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 (& more!) Project Update: Micro Stitching on Cluny


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Just a brief progress report on my current “15 Minute” project, this micro rendition of the Cluny tapestry “Sense of Hearing,” designed by Bobbie Schoonmaker of MicroStitchery.

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.

Admittedly, I’ve gotten in a LOT more then just 15 minutes here and there this week – with snow days, sick days and so forth. I didn’t realize how much I actually stitched on this over the past week until I took photos!

Stitching on Silk Gauze: Sense of Hearing Cluny Tapestry

You’ll have to excuse all the superfluous threads poking about hear and there – those are started threads that haven’t been finished, or they are waste knots. They tend to make the piece look particularly messy!

OK – this is the thing! And golly, I love it when this happens. (Not really!) Somewhere, in the left third of the bottom section, somewhere around the sitting dog, I made a counting mistake, and the left side of the piece is now 3 threads off. As I finished the lower section, I was able to work out the problem by compensating in the placement of the background flowers. The problem shows up more with the figures and the foliage around them. Oh, the figures work out ok. But the foliage extends three threads farther past the left side of the piece. I could reshape the foliage or eliminate the last couple stitches. But I’m not going to.

Instead, I’ll extend the burgundy border on each side of the piece by four stitches (to balance each side), and then compensate in the small background flowers as I need to.

It’s somewhat maddening, this kind of mistake, but to me, it’s not a “big deal.” In fact, when I realized it, I thought it was kind of a fun mistake, because it gives me the opportunity to personalize the design a little. This is the kind of design that, as long as the figures are right, and the background is slightly adjusted so that things don’t bump into each other, no one will know the difference (except maybe me, the designer, and now you!).

Stitching on Silk Gauze: Sense of Hearing Cluny Tapestry

My favorite part to stitch so far is the base of the lady’s robe or dress here. I love the fabric details.

The lion overall makes me laugh. He’s elongated and his face looks like a Sad Moustache Man.

Stitching on Silk Gauze: Sense of Hearing Cluny Tapestry

To give you a sense of size, I photographed it over a cutting mat marked in one-inch increments.

Though I don’t often do counted work, I have to admit that I really love this project. (I think I say this every time I give you an update!). The tiny stitching and the subject matter (I’ve always loved these tapestries) are what initially sold me on the project. And gosh, I’d love to see the other four tapestries designed for silk gauze. Bobbi has two so far – the Sense of Hearing and the Sense of Taste. I don’t know if she is planning the others or not. I’d especially love to see the sixth tapestry charted for 40 count or higher gauze:

Stitching on Silk Gauze: Sense of Hearing Cluny Tapestry

Ahhhhh. Yes. I’d snatch that one up in no time flat.

If you’d like to learn a little more about the Cluny tapestries and see images of them, you can visit the Musée du Moyen Age online. There’s a section devoted to the six “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, where you can read about each one and see a little bit of them.

I hope you enjoy your weekend and that you get a bit of stitching in! See you Monday!


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(12) Comments

  1. And if by any chance you can get to Paris, go and see them for real! They are absolutely fabulous, and I stood stock still for five minutes in the entrance to the room before going in!

  2. Great going Mary, You got a LOT done and it looks great. Mistake? … how about it could have come like that from the designer? Like interpreted that way … maybe? Right?

    I love how the lady’s robe is turning out.
    Question: Did you stitch the light color first or the darker one? Being such intricate pattern you had to guide (?) the thread in the back.
    Wondering what would be the right way to do it?

    The colors of the “To My Only Desire” makes me feel all warm and fuzzy a specially on this cold Saturday 🙂

    1. Hi, Suzanna – No, it was definitely a counting error. Argh. I’m doing the “compensation” work today, to get it over with!

      On the robe, I actually stitched the dark first, and then went in with the light. When I move from one area to the next, if it’s within, say, half an inch, I run the thread under stitches already there. In some cases, I’ll carry threads between spots of stitching, but only if they will be covered with a darker thread, and only if the space is 1/2″ or less. As long as I know I can cover up the carrying thread, then I think it’s ok. I don’t know what the “purists” would say on this point, but I don’t see how it is that much different from running your threads underneath the stitches on the back to end them, right?! 🙂


    1. Hi, Cynthia – The kit comes with DMC floss, which works fine on the 40 ct. If I had thought long and hard about it, before launching into the project, I probably would’ve done some color matching and worked with a filament silk of some sort (Soie de Paris, probably). It would be beautiful in silk, and I think filament silk would hold up better on the silk gauze. The DMC cotton works ok, in small lengths, but the wire-like silk gauze does wear a bit on the thread, and I think a filament silk would hold up a whole lot better (plus, it would be gorgeous!). And, given the amount of time that actually goes into something like this, I am a bit sorry I didn’t think out the thread question first. Incidentally, the kit comes with “just enough” thread to do the piece – there’s not much room for error on threads. I decided not to get anxious over thread (given that DMC is pretty inexpensive!), and pulled full skeins of each color out of my stash, and purchased the ones I didn’t have.

  3. Thank you for the stitching order on the lady’s robe.
    I quite agree with you, I don’t see any difference either between carrying the thread to short distance to be covered up later or running them underneath the stitches at the end.

    I have found over the years that sometimes the “purists” point of view may be just that, their point of view.

    Looking forward to the progress in your projects.
    Have a wonderful week!

  4. Mary,
    This isn’t about the Cluny project, but I love your flour sack towels. Would it be possible for you to put a file together of all your flour sack towels and patterns used? They do make great gifts and are delightful to work on.
    Thank you for all you teach us!


  5. hi Mary….I’ve been away from your site for a while, concentrating on other “sports” for a while, i.e., miniatures and crazy quilting. Anyway, I’ve done the mate to your mini tapestry, Sense of Taste, to go in my mini castle. If you go to Petitpointers@yahoo.com (joining is painless), you can see it in my album. Did it with Soie d’Alger and loved doing it. However, the silk gauze that’s around for sale recently is of another ilk and is VERY rough on the thread.

    BTW, not to criticize the Stitch Goddess, but could I convince you next time to do the major areas in Basketweave?

    Another idea, perhaps you and some of your readers would like to join Petitpointers@yahoo.com. You’d see some great work there.

    Stitch on, Ginger

    1. Hi, Ginger – Thanks for the tips and the links! Good to see you again.

      I deliberately didn’t work it in basketweave, at the designer’s recommendation. Since I’m not that adept at all the “finer points” of needlepoint, petit point, and stitching miniatures, I figured I’d go with what Bobbi recommended, since she designed the pieces and would know what works best. Had I thought about the piece before actually launching into stitching it, I’d have used filament silks – Soie de Paris, probably. That’s my plan on one of her little Cluny pillow designs, just to see how it goes. I have the Sense of Taste, too – don’t know when I’ll ever get around to working it! – I’d like to see the other ones available – especially “My One Desire”….

      Thanks again!


  6. Hello, I hope you don’t mind me asking this. I am currently working on one of these kits. I used 1 strand of the 6 ply cotton supplied and as directed by the instructions. I interpreted that as being a 2 ply strand I had to stitch with.

    Just curious as to whether you used 2 ply or 1 ply.

    1. Hi, Sarah – Yes, it’s just one of the six strands that you normally find in a whole piece of floss. Each strand is made up of two plies, but normally, you wouldn’t divide those two plies from each other, as the strand would lose much of its strength. So just use one strand of floss, and you’ll be good! ~MC

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