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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Stumpwork – the Temptation is Strong!


Amazon Books

Did you know that Jane Nicholas’s new Tiles book is out? And along with it, lots and lots of kits? Oooooh. The temptation is strong, let me tell you! The other night, I was perusing her kits from the new book, and adding the ones I really like to the shopping cart.

It was midnight. I was tired. My will was weak.

I added one kit after another. I was throwing caution to the wind! After all, why not? I’d do them… eventually.

And it was midnight. And I was tired. And my will was weak.

Jane Nicholas Stumpwork Tiles

And really, the truth is, I have never seen such beautiful embroidery pieces that appeal to me on every level. Aesthetically, they’re gorgeous. They’re balanced, they’re ornate without being too ornate, they’re clean and crisp looking, they’re delicate but bold. Technically, they represent a challenge – but oh! what a challenge! The satisfaction of finishing even the smallest of the pieces really well would be supreme.

Did I mention that it was midnight? And I was tired? And my will was weak?

Jane Nicholas Stumpwork Tiles

What I like best about these designs, I’ve decided (and keep in mind, I haven’t even seen the book yet!), is the edging around each of the pieces.

Jane Nicholas Stumpwork Tiles

The edge makes the design! It binds together the whole piece in a perfect finish.

Jane Nicholas Stumpwork Tiles

The little details of beads and beaded flowers, purls and twists…. it’s all just downright pretty. Pure artistic genius.

And at midnight, when I was tired, and my will was weak, I managed to load the shopping cart with $700+ of kits, books, and supplies from Jane’s website.

Well, my will was weak…..

…. but it wasn’t that weak!

Once I get my grubby paws on the book, I’ll make some better decisions about the kits. I’ve got my eye on two that are within budget-reach: the Cherry Flower Roundel and the Ottoman Tulip Panel. Oh, and I like the Mughal Grapevine Tile, too (check out the close up on that one!). And the Pomegranate Medallion is very pretty. And speaking of pomegranates, there’s the cover piece that’s just stunning and seems to be tugging on my heartstrings – the Syrian Pomegranate Tile……

……I’m doing it again….. and it isn’t even midnight.

I’m doomed.


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(16) Comments

  1. They are beautiful and tempting. What I like most is the variety that goes into each design. And I can see so many things that you’ve demonstrated right here on the blog – the gold work, couching, plunging, that cool twisty gold coil that you’ve used before. This is perfect for you. Don’t hold back too long. Not good for your blood pressure. 🙂

  2. I’m so glad to know that I am not the only one who does this. I have more cross stitch patterns than I could possibly finish in a lifetime. But I have ADD and have a hard time focusing for too long on any one project. Therefore I keep a ribbon embroidery, cross stitch project and embroidery projects going all the time so I do not get bored or frustrated with anyone of them and do eventually finish. These kits are gorgeous, I am window shopping too!

  3. Ummm – I don’t suppose you want to know that I laughed when you said you were doomed? And no, I’m not even planning to go and so much as LOOK at them!!

  4. “Technically, they represent a challenge – but oh! what a challenge!”

    I am at this point with some techniques. I know that it is through challenging ourselves that we grow, but at the same time there should be some preliminary skills in place for particular techniques. (No doubt you have those preliminary skills, but frequently I don’t.) After all, you don’t put the teenager behind the wheel of a race car on a Formula 1 track on the first day of Drivers Ed (much as they would like that).

    So I am trying to build skills gradually, filing away things that are really attractive to me until I have a solid foundation of applicable skills on which to ground my attempts at the more advanced techniques.

    But ooh, when I see your blog I am really tempted to slide behind that Formula 1 car’s wheel and rip off the L-plates!

  5. I think Jane Nicholas is an incredible stitcher and designer, but these designs just don’t appeal to me. Her other books are great, but this is not my cup of tea. That’s ok though – if we were all the same, life would be very boring!

  6. Mary, do you know of any good ‘straight embroidery’ books which have flower/bug art this detailed and gloriously accurate? I don’t want goldwork or stumpwork (not being rich nor patient enough for either), just plain ol’ surface embroidery.

    That said, those are GORGEOUS!!!

  7. G’day Mary,

    What a super duper way to be doomed.

    All the ones I earmarked just happened to be
    skilled ‘easy’. How curious. Not!
    The Mughal Grapevine Tile appeals to me the most amoungst the ones you have mentioned, Mary, but of course they’re all an eye feast.

    I love her bugs. There is a darling bumble bee in the kits. Yes, it’s easy.

    Midnight had come and Mary was tired.
    Her will was weak and sorely tried.
    With flashes of gold, temptation boomed,
    “Mary, there’s worse ways to be doomed”.

    Ummm…I think I’d better sign off. See ya!
    Cheers, Kath.

    1. Heh heh heh…. oh, just to clarify, I haven’t purchased anything (yet). I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. I also have a fairly good sized stash of gold & silk, so it might not be necessary to go the kit route on all of them (though I’ve heard a rumor that here in the States, many of the types / sizes of beads called for in the kits are hard to come by…)

      And here we are, pushing midnight again, and here I am in front of the computer. I’ve got to break this habit!

      Kath – you gave me a Really Good Laugh, there! Very funny!

      Pam – I suppose what you would be looking for would be a design of sorts, that you can use with brilliant and rich colors. If you look at something like Dover’s book of Persian designs, you might find something you’d like – then it’s just a matter of picking some sumptuously rich colors – and DMC has plenty that would fit the bill and the budget – and stitch away.

      Cynthia – you know, it was Australian, but by the time shipping was added in, it didn’t really matter! It’s 89.6 cents on the dollar right now – which is actually up from a couple weeks ago. It’s always good to watch that trend, though. I remember renewing my subscription to Inspirations for about 1/3 off our normal rate when the Australian dollar dipped several years ago…

      Silvani – yes, I see what you mean! It’s a good analogy – and I think you’ve just coined a new personality description: a “formula 1 person”!

      Ok. I’m hitting the sack. No more computer today!

  8. You are too funny! $700+! Was that USD or AUSD? But I agree with you about the kits, they are simply gorgeous. I may mark a few for my Christmas wish list. May as well start early!

  9. Oh Mary! based on this post, you are going to LOVE the new edition of Inspirations 🙂 as a hint, I am buying this copy also.

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