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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Mission Rose – All Thumbs!


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Last time we visited the Mission Rose project, the satin stitched leaves were nearing completion. They’re finished now, and the rose is underway.

(Barely underway, I should say.)

As I was stitching the other day, I had a little accident that brought me to a momentary halt on the rose. I thought it was a good lesson to learn, so I’m going to share it with you. Though it may make me look slightly idiotic, I’m willing to risk that if it will save you from doing the same thing!

Mission Rose Silk and Gold embroidery

The point of concern is this leaf, where the arrow is pointing. It’s not the most attractive leaf in the world, anyway, so perhaps the incident was fortuitous. I should have taken it out and re-done it earlier, but now I’m glad I didn’t.

Mission Rose Silk and Gold embroidery

See how the threads are all pulled out of whack? The stitches are not smooth, and that center thread is practically jumping out of the leaf.

It happened like this: I was cutting a waste knot. I was holding the scissors so that the handles were directly over that leaf, and when I snipped the waste knot, the scissors were so close to the fabric that I rubbed across the leaf with my thumb. And it so happens that my thumb nail snagged the silk.

My finger nails are going through a traumatic stage right now.

So, they were a little rough when I sat down to stitch, and I really, really, really should have thought to file them.

But I didn’t.

The moral of the story: Especially when working with silk, but really, whenever you’re going to stitch, give your nails a thought and perhaps a little attention. A quick smooth-up with a file may save the life of a stitch! It’s a good idea to keep a fingernail file in your workbox, too, because you never know when you’ll need one.

Mission Rose Silk and Gold embroidery

So this was my stopping point. I’ll give that leaf a little loving attention, and then move forward again.

I’m outlining the rose in split stitch right now, in the dark red (4624) Soie de Paris (the colors for the Mission Rose are listed here). Next, we’ll contemplate shading, mark out some sections for shading, and start filling up the rose!

If you’d like to read the backstory on the Mission Rose project and follow it along step-by-step as it develops, please visit the Mission Rose Project Index, where you’ll find all the articles relating to this project listed in chronological order.


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(17) Comments

  1. Ouch – I’ve also learnt the hard way about silk (and rayon) and rough fingernails. So you are in good company, Mary. I now have a neat little matchbook-sized pack of tiny emery boards that live in my workbag. In the past, I’ve been known to look for brick walls, concrete blocks or suitable pebbles for an emergency manicure if I’m away from home and emery-less – you get funny looks from passers-by. It’s a lot less embarrassing to make sure that I’ve got one handy in my bag!

    1. Sue,

      I am sure many embroiderers wind up having people look at them as though their brains just fell out and someone needs to call “the white coat wagon”. (snicker) I know I get looks like that all the time. πŸ™‚ Sad really, that crafts like embroidery etc are so foreign to most.

  2. Good Morning, Mary
    I have run into similar snags with a rough spot on my index finger. Not so great when the project is nearly done. This post was a timely reminder for me as I plan to begin this project on the weekend. My silks just arrived in the mail yesterday. Have you given any thought to the gold threads yet? Thank you so much for this great site and for providing the pattern and info so that we can stitch along with you.

    1. I used to chew my nails as a girl, but I managed to quit. Well, sort of, I quit chewing my nails and moved on to pen caps (gum is against the rules in school), so I had to quit chewing those. I chewed gum after graduation to quit that, it took about 5 years to give up “all waking hours” gum chewing. Now I just chew a piece once or twice a week.

  3. I always keep an emery board in my tool box, I have over 40 “tools” in my grab and go box (I do a lot of embroidery in the car) tray. πŸ™‚ I even commented the emery on a post you did a while back about clean hands and taking embroidery on the go. πŸ™‚ YES! I did figure the need for the emery (and alot of my other “tools”) “hitchikers” fashion. :-)Mary, I hope that you got my second response about the colored Pony needles.

  4. GREAT advice to keep a file in the needlebox! I always check my nails before stitching because I too have learned the hard way.

    If anyone else has trouble with ragged cuticles and/or rough patches on fingers, give Lansinoh – or any other brand of 100% lanolin – a try. I started using it at night this past winter and what a difference it makes!

  5. After my mom passed away, as we were clearing things, my sister and I noticed nail files all over the place. Actually, I realized, anywhere she might sit and stitch, there was a nail file nearby. In her sewing things, with each project, in her sewing machine drawer, always a nail file. I’d never thought about why an emery had always been an essential part of my sewing kit. I never remember her mentioning it, it must have come down to me by watching and learning. (Interestingly, my sister had not picked up on it.)

    1. I suspect that is why those gorgeous “old fashioned” stitching kits often had hand beauty items in them in addition to the usual stitching tools. πŸ™‚

  6. Dear Mary

    Whoops! thanks for the reminder I just filed my nails the other day as they were uneven thank goodness, It’s so annoying when that happens and you have to re-stitch. The Mission Rose looks lovely, I love the different stitches and techniques you’ve used as they compliment each other. It’s looking good.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  7. Besides having a file always handy, I give myself weekly manicures with polish, etc to keep my nails and hands smooth. Otherwise my nails are dry, rough and snag on everything as well as split and break. I also apply cuticle oil and hand lotion every night just before I go to bed. Extra vitamin E helps too.

    I’m like an older car, I just need more maintenance!

  8. Mary,
    The Mission Rose project is coming along beautifully. I particularly like the way the small leaves at the top came out.

  9. C’est si joli! Je suis l’Γ©volution de votre broderie comme d’autres suivent un roman-savon :)! J’adoooore!

  10. Hi Mary,
    I love how it’s turning out so far! I’m excited to see the finished product. How do you manage to fix those snags, or would you have to restitch the whole thing all over again?
    I’d like to thank you for sharing the progression of your work and pointing out the good and bad rather than posting just the finished product, it’s so much more enlightening! It also highlights how much more practice I need =P

    Also, I’ve been trying to register to your site for the Ask & Share forum, but it seems I haven’t gotten my account approved yet. Would I have to try to register again?

    1. If you could both email me with your usernames, I can fix that. You may have to re-register. The board was hit was some very heavy and undesirable spam, so I had to do some purging. If you were filtered into spam (unintentionally, of course!), you might have been accidentally purged… I’m working on getting this fixed! -MC

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