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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What’s Your Needlework Wish?



We’re in the last month of 2013, and although I’m probably not the most organized person in the world, I do actually attempt to keep a semblance of order and organization in my life, by way of Planning Ahead.

I find that if I have some kind of plan to follow – some kind of long-term schedule and short-term schedule so I know where I want to go and what I need to do to get there – I’m a much happier person. And this is especially true here on Needle ‘n Thread.

Planning ahead is super-essential, if I want to keep Needle ‘n Thread alive. And I couldn’t do it without you. I would have no interest in keeping Needle ‘n Thread going, if I didn’t have such an interesting and engaging audience.

And that brings me to how you can help me do what I do, better than I’m now doing it.

I have some questions for you, and your answers may very well determine our direction on Needle ‘n Thread in 2014:

What do you need?

What do you want?

What’s your needlework wish?

Embroidery Topics on Needle 'n Thread

Tutorials, Techniques, or Tools? Oh My!

Ok, there’s more to it than that!

If you consider some of the major categories associated with needlework that we discuss here on Needle ‘n Thread, is there a particular category that you really, really love?

Embroidery Topics on Needle 'n Thread

Needlework Tutorials?

Do you like step-by-step tutorials?

If so, are there any tutorials you’d like to see worked out here on the website? Is there any stitch, technique, or method of work that you’d like clarification on? That you’d like to see worked out in pictures, with explanations and guidelines?

Needlework Tools?

Do you want to hear more about needlework tools? Do you like to know what’s out there in the way of tools that can make our embroidering lives easier?

Embroidery Topics on Needle 'n Thread

Do you need help with how to use a particular tool?

Would you like to see tool reviews or comparisons between different tools, to help guide your own purchasing decisions?

By tools, I mean any tool that is used at the embroiderer’s workstation – from hoops and frames to needles to scissors to stands, lighting, magnifiers, and miscellaneous gadgets.

Needlework Accessories?

Are you a lover of needlework accessories? Do you want to see more mention of accessories, how to use them, how to make them, or where to find them?

Embroidery Topics on Needle 'n Thread

By accessories, I mean all the little additional items that make stitching and organization for stitching more pleasurable – and are usually decorative in some way.

Needlework Book Reviews?

Are there any needlework books in particular that you’ve been thinking about purchasing, but aren’t quite decided yet, that you’d like to see reviewed?

Would you like to see more reviews of older books – even out of print books?

What about book comparisons? Would you like to know which books will help you most, in specific needlework tasks?

Needlework Techniques?

What about needlework techniques?

Are you keen to learn a new technique, but don’t know where to start?

Embroidery Topics on Needle 'n Thread

Would you like to see more information on specific techniques, and how to get started in learning them?

What techniques are you most interested in, and what do you want to know about them?

Needlework Video Tutorials?

Do you like needlework video tutorials and would you like to see more of them?

Needlework Topics on Needle 'n Thread

Do you need video tutorials on other needlework-related methods, aside from particular stitches?

What about particular stitches? Do you have any particular stitch that daunts you, that you need to see worked out?

Embroidery Projects?

Do you like watching embroidery projects develop step-by-step?

Needlework Topics on Needle 'n Thread

Is there any type of project that you would like to see develop step-by-step on Needle ‘n Thread in 2014? Usually, in these step-by-step projects, you’ll see tips and techniques explained, because that’s where I notice “teachable tips” that might help you along your own needlework journey.

Hand Embroidery Patterns?

Are there any specific types of hand embroidery patterns you’d like to see?

Hand Embroidery Patterns

Do you pine for specific styles of hand embroidery patterns? Do you want to see patterns that can be adapted to specific types of finished projects? Corner patterns? Individual embroidery designs? Repeatable motifs? Embroidery patterns for simple projects? Complex projects? Embroidery patterns for children’s projects? Monogram patterns? What are your pattern and design wishes?

Embroidery E-Books? Project E-Books?

Do you like embroidery e-books and would you benefit from having more e-books available?

Hand Embroidery E-Books on Needle 'n Thread

Do you want e-books that instruct on a variety of embroidery tips? E-books designed for the beginner? E-books that cover one particular project completely? Or e-books that make a multitude of projects do-able for you?

What’s Your Wish?

In short, I’m asking you to think a little bit about your needlework wish – what do you want to learn? What do you like to read about?

Blog Planner for Needle 'n Thread

By answering below, you’ll help me fill up my blog planner for 2014. I can’t cover everything, but if I have an idea of what you would like to see, you’ll be helping me create content for Needle ‘n Thread that’s relevant to your needlework life, too!

So, take some time, think about it, and help me out a bit! Don’t be shy – think of it as asking Santa for whatever you want!

And when you’ve thought about it a bit, leave a comment below with your ideas, suggestions, and wishes.

And then…we’ll see what 2014 will bring!

Thank you!


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(412) Comments

  1. Hi Mary, I love you blog and all the things you share, keep up the good work! What I would most like to see more of is featuring the work of other thread artists that I might not know, or workshops, or travel opportunities, such as the Lady Anne trip in England that looked so fabulous that I dreamed of going on for just one minute (!), websites, online classes, etc. You are such a clearinghouse of information, and these are things that I have trouble finding for myself. Thank you for your service 🙂 Lauren

  2. I’ve been reading you for less than a year, but have enjoyed nearly every post.

    Your book reviews are especially good — not compared to what else you do, but compared to any other reviews of needlework books.

    I’d be interested in some discussions/tutorials about cut work, including a brief history (I know it’s more than Hardanger, but that’s all I know).

    Ebooks are a problem for me as I don’t own a tablet. I have a kindle but pictures are worthless on a kindle. I have a Chromebook, but unless the ebook is a *.pdf file, it would be hard to read it there. I have a Win7 machine with a decent screen, but reading on that is a bit unwieldy. I like the idea of ebooks, but not all subject matters lend themselves to that media. Something downloadable to print, maybe, but taking a file to a color printer can be expensive. Just thinking aloud with a gentle reminder that not everyone has the latest techno toyz …

    I’d like to learn more about fabric and about needles.

  3. Mary – you are now doing just what I need. You have a good blend of everthing you mentioned. I am not
    an ornate embroiderer – I love your “fun” ebook which I have purchased and your stitch fun projects.- I guess I would say your videos and step by step tutorials are essential for me – I also love when you review the “new for you” threads – I LOVE ALL KINDS OF THREAD. You are a must for of us embroiderers out here – no matter what level or interest point we are at. Thank you so very much!!

  4. Dear Mary,

    I have found your video tutorials very, very helpful and can’t thank you enough for sharing them with us!
    As a beginner needlepointed who slowly, but surely is moving towards intermediate, I will find all the information about needlepoint tools and comparison very useful too.
    Thank you so much! Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!

    1. I completely agree with Rita : smocking and more goldwork… hmmm, precious goldwork *imagine a Gollum glow in my eyes* My preciousss

  5. I love the variety of your articles. Each day is a surprise! I should really like to see something about ribbon embroidery and shadow work embroidery. Happy festive season,

  6. Mary – Your daily emails are amazing, inspiring and educational. I treasure every one. I especially love the tutorials and the excellent videos that teach us how to do every step. Your mix of subjects gives something for everyone. I love the step-by-step growth of a large project where we can follow the decisions you make along the way. In a nutshell, don’t change a thing. I look forward to each day because of the Needle N Thread in my inbox.
    Now, a new pair of eyes and endless energy for the years to come? I would love to be given that miracle under the tree this Christmas!
    Don’t forget….You’re the BEST!

  7. Dear Mary, my greatest wish is just one word! TIME. I still have so many projects lying in waiting, and sometimes I wonder if I will be able to finish it all. 🙂
    Lots of love,
    Elza Cape Town xxx

    1. Oh Elza – wouldn’t that be fantastic?! Mary, can you please box up and sell us some time? LOL
      Love, Mary in South Australia

  8. I feel like too much of a beginner to ask, and probably the answer is already on your website, but….
    When I see a line design pattern, I just don’t know what to do. I know that I can use what ever stitches I want, but I have trouble diving in and starting. I’d like help in choosing stitches, colors, and types of thread when starting with a simple line drawing.
    I love your blog every morning!! Thank you so much!!

    1. I second this post! I’m new to embroidery too and have learned EVERYTHING from your website – the stitch tutorials and discussion on accessories etc are priceless. I even undertook your gingham pulled thread project … on a smaller scale. it came out beautifully. I’d love to print out many of your line designs but need more guidance on stitches, threads, everything. I also love the e-books.

    2. I just love all the marvelous things you blog. I’m a beginner and really use all the equipment reviews. I also have difficulty with a line drawing and where to begin. You are a lifeline of encouragement and wealth of information that wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely.

    3. I agree. I have practiced stitches and want to dive in in 2014, but getting started is the hardest thing. I’m 57 and haven’t really made anything since high school. I want to make little special gifts for my friends.

  9. I love the needlework video tutorials and find them very, very helpful. I found your site when I was searching Youtube for a lesson on how to embroider a particular stitch. Since discovering your site, I have been a frequent visitor to search for stitch suggestions and instructions. I have purchased two of your e-books and would buy another in a topic of interest, for instance one on Brazilian embroidery. I enjoy watching the development of projects and I occasionally incorporate some of your ideas into my own projects. Thank you for your blog! My needlework wish: MORE TIME.

  10. I am a beginner and would like advice on which stitches to use for a specific project – my husband’s coat of arms. I can send you a picture if that would help

  11. What I really like with your blog is the variety of topics you bring to us. I would like some technical information on which needle to use with which thread. Thank you for your blog. Merry Christmas.

  12. My wish….Counted cross stitch…canvas work…embroidery stitches…black work….reviews of books that are still available to purchase…how needlework was used in history…reviews of accessories….application of finished work in garments that we wear today…finishing techniques…care of needlework after the project is finished…

    1. I second that, finishing ideas and blocking as this can be expensive through a shop. Especially self finishing items and how to make them look more professional.

  13. I am having trouble couching fine gauge check purl. My couching thread pinches and deforms the thread but if I couch loosely, it does not lay correctly. I love you excellent photography and tutorials. I also am interestind in seeing you use whipped plate correctly

  14. Mary, I love your blog just the way it is. The book reviews are invaluable, reviews of both old and new books would be of interest. I find your comparisons of fabrics and threads really useful. I always read the explanations of different techniques, it leads me to try something new. Suggestions of suppliers where we can buy the hard to source items is useful too. I am about to start tambourwork embroidery (your fault!) so more on this please. I suppose I’m just saying “don’t change it too much” and “thank you for all your hard work – it really is appreciated”

  15. Mary,
    It’s a joy to have a bit of embroidery each day even if I don’t have time to stitch. So I enjoy everything you write and photograph so beautifully.

    The two areas that are the most valuable to me personally are the projects you are stitching and the book reviews. It is both fascinating and instructive to follow each embroidery’s journey and all the decisions that must be made about what thread, which stitch and determining when unstitching is appropriate.

    I live in a rural area so do not have access to a bookstore that offers embroidery books. You have called my attention to books I would otherwise never known about. Plus your very balanced reviews have given me the information needed to determine whether the book met my needs.

    Thanks for your wonderful newsletter/blog.

  16. I enjoy the wide variety of techniques you feature as well as the valuable information about threads and stitches. I would like to see more on the actual finishing of the work in final presentation form (framing, mounting, etc.) I have a website with references and bibliographies for fiber artists and am always appreciative to you for your books and book reviews.

  17. I enjoy following your projects. Keep adding historical notes, and universally beautiful things like monograms as you’ve been doing. The “fun” stuff is okay for some, I prefer the very disciplined needlearts. Thanks, Mary.

    1. I, too, love your historical notes. Thank you so much, Mary, for all the research that you do and share with us.

  18. Mary, You provide such a wonderful service. Thank you. My 2014 goals are to follow your long and short videos and learn needle painting. Also, I want to start working some crewel and some lessons set up the way the long and short lessons were done would be great.

    Most of all, just keep on doing what you are doing, it works for me!

  19. I can’t think of anything new. You have covered many of the the things I’m interested in and supplied information on books new and old. What I need is practice. Oh, maybe you can do a refresher on threads and fabric. What goes with what, how do we choose? I belong to an embroidery group but they assume that we know how to do everything including what supplies to use. Thanks, and Happy Christmas

  20. Mary, I love your blog and look forward to what interesting thing you will have on it each day! I enjoy all that you include and think that it is really a nice blend of topics. The only thing I would like to see would be more ideas for how to use some of the beautiful things you make. My mind only goes toward framing a project and hanging it on the wall. My walls are already VERY full! I just keep thinking about all the hours that go into making something and then having it donated to the Goodwill when the embroiderer is gone. 🙁

    1. Hi Mary,

      I second Carrie G’s suggestion. I absolutely love your blog and read it nearly every day. Innovative ways of finishing our works of art would be much appreciated.

      Thank-you for sharing your expertise with us!!

      Merry Christmas!

  21. I love your blog – I’ve read others, but only yours really lays out HOW to do quality needlework and shows how you get from start to finish. That’s really valuable to me.
    I would like to move from kits to non-kitted work, but whenever I try that, I find that the design process is really time-consuming, and then when you add colors, I spend so much time trying to choose pleasing colors that I wish I hasn’t started. I just bought Trish Burr’s book on color and think that may help, but if you wanted to talk about choosing colors someday, that would be great. I also like when you mention the materials you use – floche, linens, etc.

    1. I also like when you talk about the threads. I would be interested in more discussion about when to use specific types of threads — when to use floche, when to use linen, when to use a silk/wool blend, etc. BTW, I have been wanted to learn tambour work for several years, so I loved seeing that. Thanks for all your work.

  22. I appreciate the current variety. Seldom do I not read the entire article. It is my guilty pleasure because while I learn, I realize I could never reach your mastery. I can, however, with your tutorials, elevate my skills. If your work looks this lovely in two dimensions it certainly must be exquisite when seen in person.

  23. I look forward to every newsletter. I am particularly interested in crazy quilts and embellishing wool appliqué with embroidery. I find your video tutorials to be better than any of the stitchery books on my shelf. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, skills, and personal opinions.

    1. Oh, definitely YES on this one! I love detailed tiny embroideries and would love to try each of the stitches you used.

  24. My needlework wish(es) are for you to finish your instruction book using those fabulous alphabet letters you have been teasing us with 🙂
    I’m primarily a canvaswork stitcher but play with many other techniques and I enjoy everything you write.
    Thanks for a great year of resources! Merry Christmas and happy stitching in 2014!

  25. Hi Mary, I would like to see some more crewel patterns particularly for cotton as I am allergic to wool but I can’t do without your wonderful videos that have taught me everything I know so far. I am also interested in new techniques and I rely on your recommendation for any tools that I may need. I also like your step by step projects. But ultimately, what I need most is what you having been generous enough to date to share. Without your blog I would have struggled to learn embroidery and therefore would not be enjoying it as much as I am now. Thank you so much.

  26. Hi Mary, I enjoy watching you do all of the steps needed to complete a project from beginning to end. I also like to see what new tools are on the market. Thank you for your most inspirational posts. I really appreciate them. Have a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
    Happy stitching,

  27. I just love the balance you have between projects, stitches, how-to’s, tools, all of it!
    I wouldn’t change anything!!! Pat in SNJ

  28. Every morning I look forward to checking in with you to see what new tidbit of information you have for your readers, and I am never disappointed. I love your video tutorials, and use them regularly. I also love your stitch projects, such as the Mission Rose, for it is in pieces such as that that one learns how to better master the craft of embroidery. Well, I need to say that I really love it all. After your review this summer of the Premax curved-tip scissors, I mentioned to my children that the Premax was something I wanted to try out, and, for my birthday I received this very welcomed little package in the mail, and to date, they are my very favorite pair of scissors to use. I enjoy the unusual techniques in embroidery you offer as well, such as sheisa. Keep it up – maybe a few pulled thread tutorials would be nice, and also how to best plan out the direction to take in a blackwork piece.

  29. Dearest Mary–I love your blog. I look forward to reading it everyday. I go back and review your video tutorials all the time, they are such great help. I love thread, you love thread, please keep reviewing. I have bought a few of the books that you have reviewed, thank you. Introducing new techniques is always good, I particularly liked the tambour work. Okay I guess what I’m saying , your blog is just the perfect mix. Thank you for writing and sharing every day.

  30. Mary, I love your blog because you do a variety of topics. My favorite is when you detail a special project from beginning to end – including the missteps and changes of direction. I like your explanations of why you use which materials – what type of thread, etc. That helps when I try to tackle a project. I am particularly interested in ecclesiastical projects, but I most enjoy watching the progress on each project. If you could review other websites that cover topics close to yours, it would help me in knowing where to turn for additional information (though I can’t imagine anyone having the wealth of information you provide). Finally, I love the stitch library and your excellent tutorials. Keep up the good work for 2014!! I will be there reading!

  31. Dear Mary

    Everyday I get your newsletter, in my inbox. I look forward to it, not only have you shown me ways to improve my embroidery, making some designs easier with a different way to stitch an old shape, it looks more proffesional when I try a new method. You push the boundaries of our interests, goldwork, I bought the one book you reviewed. Inspiration comes in abundance. I would love to learn how to make lace, with the bobbins, just an idea. This year was the first time I used silk thread for applique, have never used it before. I smock, quilt, embroider, applique, candlewick, cross-stitch, when the life allow for it. I find it relaxing and relieve stress. Still have to progress to stitching with silk floss, that will be another new experience for my bucket list. Maybe some Brazillian embroidery? Love the tambour work, it is something I will be trying next year, chain stitch is one of my go to stitches.

    Merry Christmas.

  32. Dear Mary,

    Please don’t change a thing. I look forward to your wonderful information every morning. I learn; I wonder; I appreciate; I dream.

    I can’t begin to tell you how I am inspired by what you show us. The tutorials, the book reviews, the clear photos, the new tools…..the list his endless.

    Thank you so very much.

  33. My wish would be to stop procrastinating and finish all the UFOs that have accumulated over many decades!

    I want everything – all the gadgets – and have many – and kits and charts and hundreds of skeins of floss and perle coton – and even have 2 UFOs on frames – and one that only needs one more set of initials.

    Of course, there is also a lot of yarn and needles and crochet hooks and UFOs in each category.

    I love seeing all your accomplishments, Mary, and want to learn, in spite of knowing the chances of my finishing anything more.

    My husband gave me a wonderful mantra and it helps to know: You don’t have to finish, but you can never quit.

    1. Oh, that is lovely! Thanks to your husband and you!Yes, we outgrow old fiber dreams. The kids go to Goodwill and love the old stuff!

  34. I so happy, when I found you and your instructions online, I very interesting to try this technique, wich tambor hook, in 2014 I promise to try.
    Thanks the e-mail and instruction, and I hop