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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Stumpwork Embroidery Essentials – Online Class for Beginners & Beyond


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Well, now.

I have a little secret.

I’ve been indulging in a very agreeable diversion the last couple days.

Yep, I’ve been totally glued to the screen, watching videos in the middle of the day.

No, no. I haven’t been torturing myself with a Netflix marathon. It’s much better than that!

Craftsy has a launched yet another excellent hand embroidery class for those who want to extend their embroidery skills in an affordable, easy, self-paced way. Remember the goldwork class I reviewed a while back? It’s the same concept!

Only this new one is a stumpwork class – Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials, taught by Celeste Chalasani.

Today, I’m going to review it for you. I’ll tell you what’s in it, who it’s for, what you can learn from it, and the general pros and cons. To top it all off, if you want to take the class, I’ve got an early (and deep) discount for you at the end of the review.

Stumpwork Embroidery Essentials - Online Class

So, Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials! Right off the bat, I’ll tell you this: it’s a good class, and a great way to learn the basics of stumpwork and to acquire the skills you need to advance in your hand embroidery pursuits.

Celeste is an excellent teacher, and her cool, calm, matter-of-fact approach to stumpwork will go a long way to make you a confident stitcher. She knows what she’s doing, she’s experienced in teaching – this all comes across very clearly in the class.

The class covers exactly what it promises: the essentials of stumpwork. And it does this through walking the student step-by-step through a beautiful stumpwork project.

The Stumpwork Lessons

The class is divided into seven video lessons, and you also get downloadable printable class materials for further instruction.

1. Introduction to Stumpwork, where you learn a bit about the background of this embroidery technique. You’ll also learn about the supplies used, setting up your hoop or frame, transferring the design, and all the stuff you need to know to get the learning project underway. This type of information from a skilled teacher is gold, because most of it applies not just to this technique, but to any embroidery project you undertake.

2. Dimensional Stitches – Here, you’ll learn all about the order of work, what stitches to work first on any stumpwork project, and the like. You’ll also learn several stitches. The class assumes, though, that you have basic knowledge of embroidery. For example, it’s expected that you know the most basic stitches, like split stitch. At the same time, you’ll see the instructor work those stitches, so if you don’t know them, you can figure them out right from the lesson.

3. Padding with Stitches – Just exactly that – how to work stitched padding for to raise satin stitch and other stitches. The take-away in this lesson, I think, is the direction of stitching.

4. Padding with Felt – Just exactly that – how to use felt to add higher relief to stitches. Here, the take-away is layering to get just the right effect for the type of stitches you’re using.

Stumwork Embroidery Essentials - Online Class

5. Wired Slips – Ok, here’s the meat of the matter. The really dimensional effect of stumpwork comes from the wired slips that are attached to the fabric at the end of the project. These are often flower petals or leaves. In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to do them correctly and beautifully using long and short stitch for a filling.

What I especially like in this lesson is that Celeste shows the student not only how to do work the wired slips correctly, but then she shows you some of the common mistakes that are often made in preparing wire slips. If you’ve tried stumpwork and your slips don’t look all that great, you’ll see why with the examples she gives, and you’ll learn how to improve.

This lesson is also an excellent lesson in long and short stitch shading, and what you learn here about long and short stitch can be applied to all kinds of other embroidery projects, too.

Stumpwork Embroidery Essentials - Online Class

6. Transparent Wired Slips – this lesson concentrates on using sheer and transparent fabrics for wired slips, for creating bugs’ wings and other “ethereal” elements.

Transparent slips are a little trickier, because you have to keep the ends of your threads (the starts and the stops) completely hidden, which is hard to do on transparent fabric. You’ll learn the tricks for that, here.

Stumpwork Embroidery Essentials - Online Class

7. The final lesson is Cutting and Applying Wired Slips. This is Solid Gold! This is one of the most noticeable areas of stumpwork that can make or break a stumpwork project.

Celeste shows you, in details, how to cut the wired slips cleanly from the fabric (so you don’t have fabric shards messing up your edges), and how to apply them for a beautiful finish.

There’s a lot to take away from the whole class, that can be applied to other embroidery techniques, too. For example, if you like cutwork, this last lesson will come in handy for cutwork embroidery pursuits, too.

Pros and Cons

The pros are numerous:

1. The class is affordable! Often, it’s on sale for just less than $20, which is less than the cost of a book. But even at it’s regular price ($39.99), it’s super affordable.

2. Once you have it, it’s yours, and you can access it anywhere, for as long as you want to. It’s self-paced – you can take as long as you want over each lesson, you can skip ahead, you can go back and watch again.

3. The instructor interaction on this class is really good. Even though it’s new to Craftsy, the teacher is right in there, already answering questions, providing feedback, and so forth.

4. The project is gorgeous. It alone is worth the cost of the class.

5. Seeing the basic techniques worked out by an expert is a great way to reinforce what you learn in books, in kits, or in other classes. Video can go a long way to clarify things that might not be as clear, when written or diagramed. It also allows you to brush up on the things that you saw in person in other classes, but might have forgotten.

6. The class is geared towards beginners in stumpwork and beyond. It assumes some basic knowledge of embroidery. If you’re comfortable wielding a needle for basic stitches, you can handle the class.

The cons:

1. I wanted more. I know. I’m greedy. The class is really good – I didn’t want it to end.

I would have liked to watch Celeste stitch long and short stitch on every single one of the six petals for the poppy. She stitches so very neatly and calmly, and every stitch seems to go in just perfectly, right where it should.

Signing Up for the Class

When you sign up for any Craftsy class through a link here on Needle ‘n Thread, I do get a wee kickback (it’s an affiliate link), which helps me keep things running here.

But that’s not why I’m telling you about the class. There are a lot of classes on Craftsy (a lot!), and I don’t review them all. But this class – and the goldwork class – are exceptionally good, and they’re an exceptionally good value. You could never attend a face-to-face class with this level of instructor, for this kind of price. In fact, you couldn’t even buy a kit from them for this kind of price. So, yes, it’s a good value!

If you have any interest in these techniques, I think the classes are an excellent and affordable way to learn from experts!

You’ll find the class here:

Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials on Craftsy

See you there!

Or All the Craftsy Classes?

Update, 2018: Craftsy is now part of a program called Blueprint, which gives you access to all Craftsy classes for as long as you’re subscribed, at a fixed low monthly price. You can try a 7-day free trial here. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re interested in running through all their hand embroidery classes!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small kickback for any purchases made through those links, at no extra cost to you.


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(45) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    Stumpwork Embroidery Essentials sounds like a really good course and a great bargain and on-line courses are a really good way to learn as you can repeatedly watch and learn at your own pace, I like that as I have to keep going over the lesson to really understand the technique. I do like stumwork the 3D effect of embroidery is really lovely. I will certainly think about signing up for the course. Thanks for the information on the on-line Stumpwork course and for the links to the classes.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. I just finished taking a beginning stumpwork class from Celeste at the EGA National Seminar. She told us about this class, and I was about to check it out – your link with a discount is very timely! Celeste really is an excellent teacher in person, and if that comes through in the videos I know it will be a really good class.
    Mary in MN

  3. Mary…I just joined Craftsy and completed my order. I am very excited to complete this Online class! Thanks for the discount…you are terrific!

  4. Hi Mary,

    I took this class as soon as it came up! I am a huge fan of Craftsy and their videos. I’ve taken every single hand embroidery class and have loved them all. The ribbon embroidery is super fun and the instructor is lovely. But stumpwork is what inspired me to take up embroidery in June so I was thrilled to see the class pop up. I’m waiting for my silk threads and stretcher bars to arrive, but until then I’m working on the peacock from the French Needle that you recommended. I’m also enrolled in the casket course and the Frosting club. Obsessed? Yes! And happily so. Thanks again for your fabulous videos and blog posts. I would not have made it this far without you. : )

  5. And if you need to brush up on your basic embroidery skills, there are some excellent (and free) videos found on Needle ‘n’ Thread!

  6. Mary, thank you so much for reviewing this class and providing the discount! Learning Stumpwork is the next technique up for me to master, and with a holiday break coming soon, this couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I can’t wait to begin the classes and learn this beautiful technique.
    Thank you!
    Stacey Fischkelta

  7. I’m having a flustery moment of excitability here, so excuse any typos that may result…


    That is all.

  8. When I saw that class appear on Craftsy, my first thought was a hope that you’d review it. The next best thing to a Craftsy course taught by you (monograms? Monograms with trailing? Please?) is a Craftsy course recommended by you. I have just enrolled.
    Best wishes for your health. Hope all is going well for you.

  9. Wonderful! Thank you, Mary, for passing this on. I’ve been interested in Stumpwork for quite a while, and have accumulated a small library Stumpwork books (including one by Jane Nicholas). However, nothing beats a real life class or a live-action video for learning how to do something. I will definitely be signing up for this course. 🙂

  10. I thoroughly agree with you. Craftsy is the best site to learn needlework. I’ve also signed up for the sewing classes in hopes that I can tailor some clothes for myself. Very affordable, excellent teachers and demonstrations.

  11. Ooo that baby went right into my cart. Thanks for the review & discount. So happy Craftsy is finally getting around to hand embroidery.

  12. Thanks for this, Mary. Stumpwork has fascinated me for ages; I’ve snagged the Craftsy course in the hope that 2016 might be the year when I FINALLY get a Round Tuit. 🙂

  13. Thanks for the heads-up, Mary. I’ve never had Celeste as a teacher, but some of my stitching friends have. They all reported that she is outstanding. Additionally, I’ve been wanting to give stumpwork a try and this will let me do at my own speed.

    You’re the best!

  14. Hi Mary!
    I got so excited when I read this today. I ordered it straight away. I met Celeste at our Spring into Stitching (EGA) regional conference in MN last spring. I was envious of anyone taking her class (it was full!). I had a good long chat with her during lunch one of the days and I was so wishing I had taken her course. She really is wonderful–so likable and kind and approachable. She personally took time and showed me her beginner stumpwork file after a class one day which made me respect and like her all the more. She is a gifted teacher in her organization and explanations. This project is so very pretty and I already had a look at the first lesson online. Fabulous! Thanks a million for sharing this with us today.
    Roxanne in MN

  15. Yay! I cannot even believe this!! I have been wanting to learn stump work for so long and I am so excited!! I just bought this class through your link. Thanks, Mary! 🙂

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this new class and most specially for the big discount we get through you. I have just purchased it and am very excited to begin viewing. I have done some stump
    work in the past and love the technique.
    As always your blog is a joy to read and the tutorials are so very good, today I was struggling with the Hungarian Braid Stitch whilst sewing with friends and decided to wait till I got home and could watch your video, now it makes perfect sense.

  17. Yep… I bought both and it’s gorgeous even for someone like me, teaching goldwork and making alot of stumpwork. Just a question, where do i find the supply list please. Sorry for the silly question…
    Thank you so much mary

    1. Hi Cathy, to find the supply list go to this class and click on the Materials heading,(next to Lessons) you will see two files come up,click on the supply list one and to your right you will see Download This File, click on that and the pages will appear, you can enlarge them using the + sign or save or print the PDF if you prefer.
      I do hope this makes sense to you, it’s a very exciting class isn’t it.

  18. Hi Mary
    I have just read the new book by our Australian Stumpwork expert Alison Cole. You can see it on her web site
    I did an intermediate course with her a few years ago and this book is the best I have ever seen. It covers every aspect of stumpwork in detail with excellent illustrations. She has researched the subject in England and USA as well.
    It is well worth a look.

    1. Hi, Melanie _ yes, I think you can take the class from anywhere in the world. You just need to make sure your internet connection can handle the video streaming. It’s HD video. If you have a good connection, I think it would be ok. You might contact the folks at Craftsy, though, just to doublecheck. Maybe check their FAQ section?

  19. Thanks Mary. Once more I couldn’t resist to your suggestion and bought the class…
    The difficulty will be the silk threads and fabrics. I have many silks not the ones for this project but I think I can do with I already have. Fabrics are harder to find.
    Buying from US is very expensive for us in Europe and all Crafty resources are only in US. Of course I understand that!
    Thanks again.

  20. Hmmmm, I can’t seem to make my mind up about this one. I have some pocket pennies to spare and it’s not expensive, but I’m wondering how much that’s new to me I’d learn??? I’m curious about the last section on cutting out though. The first wired piece I did had instructions on doing this without seeing white edges, but I’ve completely forgotten them now….=( Having said that, it’s fairly easy with buttonhole edging, but not so easy with simple couching.

    Should I? Shouldn’t I? Whadd’ya reckon, Mary?

    1. I learned some good little tricks from it, Elizabeth. And I like the fact that I can go back and look at them again whenever I want! I think the most useful section for me was the one on hiding thread ends on sheer fabrics. I always learn something from new-to-me teachers, or books, or kits, even if I already pretty much know the techniques. It’s always good to see other people’s approach to things, I think.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts, Mary. I think I agree with you and I’ve been having a good look at the Craftsy site and have added 5 courses to my wishlist including this one and the goldwork one.

      We shall see….

  21. Thank you so much for the discount, I got it right away! I was saving up to get it for Xmas but now I hope they come up with another course for hand embroidery!

  22. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for reviewing this on-line stumpwork class. I recently purchased a goldwork kit and also the Inspirations Magazine offered Alison Cole Rambling Clematis kit (stumpwork and little bit of goldwork) … so far I have picked up the kits to view the cover photos a few times but not even unpacked them yet as I have been kind of intimidated not wanting to ruin the possible beauty I might produce working these designs. The Craftsy online stumpwork and goldwork classes greatly appealed to me, especially the fact I can get some info on questions as they occur. I signed up and looking forward to chilling out viewing the tutorials. Thanks again for the review, and warm wishes that you will have an easy and quick recovery from your surgery. Noelle

  23. Have tried several times to place an order for the Stumpwork Class but it will never let me complete the order. Have any suggestions?

    1. Or try a different browser. Like IE, Firefox, Safari, Mozilla. I have all four on my laptop because I have often had one or more of these fail when I click the submit button on a website and have to go to a different browser.

      Noelle Ferry

  24. I’ve been intrigued by stumpwork for years and I’m a big fan of Craftsy already so this is perfect for me. And I love that I could use your affiliate link to buy it on sale. We both win!

  25. I have not been able to get the link to pull the discount for some reason. I double checked a Craftsy link with an associated discount from a StitchDiva email and that one is working just fine. Has any one else had this problem? I am really eager to take this class because I have been intrigued by stump work for years.

  26. Hi Mary, I do hope you are feeling better!

    I have a great love for Stumpwork and Goldwork embroidery.
    I purchased the Craftsy Stumpwork & Goldwork classes. I have enjoyed them very much.
    I class my embroidery as my daily work, although I sell my items. Or should l say some of my finished work. But they are private collectors.
    I also have a sewing class on a Thursday afternoon and the girls are doing really well.
    I just love your site, you do such beautiful embroidery and your teaching is fab!

  27. I am wondering what I can substitute for the fabric in this class since I can’t afford to order a yard of silk shantung. And I’m not overly fond of dupioni because of the slubs. Thanks!

    1. No kit for this class, unfortunately. I signed up more than a month ago and am still trying to round up all of the materials. Buying supplies involves a combination of mail order and going to a variety of stores. But the class is excellent and Celeste is delightful.

  28. I used the link but no discount was offered at any stage during the purchasing process so gave up. Hopefully it will start working soon.

    1. Hi, Gaynor – if you sign up for Craftsy and wait a few days, you may get a discount coupon in your inbox. This sale (published in June of last year) is not running anymore, and the sale from this past weekend ended on Monday.

  29. Love the colours and the poppy my favourite flower.
    I do like the Crafty sessions and I have found the tutors excellent.
    Something to do in the Xmas break.
    I can but dream.

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