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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Happy New Year!


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Happy New Year!

When the New Year rolls around, I like to take stock of what I managed to accomplish the year before, and examine what I want to accomplish in the new year.

Happy New Year, 2015

This is not a one-day activity. As far as glancing back at the previous year goes, that’s easy enough. But planning for the current year and making fixed, firm, (and often far-fetched) resolutions is a monumental and valiant task, an on-going process, ever evolving, involving, and eventually….


After the hullabaloo of resolution-making and goal-setting that occupies the end of one year and the beginning of another, at some distant point (January 3rd sounds about right), I start to lose focus.

A little while later (say, January 5th), I’ve pretty much lost The List and strayed from The Plan completely.

Still, in my defense – and in the defense of all of us sanguine people who begin every year (and every week, and even every day) with the best of intentions – setting goals helps me accomplish several things that I might not accomplish, if I hadn’t set any goals at all. And sharing those goals with you helps make me a little more accountable.

Needle ‘n Thread in 2014

So, let’s take a glance at what did and didn’t happen in 2014 and chat about plans for 2015.

As far as 2014 goes, I only completed two “real” embroidery projects – the Mission Rose and my impromptu Christmas Ornament.

Considering I finished the Mission Rose in mid-January and the impromptu Christmas ornament in December, doesn’t that make you wonder what happened in between?

Somewhere in the 294 articles added to Needle ‘n Thread in 2014, there’s evidence that I did do something, even if there were no huge finishes.

My 2014 Favorites

Some highlights of my Needle ‘n Thread-related happenings in 2014:

1. Starting and developing the Secret Garden Hummingbirds. It’s not the project I originally envisioned, but I’ve enjoyed the journey. I plan to finish it very early in 2015.

2. Playing with Chicken Scratch embroidery last spring! That was fun, and I hope to revisit the technique a little bit this year, dabbling with some design ideas I didn’t finish last year.

3. Working on monogram designs throughout the year, and organizing, re-drawing, and vectorizing many monogram embroidery patterns. I have further plans for these in 2015, too.

4. Participating in a class on blogging. This might sound weird, considering I’ve been blogging since 2006, but the class really helped me with some technical aspects of blogging and it prompted me to organize and tweak some things on the site.

5. Writing for Threads Magazine and Craftsy.

6. Finishing over half the stitch tutorials (45 out of 63) required to finish my floral sampler alphabet e-book, which is definitely on the menu for 2015.

7. Seeing my penmanship bird embroidery project published in a book.

8. Sharing a beautiful selection of embroidery projects from the Needle ‘n Thread community with you.

9. Reviewing 24 embroidery and needlework-related books for you!

10. (Which is #1 in my book) – connecting with you through Needle ‘n Thread. We do have fun together, don’t we?

2015 Plans for Needle ‘n Thread

This year on Needle ‘n Thread, I can tell you right off the bat two things that will definitely happen, and soon:

1. I’ll finish the hummingbirds.
2. I’ll finish the Hungarian Redwork runner.

Or I’ll eat my hat.

(I always say that. Oddly enough, I don’t have a hat.)

I have several projects planned for Needle ‘n Thread this year. They are smaller projects, more manageable in shorter lengths of time. Some of them involve Finished Things – so, utilitarian and decorative.

Those shorter projects will appeal to stitchers of various levels, from beginner to advanced. Some might appeal to you because they present a challenge; some might appeal to you because they’re accessible and simple.

One thing that I have learned while writing Needle ‘n Thread over the years is that you can’t please everyone. This year, I’ll make a concerted effort to offer a little more variety in projects and scope.

While smaller projects will develop on the site, I have one Major Project that I plan to start and work on throughout the year and update you on now and then. It’s a challenging project for me – a piece of ecclesiastical figure embroidery – so I’ll share my trials, failures, and successes with you while I work through it.

In 2015, I’ll get the floral sampler alphabet out for you. It has been a bit of an ordeal, assembling this particular project into a feasible e-book, but it’s now reached Priority Status.

I have a couple other plans up my sleeve, but they’ve been a little slower to develop and they require some outside help. I’ll share them when they’re less tentative.

Content-wise, I’ll keep bringing you the embroidery stuff you love – including book reviews, tutorials, stitch explorations, newsy bits, and more!

In the background, in order to continue bringing you quality information on hand embroidery, I’ve been taking some classes on technical “stuff.” This year, I plan to continue those self-improvement pursuits – I’m planning on taking a few courses in design and layout, as well as a photography class, which I’m really looking forward to. I might even graduate to a Real Camera! Hopefully, you’ll see the fruits of those classes before the year is over.

Your Suggestions

And, as always, I’m open to your suggestions for topics, techniques, tips, tutorials and tidbits that you’d like to see covered on Needle ‘n Thread. If you have anything in particular in mind, let me know! Feel free to comment below with your suggestions!

Wishing you and yours a peaceful, joyful and successful New Year, with heaps of blessings from above!


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(75) Comments

  1. I’m surprised you have the time to get any embroidery done with all the wonderful posts you do here.

    My best wishes for a happy and embroidery filled New Year.

  2. Thank you, Mary, for your blog. I don’ do as much embroidery as I would like, but I do enjoy checking in with you each day. I love your being able to poke fun at yourself and your honesty. Happy stitching 2015.

  3. A couple of years ago someone sent me a list of New Years resolutions posted by a craftsperson. The last one was the only one I’ve tried so hard to keep, but always fail. Mary, I believe you have the same problem. It is——–CONTROL THE MUSE!!!!!!!!!

  4. Dear Mary

    I can’t believe it’s 2015 already may you have a great New Year. I’m looking forward to the plans you’ve set out on Needle n’ Thread especially the floral alphabet which I can’t wait for the e-book and all the other embroidery things especially your new project. Your courses sound really interesting you must tell us about them and what you learn. I’m looking forward to starting a new project a pillow for my little sister’s 60th Birthday which is in January so I won’t complete for her birthday but thats OK she doesn’t mind, it’s a Trish Blurr flower which she choose so I’m really looking forward to starting it, as I haven’t stitched over the Christmas holidays. Anyway a very Happy and Peaceful New Year to Mary and thank you for all your hard work on Needle n’ Thread.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  5. Mary, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your site, it’s always very interesting and inspirational. I have finished two projects recently and am on a 3rd. My UFO draw is becoming less full! Happy New Year!

  6. Happy New Year Mary! Thanks for the last year full of inspiration and tips. All the best for 2015!

    p.s. I have to ask: is the reason you don’t have a hat because you already ate it? πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Mary,

    You mentioned you took a class on blogging. Can you tell me about it? Was it a local class or something online?


    Barbara La Belle

  8. Thank you SO much for all of your work for us! You would accomplish more “real” embroidery if you didn’t share so much with us, but you are a true blessing to your readers. Keep up your wonderful work! We appreciate you, your skills, and your sharing!!!

  9. Thank you so much for truly inspiring me to read, create and stretch my limits on what I think I can achieve. I recommend your site to eveyone I know who stitches and always look forward to reading the emails.

  10. Very happy wishes to you too Mary. Just wanted to say how very much I enjoy reading your always-interesting posts, even though I don’t always leave a comment. Looking forward to seeing what you write about/create over the next year!

  11. I have never once made a list of resolutions for New Years, so I lose the list and stray a lot quicker than you. πŸ™‚

    I would not worry about your lack of huge finishes, you post many large, complex projects, those can only provide a limited number of fantastic finishes per year. I only did one fabulous finish myself this year. I managed to finish the tree skirt I started over a year ago (122-ish continuous line trees) and I am happy. πŸ™‚ Be proud of the Rose, it is lovely.

    Eat you hat? What’s your favorite sauce for that? (hehe)Plenty of fiber I suppose, and embroiderers like fiber. πŸ™‚

  12. First I want to thank you for all your hard work I love your website you encourage me to do more and you inspire me to do better. If you have some time I would love to see some Stumpwork. I wish you a Happy and healthy New Year….

  13. I am fairly new to your fabulous site but your energy inspires me. I also love your sense of humor. Your work is beautiful. Just a beginner and find your site so helpful. Thank you for all your hard work.

  14. Happy New Year! One of the best things that happened to me last year was finding your blog. Thank you for your excellent work.

    Would you consider an article on how to interest a young child on embroidery? My 8 year old grand girl does have an interest but she bores quickly. I think the project would make a difference. Any advice?

    Thank you. Teresa

  15. Happy New Year, Mary. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. It was fun to discover that your work room gets as messy as mine and that I actually have my needles organized more than you do.
    I love following your projects, whether they get finished or not. Best wishes for 2015.

  16. Mary
    First let me say a HUGE Thank You for all you do on Needle ‘n’ Thread. I LOVE your blog. I don’t often comment but I read faithfully, every post. Your posts are a delight, “eye candy” one might say. Your stitching is such an inspiration and your willingness to share your broad knowledge is commendable. Your blog is such an incredible resource- thank you for always taking the time to share with us and teach us.
    I am very interested in number 4 on your list- where/how does one take a course in blogging? Perhaps you could share a little info on that with us? I certainly would be interested in said class(es) and maybe others would be as well…
    Thanks again.
    Linda, huge Mary Corbet fan…

  17. Happy New Year! I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy Needle n Thread very much! You have inspired my to get back into embroidery! Thank you!!

  18. I’m ecstatic to hear that you’re going to be doing a figure ecclesiastical piece! I’ve been struggling through a cloth to cover the Gospel Book at my church and I’ve finally accepted that I need to start over. I successfully finished the center cross in a gold thread from Kreinik and began work on the first of two angels I created cross-stitch patterns for based on two icons in our church. However, in order to create the detail and accuracy I wanted, I included 1/2 and 1/4 stitches and when I started on the wings I started to fight the fabric I had chosen because the count is too small even when only using one strand of DMC floss. The needle does not want to go through because there are multiple strands going into the same holes. I thought I might be able to take all the stitching on the angel out and start over stitching over two threads on the fabric instead of one, but when I started to rip out stitches, the fabric started to unravel or come apart in some spots. So now I’m saving up to buy another piece of fabric and start over. The cloth is several feet long because it will be used to rest the Gospel Book on and wrap it in. I’m planning on purchasing fabric from Tanja Berlin – the fabric she included in the lovebirds Blackwork kit – it’s glorious! Will your piece be in split stitch? I wish I had the courage to try that.

  19. My goodness I would say you have accomplished a plethora (one of my New Year’s resolutions is to improve my vocabulary) of wonderful projects. All the while maintaining your website, blog, classes, etc etc. Mary, I admire you and your work.


  20. I very much appreciate all you do. First stop every morning with my cuppa. New year sounds so exciting, I always look forward to learning something new or improving a skill I already have. You are so generous to share even your ‘mistakes’, which only helps us to learn. Thank you so much. Suzie in Idaho

  21. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful blog. I have learned so much. I have been inspired. Yours is the first blog I check each day to see what new treasure you have posted. Thank you for your hard work!

  22. Thank you, Mary, for all you do for the students and practitioners of embroidery! I appreciate your willingness to let us into your life. How well I know the phenomenon of losing “the list” by January 5th! But I agree that withou goals, I would flounder hopelessly! Peace, good health, and happiness to you and yours in the New Year!

  23. Hi Mary,
    I just wanted to thank you for all the enjoyment I get from reading your posts and seeing the beautiful work you do! A happy and fulfilling New Year to you and I look forward to learning more and improving my stitching with your help in 2015.

    Pauline (Rutland, UK)

  24. Dear Mary,
    Thank you so much for the best blog I read. It’s the first thing I look for in my inbox each morning. I would NOT feel bad about your completion rate on projects – you do so many other things, especially sharing your expertise, musings and humor. Your site has inspired me to learn to embroider (I’m a cross-stitcher); unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe I’ll make that my Resolution for 2015. My problem is that I want to be as good as you and your followers! Unlikely in the next oh, say ten years, unless I get started soon!
    Thank you for sharing with us! And I’m looking forward to hearing how your classes go. And speaking of classes, the one thing I would love is an on-line class or two. There’s simply no place near where I live for me to take classes in person.

  25. Mary,
    Thank you for such a wonderful source of information and inspiration!
    One characteristic which makes your site so valuable is the USE OF CROSS REFERENCES and INDICES. You do an excellent job of making information accessible and re-accessible. We are happy stitchers!
    May you have a Peace-filled New Year!

    1. I second that special characteristic that makes it so much easier to find information on your blog.

      Also I’ve learned to “see” during your processes with the hummingbirds. Amazing what a difference a small change can make.

      Your photography is excellent, real camera or not. The close-ups are in focus; there’s always a ‘big picture’ so we can see the context; and then you add arrows or whatever is needed to make it very clear what is occurring.

      As a retired college educator I really appreciate how well you present everything, words included. Very well organized and to the point. And of course your sense of humour makes it all fun, even when there are struggles.

      Often I don’t keep following a blog because of disorganization, poor photography and explanations, as well as the quality of the work. I’ve found that yours is in the top two of the many stitching/sewing blogs I follow.

      A pat on the back for you and I’ll be very curious to see what changes you will be making after your course on blogging.

      First to read every morning as well! Certainly better news and more fun than a newspaper….

      Health to you and yours in 2015.

  26. Before I do anything most days, I look for your e-mail. I so enjoy reading it. Some more than others, but no matter what it is, it’s the first thing I enjoy each morning with my coffee.
    Today, I’m especially happy to learn of the soon to be forthcoming Stitch Sampler e-book!
    Reading about that made me realize that stitch-fun and your information about what colors and stitches to use are what I most look forward to.
    I’m afraid I fall painfully short of creative ideas but I can copy most anything I see.
    You, my lady, inspire and encourage me and your talent and generosity sometimes overwhelm me.
    I pray this new year is productive and fruitful for you and many blessings come your way.
    Thank you for all you do!
    Deonia in Florida

  27. Mary, thanks so much for a wonderful blog and website. You are my number one resource for all things embroidery. Quilting is my passion, and when I want to add a little embroidery, I always look at your fabulous tutorials for reminders of how to do things. Thanks for sharing your expertise and your passion! Happy new year!

  28. Here’s my only suggestion for you Mary: Keep doing your blog! Your emails start my day with beauty and often a chuckle. You touch lives of people who don’t even embroider!
    thanks, and a very happy, peaceful 2015 to you.

  29. Just wanted to say you’re one of the best things I found in 2014. Thanks for all your sharing, teaching and gifts.

  30. I will be most interested in your proposed figure embroidery, am helping a priest friend with planning at least two sets of chasubles and stoles for her self, she is short so needs every thing custom and likes St. Elizabeth of Hungary, if she goes with that idea we will need all the help we can get on this from you. Charlie

  31. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you shared in 2014. May 2015 be an exciting and prosperous one for you and yours in the world of needlework and beyond. Blessings. Alice H.

  32. Mary,

    At least you finished two projects. I did a bare minimum of work to finish one.

    I am now sitting here about to enter reminders into my computer calender (which syncs with cell phone) that should have been done a week ago.

    Life is more important than our plans.

    Happy New Year and thank you.

  33. O my goodness, I’m tired just reading about what you’ve done and what you hope to do in 2015! What a wonderful thing you do for all your readers. Thank you!

  34. Hi Mary,
    its a pity someone doesn’t make edible hats. I would be eating them regularly.
    Don’t you think resolutions are shapers of our immediate future no matter what turns and excursions are taken from them? All the best for 2015. Su

  35. Thank you for all the time you put into sharing your craft with us!!!!! I love the “inside” and honest view of your process of creating. Through your words and pictures I find myself excited and inspired to try something new. I’ve added a couple items this year to my projects to complete (most recently, a Lorna Bateman pattern). Although you might not have many completed items to show, I am certain the amount of needlework items beautifying the world that your readers have completed are greater because of you!

  36. Mary wow! What a busy lady, thankyou for sharing so much with us. I love your daily email and all the stuff you do it is a great and valuable contribution to my stitching life. Thankyou.

  37. Happy New Year and happy stitching for 2015! A Carmen Miranda hat is the way to go – all that luscious fruit! I love your blog whatever the topic – I love your humour and learn from your wisdom. I’d like to second the person who expressed appreciation for your indexing – it is great to be able to find earlier relevant posts.

  38. Your blog gives inspiration, instruction, and delight to so many people, including me. Thank you, thank you. If 2015 works out to be about like 2014 on Needle ‘n Thread, we’ll all be very happy.

  39. Dearest Mary,
    You have to be one of the most “on-line” generous souls in this entire universe and for that I say a huge thank you! For me personally I say a sincere thank you for “being there” at the end of my screen every day. You are an inspiration and I enjoy seeing what you have been up to and sharing it with us all. You have certainly made me take up a lot more embroidery but on my Morris quilts – not stand alone pieces!
    Thanks a million and may 2015 be a great year for you.
    Much love, Michele Hill (and I love your written word too….i often have to look up their meaning – love it!!)

  40. I found your blog in 2014, Mary, and can’t wait to see what you bring to us in 2015. I’ve loved to embroider for 40 years but only knew the little that I kbew. You have opened the world of embroidery to me. Thank you from my heart!

    I enjoyed your look back at 2014. I always think it’s good to remind oneself of what was accomplished. There will always be UFOs (for me, at least). Encouragement comes from revisiting the satisfaction of what was completed.

    Happy New Year!

  41. Hi Mary
    Thank you so much for your inspirational blog, you have become the highlight of my morning and if I can’t sleep I have the added advantage of getting it through in the early hours of the morning. Look forward to a happy stitching year and as long as I have fun doing it I’m not going to stress if I don’t get them finished!
    I will try to stick to that resolution because the lose weight one had already gone!

  42. Hi Mary

    I look forward to your daily letters and will continue to do so during 2015, even when we are off cruising our on boat – so long as I can have a telephone signal I can download my emails, and I can be inspired and encouraged by your words and pictures.

    With best wishes for 2015 from sunny Hong Kong (our land base).


  43. Thank you Mary for sharing so much of yourself with us. You are a true inspiration and your generosity is a breath of fresh air to start each day. Your blog is the best I have found. What I like most is that you are always trying to improve yourself and show us ‘mistakes’ along the way! (Very helpful to see the process of a project). The projects you share with us are stunning and each step has been a joy to follow.
    Happy New Year!

  44. Mary
    You have accomplished SO much ..and enthused me to get back to embroidery πŸ™‚ I have 3 grand-daughters to teach, so no excuse. I would also be interested in something simple for them..preferably something they would use. Ideas?
    I am also interested in the blogging lessons that you took. I look after several blogs and definitely need better skills πŸ™‚
    A Very Happy and Fruitful New Year!

  45. thanks so much Mary for a wonderful 2014 of beautiful needlework that was so inspiring ! I know this takes a LOT of work to keep the blog up and your website not to mention all the reviews and projects you undertake. I just wanted you to know it is much appreciated.
    Happy New Year
    chris in san francisco

  46. Dear Mary,
    A very, very Happy New Year to you and yours too! Thank you for your good wishes, including the blessings from above.
    I also make highly optimistic New Year’s resolutions (and start every day, week, and month, thereafter, with the best of intentions). I don’t mind “running out of gas” occasionally and making new starts. I’m also sure it helps me get more done than I otherwise would, and ……… it’s fun. Not withstanding that every hour, day, week, and month just seem to vanish into thin air until……. Oh no not another year gone.
    Wow! From your list, I feel pretty excited about the year to come. Everything you do is just GREAT! I look forward to sharing 2015 with you on Needle n’Thread.

  47. Dear Mary You are not just a national treasure but an international treasure ! The work and effort you put in every day to keep so many of us smiling and inspired and learning is truly amazing. Happy New Year, Thank you and love and best wishes for a GOOD stitching year Chris M

  48. Just keep doing what you are, Mary. Your site is great on so many levels especially your instructing methods to a beginner such as myself. You have a knack for making it easy when some books that I pick up don’t at all! I’m looking forward to your posts in 2015…meanwhile Happy New Year to you!

  49. Happy New Year, Mary!

    Wishing you much happiness in the New Year!

    Thank you for all your hard work – I always look forward your blog posts appearing in my inbox!!

  50. Thank you for all your emails and blogs you are truly the best. So easy to understand I love your video stitch tutorials. For me to see actual stitching I nder stand better than just pictures. But yours are so user friendly for which I thank you you are a great teacher and your embroidery exquisite. I look forward to 2015 to see what you have n store for us. God bless you

  51. With such a busy schedule already marked out I wonder if you could find time to show us just how you embroidered the grasshopper, ladybug and caterpillar on your Breath of Spring panel, please?

    Happy New Year!

  52. Happy 2015 and thank you for the perfect blog.
    You have taught me never to take a single stitch for granted and the improvement in my embroidery is clearly visible.
    I’ve also become proud of my mistakes. No more failures, but delayed victories.
    Glad to join all in the morning cup of embroidery blog.

  53. Thank you very much for your wonderful web site.
    Trying to change oneself is very difficult and New Year resolutions are to be forgotten.
    You can stay the Mary we like, it will be fine.
    May the New Year bring you health, and may you be able to take pleasure in simple daily life events and in the joy of creating something.

  54. Mary…

    What a wonderful idea…to list the projects that are finished PLUS your 2014 favorites! I think I will spend some time today and create similar lists. See…I am always inspired by your blog and I look forward to reading yours and sharing in your life’s journey every day!

    Stitchingly yours,

  55. Happy new year Mary. I do find I tend to start a lot of things and then finish them in a lump too, so its not all bad. At least that is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

  56. I love all the you tube videos of embroidery stitches. Please Make More they are sooooo helpful.
    Love all your work!

  57. Good Morning Mary, I hope you decided to keep the red. Do you think we will be able to finish the secret garden by March and would you mark the new DMC colors for new humming bird as 2015 colors?

    Thank you,


  58. Yea! Can’t wait for the floral alphabet sampler! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this, both for my own projects, as well as the hope chest I will start for my daughter. Thanks for all the wonderful work you share with us!

  59. I am so glad that Beth (blog: busy, happy hands) told me about your site! I’m getting back into hand stitching through Kathy’s “Slow Sunday Stitching” link ups so need all the encouragement and inspiration I can get!

    Your post was brilliant and hilarious and clearly we’ve all been there with all of it. Looking forward to following your progress, process and posts in the coming year! Cheers!

  60. I have given up on making so-called New Year Resolutions – I never manage to keep them.

    I have to say I really admire your dedication to your embroidery, but even more so to your seemingly endless enthusiasm for communicating it all to us. Please don’t stop though, I think there would be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Along with the rest of your readers, I am eagerly awaiting the joys to come in this year.

    Finally I hope that your introduction to 2015 was happy safe and healthy.

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