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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15-Minute Miniature Stitching Cluny Thingamabob Update


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This morning, Title Creativity is out the window! After ten minutes of staring at the computer screen hoping an ingenious title for this post would simply emerge from somewhere… “thingamabob” crept in, and I knew it was going to be One of Those Saturdays.

Here’s a quick update on my miniature Cluny piece, which is a kit from MicroStitchery. This past week has been riddled with 15-minute bursts of stitching on the miniature Cluny piece, and overall, the progress isn’t too bad.

Update, 2018: While MicroStitchery is still online, they are no longer honoring orders. I have heard from many folks who have placed orders with them, but have never received the orders and had to apply to PayPal for a refund. I’ve tried to contact Joy, the lady who took over the business, but with no luck. Just a word of caution, for those looking for miniature tapestries.

Miniature Stitching on Cluny tapestry embroidery project

I’ve been working the project in continental tent stitch, as this is what was recommended by the designer. A couple stitchers much more adept at needlepoint than I (I haven’t done a whole lot of needlepoint or canvas work in my life…) suggested that I switch to working a basketweave tent stitch. There’s a good explanation of all the different types of tent stitch – half cross, continental, and basketweave – and also the different directions they can be worked in – on Threadneedle Street’s website. Just look under “Stitches” and you’ll find a whole array of charted diagrams on the different types of tent stitch.

Anyway, I thought about switching to basketweave, but then I realized that I better just stick with what I’m doing, since that’s what I started with. I don’t want any warping when this comes off the frame, and I figure the designer knows what she’s talking about. Next time, I’ll try basketweave.

You can see on the left side of the design where I need to make an adjustment in the pattern, to compensate for the counting error I made in the lower section of the design. I’ll be adding three more rows of the red (burgundy) down the left side, and then again on the right side, to keep things even. I thought about adjusting the curve on the black background, but in fact, I decided against that. When compensating for a mistake like this – yes, it’s a mistake! and I don’t mind admitting it!! – my thought is to keep the compensation as simple as possible! Otherwise, I could end up making matters worse!

Miniature Stitching on Cluny tapestry embroidery project

My favorite part of the design so far is definitely the gown on the lady – the blue sleeve, the burgundy patterned robe with the white trim, and the checkered bodice. Her hands look a bit bizarre, but you’re seeing the overhang of the threads from the waste knot there, and that will be covered up once the background is in.

Incidentally, the source of my counting error is right at the base of her gown, between the gown and the edge of the organ. That should have been about 3 stitches less in the black. So that shift in the pattern is between the lady and the organ.

To keep the figures in the design correct, I’m leaving the background stitching (black, burgundy, and little flower bunches) until last in each section, and working the figures as they are charted. There will be a small difficulty when I work the organ up around the hands, because that’s where those two figures meet. In order to make sure it works out right, I’ll stitch the body of the organ, and get in all the “outlines” so that it fits in the right space, but then I will make adjustments at the keyboard, where her hands rest. That’ll probably take a little fiddling, but it doesn’t look like it will be too big of a deal.

This project is trundling along more rapidly than I thought it would, which is a good indication that the 15 minutes concept works!

This weekend, I’ll be stitching a bit more on the wool Pomegranate Corners project (on Sunday, most likely), and I’ll also be setting up some… well, we’ll call it “craft stitching” projects that I’ll be working with some kids in the next couple weeks. I’ll share that with you! If my plans for the projects work out, then I’ll also be reviewing a cutting machine that I’m using, and providing you with some neat little patterns and tips for needle and thread, fabric and paper related crafts.

I hope you have a terrific weekend, and that you get in some quality time with your needle and thread! (What are you working on??! Anything exciting? Feel free to share your project, and, if you blog about it or have photos online somewhere, share a link!)

See you tomorrow!


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(11) Comments

  1. This bring back some happy memories: My mother made one of these in latch-hook, but the faces were too detailed for her, so I did them. She had the finished rug behind her sofa for years and years. Angelique

  2. Hi Everyone!

    I am working on the needlepainted Magnolia from the newest Inspirations magazine.

    The project is coming along (I have some experience)but I do wish the directions were a bit clearer. The main problem is that the written directions don’t match the excellent photos. For instance, we are told to outline all the leaves and the photo shows only half a leaf outlined before the long and short stitch commences. The transfer diagram is also different from the photo of the completed project.


  3. Mary: How do you stitch an intricate pattern such as this, with color changes every few stitches, in basketweave? This has always puzzled me so I tend to work in continental stitch (mounting the canvas on a frame helps minimize distortion) when I have frequent color changes, either due to an intricate pattern or due to blending threads for shading purposes. Janet.

    1. Hi, Everyone! Thanks for your comments! I just got home from one of those “All Day” shopping trips, looking for this thing and that thing and not finding anything – and so your comments were just what I needed to perk up!

      Elaine – Oh, I recall that magnolia, but I’m sorry to hear that the instructions are a bit different from the photos. That’s always frustrating. In cases like that, I try my best to mimic the photo. I figure if it came out looking good for the photo, then that’s what I should be shooting for. I’ll have to go back and read over that one. There was another needlepainting project recently in Inspirations that caught my eye, but for the life of me, I can’t remember right now what it was!

      Sandi – I haven’t been to the Scarlet Quince, but I like the name! I’ll look it up. Thanks!

      Janet – Very Good Question, and that was the specific reason I didn’t think basketweave would be at all “comfortable” for this project – too much color switching while stitching, which can make the job more of a “job” than pleasure. I had a few readers e-mail and note that continental stitch is definitely the better choice with all the color changes, and so I feel pretty good about that choice and will certainly continue with it! Yes, I have this mounted on a frame, too. Actually, I sewed it first to muslin, then cut away the muslin behind the silk gauze, and tacked the muslin onto the stretcher bars. I’m using the Evertites, and they just work great with this!

      Angelique – I think I remember, once upon a time, seeing a latch hook design for that was Cluny-ish. Well, I’m glad it brings back such good memories!

      Thanks again for all your comments! Enjoy the evening!


  4. Hi, Mary. Just wondering if you have ever visited the website for the Scarlet Quince? They create incredible cross stitch artwork, recreating fine art from the past. The piece you are working on in this blog as one of their designs, and so I thought of you as I was browsing their website. Sandi

  5. I’m working actively on two projects at the mo as well. One is a Helen M Stevens’ piece, water based with water flowers, a fish and a mayfly; and the other is a cross stitch of a traditional English narrowboat/barge.

    I also have a goldwork viola (string instrument, not the flower) waiting to be finished and a stumpwork blackberries design to move forward after that.

    All on my blog, for all who are kind enough to be interested.=)

  6. I have been working on a tablecloth with a stamped Pfaltzgraff pattern called Winterberry for a friend. It is small satin stitching with backstitch stems which I changed to stem stitch. The pattern called for 2 threads of floss and looked clunky so I cut it out and use one thread in stem stitch. This looked more like the design on the plates. I have one more large spray to do then will work on the small motifs around the sides. After I finish the tablecloth I still have 12 napkins to embroider. Hope to have it done for Christmas. Then I hope to try my hand at some Italian cutwork.

  7. I’m still trying to finish a Marjolein Bastian 4 Seasons counted cross stitch wall hanging.. I’m down to the last two sections and then I will be able to go to the frame shop. My cross stitching keeps getting interrupted with contract work for others. no complaints, but it does make for slow stitiching.

  8. I am working on one of the French Needle Maid kits, Germaine, which I enjoy. But everything I touched was either wrong or I dropped. I finally just put it down.

  9. Wow, you are speeding along on this! I’ve been working on some crewel embroidery but it’s dragging on as I don’t feel like picking it up most of the time. Usually, when I do, I quite enjoying stitching it, it’s a bit of a mental block. I’ve decided I’m going to do 15 minutes a day on all this week and see if that gets me nearer the end. I’ll take a picture each day and blog about it at the end. thanks for the tip!

  10. Well Mary, it’s all your fault! I finally broke down and ordered the chart for Sense of Taste Tapestry. I absolutely love the one you are doing and hope mine will turn out equally as nice.


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