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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Redwork Embroidery & a Monogrammed Lid


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If you’ve perused the hand embroidery projects here on Needle ‘n Thread, or even noticed the design and color scheme of the website, you might have noticed that I have a thing for the color red.

So it’s no wonder that, when Lacy Suzette sent me these photos of her recent, gorgeous embroidery project, I was over the moon with excitement. It’s adorable! It’s charming. It’s amazing!

And it’s red!

Redwork Embroidery & Monogrammed Lid on a Beautiful Box

Susan’s project recently won First Place and Judge’s Choice in her EGA chapter’s challenge, “Who Moved my Cheese?”

Susan explained that one day, she had lunch at the West Point Market in Akron, OH, after attending the Stan Hywet Stitchery Showcase. The Showcase is hosted during even-numbered years by the Stan Hywet Needlework Guild, to help raise funds for restoration projects at the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

While at the West Point Market, she saw their lovely cheese boxes – large round wooden boxes with lids, perfect for… well, covering with embroidery, of course!

Redwork Embroidery & Monogrammed Lid on a Beautiful Box

Susan’s EGA guild’s challenge, titled “Who Moved my Cheese?” after the book by the same title, centered around the cheese boxes.

So here you have a cheese box, remade into a box to house treasured embroidery tools and accessories. Brilliant idea, that!

Redwork Embroidery Box & Monogrammed Lid on a Beautiful Box

The exterior fabric on Susan’s embroidered box is an Irish linen striped towel that she found at an antique shop.

The little redwork vignettes embroidered on the linen towel are from Mrs. Archibald Christie’s book, Samplers & Stitches.

Redwork Embroidery & Monogrammed Lid on a Beautiful Box

For the lid, Susan used a 32 count garnet-colored linen from Wichelt, lined with red linen batiste. She used a Sajou alphabet (#484) for the letter and a collection of vintage buttons to decorate it.

You can find Sajou alphabet 484 online here, if you’d like to take a look at it. Susan’s embellishment of the letter is positively inspired!

Redwork Embroidery Box & Monogrammed Lid on a Beautiful Box

Here, you can see Susan’s box next to her friend Sheri’s box, resting on the original cheese boxes at the West Point Market.

Sheri’s box, which was awarded a blue ribbon, is adorned with needlepoint vignettes of her pets, including a fabulous cockatiel perched on a real branch attached to the side. It’s darling, and jam-packed with personality!

So there’s your dose of inspiration for today. Both boxes make me happy through-and-through to look upon them. I hope they do the same to you!

And what have you been working on lately? Feel free to tell us below! I’m always thrilled silly to see your embroidery projects, too – if you’d like to submit photos of your embroidery masterpieces, feel free to drop me a line!


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(27) Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this article about these wonderful cheese boxes. Both of them were entered in Stan Hywet Needleworks Stitchery Showcase last week-end. To see them in person, was amazing. Beautifully stitched.

  2. I would love to have such a treasure sitting beside me to encourage me to sew more!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Susan’s cheese box is just Brilliant ! What an talent , and then you open the lid and there are all those sweet,amazing smalls ! She should be very, very proud.

  4. OH MY GOSH! This is gorgeous! I seem to be a fool for anything red and like you gravitate towards anything, ANYTHING (!) red – so the title alone got my attention. Simply beautiful! Just love it! This is one talented lady and deserves the blue ribbon!
    Barbara in TN

  5. Hi Mary,

    I was looking at the inside photo of Susan’s cheese box at the sewing tools. Can you tell me what the tool is hanging on the side wall? It looks like bone or ivory and is shaped like an upside down nail on a hinge. What is this used for?

    Barbara La Belle

    1. Hi Barbara! It’s a needle case. The carved tube swings within the handle & there’s a tiny cork on the bottom. It’s a treasure that I snagged at one of the booths at EGA national seminar.

  6. Good Morning, Mrs. Corbet! Enter another sucker for red! Surprisingly, it usually doesn’t feature too prominently in my embroidery, but I think it’s mainly because I haven’t started my own designs yet. I also do most embroidery as gifts for friends and family. I think they’re scared of red! LOL

    To call these cheese boxes anything less than extraordinary would be an insult! BRAVO!

    I tries to send you pics of my latest labor of love last night! I hope I did it right????

  7. Dear Mary

    Like you Mary I love red and what a beautiful cheese box made into a needlework box wonderful I would love to have a feel around her box and look at all the needlework goodies inside, the exterior is also beautiful with all the different animals and the S monogram I love and the vintage buttons are lovely. Susan is certainly a talented lady beautiful idea. Thanks Mary for sharing such a delightful piece of embroidery and congratulations Susan you deserve 1st prize.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  8. What a beautiful box! And I love seeing embroidery other than on walls and pillows as well! Although I admire others work in red, I am not a “red” person. Hot pink, fushia , burgundy etc yes, but for myself I find red too intense.

  9. Hi Mary,

    Before anything, thanks for your wonderful website.

    A friend of mine in Washington DC, who is an antique collector, bought some very fine vintage napkins that he would like to monogram. Do you know anybody in the Washington Metropolitan Area that does it? This information would be highly appreciated.


    Salvador Velez

    1. Hi, Salvador – the Williamsburg School of Needlework might be able to help. They aren’t located in DC – they’re in Wiloiamsburg, VA – but they do Whitework and monogramming and so forth, and they can put you in touch with people who do quality work from their home, who have taken and passed their courses. Here’s their website: http://m.wmbgneedlework.com/#!Home|home_page

  10. I’m not really a red person but for some reason love redwork and really have a thing for needlework boxes. This project is so creative and well executed. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  11. Don’t Mrs Christie’s little designs fit perfectly on the workbox! So nice to see them being used in such a simple, apt and effective way. And the whole thing is gorgeous. A worthy prize-winner.

  12. What a wonderful box! There’s not a thing about it I would change or add to. I’d love to see the back side, since I’m sure she did redwork all around it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. Thank you for showing this wonderful work, am a huge fan of red work, covered boxes and beautiful embroidery, thank you also for the letter that pops up in my post every day, lots of work for you, it is much appreciated, kind regards Caroline.

  14. Wow, that is gorgeous! Thanks for posting this, it certainly gets the creative juices flowing.
    I was wondering if there’s any articles anywhere that show how to affix the material to boxes like these? I see these projects and I’m awed.

  15. Beautiful work. The two-tone classic colour combination together with the timeless Sajou alphabet and Mrs Christie’s critters work brilliantly well. An artistic eye could only see the potential in those beige cheese boxes. And yes, I love red too.

  16. Lovely! Beautifully constructed, and I love the way Lacy Suzette has used the buttons as part of the design.

  17. G’day Mary,
    Thanks for sharing this, it’s truly wonderful. Congrats to Susan. The pin cushion is darling, like everything there, is darling.
    Cheers, Kath

    1. Hi, Kath! I agree – everything in the box is just downright darling! What an adventure, not only to make the box, but all the little lovelies inside! Always good to hear from you! ~MC

  18. Mary,

    Red! One can never go wrong with somethings like red, dark chocolate, cute puppies.
    The cheese boxes were wonderful – thank you for showing them to us.
    Do you have an online source for plain, undecorated cheese boxes .


  19. Today I have read through several pins you’ve posted. Watched a video and love how you teach hand embroidery. Thanks, I’m now a fan!

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