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

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Stitch Fun Index


Amazon Books

Stitch Fun is a series of articles featuring step-by-step photo tutorials that explore various hand embroidery stitches and the fun things you can do with them.

Stitch Play Hand Embroidery Stitch Articles

To make all the articles in the Stitch Play series easily accessible, I’ll be listing them in this index, which you will find under “Tips & Techniques” in the main menu here on Needle ‘n Thread.

Stitch Fun Articles

Here are the articles in the series so far:

Stem Stitch Rose
Making Long Woven Picots
Rolled Woven Picots
Large Rolled Woven Picots
Multi-colored Ribbed Wheels
Embroidery with Beads – Index of Tutorials & Articles
Floral Vine with Tiny Buds – buttonhole stitch variation
Alternating Mountmellick Stitch, Laced
Scalloped Beaded Buttonhole Edging – Variation 1
Scalloped Beaded Buttonhole Edging – Variation 2
Shisha with Cretan Stitch
Knotted & Buttonholed Cable Chain Stitch
16 Stitches to Add Texture & Dimension to Hand Embroidery
Double Knotted Herringbone Band
Beaded Drizzle Stitch
Bullion Stem Stitch
Buttonholed Bullion Buttonhole Wheels
Shisha with Beetle Wings
Shisha Stitch – Traditional Buttonhole / Chain Combination
Shisha Embroidery Stitch Variation 1
Shisha Embroidery Stitch Variation 2
Shisha Embroidery Stitch Variation 3 – Very Simple!
Collection of 16 Tutorials for Embroidering Leaves
Rose Leaf Stitch
How to Embroider a Bud with Rose Leaf Stitch
Tiny Buttonhole Stitch Leaves
Cretan Stitch Leaves
Fly Stitch Leaves
Knotted Chain Stitch
Velvet Stitch
Victorian Tufting
Turk’s Head Knot Stitch
Lattice Sampler – Finished (close-ups)
Oyster Stitch Buds
Buttonhole Chain Stitch Waves
Lattice Sampler – Almost Finished!
Lattice Sampler Update – Lots of Color, More Stitches
Scalloped Buttonholed Chain Stitch
Whipped Chain Stitch Rows
Palestrina Stitch as a Decorative Edging
How to Lace Lattice Stitches
Wee Shamrocks – Lattice Stitches for Whitework Fillings
Random Sampler Fillings
Battlement Couching Tutorial
Stitch Fun Lattice Sampler Update
Playing with Braids & Chains
Jacobean Jumble: A Stitch Fun Sampler Pattern
More Lattice Fillings!
Lacing & Whipping Embroidery Stitches
Doodling with Lattice Filling Stitches
Griffin Stitch- a Lattice Filling
Embroider Christmas Greenery, Free-Style (part 1)
Embroider Christmas Greenery: Evergreen Sprigs! (part 2)
Christmas Greenery – Stitching Round Plump Berries! (part 3)
How to Embroider Perfect Stars (or Snowflakes)
More Stars and Variations
Guilloche Stitch
Interlaced Chain Stitch Band
Cast-On Stitch Rose
Simple Cast-On Stitch Layered Flower
Petals & Spokes & How to Space Them
Shisha, No Mirrors
Mirror Your Stitches
Diagonally Striped Raised Band
Daisy Stitch in Two Colors – Method One
Daisy Stitch in Two Colors – Method Two
The Bullion Knot Flower Petal
Whipping Two Rows of Chain Stitch
Chain Stitch Spider Daisy
Combining Chain and Buttonhole Stitch
Beaded Palestrina Stitch
Raised Spider Daisy
Raised Stem Stitch
Casalguidi Stitch
Inside-Out Buttonhole Wheel Flowers
Couching Varieties

Stitch Printables

In addition to these Stitch Fun articles, you can also find Stitch Printables available in the Needle ‘n Thread Shop. The printables cover more intricate aspects of certain stitches and stitch types. Topics that are not normally found in stitch dictionaries – like taking corners neatly, or working curves, varying tension and stitch size with different types of threads – are covered in the Printables. Each Stitch Play Printable is packed with step-by-step photos and diagrams, and hints and tips that will help make these more intricate stitches easy to master. The Printables are delivered in PDF format via a download link in your e-mail, so you can get started with them the same day you purchase them.

Right now, you can find the following Printables available in the online shop:

Interlaced Herringbone
Cast-On Stitch and Double Cast-On Stitch Flowers
Plaited Braid Stitch

Stitch Play Hand Embroidery Stitch Articles

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(48) Comments

  1. Mary, in the couple of years that I’ve been following your blog I have so very much appreciated your demonstrations and explanations of the embroidery stitches and techniques.
    There isn’t a book anywhere that can outdo you!

  2. Dear Mary

    I hope you are well? thanks so much for putting all the stitch play blogs in one place it makes it so much easier to browse through them. I can’t wait for more surprises from you in the stitch play series.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. This index is going to come just at the right time for me! I am just starting to look for some interesting stitches to use with a bunch of perle cottons I just bought. Excellent!

  4. Wow! Thanks for everything you do to keep us informed. I have recommended your website to a couple of “newbies” and they adore you. You are a treasure!

  5. Mary, I agree with another comment..there is no one who beats you when it comes to stitch tutorials! I would absolutely LOVE a DVD with all of your stitch tutorials so I wouldn’t have to run to my computer (no laptop) to see the stitches when I am in the middle of stitching. Is that going to be a possibility?
    Also, your Marian Medallion project is stunning. I am sure Our Lady is so pleased during her month of May!

  6. Congratulations. All these stitches are wonderful. I’m looking forward to embroider my two daughters T-shirts. all of them….

  7. Your web site is great. Even though I don’t do a lot of hand work now, I’ve learned a lot and want to apply the lessons in the future.

    My only suggestion would be for others like me, would be to also put the type of fabric you are stitching on to give a little more perspective. I’m always wondering what fabric you are stitching on.

    Also, some suggestions on what to do with some of this beautiful stitchery would be nice for those of us that aren’t as creative as other.

    Thank you for your fabulous site!

  8. I really love the Guilloche Stitch you showed today and I have a couple of questions.1-How would you take a corner with this stitch as if to frame a sampler and 2-would 18 count aeida (sp) cloth work for making a sampler of all the stitches in this series on stitch play?

    Thanks Mary, I just love your site.

  9. I wish these had thumbnails so I could browse instead of having to click each one. I’ve opened all of them and none of them are what I was after, but I’m not familiar with names of stitches so I can’t just search for what I want by name. Think about a thumbnail view for your stitch guides please!!

  10. Hi Mary,
    Thank You so much for another very good stitch play. The visuals are wonderful, which is how I learn best. The stars and snowflakes are beautiful. Can’t wait to try them out.

  11. Please do post your “Jacobean Jumble” drawing.
    I love your stitch fun and keep them in a special folder, I also like jacobean designs.

  12. I’m interested in doing some of the stitch fun— Just don’t know what to begin with.
    Any suggestions.

    1. Hi, Pat – If you’d like, you can work through the series and just work a random sampler. For example, if you look at this post: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2012/07/on-random-stitch-samplers.html you can see the development of a random stitch sampler, where I was just playing with various embroidery stitches and techniques (for the stitch videos, actually!). Part of the fun is working out different techniques or stitches without an actual plan. This serves a couple useful purposes, even though it seems like totally useless stitching. For one thing, it familiarizes the embroiderer with many stitches, and breaks through the limited-stitch-repertoire. It shows you how stitches can be manipulated, and gives you an idea of how they can be worked into regular surface embroidery projects that might only call for a limited number of stitches, but – with an expanded repertoire – you can make substitutions or add special stitches that are often overlooked in standard embroidery projects. For another thing, it helps the beginner in surface embroidery get comfortable with the whole notion of the stitch, including how to follow stitch directions, how to troubleshoot any difficulties with a particular stitch, and so forth – and this tends to build confidence in stitchery in general (at least, this is what I noticed with my own students). So, I’d just start with fabric and thread and go from there. If you want to work a specific pattern, you can always use the jumble pattern, but a pattern isn’t really essential. Hope that helps! ~MC

  13. Love the red thread on top of the random sampler. I doodle a lot in pencil,and this, oddly enough, is the exact type of style to my doodling. Now I can add color and thread!
    Thanx for the inspiration. I luv your site.

  14. Dear Mary
    I love all technics from your embroidery and I have to learn, all technics wonderful and at the moment I doing a table-cloth Hungary style and to me must some day after I finished and I send photo It is syle not origin. I like to buy your embroidery book but I am very poor retired and I see the nice picture U think my hear be broken
    I doing every miracle in the world but not enough my money
    whit my love Elisabeth from Hungary

  15. I need to learn to do a stitch called “knotted lazy daisy stitch” It is a basic lazy daisy with a long bullion stitch on the end.
    Can you help me

  16. I am a beginnter and i love ytorials and look forward to receiving your emails the rose is so beautiful one day i will be able to do beautiful work like yours i have been cross stitching also learning. hardanger never tried goldwork but you are inspirational so will give it a go. thanks

  17. Gracias por mostrar sus puntadas ya que a mi me sirven porque bordo crewel tambien ,pero me falta aprender mas
    felicitaciones muchas gracias

  18. I appreciate your profound interest in this hobby. Its not an easy task to present tutorials so perfectly. your tutorials are superb and best of all i ever seen
    I wish I can learn at least one project as perfect as yours…

  19. I am so pleased to see the new stitch. Your detailed pictures and written words make it easy to follow along.

    Thank you for doing this for us.

    Eva McCormack

  20. Mary, I love the description “boingy”. Makes me feel like you are one of us. I just wish my embroidery was as good as yours. Mine’s nice but your’s is exceptional. When did you start and do you ever go a day without stitching.

  21. Dear Mary,
    is there a way to work the stem stitch in order to achieve the same effect as magic chain stitch?

    So far, I seem able to do it only by threading two needles instead of one, or by passing the unwanted colour under the fabric. But this creates an untidy “bulge”.

    Many thanks.

  22. I never seem or received a tutorial alike this. Is more easier to do embroidery now, thanks and I love it.

  23. How do you store your beeds?
    Espacealy if you travel or have small work storage.
    Love the idea and going to try it on a piece to a friend.

  24. I want to thank you for this blog. I adore it. I haven’t stitched a thing in 20 yrs and this info you pass on is simply superb. I, thank you. Ruth Olson

  25. Hi Mary, I am just learning embroidery. I have a long term goal.. to make a victorian crazy quilt with family clothing. I also have a 11yr old
    grandaughter who loves crafts with me. I have a difficult time looking at books and then doing the stitch; watching videos is easier for me. I cannot find anything on restarting a buttonhole wheel stitch. I needed to rethread halfway through the wheel. Any suggestions? Thank you for listening. Ann

  26. adorable en las esplicaciones, FELICITACIONES una maravilla, Muchpisimas gracias, Agradezco más tutoriales, Un saludo cariñoso

  27. Hi I know a little bit of embroidery and recently m thinking of pursuing to learn more of it. So while googling I found your amazing website. Thanks for such lovely articles on this topic. I want to buy a book too. Hence I read all the reviews you posted up. I have a question. I want a book which will teach me more complex stitches like the guilloche , lattice stitch and many others you mention in this stitch fun page. Does a book like stitch sampler explain such complex stitches ? Please suggest.

  28. Silk gauze background is certainly different.. and do you use a Dazor magnifier floor lamp? Your articles here and your instructions on stitches are helpful. The present national environment requires the counterbalance of some soothing task and I find that in renewing my interest in embroidery and working little exercises…. as well as quilting.
    Thanks .

    1. Hi, Maxine – I’m not using a magnifier on this. I can see it well without my glasses on, fairly close. It’s about 10″ from my eyeballs!

  29. Hi Mary –

    I bought one of the Hardwicke Manor hoops and I love it. My question is, have you, or, any of your readers ever had a problem with stripping the hoop screw? I’ve had it less than a year, and I replaced the screw once already, but I figure I’ll need to put in a another new one, before I begin my next project.

  30. Just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful information and tutorials. I decided one week ago I would try embroidery. I bought a couple of classes through blueprint and then I found your site which is everything and more than I could have imagined. So again thank you.

  31. I made a shortcut to your Stitch Fun Index on my phone’s home screen. So it’s like a Needle n Thread app and at my fingertips! In my eyes, you are a goddess and definitely my idol these days! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and wisdom!

  32. Mary, have you heard of ‘full knot stitch’. Its mentioned in a magazine i’m reading but I can’t find the stitch anywhere. Kind regards, Anne Clohessy

  33. I love Needle and Thread. You’re doing one of the best things in the needle arts today! You are making it possible for people everywhere to learn, teach, create, and enhance needle arts. I’m so thankful for what you do!

  34. Hi Mary,

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I jus love the way you show us your knowledge, I really appreciate it. I will follow you avidly.

    Thank you again,


  35. now I finally find you!! And what a great resource the stitch fun index is and your blog! Thank you! Thank you! One stop shop for learning new stitches!

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