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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Beginner Embroidery? Well, Yes and No…!


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Speaking of tea and embroidery and continuing with embroidery by others influenced by Needle ‘n Thread (SUI – Stitching Under the Influence?), today we’re going to look at an embroidered tea cozy.

For those who don’t know what a tea cozy is (it’s true – tea cozies are not so common in the US, more pity to us), it’s a cover for a tea pot that helps keep the tea pot warm.

Asia wanted to make a tea cozy and she wanted to make it super special, so she decided to embroider it.

Hand Embroidered Tea Cozy

She searched online for hand embroidery patterns, and happened upon Needle ‘n Thread, where she found this tulips & carnations embroidery pattern.

She read up and watched the how-to videos here on the website and set about making her tea cozy.

But see, this is the thing. This is the Amazing Thing.

This is Asia’s First Embroidery Project.

Hand Embroidered Tea Cozy



Embroidery Project.


For threads, she used what she had on hand – stranded cotton handed down from her mum.

Looking back on the project two years later, Asia says, if she did it again, she would work the tulips in a warmer shade of yellow.

Hand Embroidered Tea Cozy

Isn’t beautiful?? I love the treatment on the “bulb” at the base, the shading on the red carnations, the fillings – the whole thing! Lovely stitching!

After finding the shading a little challenging, Asia decided to dive into needle painting, so she could get better at long & short stitch shading. To that end, she subscribed to Inspirations Magazine and set about working this Trish Burr project from one of the issues:

Trish Burr Needle Painting

This is what I call jumping in with both feet.

Occasionally, I use the term “determined beginner” when we chat about embroidery difficulty levels here on Needle ‘n Thread.

Well, now you know what I mean!

For those just joining in, this is a continuation of series of articles that highlights embroidery from the Needle ‘n Thread community, especially needlework influenced by information, tutorials, patterns, and so forth from Needle ‘n Thread. You can find a call for contributions and an explanation of the series here, and you can see previous examples of embroidery-related reader contributions here.


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(31) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    This was such an excellent idea. I absolutely love seeing what other people are creating. It is so inspiring. This is only the second day of sharing but all of these ladies did amazing work.

    Barbara La Belle

  2. Good heavens – first project? That’s some serious natural talent … and of course excellent on-line and magazine tuition! Talking of magazines, I noticed Trish Burr is featured in this month’s ‘Workbox’ so I’ll be out to buy that soon!

  3. Your tea cozy certainly is special, Asia. Your first embroidery! I would be proud to have stitched that now, let alone for my first project and self taught!

  4. Mary I love, love, love, seeing other’s works! Everyone is so talented and inspiring! Asia you obviously took to embroidery like a duck to water. Those are beautiful pieces.

  5. Asia: you do amazing work. I happen to like the yellow on the tea cozy. It adds a wonderful splash of sunshine next to the darker, richer colors of the blossoms. The Trish Burr design you stitched looks so sharp and modern even if she is supposed to be in somewhat older fashioned clothing.

    Keep up the excellent work. And like someone else mentioned, you do have some serious natural talent.

  6. Dear Mary

    Well what can I say Asia these embroidery pieces are beautiful especially for a beginner I wish I had been that artistic. I love the tea cosy it’s so comforting to see that they are still used as opposed to putting teabags in a cup, this reminds of times gone by with my mum and nan drinking tea. I remember this portrait in Inspiration magazine and I thought I would tackle that someday, yours is truly lovely well done. I really like these readers embroidery pieces that you are featuring Mary they are lovely and we have all learnt how to embroider from you, so thank you Mary and well done Asia.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    What a wonderful first embroidery project! ‘Tis very, very nice work, Asia. You are very talented.
    I love the look of needle painting, it is so graceful & elegant; so lifelike.
    Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Corbet & Asia!

    Sarah 🙂

  8. Great job Asia! Very very talented for sure! I love the colors too. That would start my day cheerful for sure. Thanks for sharing these. I agree with others, it is truly inspiring!

  9. Marie,
    A very good example of what you bring us everyday. Asia is really good at embroidery, colors, choice points, incredible. Well i Marie is what I do with you, I took flowers of several books that you recommended us, so I “designed” or rather a redesigned table, I chose some wool everything in colors so I took the colors of Elizabethan Renaissance dying, about the stitches I draw shamelessly in your lessons and I treat flowers as I want, I love it. My embroidery is a square of side 10 inch. I have not finished yet … I embroider with a hoop and yes I still buy needles into multiple packets, and I also find that this is not the best choice, so I carefully read all that girls tell, thanks girls. I put my son embroidery, and all my equipment in a wooden cabinet, I have everything under the eyes and this helps my creativity, envy, touch. And it is a pleasure renewed each day with you Mary.

  10. I can’t believe this project was Asia’s first – she is extremely artistic and skilled and Mary’s tutorials deserve some credit for the success of the undertaking. I also see that there is hope for me, after all! Great job, Asia! And many thanks to you, Mary, for all you do for us “wannabes”!

  11. I know stitchers with many years of experience that do not stitch as well. Beautiful work. It proves that beginners should start with something they like and figure it out as they go. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way they expect they will have learned a lot on the way and will have something beautiful to share when they are done. Keep up the great work, Asia!

  12. “Beginners” can be very fearless, especially when they haven’t been told they “can’t do it”. How wonderfully inspiring, she is a natural.

  13. Thank you very much to all of you for such kind words. And thank you to Mary for the great videos and getting me ‘hooked’.

    Making the tea cozy was fun but it took absolutely AGES! I try to be accurate but it makes me very slow as well.

  14. Congratulations on a wonderful beginning, Asia!
    And Mary, SUI! You are too funny. That said, I bet we’ve all done it.

  15. Question — I use a laying tool that may also be used as an awl. Several of my fellow stitches are using this thimble arrangement with a laying tool as a part of the thimble. What do you use and recommend? Picking up and laying down is not convenient but I am afraid I will let the thimble gadget get in the way while I am stitching. It isn’t very expensive so I am going to get the thimble one and try but you may have either written or considered this monumental question. Thanks.

    1. I use the BLT laying tool, with a handle on it by JRCrafter. I’ve never really gotten used to the thimble ones – I know you need to use them with care at first, until you get used to them (from personal experience).

  16. What wonderful work! Asia, you have great natural talent, certainly, and a great teacher – but also, and most necessary, obviously a great determination to take the time and effort to do your very best and not to sell yourself short. (I’m speaking here from decades of bad habits.)

  17. What wonderful work! She most definitely is a determined beginner.

    It’s so nice to see the work of others. Thank you Mary.

  18. I had this e-mail from kate davies in my e-mail

    and I thought that you would like to see it.

    Your student in stitching cynthia keyes

    scotland tapestry

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