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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All. Most. There.


Amazon Books

Two. More. Leaves.

These two leaves:

Long & Short Stitch Leaves on Secret Garden Project

And the green will be finished.

Long & Short Stitch Leaves on Secret Garden Project

Do you know what that means?

By the end of today – nay, even before the day’s end – we can move on to another color!

Long & Short Stitch Leaves on Secret Garden Project

Flowers! Oh, flowers! Oh, color!

It’s not that I don’t love the green. I do love the green! And I love the abundance of green!

But I’m so close to finishing the green that I can taste it – it’s that delicious feeling of moving onto another stage, another step towards seeing an idea unfold.

Long & Short Stitch Leaves on Secret Garden Project

Two. More. Leaves.

The long & short stitch used as a filling on so many leafy elements takes a lot of time. Over the last four days, I’ve spent right around 16 hours working on the leaves at the top of the design.

If you’re following along on the Secret Garden project, you might start to feel a bit weary of the leaves – but don’t give up! Think of each leaf as an exercise, as a learning experience, as an accomplishment to tick off your list – whatever kind of game it takes to keep you plugging away to finish the leaves.

One thing that you will notice while working on each leaf, for those who haven’t done a lot of long and short stitch shading, is that, with each leaf, the whole long & short stitch filling process becomes easier. By the end of the leaves, you will feel much more comfortable with long & short stitch. It will become second nature; it will be as easy for you as working the backstitch! So don’t give up!

Now, I’m off! My battle cry this morning: Two Leaves Before Lunch!

If you’d like to follow along with the Secret Garden Embroidery Project, you can find all the information pertaining to this project, including resources, materials, and stitching tips, in the Secret Garden Project Index.


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(24) Comments

  1. The leaves look great, Mary. I’ve been doing just one big leaf for the last couple of weeks on my current silk project and I finally finished it yesterday. Joy! Oh the joy! I have two more leaves to go, but they are small ones. So I know how you feel.

  2. I finally broke down and bought the Secret Garden coloring book. Ordered it yesterday morning along with a couple other books that a couple other blogs hooked me on.

    Bloggers…we sure do act as enablers don’t we?

    From the preview pictures on Amazon, I can see I’m definitely going to love the whole book. The hard part will be picking ONE design to start with!

  3. Fabulous. I can’t wait to see how you are planning to do the birds and the flowers. I wish I was as far on with my version – I’ve only manged the bottom and have barely touched the sides or the top. I. Will. Do. Some. Work. On. It. This. Weekend! Although after visiting the amazing Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Bath (UK) – take a look at the website for an “opera of colour” – I’m itching to get my quilt out and do some of that as well!

  4. Mary,
    That is really lovely! I feel inspired to go home and set aside the crochet afghan I’ve been working on and do some crewelwork!

    as to the last two leaves by lunch, you caaaaannn ddddddoooooo eeeeetttt!!! lol


    1. I can’t stomach kale. I worked for 5 years as a teen at a restaurant that covered the ice on the salad bar (one of my duties for 5 years) with fresh kale. Lets just say, what it looks like at the end of the day is nowhere near appetizing unless you like seaweed.

  5. Mary, it’s looking wonderful. I love the shot of the whole piece. I’ve enjoyed watching you stitch the leaves, but I’m very excited about the colour! I’m not stitching along, I wanted to and I’ve got the book, but I have so many works in progress I couldn’t justify another (I will do it one day!). That led me to thinking, how many projects do you have on the go at one time? How do you juggle them? How do you store projects in progress? I’d be interested in an article on this subject.

    1. Welllllll…….that’s a good thought for an article. It sort of smacks of some kind of organizational question, though, which is a touchy subject right now, considering the current state of affairs in my work space!

  6. Don’t hold back, Mary, tell us how you really feel about being almost done with the green, as lovely a color as it may be 🙂

    I too broke down and bought the book. And for anyone wanting other design options – I also got a 4-in-1 Mandala coloring book by Dover. It has quite a few designs in both round and square shapes that seem like they’d be great needlework patterns.

  7. Dear Mary

    Only two leaves left you can do it and I know you will. It looks amazing with the different shades of green and the different shapes and sizes of the leaves with the yellow outline, great. The glimpse of the colour you’ve chosen for the flowers is lovely. It’s all looking so lovely. Thanks for sharing your progress with us and I hope we can see it when you have completed the leaves.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  8. I know the feeling! I love watching the progress of your work and the lessons you share. I don’t do a lot of detailed work like you do, mostly simple pieces to incorporate into quilted items, but I surely love hand embroidery. Thank you!

  9. I learned so much just by reading your comments on working the leaves! The piece looks absolutely stunning – already with that bit of red it is starting to get “definition” – more power to you and the two last leaves!


  10. Oh Mary, Mary who is not contrary
    How your garden is growing,
    In yellow and green the leaves we have seen
    And a hint of colour that’s glowing.

    With needle and frame I am doing the same
    But I have to confess(just to to you),
    I was all greened out,so without hanging about
    I have put some colour in too !!

    I hope I did right and it won’t look a sight
    When compared to what you do next
    So hurry along, get all that green done
    Cos the colour is going to be fun.

  11. GORGEOUS, FANTASTIC, I am so excited for the rest. The green has been nothing but lush and sensual. Absolute perfection. Congratulations at coming up to the major milestone.

  12. This is so vibrant and beautiful! A poet once described my country (Australia) as ‘A nation of trees/ dull green and grey’ – your brilliant greens are so exotic and luscious! It’s been great learning while watching your progress. Now (almost) to the colour – how will you keep the luscious jewel colours without it turning into a riot? I know roughly how inexperienced-me would do it – more watching and learning from the expert coming up.

  13. How beautiful, I know that feeling of finally being able to move onto another colour. But the green is lovely, so striking. Am enjoying following this project a lot.

  14. SO EXCITED! I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since the beginning of the project! In your place I’d probably start with the birds instead of the greens, but by doing greens first it makes working with color all the more pleasurable!

    I have since bought the book and will embroider the peacock after practicing with short and long stitch!

  15. Wow, i’m completely blown away, your work is so beautiful. I followed a link from fb after someone posted in a discussion about the colouring book, which i bought for my mum earlier this year, but your interpretation is amazing. You have such skill and patience. Can’t wait to see the finished artwork. Good luck 🙂

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