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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Block Shading


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Not much stitching went on this past weekend in my house! In fact, It’s taken me about a week now to tie up loose ends before the “official” beginning of summer, and in there, the needle didn’t get a whole lot of companionship! I’ll show you what I managed:

Tanja Berlin Embroidery Kit: Modern Jacobean

This is the Modern Jacobean Bird of Paradise kit from Tanja Berlin that I mentioned wanting to finish last week. Hardy har har! Not even close!

I stitched seven little strips on the fronds on the tree. The technique used here is called block shading. It’s a satin stitch technique, where satin stitch is worked in strips, in shades of a particular color. The difference between block shading and regular satin stitch filling is that often, satin stitch is worked on a slant (to fill a leaf or petal, or an odd shape). In block shading, the satin stitch is worked perfectly perpendicular to the base line of the area that’s being filled.

At the beginning of May, I wrote a post about the prick and pounce design transfer method. The little design I transferred in that post is meant for a short study in satin stitch, and the wavy petals on the flower will be worked in block shading. I’ll get on that one of these days, and show you a little more about the technique.

That’s it on my end! I hope you were able to accomplish a lot more than I did this past weekend! But it’s officially summer in my neck o’ the woods – so here’s to making a bit more progress!

(First step: straightening & organizing the workroom – maybe some pictures of that this week. Ooooooooooh. Maybe not!)


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  1. I can’t wait till your lesson on satin stitch and shading. I do have a question when a pattern says to do satin stitch and it is a stumpwork pattern with very small shapes. How do you do the satin stitch with a up down method or the method of putting the needle through the fabric and back up before pulling the thred throug. I found it very hard with the small wired shape to get the needle down through the fabric and back up before pulling the thread through.

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