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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Felt & Embroidery: A Pocketful of Posies


Amazon Books

Normally, the books reviewed on Needle ‘n Thread are embroidery technique, project, or history books. But let’s deviate a bit! This book is an example of needlework in action.

It’s a children’s book. If you have children in your life – kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, godchildren, friends’ children, any children! – this is a fun book that makes a great gift!

A couple years ago, I reviewed Salley Mavor’s book, Felt Wee Folk, which is a project book that demonstrates how to combine felt and embroidery and dimensional objects and characters into little pictures or story boards. It is a wonderfully instructive book, and if you like working with felt, embroidery, and sculpted figures, chances are, you’ll love this book!

But today, I want to show you Salley Mavor’s creations at work, in her book Pocketful of Posies. It is, simply put, an enchanting book.

Salley Mavor Pocketful of Posies

Salley Mavor’s felt scenes are such fun illustrations for children’s books!

Pocketful of Posies is a collection of familiar (and some not-so-familiar) nursery rhymes, all of which are cleverly illustrated by scenes in felt, embroidery, fabric relief, and sculptured figures.

Salley Mavor Pocketful of Posies

Open the book, and the endpapers already delight! The endpapers are covered with little animals, leaves, butterflies, cabins and flowers – cute little single elements, all fitting together nicely, and all worked in multiple colors of chain stitched lines.

Salley Mavor Pocketful of Posies

Once you get into the book, you’ll see little sculpted figures of children and animals, little houses and cabins and towns, plenty of trees and foliage and sunshine!

Salley Mavor Pocketful of Posies

Besides felt, the author uses found objects, wooden pieces and the like to further create her charming little worlds. The fence upon which Humpty Dumpty is perched is a masterpiece of painted felt stones, each bordered with buttonhole stitch, with a little wooden gate that completes Humpty’s wall.

Salley Mavor Pocketful of Posies

The scenes serve multiple nursery rhymes. At the base of Humpty’s wall, Peter Piper picks his peck of pickled peppers. In this case, they are tiny felt peppers in a tiny woven basket.

Salley Mavor Pocketful of Posies

The scenes are sunshiny and happy – purely delightful!

And while I find the book endearing because of its textile foundations, you can rest assured that the munchkins in your life – especially those acclimated to books – will gobble the book up. My nieces did – they were drawn right into it! And you know how it is – it wasn’t just once. It was… you know. Ten Times in a Row. With a million why’s and how’s along the way.

Why is she in a pumpkin?
Because that’s where she lives.
Is it sticky?
Did he catch a fish?
Is that a hat?
Can I have it?
Why is he too big for his house?
His house is far away.
Does he do ballet?
No. Humpty Dumpty is an egg. He doesn’t do ballet.
Why is he an egg?


You can follow Salley Mavor’s adventures on her blog, Wee Felt Studio. You’ll find there an announcement on the traveling exhibit of Pocketful of Posies. If the exhibit is showing up in your area, you might want to go see these idyllic little scenes in person.

You might also enjoy watching her progress on Rabbitat, which begins with a film, and then includes a listing of related blog articles that show the development of the piece. Fascinating stuff!

Fun, fun book for kids – I highly recommend it for that next birthday present! And you’ll enjoy looking at it just as much!

Where to Find It

You can find Pocketful of Posies through the following book affiliates:

In the US, it’s available here through Amazon.

Worldwide with free shipping, you’ll find it here through Book Depository.


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(17) Comments

  1. It sounds like fun and looks like it =)
    Makes me feel a bit inspired to conceive some “big” craft project of a life-time… with different dimensional and original techniques :0}

    Thanks for sharing and for the laugh, Mary

  2. Hi mary,

    lovely article, thank you for it and thanks for the link, it was a lovely site, really inspirational, many thanks to you for sharing it, but a little sad that i’m not in u.s. to see the exibition. Take care

  3. G’day Mary, goodness, I’ll never get to bed. 2.40 a.m. now! I stayed up to register for the strawberries class and had the wrong night. At least I’ve got tomorrow night still coming. Last time I mixed up the day too but was a day too late. : ( I’ve been confusing myself with the morning after not being the night before, or visa versa or whatever.
    And after going into the ‘Wee Folk’ site, which bundled me up all cosy fuzzy and sent me exploring burrows and peering into trees and behind bushes and…and…, I’m now too animated (pun intended!) to sleep.
    All these wonderful blogs to follow, but doubt I’ll ever be blogged out. Or is that blogged in?
    Loved the exchange with your nieces. Cheers, Kath.

  4. Oh how sweet this is. I love all the little folk and all the detail. What a beautiful book. Thank you for showing it.

    1. You do beautiful work, Sally. God ever bless you for spreading so much love and imagination around. Heaven knows we need much of it today-for us adults as much as for our children. Love from India, Natasha

  5. Thanks for showing us Sally Mavor’s latest book. I love her work and have made some of her fairies and other projects from “Felt Wee Folk”. They were so much fun and really get your creativity going.

  6. Dear Mary

    Thanks so much for taking us into the realms of childhood, so many memories of being thrilled with make belief of nursery rhymes. I love these wonderful character creations of nursery rhymes, her website is lovely did you see the Christmas decorations wonderful, beautiful. Thanks Mary for introducing Sally Movor to us I wish she would consider an online course I would definitely be first in line.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  7. I am astounded at the imagination, effort and fun that has gone into these books. Humpty Dumpty brought back sweet memories. Whenever my youngest daughter and I read that nursery rhyme, she always added the foot note….”He was an egg.”! Thanks for the memory and link to Salley.

  8. I have followed Salley Mavor’s blog for a long time and so admire her work.

    You do not have to be a child to love her “wee people”. I love the way she wraps the little wire hands of her characters, the way she gives each one a distinct personality and her use of found objects. I guess her work just makes me remember that feel good feeling of childhood!

  9. I actually had the opportunity to see Salley’s work last year in person, when the travelling exhibit made a pit stop for a couple of months at the university archives I was volunteering for. Let me tell you, it is absolutely stunning! I could not get over the attention to detail and the beautiful colors! Now that I am expecting, I fully plan on adding her book to my child’s library!

  10. I’ve LOVED Sally Mavor’s work for years–even dabbled in it with one of her flower fairy kits and her book years ago. So delightful! Glad you shared her amazing talent with your readers.

  11. This is such an adorable book! I love it! In fact, I will buy it and make a page from it for birthday gifts-! It is SO CUTE!!

  12. Hello Mary,
    I like the changes to Stitchin fingers. You must be busier than ever. Or do you have some elves in your closet.?
    I am not critisising but here is a suggestion. You and I are good stitchers with lots of practice and experience. In teaching Lattice/Trellis, I find that the newbies, the elderly and the less experienced have trouble keeping the lines of lattice in the right place during couching them down. By the time they reach the far side, the lines are bent out of place like an earthquake. What I get them to do is to place the first tie-down stitch at the point where the longest horizontal and vertical line/tie intersect and then tie down all the cross overs on those two lines. This reduces the tendency to displace the lines as they only have the quarter areas to contend with and complete. Just a suggestion that is offered in the hope that it will be helpful to someone out there.
    Continue all the great work you are doing with its wondrous variety and a surprise every day.
    All the best of good wishes,

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