Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (52) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Silk on Suede Embroidered Snowflake Progress


Amazon Books

Despite the orneriness of pseudo-suede when used as a ground fabric for hand embroidery, I did manage to put some stitches in on the Blue Suede Snowflake project, using white (“blanc”) Soie de Paris.

I’m still unsure about this whole thing. But this is what I’ve got for you so far:

Hand Embroidery on Synthetic Suede with Silk

That photo, taken at an angle, represents what I like best about the project so far: I love the color of the suede, which has been difficult to capture in a photo, and I like the sheen of the silk against the dull finish of the suede.

You might have noticed that I haven’t added any silver thread to the piece yet. Well, wouldn’tchya know? I don’t have any white silk to couch the silver thread with, so I’m held up at this point until I get some. As it happens, I’m reconsidering that particular silver thread. It may be too heavy.

Hand Embroidery on Synthetic Suede with Silk

Here you can see the layout of the Whole Flake so far. The stitches I used are pretty simple.

Hand Embroidery on Synthetic Suede with Silk

There’s vertical fly stitch on the large leafy thing on the left, then fanned out straight stitches on the pointy thing on the right, and the circle is Rhodes stitch.

I’m held up a wee bit until I have a proper thread for couching the silver, so I’ll put the snowflake aside and concentrate on the Medallion Project full-force for a while. My fingers will love me again!

Keep an eye out later this week for a give-away (this most delectable book!), and I’ll also update you on the progress of the Medallion Project. There’s other stuff coming up, too… but it wouldn’t be half as much fun if I told you everything in advance, would it?!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(16) Comments

  1. It’s beautiful, I have a question though… What will you do with it when it’s finished? A wall hanging? I ask because I have so many projects that I what to do but don’t know what I’d do with them if I did them.

  2. I think the snowflake is looking good. Is it possible to use 2 strands (re-twist them) of the silver thread if it’s too heavy as is? Although then I think it wouldn’t be quite as lush as it is with 3 strands. I have no clue if it can be separated like floss, since I’ve never used the stuff – yet.

  3. Hello Mary,

    I think it looks beautiful! Delicate. Very pretty. I love the colors and the fabric you used, though I am sorry it is giving your fingers fits. 🙂

    Jen in Oregon

  4. I don’t know what color the blue might really be, but it looks fabulous on my monitor. It appears just a little darker than what I would call “peacock”. I think this is going to look wonderfully elegant.

  5. You have the most beautiful site. A friend told me about you and I have been following ever since. I have also picked up some uncompleted “kit” projects that I had started some time back just to have something to do and now I am using them to help “hone” my skills while I read all of your posts. I can actually see in the projects the “before NeedlenThread” and “after NeedlenThread”. I can really see a difference in my stitches. Thank you sooooo very much for sharing all of your lovely work.

  6. Ooooh, I LIKE this!! You’re using my favorite color of blue, which really would be enough on its own, but you’re also making that GLORIOUS design…!

    YOU don’t have silk to couch with? Why not use the silvery grey/white from the medallion project? Bet it would work….

    You brighten my life every day I come here…thank you!

  7. I take it you want to use spun silk (e.g. Soie d’Algers) rather than filament silk for couching the silver? Otherwise, you could simply use the same Soie d’Paris you’ve been using so far. But I suppose the Soie d’Paris would be more likely to snag on the silver, hmm? It is certainly beautiful so far!

    1. Hi, All –

      Thanks for your comments on The Flake. It’s coming along … slowly but surely, like any embroidery, I guess!

      To answer some questions:

      What’s it going to be? Well, when it’s finished, I’ll neaten the edges and back it with fabric and turn it into a 4″ round, flattish ornament – that is, if it turns out!! If it ends up being really ugly, it’ll go in the “sample” folder, so I can reference it and learn from my mistakes!! 🙂

      The couching silk: I think Pam mentioned the silk on the Medallion project for couching, but that’s a flat silk, and although it is made up of lots of tiny little suga, each bunch makes a fairly “fat” thread, so it won’t do. Mostly, couching threads are highly twisted, firm, strong threads. Josh mentioned using the Soie de Paris, but that, too, would make for a larger couching thread than I like. I prefer to use 100 wt silk, so that the couching stitches are barely visible. It’s a tiny fine thread, and it just melts into the background, so it isn’t seen. On this project, I could probably get away with a fine sewing thread in white, just to get ‘er done. We’ll see. I’ve ordered the white silk, because I was shocked and horrified that I didn’t have a spool on hand! But whether or not I actually wait for it is another question!

      The silver thread: Gail asked about using only two plies of the 3-ply silver. Well, I suppose it could be taken apart, but at that point, I’d have either a regular passing thread-type-thread. To take it apart and twist it back together would be problematic, though, I think. There’s a certain science of “physics” to the twisting of metal threads. To get them to twist together correctly and hold the twist takes the touch of a master. I’m not quite that good! 🙂 I do have a whole range of silver threads, though – from tiny tambour thread to different weights of passing threads – so I’ll play about. I will probably incorporate this three-ply stuff in there somewhere, though. It would do well marking out either a set of the “arms” or the scrolls. I’ll let you know!

      Diana – thank you for your very kind comment! It’s always heartening to hear that Needle ‘n Thread makes a difference to the life of a stitcher! 🙂

      Thanks again, all!


  8. So simple, so stylish..so elegant.

    Thanks for the comment in the comments re weight of couching thread that is best. 🙂

  9. The progress of this piece would make an interesting stop motion video beginning with the gorgeous blue and ending with the silvery white snowflake. It would be like watching a real snowflake form. The piece is lovely without the silver, at least on my screen.

  10. Mary,

    You may want to test using a very light grey as your silver couching thread instead of the stark white. In Japanese Embroidery, they no longer use white as the couching thread. They use either a very light blue/grey, or light grey thread to enhance the shine of the silver and not create any breaks in the colour.


  11. Mary,
    Have you thought about stabilizing the fabric with a sticky backed, water soluble stabilizer. It would keep the suede from being a “pain” to work with and when you are done, it will “wash” out with warm water…

  12. Hi –
    The snowflake is beautiful! What kind of suede are you using? I’ve used ultrasuede as a backing for bead embroidery, but not for “regular” embroidery. I loved it – I need to invest in more. I ordered some suede which was advertised as being “like Ultrasuede” (and less than half the price) but which was not even close. I haven’t tried to embroider on it yet, but it feels much more stiff than I had hoped it would.
    I printed out your snowflake patterns. I can’t wait to make an ornament or two!

    1. Hi, Laura – I’m using a synthetic fabric called sensuede. Unlike ultra suede, the whole surface front and back is “sueded” – there’s no “wrong side” to the fabric. MC

More Comments