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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Embroidery Stitch Journals


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A repeated topic that comes up when I’ve spoken about my high school Needle Arts class is the students’ Embroidery Stitch Journals. Several readers have asked about the stitch journals, so I thought I’d show you what they are.

Embroidery Stitch Journal

The Embroidery Stitch Journal is a book of sorts that my students will be filling up as they progress through the first semester of Needle Arts. The pages are laid out as the one in the picture above, and are printed front and back on a sturdy archival matte photo paper. (Why photo paper? Only because I have boxes and boxes of it from a project a year or so ago that will never get used, and I didn’t want it to go to waste! Otherwise, it would probably be card stock.)

Each page allows room for the stitch name, the date we cover it in class, information on fabrics and threads suitable for the stitch, an illustration of the stitch itself (which I provide by inserting an image in the “instructions” space before I print the pages), written instructions on the stitch, any pertinent tips, and then three samples of the stitch worked on fabric. The samples are affixed to the page, and there’s room next to them to write specific information about the samples.

The pages are punched with a three-hole punch, and are arranged in their class binders. Basically, they’re building their own “stitch dictionaries” to use as reference, with actual stitched samples on each page. Hopefully, they’ll keep these as reference tools for years to come!

After working the samples, they’ll work the stitch out on their spot samplers, in some ingenious and creative way (well… that’s the plan, anyway!). Next week, we start the week by fixing in their first samples, which they finished this past Monday. They had to work three different small charted elements – we’re doing counted work right now – over one and then over two threads of fabric, so in each sample space, they’ll have two samples.

They’re adding initials and dates to their spot samplers now – I can’t wait to see what progress they make over the long weekend!

I made up the stitch journal pages by using a table in Word. If you want to make your own and you like this layout, you’re certainly welcome to use it. But you can always adjust it to suit your needs and interests, too. If you want a PDF of the page just as it is, you’re welcome to it:

Embroidery Stitch Journal (PDF)

Hope you’re having a swell weekend!


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(11) Comments

  1. OHHH!!! How I wish I could be in the class!! I would be such a better stitcher if I had taken such a class with such a teacher..These kids are sooo lucky!!!!

  2. I took a “Decorative Arts” class in high school that encompassed embroidery, knitting, crochet, stencil…etc and made a journal of the techniques, still have it and occasionally look back at the samples for reference. That was 40+ years ago!

    1. Hi, all! Thanks for your comments!

      Connie – that is GREAT! Very encouraging to know that the journals may very well be kept and used again in the future! Yippee!

      Wendi …. thank you! No, I’ve never really thought about it – it’s not feasible right now for me, I’m afraid, because I have a full-time job. But who knows??! We’ll see what the next couple years bring. I’ll be teaching at Beating Around the Bush in April 2012, if you want to come!

      Jayashree – I hope they work well with your knew batch of students!

      Thanks, Keli. They’re enjoying the class —- not quite sure yet how much they’re learning, but they’re having fun! 🙂

  3. Again! I want to go back to high school just to have taken a class from you and for no other reason. The 80’s are not worth revisiting. Have you EVER considered offering a retreat for out-of- towners? I know I would clammer at the chance to learn from you.

  4. Mary, what a wonderful idea, thanks so much for sharing. I’m currently doing a distance course with the EGA teaching embroidery, this has helped me heaps to prepare for it.

    Arlene white

  5. I love your website and all the pretties you make. These journal pages are wonderful and I will certainly be putting them to use. I was wondering if you would / had considered turning your class notes / journal pages into a book for those of us not in highschool or close to you? I like your aproach to teaching and would love to have such learning material avialable to me.

  6. Thanks so much for the pdf. I am learning new stitches and this is just what I am looking for. Can’t thanks you enough.
    Your generosity is much appreciated.
    happy Stitching

  7. I’ve been looking everywhere for a tutorial on how to make a very simple sampler book to collect the hand embroidery stitches I am getting to know. I have only found a few but there are too complicated for me as a beginner. These Journal pages are the most useful thing I’ve seen so far, though the areas for the samples seem too small; maybe meant to be for a sample stitch but not a sample design?
    Please consider a tutorial for a beginner’s fabric booklet – easy accordion booklet that’s foldable maybe? – and not made of expensive or difficult fabric like linen.

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