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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Hand Embroider a Tree!


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Trees show up a lot in surface embroidery, and Kathy Shaw, author of the blog Shawkl, has a few hand embroidered trees to show us, along with some great tips on how to make them! Enjoy!

Need to stitch a fast and fabulous motif? How about a tree!

Hand Embroidered Trees

Can’t draw a trunk? Try using a stamp! You can stamp directly onto the fabric (if you are really good at stamping and are brave!) OR you can stamp directly onto tissue paper! Baste the tissue paper down to your crazy quilt patch, stitch the trunk outline with straight stitch…which you will cover up with your embroidery after you remove the tissue paper!

Hand Embroidered Trees

Don’t have a tree stamp? Search for photos of trees and print them at the size you need for your project. Check out your clip art for trees…you might be surprised at how many trunks there are!

Hand Embroidered Trees

Stitch the trunk in simple chain stitch, start by outlining the sides of the trunk and follow those lines up to the limbs. Now, fill in a center line all the way up through the limbs. Just fill in all the remaining space with more lines of chain stitch. Use sequins, beads, or bits of lace for the foliage. EASY and FAST!

No time to even stitch that? Not to worry. Lay some fibers down, couch across them where the base of the tree needs to be…pick all of them up and twist. Couch and twist! EASY and SUPER FAST!

Hand Embroidered Trees

You can check out detailed tutorials for Kathy Shaw’s trees at shawkl.com. Do you have any tips for hand embroidering trees? Feel free to leave a comment below!


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(11) Comments

  1. These trees are so fantastic! The guest posts were such a good idea, Mary. Now I have yet another blog to add to my google reader. All of Kathy’s work is beautiful.

    Update on your trip?

  2. What wonderful ideas! I love trees and yours are exquisite. The suggestion about using the tissue paper for the outline is great. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Dear Marymentor:
    thanks so much for the trees !! Right in time for the pastoral scene I’m still working on. And how sweet of you to offer more than one design. You always manage to stimulate my creative juices ! Thanks again….. Judy in Pittsburgh

  4. I just love those trees…I am making a half crazy quilt half paper piecing with lots of birds and the trees is exactly what was missing.
    Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

  5. G’day there Mary and Kathy,

    Thank’s heaps for this beaut tree info.
    The twisted trunk and branches tutorial in your blog Kathy is really handy, and clever.

    You had this saying in your blog.

    It may be a crazy life,
    but it is our life.

    Reminded me of what we used to say as kids. The last line was said really fast hoping to finish it before the other person jumped in with it.

    All the world’s a little queer,
    Save thee and me.
    And even thee’s a little queer!

    I love your crazy patchwork Kathy. Thanks again.

    Cheers, Kath.
    Andeventhee’salittlequeer! Beat you!!

    Ps. Trust all is going well Mary.

  6. These are grand. I’m looking for something to embroider on the legs of some old comfy jeans I just can’t let go of. A tree could change them from eyesores to “works of art.”

  7. Hi Kathy,
    Your trees look so effective. I especially love the first one but all your techniques are amazing!
    Yet more things I’d love to try ….. oh where to get the time from 🙂

    Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, UK

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