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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Hungarian Redwork Runner … It’s… It’s….


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…it’s almost finished!

Howdy ho, friends! I’m in a jolly mood this morning, because I get to share with you The Big Milestone in an embroidery project that’s been going on since October of 2012.

In my excitement to share this milestone with you, I betook myself and the Hungarian Redwork Runner outside in the post-dawn blue light of a chilly, early morning, laid out some towels on the driveway, and put the runner down so I could get a bird’s eye photo.

Incidentally, while I was going back and forth to my workroom, that’s the one thing I was a little wary of – the birds. I wasn’t so worried about dirt – the wind was still, there was no Kansas dust swirling about – but, since it was early morning, the birds that weather the winter in Kansas were twittering about, flying overhead. Dirt would be nothing, compared to the damage a bird can do!

But they were kind, those birds, and though probably a little appalled that someone was messing around in their backyard at that hour, they stayed away.

And here you have the redwork runner, with the embroidery finished:

Hungarian Redwork Runner, Embroidery Finished

Ta daaaah!

Although the embroidery is finished (well, a little more on that point below), there’s still a wee bit more work to do.

First, I will rinse it, just to remove any hand oil or whatnot from holding it in hand during the whole embroidery process. Then, while it’s still damp, I’ll damp stretch and block the runner, pinning outside the hem lines (which are the light blue lines basted around the perimeter).

Once that’s finished, I’ll cut the excess fabric from around the perimeter carefully, and fold under the hem, mitering all corners and basting the hem in place.

Then, I’m going to stitch around the outside with a decorative stitch, which I will show you in detail.

So, yes, a bit more to do, but compared to all the embroidery, the rest should go relatively quickly.

I hope.

This is why I didn’t mind sharing my first forays into figure embroidery yesterday. I wouldn’t let myself dabble with a new big project concept, until I reached a significant milestone in an unfinished project. So you can imagine that I’m a pretty happy camper.

Hungarian Redwork Runner, Embroidery Finished

You can click on the photos above for a larger version of each. The color in the photo directly above is a little bright – the morning light really was blue!

When you look at the photo close up, you might notice what I noticed when I was formatting the photos for this article. There are a couple little bars on several of the motifs that aren’t actually stitched. Can you find them?

I almost let my enthusiasm fizzle when I noticed them. But they are just chain stitch, they are very quick to work, and so I gave myself a pep talk and I find I’m still quite happy that the big embroidery is finished. I’ll whip out those bars this weekend and damp stretch the thing. I can’t wait to see it crisp and flat and white and red!

Why the Blank Center in the Embroidery?

I’ve had a few inquiries over the progress of this project, about the blank rectangular center in the middle of the piece.

Well, this is the way I was thinking, when the design for the Hungarian Redwork Runner first came about:

It’s a table runner, and the embroidery is rather dense and heavy, especially where the Hungarian braided chain stitch is worked. If it is placed on a table and a centerpiece on the table is desired, better to have a blank are in the middle, where low bowls or vases could stand securely, than to have them teetering on (and crushing) any embroidery. I planned the piece with the idea of a centerpiece on the table.

When I show it to you, finally finished, we’ll see if the concept worked!

And that, my friends, is my big excitement for the week. Now, if I could only use the same word (finished!) about those little hummingbirds, right? Soon, soon!

I promise I’ll share the finishing details on the runner as they develop.

Feel free to celebrate with me! I’m marking the occasion by setting up yet another project. It’s a “pure indulgence” project, that I’m stitching for the sheer pleasure of it and no ulterior motive. I’ll tell you about it next week.

If you’d like to read about the progress of the Hungarian Redwork Runner and see the original design that it came from, as well as print the pattern for your own use, you’ll find all the articles about this project listed in the Hungarian Redwork Runner Embroidery Project Index.


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(35) Comments

  1. Do you have any trepidation about the red bleeding onto the white cloth? Did you do any prep to test this or prevent it? If it runs … can I have the rest of your red thread? LOL I use bleeding yarn to intentionally dye cloth. I’ll be posting about it later this month on the … and then we set it on fire … blog.

  2. Ooh Mary … well done! How exciting to have got to the finishing stage with this redwork runner. It looks amazing. I had to look really hard to find the missing bars (I used to love spot the difference puzzles when I was little!) However, you’ll sort those out in no time I’m sure. It’s a lovely feeling when you reach a milestone like this and you can start planning your next beautiful project with a clear conscience! 🙂

  3. Stunning! Love it. Hope it graces your table on Valentine’s Day. Fun embroiderer’s game to play, “What wrong this this picture?” It see those spots, but I never would have noticed if you hadn’t mentioned it.

  4. That is beautiful!
    You are setting a good example by getting on and finishing things. I must show the same resolve and finish some of my existing projects before starting something new and exciting.

  5. Three cheers for Mrs. Corbet! I’m so happy for you! The Runner looks lovely, and will look even better when it’s completely finished. I love red-on-white embroidery. (like you, I love Red!) I’ve thought about how nice it would be if I could make one of these for our home. And then I think: No. You don’t have enough time. You would get impatient. You would get bored with the project and let it change from a joyful WIP to a dreaded UFO.
    And the thing is. . .that’s true! I know I would get bored with a project that is that big and only used two embroidery stitches.
    But you persevered! You kept on! For two and a half years! And we are so proud of you!

    Sarah 😀

  6. Dear Mary

    Congratulations Well done you’ve finished and it looks really great. It will look fantastic on your dinning table. I can’t wait to see it displayed in all it’s glory, I bet you are delighted you finished it, it always good to compete a project and I can’t believe you started this in 2012 how time flies. I’m so glad the birds were kind to you this morning they were probably admiring your handiwork. I could only spot one missing bar and knowing you Mary it won’t take you long to complete them. Thanks for sharing your completed runner with us and I hope you take more photos when it’s spread out on your table.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  7. YIPPEEEEE that you have that wonderful feeling for reaching that “It’s finished” milestone! That dreaded “weight on the shoulders” is now lifted! We all know what that feels like! Congrats!

  8. Hooray for you Mary! There is nothing like getting a huge project completed. :>)
    And I love that you are leaving the center empty to have a centerpiece. An overly embroidered piece that you cannot put something in the center is a frequent source of grumbling for me. I have many antique crocheted pieces that I would love to be able to put a vase on, but the work in the middle is actually raised stitches that are impossible to set something on.
    But when looking at the piece as a whole, I think it could use a small ‘tweak’. I think I would soften the sharp corners of the blank space by working one of the smaller outer edge motifs in each inside corner, with the ‘top’ of each motif pointing to the center. Food for thought?

    1. You might want to place some sort of a pad – perhaps a set of the felt pads used for chair legs – at locations on a vase or bowl that would correspond with flat locations in the crochet. That could facilitate a centerpiece on your crocheted table runners.

  9. Are there 6 motifs with bars missing on the right? Took a bit to spot them. Beautiful work. I love it. So many WIP so little time.

  10. Can I feel your joy!, and the work is stunning. Had to review the Hungarian Braided Chain, as I am working on a year so far project, of Shakespearian related quilt blocks and it will be a nice addition. Finished block 10 or 12 last night and feel like I can celebrate.

  11. HUGE accolades, Mary, for a job Well Done! And the perserverance: Oh my!!! I, too, look forward to it being all cleaned, pressed, and FINISHED!!

  12. You must be so excited and happy to have this nearing completion! Totally agree with your decision to leave the middle blank too. You definitely don’t want to cover the beautiful embroidery with anything.

  13. Hi Mary,
    YEAH for you !!! What a great way to start the year. I am very happy for you. That’s one UFO out off the shelf. Have a wonderful week.

  14. Dear Mary,
    A huge congratulations! A little bit at a time is better than none and gets the job done. The cloth looks beautiful.
    As usual, I look forward to what you will do next.

  15. G’day Mary,
    Yep, once it’s mentioned I see the little bars missing here and there, but what the heck, just mark them in with a texta! : ))
    Not an anti climax, just an old friend reluctant to close the door on you and your Needle ‘n Thread.
    Congratulations Mary. It’s wonderful.
    Cheers, Kath.

  16. You have me hooked. I am in process of ordering fabric and threads for your runner. How many skeins of cotton a border will I need?

    I must tell you that I especially appreciated your writing on organization!!! It helped me know that it is the way of artists to work in a space of focus that will inevitably create a certain amount of chaos!

    Your generosity of sharing your great depth of experience and knowledge is a priceless gift to countless needlewomen!

    Do you be a chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America?

    Thank you for being you!

    1. Hi, Elaine – I used about 6 skeins of coton a broder. I’d order 7 to be sure. I don’t belong to a particular chapter of the EGA, I’m afraid. Too far away from anywhere! I’m a Member at Large….

      Glad you enjoy Needle ‘n Thread!

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