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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Reader’s Needlework: A Tribute to Tenacious Stitching!


Amazon Books

Pat Young wrote me a little note as I was nearing the completion of the Cluny miniature embroidery project, and told me about a needlepoint project that she began way back in the early 1990’s and had not finished. She tenaciously decided that she would finish it this year, and set about doing just that, tackling a little bit at a time, much in the manner of my 15-minute stitching philosophy (even if you only stitch 15 minutes here and there, you can make progress on a project).

Well, Pat finished ahead of her set deadline, and she sent a photo of the finished piece. And wow. Talk about tenacious! Here it is, and a little bit about it:

Needlepoint Squares

This design is called NOVA, by Genny Morrow, who is a designer of quilting fabrics. The project is made up of needlepoint (or canvas work) stitches, worked in 12 x 12 thread blocks, with 396 blocks in all, representing 396 fabrics designed by Genny Morrow. No two squares are alike!

Needlepoint Squares

The project is worked on 18 count mono canvas, using DMC stranded cotton.

Needlepoint Squares

Tent stitch, cashmere stitch, mosaic stitch, and scotch stitch (and variations of these) make up the little squares. Pat said it took an average of 45 minutes to stitch a square, give or take, depending on the complexity of the square.

Needlepoint Squares

The colors move from a brilliant dark to a faint light – like a nova (a star that suddenly increases in brightness then slowly returns to its normal intensity).

Congratulations, Pat, on a terrific finish! I think this is a super neat project, and a great way to get in a little stitching with a little variation every day!

If you like the look of the project, even though the book was printed in the early 1990’s, it is still pretty widely available. It’s a charted needlepoint project, and those interested in working it would buy the book in which the charts are found (a spiral bound book of all the charts needed to work the project). It’s not a kit, so you’d have to purchase mono canvas and the required threads separately. Nordic Needle carries the Nova project by Genny Morrow, but you can also find it by googling “nova by Genny Morrow” – there are quite a few places that offer it.

Thanks, Pat!


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(21) Comments

  1. That’s incredible! What wonderful detail. I love it! Congratulations to Pat for sticking with it and finishing it up – great job!

  2. When I first saw the photo I wondered why a quilt was shared on the embroidery site. But it’s a form of sewing too. Then when you said it was all needlepoint, I just about fell off my chair. This is amazing. Shows incredible talent and patience. She deserves a huge congratulations for getting this done. The only other needlepoint I’ve seen that required such diligence and detail was one at the Flavel House in Astoria, OR. It covers a large wall and shows the history of the city at the mouth of the Columbia River. Whew!

  3. I’m almost finished a quilt that looks very similar to this needlework. It’s called a “Postage Stamp” quilt. It’s a very tedious project. So far there are 6,480 – 1″ squares (just shy of a queen-size bedspread). This a gorgeous piece of needlework. I’m so tempted to try it. Well done!

  4. What a fabulous idea! I too started this project back in the 90’s, your post has inspired me to dig it out of the closet and make it my 15-minutes-a-day project.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Like Irene M. when I first saw the picture I really thought it was a miniature quilt….It is very beautiful. Yes, you need to be patient and tenacious. Congratulations .
    France from Qu├ębec

  6. Here’s the website Genny’s kids run to sell her patterns. Sadly she died several years ago.


    First Steps is a simpler version of Nova and the border in Blossoms and Berries uses the same technique. There’s also a small name tag sized version of Nova but it’s not for sale here. I see it on eBay sometimes, though.

  7. Definitely WOW worthy! I bought this chart (which is actually a spiral bound book)several years ago because I thought it was beautiful. Well, I have yet to successfully learn how to set up a counted canvas and now am not sure that I have the fortitude necessary to take on this large project. If anyone is interested in purchasing the book, please contact me at koontz.kathy@gmail.com. Again WOW! to Pat it is truly a beautiful piece of artistry.

  8. Dear Pat

    This absoloutely delightful and amazing, such detail imagine 45 mins for each square and all the different stitches, how is that for dedication but worth it, it’s so beautiful. Thanks for sharing that with us to encourage us beginners as to what we can aim to achieve.


  9. I actually thought from the first picture that it was fabric and my jaw quite literally dropped when I realized it was stitched. I can only echo the wows that have already been said!!

  10. Like other people here I too have started this project, I have it more than half finished. I too got it out again when you were talking about your Clunie 15 minute project and did a bit of work on it but stopped again. I really, really must get back to it – but then other things come up and *need* doing and then I volunteer to help with projects and there is no *me* stitching time. One day I’ll finish it – after all it’s only been a WIP for 14 years!

  11. This is truly beautiful, and an inspiring work of art! I have great respect for the person who spent so much of their time and effort to create something so wonderful and intricate.

  12. I’m a big fan of the little and often for finishing up ANY outstanding or has-become-tedious project (needlework or otherwise), as anyone whose read my post on getting UFOs back into progress and finished up will know (my name below directly links to the post). You can get so much done and, once you even make a start on it, your conscience is so much lighter!!

    Well done Pat!

  13. Thank you Mary & Congratulations to Pat! A stunning piece. Just the thought of working so many tiny squares gives me the heebie jeebies. Thank you Jane for posting the link to GM’s site so we can all enjoy her creations. A friend recently won a stitcher’s raffle basket that included the GM Village Green kit pictured there & she is thrilled. And an elderly quiltie friend is continuing her work on a postage stamp quilt, 7000 squares & counting. So–I must be in the minority because I prefer to admire geometric work by others but wouldn’t tackle one myself.

  14. Love this Nova. I have a friend who finished it, had it beautifully framed and gave it away! Unfortunately not to me so I began it myself. So much fun. I worked one square in the morning and one square in the evening. Lost it during a divorce but would do it again if a could!

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