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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Cluny Countdown – the Blues Begin


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By Thursday of this week, I’ll show you the finish on the miniature stitching project that I’ve been working on since January. It’s almost there! Yesterday, I closed the gap at the top of the design.

Miniature Embroidery Project: Cluny Tapestry

The background is completely finished, and all that’s left is to stitch the little floating elements in the background and a few tiny bits in the organ. I’ll definitely be finished by my self-imposed deadline of Wednesday (tomorrow) at the end of the day. Heck, I might even finish it today! The little flowers and critters that float through the background of this design really bring the piece to life. Though small, they don’t go as fast as you think! Because the colors are so scattered, there’s a lot of ending and beginning of threads. Surprisingly enough, this doesn’t bother me too much. I don’t mind ending a thread and starting a new one when I’m stitching. I just see that as part of the process.

Of course, when I only have about four stitches left …. Four More Lousy Stitches! …. and I have to end a thread because it’s too short – well, that can be a bit irritating! And I know you know what I mean!

Anyway, psychologically speaking, the Blues have Begun.

Do you know what I mean by the Blues? The End-of-Project Blues? Do you ever get them? When I finish an embroidery project that I’ve been working on for a long time, after all that excitement of creeping towards the finish line and the satisfaction of finally seeing the piece complete, I always feel a bit of a let-down. It’s like not having access to a good friend anymore. But it never lasts too long – it’s just a matter of getting hooked into the next project!

Look for the finish on Thursday!

Enjoy your day!


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(12) Comments

  1. Those “End-of-Project Blues” are the main reason I’m always eager to start a new project – I just love the feeling you get with the last stitch in place. It’s like an addiction! You need it more. You can’t get enough.
    Lucky you! 🙂

  2. Dear Mary,
    I know exactly what you mean. A piece of embroidery becomes part of you, almost like a child. You spend many a happy hour with this companion and then, like a journey it all comes to an end. I too then suffer a feeling of loss. Luckily this is alleviated as soon as I start with a new project. Afterwards, when I look at the finished piece, it serves as a reminder what happened during that time whilst I busy with it.
    Love Elza, Cape Town xxx

  3. Dear Mary

    Yes I know what you mean about “end-of-blues-project” when I finished my last two projects I felt I had lost a friend, all the excitement of starting and the difficulties on the way and then the end and then I give it away and it’s lost forever. Oh but there’s always the hope of starting a new project and it starts all over again. I feel excited at the moment I am in the throws of a new project.


  4. Hi Mary,

    I bought some of these kits as well and it is nice to see how nice they look when finished.

    A couple of questions – could you take a phote of the piece next to something just to give us the context of size? Also, is there a reason that you stitch the background first and then the small elements in the background after? For some reason, I would do it the opposite way…

  5. Mary,
    I feel the same way when coming to the end of a good book! Sad that’s it’s over! My husband or I will remark to the other, “Well, I finished my book.” To which the others says, “I’m sorry, did you really enjoy it?” 🙂

    About this piece: I am wondering why the left side of the project isn’t a straight line. Why doesn’t the black meet the red in a line instead of a jog out to the red?
    Please don’t consider this a critique, maybe it has to be there for the way it’s going to be finished into something?
    Love your site, love your enthusiasm and I always look forward to the daily newsletter!

    1. Hi, all – Thanks for your comments & questions! I’ll try to answer them all:

      Karen – I’m not finished with the sides yet. I have to add three “columns” of stitches down the right side and finish the left side, to balance out the design. I made a counting error in the lower half of the design at the beginning, and to compensate, I’m adding a little wider edge around it. I don’t think it’ll be noticeable when finished. (Well… I hope not….) So we’ll see once those edges are all the way in. YES – about the book similarities – when I first started writing this post, I had a paragraph in there about the similarities between ending an embroidery project and finishing a really good book! But I got a bit long-winded, so I took the paragraph out!

      Marque – Yes, I’ll take some photos next to some common items, so you can see the size in context. As for stitching the elements first then the background, or the background first and then the elements, in the lower half of the piece, I mostly stitched the elements first and then filled in with the background. When I got to the top of the piece, where I am now, I found that it was easier to count the background and stitch it in, rather than count the “void” between elements. Now, as I fill in the different elements, I don’t really have to count anything – the spaces are there, and I just have to fill them in, so it’s a lot easier and quicker for me.

      Anita – Yep, that’s exactly how I feel…. I’m keeping this piece for myself, so I’ll eventually have it hanging on my wall! I was actually going to try to graph the various levels of excitement / interest when I work a needlework project, to illustrate what I mean by the “blues”… I may still do that later on!

      Elza – Yes, I always have certain memories associated with various projects. When I see them again, they might remind me of the season of the year, or maybe a place I went, or what-have-you. Funny how we make connections and how the memory works, isn’t it?

      Pauline – starting and stopping threads: I run them under the stitches on the back, for the most part, unless I’m working in a larger blank area, at which point, to start a thread, I use a waste knot and stitch over the resulting thread on the back as I go, and then to end, I run the thread under the stitches on the back.

      Jayashree – yes, that’s what I like about this piece, is the detail, even though it is very small (relatively speaking). I received some photos from a reader that shows the same design worked on cross stitch fabric, and I’m hoping to get permission to post those, because I think it’s a neat comparison!

      Thanks again, everyone! Ok – back to work!


  6. The finished piece is gorgeous and has so much details for a miniature. I admire your skill and patience.

  7. I never had these blues with embroidery, but I had them very very badly with one of my paintings, like sick-bad. After many years and many projects I am not sure I am over it yet! 🙁 Happy stitching!

  8. Well done! I don’t think I’m experienced enough or took on big enough projects for the End of Project Blues 🙂
    Would you be kind enough to show the back of the work as well? Because it looks so beautiful, and intricate – I can’t imagine all the tying off you must have been doing.
    My pointy hat off to you for keeping to the slog and getting this done. It’s about time you had a project for yourself ^_^
    Thank you for your website!

  9. G’day Mary,
    The Anti-climax syndrome can be a big problem if you’re unaware it may happen and that it’s normal.
    Artists suffer from it after the build up to an exhibition, even if it’s a sellout.
    If you’re aware that it may happen, accept it as normal and plan for the uptake you are far more likely to cope heaps better. Also, you don’t have the worrying thoughts on top of it that you’re going off the deep end, like, ‘what the heck is wrong with me, I should be on top of the world but I just feel like I’ve lost a good friend’.

    This probably makes it sound worse than it mostly is but I don’t like the thought of anyone feeling more ‘off’ than they need to be just for the sake of a little chat with experience.

    Good on you Mary. It’s marvelous and does you proud. Cheers, Kath

  10. Actually, because I’m so ADD about projects and always have too many going at once, all I feel when one is actually finished is joy and relief. There are always enough other incomplete projects to work on and prevent me from feeling let down. But I do understand the concept.

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