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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Shisha, Metallics, and Beads: You Won’t Know it’s a Tree


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Well, I finished that little shisha embroidery tree that I showed you day before yesterday.

I might have gone wee bit overboard, but you know what? That’s ok! It was fun, it will work for what I need it for, and, more to the point, it’s finished!

And that means I can move on to the other tree I need to finish.

I’m not sure why I’m sprouting trees all over the place lately.

Maybe I’m going through a growth spurt.

Shisha embroidery with DMC Diamant

The foundation stitches that make up the swirls and slopes of the tree are tambour embroidery worked in a copper metallic (DMC Diamant), and then I whipped the resulting chain stitch with a gold metallic.

The photo above, taken at a very strange angle, is the tree with all the whip stitching finished.

Shisha embroidery with DMC Diamant

When the piece catches the light, the gold and the copper sparkle quite a bit, and the mirrors gleam like they should. It’s hard to catch that when I’m sitting in front of the frame, and at this point, I was too lazy to set up a photo shoot somewhere else. (Sorry!)

I could have stopped at this point, but you know how it is when you’re working with sparkly and flashy things. Why stop?

Shisha embroidery with DMC Diamant

Besides, I was just getting into Martin Chuzzlewit, which is a fantastic 33-hour long audiobook (if you like Dickens), and I wasn’t really ready to switch gears.

So, as you can see, I started adding beads.

Beads, beads, beads. They are fun – and I love this particular color and type, even though I would have liked to have had them in a 15/0 rather than an 11/0. The 11/0 are somewhat large.


Shisha embroidery with DMC Diamant

It dressed up ok.

And I can get the one shot out of the project that I need. It will look something like this:

Shisha embroidery with DMC Diamant

…only larger, with a few more swirls and mirrors in it.

That’s right. You won’t even know it’s a tree!

Funny what we go through, just to get an abstract, isolated photo of original stitchery, isn’t it?

Now, knots! I must finish this one next. Then, it’s satin stitch – a little demo piece to answer some recent questions. Fingers crossed, I’ll finish both today.

I hope your Thursday involves some quality time with your needle and thread! Enjoy the day!

Learn Shisha – with Variations!

Eager to learn how to do basic shisha embroidery for attaching mirrors and other flat objects to fabric? You should check out my e-book, Shisha & Variations, where you’ll find step by step photo instructions for various decorative shisha stitches, along with practice patterns (like the tree here). Check it out here!


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(21) Comments

  1. Fun! I’m wondering what stitch you used to add the details to the trunk of the tree? It doesn’t look like tambour. Just curious….

  2. Mary, I do NOT have time to set aside the several projects currently on tap to play with beads and shisha! You must STOP tempting me! Bad, bad, BAD, Mary!

    Or, I could just add some beadwork playtime to the list of Things To Do and continue to enjoy seeing and reading about your projects…you know, like a rational adult would do… 😉

  3. Dear Mary

    I do like Dickens I hope you enjoyed Martin Chuzzlewit. The tree is lovely I really like the beads added to the branches they really set of the design and they blend lovely with the metallic thread and the shisha mirrors. You can’t even notice the mistake you talked about the other day. I agree with you that beads are fun they are so versatile and look lovely on any embroidery piece. Thank you for sharing your Shisha, Beaded metallic thread tree with us it’s lovely.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  4. Looks great. Again, I wonder how you make your decisions – whether to put beads on the inside or outside of the swirly branch, how far to go on each branch, which direction to add the beads. Ah, and yet it all comes so naturally for you. Or at least you know when it looks good. That is the sign of a true artist. Thanks for being you. It brightens my day.

  5. I like your tree! I am glad you didn’t undo the wonky trunk that you weren’t happy with the other day. It looks a very happy wonky tree!

  6. Mary, took a second to catch the “pun”…”growth spurt” *snerk* naughty girl to make a joke like that when I am drinking hot tea!!

  7. This is lovely. So glad you went forward with it. Metallic threads and beads are some of my favorite things. The red beads really make this pop and the whipped tambour stitching is so pretty. I bet using a colored thread whipping around this metallic would look nice too. Did you use the tambour needle to attach the beads, or are they hand sewn?

  8. I love it Mary I’m so glad you went on with it. May I ask how did you do the shisha mirrors. It looks like you surrounded them with chain stitches. Is that correct. If so, does it keep them stable?


  9. Glad you added the beads! They really pull it together and make it “pop.” Every time I see you fix something that you didn’t like (i.e. the wonky tree trunk), I often wonder if there is ever a point where you just chuck the whole project into the scrap bin? Also, do you frame and display all of these lovely pieces?

  10. Love the tree. You did not go overboard at all. I think you did just right. It makes me want to copy it and do my own thing. Thanks!

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