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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Embroidery Sneak Peek: Fiesta Fob


Amazon Books

Happy Monday!

For those who read Needle ‘n Thread via email, I apologize for the broken links that came in the newsletter on Saturday. If you go to Needlework News Snips here on Needle ‘n Thread, all the links work fine, but on Saturday, I messed something up in the email format and managed to break most of them.

Yes, after 8.5 years of blogging, I’m still making mistakes…

Anyway, in Saturday’s article, I mentioned that I’m writing for Craftsy now and then. Because I would never want another website to come between me and thee, I contracted for only one article once a month, but somehow, I bit off a three-article series for December, due tomorrow.

The series is on adding dimension and texture to hand embroidery. The series focuses on threads, other materials, and a small project. This is the small project:

Fiesta Fob: Hand Embroidery with Texture & Dimension

I’m calling it Fiesta Fob!

I really wanted to embroider a Christmas ornament using all types of threads and fun stitches, because it’s that time of year and all that. But a Christmas ornament is too season-specific. So instead, I took the same idea, reduced it in size significantly, and I’m making a small scissor fob.

Once I finish the fob, I’ll be taking the same principles and applying them to a larger Christmas ornament, which I’ll share with you here on Needle ‘n Thread. This article on 16 stitches to add texture and dimension to your embroidery will come in handy, because those are the types of stitches I’ll be applying to the ornament.

Fiesta Fob: Hand Embroidery with Texture & Dimension

Back to my Fiesta Fob here. It’s pretty simple in concept: it’s a 1.5″ round circle, with stitchy stuff in it.

I started with the backstitch outline in perle cotton, and then I worked the inside, finally finishing with the chip work in the center.

I used cottons, wools, silks, synthetics (the DMC memory thread) and metal threads on the piece. Nothing like cramming a lot into 1.5″…

Fiesta Fob: Hand Embroidery with Texture & Dimension

There’s no real pattern for the piece – just concentric circles. What you actually do with them is up to you, though I’ll specify in the project tutorial exactly what I did on each round.

I just love, love, love the colored metal threads! The smooth purl in there is from Golden Hinde in the UK, and the color is peacock. The check purl is from Access Commodities and the color is turquoise. You can order the colored check purls from shops that carry goods from Access Commodities. I can’t wait to make use of them on a Christmas ornament!

Fiesta Fob: Hand Embroidery with Texture & Dimension

The Most Fun Thing about working a fob or an ornament like this?

Wellllllll…. it has two sides, right? So if you don’t exhaust all your ideas in 1.5″ on one side, you can expand them in the other 1.5″ on the other side!

The other side – above – isn’t quite finished yet. It needs some knots, some beads, and some filling in the center.

I just hope my assembly of the two sides works. I plan to use this Palestrina Stitch edging, with the backstitches as the foundation. We’ll see!

Other than that, the assembly process is pretty much like the fob / ornament process covered in my Lavender Honey & Other Little Things e-book, only I’m just going to stuff this one with fiber fill. The nice thing about the Little Things ebook? The finishing techniques in there can easily be applied to Christmas ornaments.

Giving E-Books as Gifts – a Fun Approach

Did you know you can gift e-books? Especially when they’re PDFs, it’s easy to give a copy as a gift – as long as you do it legally.

This is what I do (to make it good and legal).

When I buy a PDF instructional e-book (or a cookbook or anything like that) to give as a gift, I buy a cute little USB flash drive to put it on. For cookbooks, I might buy a food-related USB stick, like these sushi, fruit, and bakery item flash drives.

Embroidery Scissor Flash Drive

For needlework or sewing related e-books and patterns, I’ve used these embroidery scissors USB flash drives, which come in different colors.

I load the PDFs or e-books onto the flash drive, and give the drive as a gift, with several fun, instructional e-books on it.

Once I’m sure the recipient can access the e-books and has saved them on her own computer, I delete the original file from my computer. As long as you’re not keeping a copy of the PDF, it’s perfectly legal to do this.

You can do it other ways, of course, but I think the flash drives are a super cute idea. They make great stocking stuffers! I’ve used them for cooks and stitchers, for gifting fun e-books. (I always find PDFs are the easiest types to handle this way.)

I have to admit, I adore my little scissors flash drive. It’s not the most advanced technological gadget in the world, but it works, and it’s so darned cute. I have a pink one. It makes me smile every time I use it!

So, a Christmas Ornament?

Yes, I’m making a Christmas ornament – more or less along the same principles as the fob pictured above. The ornament is a little larger, and shaped differently. I’ll walk you through it here on Needle ‘n Thread, in time for you to make an ornament for Christmas, too! More on that subject, soon.

Over to you…

Any questions, comments, suggestions about the fob, the upcoming ornament, my way of gifting e-books, or anything else? Feel free to join the chatter below! Would love to hear from you!


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(17) Comments

  1. Oh, Mary, I DO NOT need another project – and so close to Christmas – BUT – what supplies do I need to get together to do the ornament? I’ll have it all ready to go when you get your instructions ready. Thanks, I think!!!

    1. Hi, Kathleen – I’m just using whatever I grab from my stash. I haven’t worked the whole thing yet – I’ll be working it on linen, and then just stash busting with all kinds of threads, beads, whatever. And that’s how I’d encourage you to do it, too. If you don’t have a stash of threads, pick some colors of perle cottons, regular stranded cotton, and maybe some beads, a pretty button or two or a special bead or two, and perhaps some DMC memory thread. I may throw in a tiny bit of metal thread or metallics. Really, it’s just whatever comes together and looks good, and for me, it’s all coming straight out of my stash.

  2. Dear Mary

    I love your Fiesta Fob and wow 16 stitches on such a small fob wonderful. I never thought of using the Honey and Lavender ebook what a good idea my embroidery juices are flowing. I really love the ornamental USB flash drive a really novel idea and what a great Christmas present and I can’t wait for the instructions on the Christmas ornament, I might try and follow along. I’m just nearing the end of my Christmas 2 place mat covers not the most perfect stitching but I will still use them. Thanks for sharing these novel ideas and with us great review. I must look at your articles on Crafsty.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Hi Mary,
    Your stitching is beautiful. Looking at the first fob you green couched threads, but I don’t see a begining or end, how or what do you do to make it look like a perfect circle of thread(s)? I’m in aha of what you do.

  4. Can’t wait how you use the memory thread, I’m really intrigued, and I’m really annoyed I didn’t buy some when I was a guild recently as I’d have it for this project. Also, those gold work purl colours are divine.

  5. Carmen Miranda would be proud!! Your Fiesta Fob is adorable Mary. The scissor-shaped flash drive is a hoot too. Many thanks for posting on Cyber Monday!

  6. Mary, thanks for the sale. I’ve been planning to get a couple of the e-books and just didn’t get around to it. I got myself a fun Christmas gift. Also looking forward to working the Fob project with you.
    Victoria in VA

  7. Hello Mary,
    I have a problem: I bought the Lavender Honey and other little things – some time ago – and I made the tiny needle book….. But when my iPad was updated to IOS 8 – this and everything else I saved into my ibooks got lost. You can imagine how I am frustrated. A very timid question to you: could l download it again – a second timne – if not, it is ok! Anyway thank you for your answer.

    1. PS I sent it to the email address used to make the original purchase. I notice you’re using a different one here – if you’ve changed your email address, will you let me know?

  8. This idea of a fob is so cute and very nice to make. I started already one. I am delighted to find such wonderful little things on your blog. And it is ideal to use up bits of threads.

  9. Love this little fob. I will begin today. Can I purchase supplies from you or do you recommend a supplier? Where did you get the lovely scissors I love them so cute for a finished presentation.

    1. Hi, Karen – the supplies are just anything in your stash. If you don’t have a stash, some coordinating colors of perle cotton, floss, and maybe a bit of DMC Memory thread can be found at local craft and hobby stores. The scissors are Premax ring-lock scissors. You can find them online at Anita’s Little Stitches here: http://www.anitalittlestitches.com

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