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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Hand Embroidery: A Small Step


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Yesterday, I took a small step.

All hand embroidery projects are made up of steps of some sort – some are large, some are small, and this step, though indeed small, was satisfying.

Hand Embroidery Design Transfers for Satin Stitch Projects

I’ve had these embroidery projects stewing for a bit, and now, they are finally underway. The design on the left has been prepared for a while – it’s the same design I used to demonstrate the prick-and-pounce method for transferring embroidery designs onto fabric.

The design on the right needed to be drawn up into a clean pattern (I used Inkscape for that).

After printing out the sizes I wanted for both patterns, I pricked them using this paper piercing tool from Nordic Needle (size fine). Sometimes, I use my tambour needle handle, loaded with an eyeless needle (or tatoo needle), but my tambour needle handle is presently loaded with a tambour needle, so it wouldn’t do the job. Incidentally, to prick paper, you can also use a fine needle with the eye pushed into a cork. Works just as well!

Today, I’m picking out one set of threads from my present stash for the design on the right. And tomorrow, I’m going thread shopping for the design on the left.

Yes. You heard that correctly. I’m going Thread Shopping.

Normally, wouldn’t we all bubble with delight at the mere notion of shopping for embroidery thread?! Truly, though, considering the amount of thread that is currently growing out of my ears around this place, it borders on ludicrous that I have to go thread shopping.

Still, there is something I want to show you. And having just the right threads is a must.

(Any excuse to go thread shopping! Thanks for being my excuse!)

So, that’s a small step.

I like small steps. They make me feel as if I’ve accomplished something!

May your Friday be replete with small steps!


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(14) Comments

  1. I’ve already decided that my Native American name translates to “Plays with Thread”

    I live near the Chippewas and Ho-Chunk. I wonder what the name would be in their languages?

  2. Hurray for small steps! The designs look lovely, and I’m very curious what threads you need! And hey, any excuse to go thread shopping is a good one in my book 😉

  3. Hi Mary,
    I know the feeling. Going shopping for threads or fabric, or anything else to do with needlework is one of the things I really like. I am very curious to see what you concocted for us this time. LOL

  4. I loved learning about the Prick and Pounce method. I was reading the comments and lost the one about purchasing a kit that contained all that I needed, was a seller in the UK. Can the person who wrote about it please tell me again and who the seller was? Thank you in advance. Mary, can you pass this info on to me via my e-mail?
    Thanks a million!
    Georgia Gal

    1. Hi, Jane – actually, I recommend buying the stuff through Tanja Berlin in Canada. You won’t pay as large an exchange rate, and the quantity that she sells is much more than the tiny tubs of pounce powder available in other places. She also sells the pouncer, and the right paper, so you can get everything from her, in one nice kit. You can find it here: http://www.berlinembroidery.com/prickandpounce.htm#set Hope that helps!! ~MC

  5. Do you know how lucky you are to be near anywhere that has thread and fabric? I have to purchase everything on the internet, but, as you know, there is something about seeing, touching, fondling all those beautiful, glorious threads. (Please excuse me while I regain control of my emotions.)
    Is there any such thing as EA (Embroiderer’s Anonymous)?
    Louise B.

    1. Hi, Louise – there’s a small cross stitch shop about 40 miles away from me. It’s got DMC and some over-dyed stranded cottons, but that’s about it. When I needed DMC, it’s the first place I’ll stop, but they’re often out of at least one or two of the colors I’m looking for, so I end up having to run to JoAnn’s or Michael’s or Hobby Lobby to fill in the gaps. But I was always start at the local needlework shop. As for the threads I normally use, there’s no place nearby that sells them. I could drive about 3 hours to KC and find some of them… but normally, I just order online, too! We have to do what we have to do!!!!! I’m not sure if there’s such a place as Embroiderer’s Anonymous, but think about it: there are a lot worse addictions out there, right?! Would you really want to get over this one? I wouldn’t!!! 🙂 Thanks for the chuckle! ~MC

  6. Hi Mary,

    I know what You mean. I have to go shopping, when I prepare the new projects, although I’ve got a lot of threads.
    Cross stitch projects often need some new threads, because I can’t replace chocolate brown with blue, when I embroider a chocolate cake.

    1. Hi, Sylvia – Good point!! Blue chocolate isn’t so appealing….. I went. I bought. It’s not the most exciting purchase I’ve ever made – it’s just stranded cotton! – but I’m excited to get going on the stitching part! 🙂 MC

  7. G’day Mary, Something from the dim and distant past comes to mind “That’s one small step for Mary; one giant leap for others”. Ummm…I think there should be apologies in here somewhere to someone by the name of Armstrong! Just a joke Neil, I was there with you, as close as I could get anyway.
    Mary, you take us to the moon every day. It’s not made of green cheese either, but Needle ‘n Thread! Thanks for this over-the-moon post. You know how to keep us intrigued, informed and included. Good on you! ..6..5..4..3..2..1..Cheers, Kath.

  8. Hi,
    I am a beginner of this work. I saw all your videos and very eager to start with. But can you tell me what kind of cloth you are using in your videos. As I stay in bahrain and also I am an Indian, if you could please tell me the cloth which you use then I can try to purchase it here and start my work.

    Your videos are awsome and also boost the beginners like us to utilise our free time.
    Thanks and lots of love.—Meena

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