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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The Tiniest Bit of Stitching


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This weekend, I did the tiniest bit of stitching.

And although I don’t feel too accomplished this morning, what I actually accomplished seemed monumental at the time!

Embroidered Handwriting

That’s it! That’s the embroidery I finished this weekend.

Impressive, isn’t it? Yep, those stitches might have taken a whole twenty minutes, all told. Maybe.

But the amount of time it took me to get to that point is quite a different story.

I am not, by habit, a collector of fabrics. If I were a quilter, I’m sure I would be, but I’m not a quilter. And so, when I had to come up with a small, quick project that involved embroidery finished into something specific, I found myself in a bit of a quandary.

As I mulled over the project for about an hour, deciding exactly how to make this little, almost-inconsequential thing, it occurred to me that having a coordinating fabric to use for finishing might be a good idea.

But what to do? I didn’t have any fabric, aside from linen…

…or did I?

Deep in the recesses of my mind, I recalled a stack of coordinating fat quarters that I’d been given as a gift. The fabric collection was called “Quite Contrary” (as in, Mary, Mary, quite contrary – I’m pretty sure there was a subtle message involved).

But, not being a collector of fabric, I don’t exactly have a place for fabric of this sort. You know, that specific place where all your fabric is neatly stored, folded nicely, in coordinated color collections? I don’t have one of those.

I’m sure I put it in a box, I told myself.

But which box? On which shelf?

I spent, literally, the whole day looking for a small stack of fat quarters. The. Whole. Day. They were not in any box, on any shelf in my workroom.

Embroidered Handwriting

I found them, eventually, with my stationery, which is neatly stored in a pretty box that slides under my bed.

What could I possibly have been thinking, when I put them there?

My foraging adventure left me about twenty minutes to devote to actual stitching.

This, my friends, is not an efficient use of time.

But I did get something good out of it! I had one more small scrap of green linen, the last to my name, and I think it coordinates quite well with the fabric in this set, don’t you? Doesn’t it make you want to eat watermelon?

Incidentally, can you guess what the rest of the embroidery says? It’s probably pretty obvious, right?

I’ll be finishing this project today – eventually, I’ll show it to you (it’s for a tutorial on Craftsy), embroidering some ducks, and editing some stitch tutorials for you.

A busy Monday – and hopefully, much more productive than the weekend. Fingers crossed.

Enjoy your day!


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(28) Comments

  1. Thanks for the giggle this morning, Mary! I’ve been in that same situation many a time. And when I end up halting the search, purchase new, I find what I was originally looking for when I put what’s left of the new away. It’s not so bad when I like the replacement better.

    Must be lack of coffee yet, but I’m drawing a blank on what the saying will be.

  2. Thank you for making my day! I am glad that someone else does what I have done many times!

    I do not know what the saying is.

  3. So sad, Mary….all that effort and did you REALLY say that quilters have “that specific place where all your fabric is neatly stored, folded nicely, in coordinated color collections?

    well Mary, not in my world. i’m trying really hard to just get all the fabric in only 2 (count them) 2 different locations, instead of all over the place. 1 for yardage and 2 for ornaments…lol. I[‘m getting ready to buy my next batch of 100 comic board boards that i’m putting the smaller pieces (1 yd) or less around and putting on bookcases….lol…plus I need to buy a small bookcase, only two shelvs to them in…lol….the 15 mins a day didn’t work but i’m slowly, slowly, slowly getting there. I actually have an approximately oval two feet area of space on my cutting table….yayyyy! hope your Monday is very productive…. and thank you for the smile. I always ending up smiling after I read one of your posts.

  4. Dear Mary

    I know exactly what you mean I have been in the same situation many times, looking for something which I knew I had and hunting around for it which takes forever. I’m glad you found the fabric which is very pretty and contrasts lovely with the green linen fabric. I can’t think what the rest of the embroidery says only “save this for later”, look forward to seeing the finished embroidery. I hope you show us the finished duck embroidery and look forward to the edited stitch tutorials. Thanks for the amusing tale today and I’m glad it had a happy ending.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  5. Gee, I’m happy I’m not the only one who will spend an entire day looking for a fabric. πŸ™‚ It may not be an efficient use of time, but I tell myself that sometimes efficiency doesn’t produce the most creative outcome––your letter cheerfully coordinates both fabrics.

    Thanks for brightening a gray spring Monday here!

  6. The first thing I noticed was how evenly spaced the red and green are on the lettering. If I did that, the tension would surely be off and I’d have longer bits of red here and there next to tight little green bits. Very wonky and would give me a headache just to look at it. πŸ™‚

    I don’t know that saying apparently but I’ll be patient. And yes, I love the red and green together. I’m thinking of a basket of bright summer apples.

  7. Hmmm? What does it say? The stitching immediately evoked peppermint candy canes and with the red and green combination…well, my guess is a little napkin that reads ‘save this for santa’…to go on a tree side plate of cookies and milk! An elaborate projection and really weird for mid-May…but that’s what came to mind..then again – that watermelon reference could be the ‘clue’ I’m missing. As always, your impeccable stitching has created admiration tinged with a wee bit of envy for your skills and creativity…thank you for simply ‘being there’!

    1. πŸ™‚ Hi Elisabeth….well, the clue is actually in the fabric itself. I guess it’s not as obvious as I thought, which means my visual pun will probably be a dismal failure! But alas, I’ll still plow forward with it!

    2. I thought I saw it as “Save this ‘spot'”. I really like the color combinations used, too!

  8. Hi Mary,

    I love the letters! What is the candy-striped stitch you used? Do you have a tutorial on it? They’d be so pretty for Christmas — if I start now I MIGHT have something done by then . . .

  9. There’s a certain pleasure in finding things long after you’ve forgotten you ever bought them, let alone where you put them away, but it’s not so much fun when you need the things in a hurry. Been there, done that (many, many times) – although I haven’t yet made a useful label to remind me where things are.
    And the message? My guess: “Save this in the white spot next time!”

  10. The little foxes that spoil our vineyards….
    I don’t know those quilters who organize their fabrics…..hasn’t it been established that they are in fact a myth? Of course there are those pretenders who get their workrooms in ‘perfect’ shape for a photo shoot to be on the cover of a magazine about glam work studios… but let’s get real, ever since I’ve been creating art, whether at home,school, college, there has always accompanied the making of art, the mess. Somehow to me it’s more glorious that way. I’m not saying I never organize or cleanup, but I sure don’t fixate about it; art coming alive is where the thrill is and always will be.

    1. Surely it will, indeed! It’s a bookmark. And while I suppose I could have dug up some inspirational quotes about reading or about literature, or maybe something motivational, I thought instead I’d get straight to the point! πŸ™‚

  11. Mary, you are not alone! Friday, three people sprang for things I sell on eBay. I knew where the magazine was. But the gorgeous vintage pearl belt buckle and the hand-painted wooden buttons were nowhere at all! I went through boxes. I prayed. If I couldn’t find those things, I’d have to send the money back! At last on Sunday morning, I took another look at the kitchen table which was taken up with bead and jewelry work. And there in an old zip-lock baggy were my treasures. And life is sweet again.

  12. Haha! I was laughing at the part where you questioned your thought process that caused you to put quilt fabric into a box holding stationary! I do the same thing, only I start with “Okay Laura what stupid logic did you use when you were putting that thing away?”

    1. Laura, I love that “what stupid logic did you use when you were putting that thing away?” one time I bought some books for a gchild for Christmas and put them away, as Christmas was six months later, and only found them two YEARS later when I was looking for something else i’d “PUT AWAY”….glad i’m not the only one….lol

    2. Hahaha. I’m ok until I decide my logic for a spot wasn’t good and MOVE the item. That will make it a sure thing I’ll never find it again! LOL I always remember the first place, and can’t remember the “better” spot. πŸ˜‰

  13. Dear Mary,

    The great bonus of your newsletter is thatI look forward to it like a note from a friend, in addition to your amazing stitching and practical advice.

    I had to write today because just yesterday my friend told me about a frustrating search of her home for a baby bunting pattern she wants to make for someone’s grandchild. It’s not with her other patterns, but she just knows it’s in her house somewhere! My friend thinks it would be the perfect thing to make because she liked it so much when someone made it for her, when her daughter who is 26 was born!

    Thank you so much for your inspiration in all kinds of ways. Melinda

  14. I’m nowhere near as organised or disciplined as you are, so I have stash. Yes, it can be frustrating to spend time hunting through stash for something you know is there somewhere, but there’s also the sense of discovery when you find things you’d forgotten you had. Nothing like a good ferret through the stash to get my mind spinning off into new projects and idea paths – as if I need more!

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