

    Thank you Mary and Tricia!!!!

  11. I echo Jane of Glorious Hats. I didn’t see your comments as a slam against Tricia of Thistle Threads, in fact after reading your blog I visited her site to admire her wonderful kits. It seemed to me that you were allowing us to peek over your shoulder as you worked through a sticky part of your project.
    I am glad you offered such a gracious post in regard to the matter. I could see how it could be taken the wrong way. I hope all feathers are now unruffled and you will continue to voice you opinions of the items you work with.

  12. Dear Mary,
    I think it’s very gracious of you to write an apology on your website. But I really don’t think you meant any harm to anyone with your Fix post. It was a problem you encountered in a project, and you tried to think of a solution. And you asked how others would solve an encountered problem. These problems are actually a common problem in kits! Sometimes something is ‘amiss’ in a kit. Wether it’s a fabrication flaw, or something you don’t like about it. You only tried to make it so, that it worked for you! And the needlecase? It’s lovely!

  13. Dear Mary,
    Anyone who follows your site KNOWS that you are always, considerate, sensitive to people, and above all else courteous, with impeccable manners! And any slight or oversight on your part was certainly unintended. As usual, you are scrupulous to a fault. Don’t worry about it. Fondly…..Judy in Pittsburgh

  14. Awwww, don’t be so hard on yourself, Miss Mary. I have seen this same issue (design being off) discussed on other blogs, and it was an issue that needed to be cleared up by the designer. I can now approach my wonky design knowing it is wonky on purpose, and enjoy it’s wonkiness with delight rather than frustration!

    I enjoy reading your posts. I know I will get good information as you do approach it from a teaching position. Now I know that the gold threads will help to balance it out, and that I can tweak the calyx with a stitch, rather than pen. And I am going to work a little on the long and short atitch, because I usually approach it the way you do.

  15. I’m sure that posting this apology and clarification was difficult, for which you deserve great credit. I read Tricia’s comment on your “fix” post and I was struck with her comment that those who had asked her about this issue were satisfied with the explanation. At that point, Tricia was aware that she had a potential problem and it seems to me that it would have been appropriate to provide her explanation to ALL the class members at that time.

    Perhaps at the time of your original post on the imperfections of the transfer, you might have noted that you would be corresponding with the designer – but that is easy to say AFTER the fact. I didn’t think of it at the time, nor did any of those who commented.

    I do not believe it was your intent to “trash” the product or the designer and I certainly didn’t read the posts that way. I have great admiration for both of you and think both you and Tricia are of great service to the needlework world.

    Thanks for this great site.


  16. Hi, all – Thank you for your comments and your input and your support and everything. It’s very kind of you to take the time to comment. There are some comments that I did not publish, as I did not wish to exacerbate the situation, but I will reply to those personally by e-mail.

    Thanks to a suggestion from a reader, I will also update the previous “fix” post and put a link to this post, to make sure that there is no collateral damage.

    In the meantime, I’m also going to close comments on this post. I’ve never actually done that before on my website, and there’s a part of me that doesn’t like to do it, because that’s what makes a blog dynamic – people can comment and discuss the points raised. But, again, I don’t want any further misunderstandings, and I would like to move on!

    Tricia and I have communicated satisfactorily. Remember that this course was a first go for her with an online set-up, and as always with firsts, some kinks needed to be worked out. I’m satisfied with her explanation of the design transfer, and while I did not mean to cast a shadow on the course and only meant to troubleshoot my own problem with the kit as a learning opportunity (a point which she understands), I did not think the situation through as I should have before writing. The best thing would have been to make contact with her first and, in writing my blog, to choose my words carefully so that there would be no question of coming across as unhappy or overly critical.

    The internet is a powerful tool, and while it can be used for good, it can also cause damage and hurt feelings to real people, even when unintended. The old proverb rings true: “If your lips you’d keep from slips, five things observe with care: of what you speak, to whom you speak, and how and when and where.” Sometimes, I forget!

    Thank you again for your input, on both sides of the question. I appreciate it!



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