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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Samplers & Stitches by Christie


Amazon Books

The other day when I wrote about favorite stitch dictionaries, a friend commented about a fantastic book called Samplers and Stitches by Mrs. Archibald Christie. Ironically, the book was on my list for blog posts this week! It’s a book I’m using for my needle arts class, and since it’s free online, I wanted to point it out to readers.

True to form, Mrs. Christie’s book is excellent! I love her books! And this one happens to be perfect for my current situation!

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

Now, there are Heaps of Things I like about the book. Naturally, there’s a lot of embroidery instruction in it. The book focuses on stitches. The author uses lots of text explanations on how certain stitches are executed, and most of the text is accompanied by line drawings of the various stitches she’s discussing.

Topic-wise, Samplers and Stitches is very thorough. Christie covers flat stitches, looped stitches, chain stitches, knotted stitches, composite stitches, canvas stitches, drawn thread work, blackwork, lace fillings, darning, cut & drawn work & insertions, and couching and laid work. That’s a lot of stuff!

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

The diagrams are rather brief, but what I like about them is the little motifs that she shows the stitches worked on. These are perfect for spot samplers, and I intend to make good use of them this semester.

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

The content of the book is excellent, and I can’t reiterate that too many times. But the line drawings in the book are equally as good. I love the black and white line drawings throughout the whole book, and I find the little critters that end each section quite captivating! Printed in 1920, the book may not be as colorful and flashy as today’s full-photo needlework books, but it is full of good, solid stuff. And darn it. I like it in black & white!!

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

And this guy cracks me up.

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

Do you like embroidered jackets? Christie drew one with great detail, and you’ll find it in the book!

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

Are you a fan of trellis stitch? Then you must see her trellis stitch field mice!

Samplers and Stitches is a great used book to have on your shelf for reference, reading, and inspiration. And fortunately, it’s online for free, too. Look for Samplers and Stitches at Internet Archives – you can download it there in PDF form, or you can read it directly online.

Samplers and Stitches by Christie

And while you’re browsing through, do take time to enjoy those cute little critters!


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(25) Comments

    1. Hi, Rachel & Therese – I just checked the link and it is working from this end. If you’re having difficulty getting through the link, google “internet archives” (www.archive.org), then click on the tab across the top that says “Texts” and then search “Christie, Grace” – it’ll be one of five or six search results.

      I hope that works for you. Let me know!


  1. I am so bummed. don’t know if it just because I am on my work phone( did try it on my phone too)But the site said its down. I found it on a free Library site also and they are under construction. 🙁
    If any one finds a place to get this free download, please do tell.

  2. I can remember finding this book in the early 80s in a local library. I was blown away. Nothing at that time had such lovely designs or stitch diagrams as clear. I hunted for a while and found myself a copy, mine is from the 40s, I think. It’s one of my most treasured books. It opened my eyes to so many things. It’s great that it’s accessible online. A while back a publisher “redid” the book–it was very disappointing and lost all the charm of the original.

  3. I’m enjoying reading about your needle arts class. How wonderful to be able to teach a class like that. Thanks for the link on the book. I downloaded it and now need to find the time to look through it.

  4. Thanks Mary! I’ve taken a quick look and it’s ver intrigueing, I may need to keep any eye out for the original book.

  5. Hi Mary. Thank you SOOOOO much for writing about this book. I had not heard of it before, and I absolutely love it. I am in the process of printing it out so that I will have my own copy. She has little hints and suggestions through out the stitch directions that offer slight variations of the stitch as we are used to seeing it. I need to go back and look at her other books to see if they have the same quality to them. Thanks again!! Sandi

  6. Mary this is a great book and for those who are in London the Victoria and Albert Museum holds her samples in their collection – they are in the study room and the mice in real life are just total cute – so its worth making a note that they and all the samples in the book are there.

  7. Thank you, Mary, for writing about such a great resource. You are a great resource for all embroiderers out there! I’m so happy that I discovered your blog.

  8. This is a wonderful little book. I love the illustrations showing how to do the stitches. Where do you find the time to seek out all the ‘stuff’ you email each day? I’m impressed.

  9. Hello all!! I found this book on::www.archive.org/stream.cu31924014066249/#page/n231/mode/2up Please write this LONG website. You can actually read it there. Look at the beautiful stitches not found in later embroidery books. There are approx 152 pgs to read in this supper great book, dtd 1921, Book was reprinted about 25 years ago. Check with your local book stores. Good luck, pat San Antonio, PS: if there are any embroiderers out there from Tx, RSVP, Thanks….

  10. Thank you Mary. I agree with everyone else that this really is a lovely book. So the question of the day seems to be how do you prefer to read a book? Are you happy to use your computer screen, where you can increase the size of a picture, or do you like to hold a physical copy. Personally, I’ll be printing the book, I find it easier to read from a printed page, but I’ll still keep it on my computer so I can magnify any of those lovely designs if need be.

    1. Hi, Lisa – With online books like this, I usually print only the pages I want to read or need for reference (saves on ink!). Fortunately, I have a “real” copy of this book. I find it’s always worth scouring used book sources for Christie’s books…


  11. Every time I read your website when it mentions embroidery books historical in nature I often go searching online for further review and hopefully with the ability to read it in its entirety. With that said I wish to mention the website of “The National Library of Congress”. I no longer have the funds available to delve into my passion of historical textiles but to feed my desire for such knowledge this is the website (http://archive.org) I often go to time and again. I’m sure I have only seen a tiny amount of their holdings but their “American Libraries” link holds a wealth of historical publications and most seem to be available for download should you wish to do so. Please visit if you haven’t already. They’re wonderful.

  12. I found several books by Christi on Amazon, at reasonable prices. I have several of these books in my embroidery library. I also own books by Therese De Dillmont.

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