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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Needlework and Hand Embroidery around the Traps


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Well, it’s Saturday, and a good day to look around online for some hand embroidery and needlework resources. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your needlework, or you’re trying to track down a fun hand embroidery kit, or you’re looking for embroidery threads, supplies, or gifts for the needleworker in your life, you’ve got to admit – there’s a lot to find online! And for those of us who don’t have a local needlework shop around, the internet is a handy tool.

So if you’d like to browse through some needlework places I’ve visited online lately, sit back and join me! Maybe these spots can inspire you, help you find embroidery supplies you’re looking for, or just give you a break from (or a reason to put off) your Saturday chores!

Let’s start with Needlework Inspiration, shall we?

Hand Embroidery Inspiration: Needle Painting

Dorota Chmielewska is an embroidery artist in Poland, and although I don’t read Polish, I can certainly appreciate her Gallery, where she has some beautiful hand embroidered pieces worth looking at! When you visit Dorota’s site, click on “Galeria” and you will find a list of dates by year. Browsing through her work, you’ll find some incredible examples of needle painted landscapes, portraits, animals in their natural habitats, and so forth.

Hand Embroidery Inspiration: Needle Painting

I particularly like the above piece. I love the flowers against the sky (I like the angle), and the thick vegetation underneath them. It makes me think of late spring – which is a very nice thought when it’s 20 degrees (F) in Kansas.

Hand Embroidery Inspiration: Needle Painting

Her pastoral scenes, like this one above, are incredible. She sets a kind of atmosphere on the piece, with those long horizontal stitches that seem to envelop the flock in fog. It’s beautiful!

If you don’t read Polish, you can use Google Translator to translate the site. If you do, you’ll find out that Dorota uses a needle painting technique called “akupiktura” and that she sells her works. I don’t know when the site was last updated, but in any case, enjoy browsing her gallery!

Blackwork Journey

If you’re looking for blackwork embroidery projects, here’s a site worth visiting. It’s called Blackwork Journey, and here, you’ll find a plethora of blackwork embroidery designs by Liz Almond available for sale. They are sold as PDFs, so the prices are quite reasonable. Besides the charts for sale, you’ll find some other good stuff here for free.

Blackwork Journey

For example, on her blog, Liz has a nice little tutorial on creating a blackwork embroidery design from an outline, then filled with various blackwork designs. Just scroll down to the August entry.

Blackwork Journey

And, if you’re hankering to stitch up some blackwork Christmas ornaments, Liz has some very nice free blackwork embroidery designs on her site. Make sure you browse through all the pages of her freebies – she’s got some really nice ones in there!

Looking for needlework tools like slate frames?

Update, 2017: You can find slate frames in the US through local and online needlework shops that carry goods from Access Commodities. Needle in a Haystack (online and local in Alameda, CA) carries them – sometimes in stock, sometimes for special order.

In March of 2017, I reviewed these beautiful slate frames from Mythic Crafts in Canada. They are superb.

A reader recently sent me a source from the UK, for those of you across the pond easterly who want to add slate frames to your arsenal of needlework tools. You’ll find a good selection of slate frames at Burford Needlecraft, and they’re really reasonably priced. According to aforementioned reader, they’re nice frames and they work well. Incidentally, you’ll also find some very pretty Jacobean blackwork designs there, too, among other delectable needlework designs, kits, and so forth. (For US readers, remember there’s an exchange rate to take into consideration, as well as any customs fees or anything that might be imposed on orders from outside the US.)

Wooly Thread Blog Christmas Ornament Example

Over on the Wooly Thread blog, Jan has a Really Cute idea for making Christmas ornaments from crewel embroidery designs from the book The New Crewel (my review). If you have the book, and I know a lot of you out there do, you might take a look at the designs therein from a whole different angle! I thought Jan’s idea was a brilliant one!

Strangely enough, I just went through my feedreader to look for recent things that caught my attention – things that I usually flag to access later – and strangely enough, strangely I tell you, the only thing I’ve marked recently are… recipes. The holidays must be coming!

Anyway, I hope these needlework sources pique your interest! If you spend too much time browsing, don’t worry. The laundry will still be there when you get off the computer! (Which is what I’m heading to do right now!)

Enjoy the weekend!


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(8) Comments

  1. I thank God for the Internet. Without it I would never have been able to do what I do. Closest needlework shop is 1 1/2 hours away and it’s only needlepoint.

  2. Ooooh… What lovely work from Poland. I can see how I’m going to be spending my Saturday afternoon… and I *NEED* to be stitching a sample and knitting a Christmas sweater.

    Polish gallery here I come.
    And what a wonderful idea for the designs in New Crewel. I didn’t think they were my taste when I first saw the book… but with that spin they’re starting to look much more appetizing! 🙂

  3. Mary,
    Thanks for the links! They were a wonderful break from my ever growing list of things to do for the holidays.
    The Christmas cookie dough ingredients, waited without a fuss while I was browsing 🙂

  4. Hi Mary, I plan to start on shadow work, this weekend. I can sure use some tips and techniques, and of course your videos also are a great help to beginners such as me.
    thank you.

  5. Mary, when I looked at Dorota’s piece, I didn’t see sky, I saw a pond with the flowers reflected in it. Sky or pond, it is a beautiful piece.

  6. Seven years later, I’ve come across Dorota’s art, me too – thanks to you! I’m really and truly flabbergasted – this is the kind of pictures I’m dreaming about doing myself!! Especially her technique to create mist and fog or half transparent figures – that’s exactly what I was mulling over some days ago! Thank you, Mary, for sharing this stunning link!

    Mary, “akupiktura” is nothing else than needlepainting (“acus” = needle, “pictura” = painting). As she says herself: “Haft cienowany …” (that’s needlepainting in Polish, literally translating “shaded embroidery”) “… acupictura – was most popular in the Middle Ages. It’s one of the most beautiful, but also most difficult techniques. In times past it was used not only for stitching flowers or figures, but also whole pictures with a background.” etc. (If you or anybody else ever should need a Polish translator, I’m at your service!)

    Angela from the Ore Mountains

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