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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Bayeux Tapestry Embroidery Kit! What a Find!


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Christmas came early for me this year – in the form of an embroidery kit! My First Bambina was visiting thrift stores when she came across an incredible find – for a dollar!! (This never happens to me!)

Being the generous soul that she is, she thought of me and picked the thing up, and mailed it to me! Thanks, Bambina!! And I just had to show it to you, because it’s one of those finds that, had I found it, I would’ve been showing it off to everyone, and rambling on about it for days!

Embroidery Kit Bayeux Tapestry

The kit is one of the reproduction Bayeux tapestry kits made in France by the company Princesse. These designs are approved by the Tapestry of Bayeux Association, and they are very well done.

Embroidery Kit Bayeux Tapestry

From the little creatures along the border…

Embroidery Kit Bayeux Tapestry

… to the hilarious expressions on the sailors faces, the piece is just fantastic. I have a Bayeux kit already – the one with the horses – and although I haven’t stitched it yet, one day, I will! I’ve always wanted one of the ships, so this kit is just perfect for me!

Embroidery Kit Bayeux Tapestry

It is, as you can see, made in France.

Embroidery Kit Bayeux Tapestry

It also came with the printed instructions…

Embroidery Kit Bayeux Tapestry

… and with the recommended colors code.

The kit was obviously something someone bought with the intention to work it, never got around to it, used the threads that came with it somewhere else, and then carted the rest off to a thrift store. And you know what??? That’s quite all right! One person’s “junk” is another person’s treasure, that’s for sure! I mean, really – what a find! So thanks to My First Bambina for the new treasure!

If you’re looking for the Bayeux Tapestry kits, you can find them new – thread included – in the States at The French Needle (along with other great kits and resources). Granted, you’re not going to find them for a buck. (Sorry!) But they are nice kits, especially if you are keen on historical needlework!

So what about you? Have you ever landed a good needlework find at a thrift store?! Any fun stories to share? Like I said, I never come across such things, so I’d love to live vicariously through your experiences! Leave a comment and tell us your stories!


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(32) Comments

  1. What a great find! I once found a crazy quilted wrap skirt. It was handmade and appeared to be about a size 16 and floor length. I knew I could use the fabric to make other projects. I brought it home and started taking it apart. To my surprise it was a small quilt that had a few stitches added for a skirt shape. With those stitches removed and a binding added, I had a great little Crazy Quilt!

  2. What a find indeed!

    I have stashed away in a cupboard somewhere a half-done crewel work table runner that I bought in a charity shop, not for itself but because it was still attached to a very good large embroidery frame! I picked them both up for £2.50 I think. One day I’ll get around to finishing the runner, although I bought it for the frame!

  3. I travel to France every year with my students and I pick up one of the Bayeux Tapestry Packets each time. I have done several and they are great! The linen is from the region as well as the floss. It is dyed using local dyes and milled locally. The shop I usually go to is very helpful. I will try to send their email because they will probably sell online and they offer advice and suggestions in English. The technique is unique and is the same style as used on the Tapestry itself. Thanks for sharing! I can’t believe they got it for $1:)

  4. Mary, você é sensacional. Sinto-me como se a conhcesse há muito tempo. Você escreve com o coração e compartilha as prendas e aquisições com entusiasmo!!! Quase todos os dias visito sua página. Agradeço a sua existência… Velo pelo seu sucesso e desejo-lhe saúde, paz de espírito e que continue sendo a pessoa exemplar que você é.
    Um abraço fraterno,
    Abigail Vasconcelos

  5. great find! don’t you love those kind of treasures :0) A few years ago I knitted a beaded amulet purse for a silent auction at work–a coworker wanted to bid on it for her daughter, but alas, she wasn’t at work that day–I made her daughter a duplicate and as a thank you, Kathy gave me a HUGE stash of SILK embroidery threads and a few iron on transfers that her hubby had come across in cleaning out a shed that his daddy had owned. I am guessing the threads were bought for embroidering flowers, based on the colors.

  6. I just love finding something so unexpected as a beautiful piece of needle craft just waiting to be worked on! While roaming through a thrift store a few years ago, I came upon such a find. It is a needlepoint design made in Isreal. It has the the name Benjamin, in Hebrew, in the center of the of what appears to be a stain glass. The cost was only $1.50 and my son’s name is Benjamin. I was so excited to find it, not only because of the great price but most of all because it has my son’s name on it. I have never done such detailed needlepoint, so I am I bit nervous about starting on it.

  7. You know, I actually found *that kit* at a thrift store once. Sadly, it’s missing a color so I’ve never been able to finish it.

    Hrm…now I may have to dig it out of the closet, figure out which color I’m missing, and ask you what it looks like.

  8. A couple of years ago while helping my father in law recover from open heart surgery I was at Goodwill and found a partially started cross stitch project, a piper cub plane, got it for cheap and figured it would keep me busy in the evenings. I wasn’t especially keen on the subject matter but figured, oh well, it’s small have it done in short order, well 3 years later it’s still not done and only pick it up when desperate for something to do. Cheap it was but if you aren’t thrilled to begin with, it doesn’t seem to look any better with age and work.

  9. Hi Mary, What a lovely thing for this friend to do. Here in Burlington, ON, we have a large Reuse Recycle Store. I don’t go often (only when my husband asks for company) but one day I found an old and well-used embroidery hoop. It is very smooth and the feel of it is so pleasant that I have never bound it. I think I paid 25 cents.
    Kind regards, Gail

  10. Since I often refer to Goodwill as ‘my favorite store’, I always keep an eye out for needlework bargains. Perhaps my best find was a soft sided ’70’s era hussif roll, filled with over 50 skeins of cotton floss in almost every color of the rainbow. I have also found nice old heavy hoops and a variety of evenweave fabrics. Your Bayeaux kit is one of the best bargains I have seen! Congratulations!

  11. I once found a half finished 1930’s era printed linen sampler for $1.50. It was one of the first pieces I ever completed, and I even had it professionally framed(which brought the price up considerably LOL)…I felt such a connection to the original stitcher; she was no novice – the work was so even and neat! I learned an amazing amount analyzing her approach and as I worked on it, I felt a tremendous satisfaction in finishing something that was probably begun before I was born.

  12. Dear Marymentor:
    I’m so jealous my teeth hurt ! ! 🙂 These medieval (sp?) pieces are my absolute favorite…bar NONE. But they’re so expensive! If you know anywhere where I can find this kind of material, (the medieval) please let me know. But I mean, like, under $100. Thanks, Judy in Pittsburgh

  13. Wow! How lucky. Nope, I have never found anything that good at a thrift store. I get excited when I find yarn or neat fabric. I did get some of those big cones and spools of thread last time I was at the Goodwill. They look neat just sitting around. 🙂

  14. That’s just *fantastic* Mary!!! What fun you’ll have embroidering it – it found just the right home, didn’t it!!

    I once bought a huge bag of DMC threads from a charity shop. They formed the basis of my DMC collection. DMC cotton thread is only DMC cotton thread – but supremely useful in that I have pretty much every colour, so can colour match for anything I want. (after a couple of stash buys on the Net to supplement the original buy)

  15. Mary, You are such an inspiration. I’ve been doing embroidery since I was a teenager, however, I’ve never known what to do with the pieces I’ve made. Some embroideries became pillows and others were made into tea towels and I’ve even framed several cross stitch pictures. The rest are folded away in a drawer. I am now a senior citizen with no grandchildren. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    1. Hi, Jan – Are they things that you can give to friends as gifts? If not, maybe you can find someone who can “repurpose” them – someone who will love them and use them. Do you do any needlework now? Crazy quilting, or anything? Maybe some of the pieces could be “reused” as something else? I’ll send you an e-mail…. ~MC

  16. I have a couple of old linen supper cloths from my grandmother that have simple embroidery on that needs finishing but how do I finish everything that I have stashed away. I think I am a collector of anything fabric and fibre rather than a serious sewer. I do some every day but my mind seems to be always on looking looking for more stuff. I cant get enough.
    Maybe I am looking to live forever, so I can finish everything.
    Thank you soooooooo much Mary, for your wonderful site. I look forward to it every day here in Sout West Australia

  17. me imagino tu alegria son piezas,que al verlas te henamora,y justo cae en tus manos,
    es mano de Dios
    a mi me encantaria encontrar un libro de bordado
    aunque este envejecido.y a bajo moneda…
    hace un tiempo siempre pasaba por una hermosa casa,,donde habia siempre una anciana muy buena mosa,,me miraba yo le sonreia.bueno deje de verla.me preocupo,,mas sin saber su nombre aquien preguntar
    un dia pase por la casa con la idea de verla otra vez ,,mas encontre un remate de todo de un hogar,,,,al entrar veo en una mesa de muy buena madera,, un monton de paños bordados y tejidos…algunos las personas al buscar los habian deteriorado ,,tome unos y los compre a muy bajo precio”no se como esa anciana los hizo,me arrepenti no haberle buscado converza..que me contara la historia de ellos
    lo triste es que ella habia fallecido,,su hijo vendia sin saber que para otras personas eran joyas,,y pienso ella quiso que yo las encontrara”’me siento privilegiada
    me extendi disculpa luego te envio foto
    haber que opinas
    gracias mary

    1. Lidia, that is a sad story, that her son sold it all without knowing. I wish you had a chance to meet her and talk to her, too! But I hope you were able to acquire some of her treasures! Do send a picture! ~MC

  18. Mary, I’m so glad and happy that you liked it !!! It belongs with you :-).
    Thanks for the beautiful note you sent !

    I love finding needlework related items, in specific vintage embroidery/crewel books and patterns at thrift shops… honestly this is the sole reason why I stop.
    I recently found 2 books and I literally felt like a little girl in a candy shop. A while back I found a Workbasket magazine with an intact embroidery pattern sheet still attached to it… sweet ! 🙂

    1. Thanks, all, for your fun feedback on this post. Gosh, I love hearing about the great things everyone picks up hither and thither – thrift shops, friends’ attics, and so forth. I must say, I’ve received some real treasures from readers! Threads and fabric from Portugal, a la Meri, some beautiful society silk designs, linens, and threads from Freda, this kit from Bambina and on and on – so I suppose my real treasure is the kindness of my readers! It more than makes up for my lack of success at thrift stores, that’s for sure! ~MC

  19. I have a lovely natural linen table cloth with flowers printed on it given to me by my best friend Harriet. She found it in the Mission Store. I’m presently embroidering a tablecloth for another friend for Christmas so I am dreaming and planning what colors to use on this great find. I also have to deside what stitches to use. Maybe needlepainting? Haven’t done any and have been dying to try it. Will have to study it some more and dream a bit more too. Love all the wonderful information and ideas you always give to us.

  20. Ok, I don’t have stories, because I never find anything like this either. Is this because we live in the Midwest, with less expensive housing, so bigger houses, so we (Midwesterners) never throw stuff out? Ergo, nothing good in the thrift stores? I’m sticking with that theory. ~.o

    Thanks so much for your blog/emails. I look forward to them everyday. And I’m SO envious of your needlework class. It ALMOST makes me want to go back to highschool again. Well, just a tad. A very small tad. Heh.

  21. Hello Mary,
    How lovely, what a find.
    I still have some Bayeux Tapestry colours left over from the Jan Messent project quite a few years back now. Some of the colours are on the site, but some of them are the kind of colours for which its difficult to find a stable recipe. So I don’t make them any more as unpredictable recipes can generate a lot of stress!
    I would be happy to give you some of these, so you would have a complete kit including crewel wool naturally dyed as they might have been originally. Actually the Bayeux Tapestry is a very good example of how well naturally dyed colours keep. If you consider that the tapestry is well over 800 years old and at one point was used as a wagon cover, I think the colours have withstood the test of time amazingly well. Don’t you?

  22. I have this kit, bought in Albi many years ago, I’ve done a lot of it , but have mislaid the wools, and in view of the current closing of everything I can’t find replacements. I live in France and have contacted Princesse, but don’t expect a reply soon.
    I am going to photograph what I have completed and will post that when I have done it.

  23. This is such a valuable post! I love and admire the Bayeux Tapestry and am thrilled to find pointers to stitching kits! I bought one and several other items for the French Needle, another great find. Thank you so much, Mary!

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