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 – Backwards and Forwards!


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Happy New Year, my friends!

2016 promises to be a big one here on Needle ‘n Thread – new adventures in embroidery and writing, a new look on the website, and lots of new projects, inspiration, and stitching ideas.

And I’m excited that I get to share it with you! We’re going to have so much fun together!

2016 on Needle 'n Thread

When I sat down to ponder 2015, at first glance, it didn’t seem like a monumental stitching year. I racked my brain, trying to remember if I actually did accomplish anything in the realm of embroidery.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been stitching on anything Big lately. I really couldn’t remember whether I had finished anything in 2015. So you know what I did? I went to my blog archives for 2015 and started meandering through last year’s articles.

And then I remembered!

The Big Embroidery Projects we completed on Needle ‘n Thread in 2015 were the Secret Garden Hummingbirds and the Hungarian redwork runner.

On the business front of things, I managed to eke out one e-book – Stitch Sampler Alphabet – which has proved to be quite popular (thank you so much to all who have purchased it!).

There were many little projects throughout the year. My favorites: this three-stitch blooming tree. And this First Communion book cover.

We worked our way through some embroidery with beads tutorials, which I thought were a lot of fun!

And I added a few tutorials to the Stitch Fun series, which will continue through 2016 as well.

Besides that, we enjoyed all the typical Needle ‘n Thread content, including needlework book reviews, chats about thread and fabric, product reviews and tool talk.

I’d say it was a pretty good year overall! Did I meet all my yearly goals? Uh…….. no. But that’s ok! I always figure as long as you’re moving forward, all is well.

What’s Up for 2016?

I have a few plans up my sleeve – in fact, up both sleeves – for 2016. The biggest one is the website overhaul, which should happen in the first part of this year. The work’s been going on behind the scenes for a long time – about nine months – so something should happen soon. It’s a lot like gestation. Something’s bound to happen after nine months!

Project-wise, there are a few in the works already, hanging over from last year. One is Late Harvest, which I’ve been dabbling with recently. It’s super fun – I’ll show you an update soon. This project will take us into a little bit of stumpwork, so tutorials on stumpwork will figure in to the line-up during the year, too.

I’ve also got two “small” ecclesiastical embroidery commissions for this year, and I’ll be sharing the process on those. (“Small” is a relative term… think: small in size, large in scope!)

There’s a whole list of tutorials in my planner that we’ll work through together, too – not just stitching tutorials, but finishing tutorials and some fun techniques, too.

And of course, we’ll indulge in chatting about the things we love best – like needlework techniques, threads, tools, books, and new stuff on the needlework market.

I’m really looking forward to 2016, and I hope you are, too. Thanks heaps for hanging out with me here on Needle ‘n Thread – may the new year bring you much joy and contentment with your needle and thread!


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  1. Dear Mary

    A very Happy New Year to you, it’s good that you are back I’ve really missed you. Well there seems to be a lot going on for 2016 and I can’t wait for the new website I do like messing around with computers so this will be fun. I can’t wait to see what you are up to on the ecclesiastical project, it looks interesting and I look forward to the up and coming chats on needlework related projects again I’ve really missed that. So it looks like a fun year in the needlework world especially as you are back Mary, you always make it fun. I’ve been involved in the fabric journal that I’m making for my niece who is getting married in August and I’m really enjoying it, I found it hard at first as you have to create a different style for each page and that was challenging, but now I know what I’m doing for each page it’s just a case of adding the right lace and beading. I will send you photos once I have finished it. Must get on as I’m nearly completed page 4.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Hi, Anita! Happy 2016! I don’t know quite how it got here so quickly… Your projects always sound so fun – I can’t wait to see photos of the journal you’re making for your niece. That’s such a good idea!

  2. Mary…It is great to look back on 2015 and see what was accomplished/completed! I finished a “bunch” of projects and the biggest one for me was the “Secret Garden Hummingbirds” (took me more than a year to finish!). I also completed the Craftsy class on Stumpwork that you recommended and I really enjoyed doing that Online course! Happy New Year to you with new patterns, classes, and stitching projects!

    1. Hi, Bonnie! Congrats on the finish of your hummingbirds, too! You know, for Christmas, I got a lot of new coloring books that are similar to Secret Garden. I realized they can be really dangerous, when it comes to thinking in terms of embroidery. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Stumpwork class. It’s a good one! I’ve been back over the videos several times. Nothing like having a good reference on hand! Hope you have a terrific New Year!

  3. Happy new year to you, Mary!

    I’ve been mulling over and (sort of) planning projects for the first few months of the year, and realized that most of my embroidery will center around two things: the Craftsy beadwork class I signed up for via your site, and one very large, very involved project. I may or may not come to regret this later…

    Looking forward to everything you’ll be showing and teaching us in 2016!

    1. Thanks, Liz! I hope your involved project is enjoyable! The best thing about an involved project is getting to the finish, and that wonderful feeling of accomplishment – so don’t give up! Happy New Year!

  4. Happy new year Mary!
    2015 was a great year on your blog and i’m very much looking forward to 2016. I read a lot of blogs but yours is far and away the best! I”m taking a stumpwork class this year, just a day class, so i’m excited that you’ll be discussing stimpwork too

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I’m looking forward to fiddling with some fun stumpwork this year, among other things. I just started digging out that section on Late Harvest (a little out of order, but I couldn’t wait to get to it!). Have a great time in your class!

  5. Happy New Year Mary! I’ve been looking forward to hearing about your plans for 2016 – – I love, love, love your book reviews so am looking forward to those – I secretly wish I could be doing Late Harvest along with you so I’m REALLY looking forward to your updates – – – and everything else as well of course.

    1. Hi, Wendy! Late Harvest is tons of fun, that’s for sure. Each little section features something different, so it never gets boring! Lots of book reviews coming up – I have a stack here that I’ve been going through for some time now. Can’t wait to share them with you!

  6. Happy New Year to you, too, Mary, and our whole little family of “fans” here on your blog. I am looking over my long list of “when I get older” and “someday” I’m gonna…… And it looks like I AM getting older, and I better do something NOW!! One involved making a linen English smock. and other embellished wearables.

    1. Hi, Bobbi! LOL! I started going through one of my shelves of “To Do” stitching projects the other day…things I’ve stockpiled for a while now, for one of those days in the future. I think my stash will outlive me, unless I sprout those extra six arms!

  7. Hi Mary,

    Happy New Year to you! I have been following your example. I have kept track of all my stitching projects on my calendar through out the year.

    Sounds like you have a lot of fun stuff in store for us. Can not wait to see what you come up with.

    Have missed your blog. So glad you are back.


    1. Thanks, Barbara! I’m glad to be back! And I’m really looking forward to 2016 and getting some fun stitching in here on Needle ‘n Thread! Happy New Year!

  8. Happy New Year Mary!
    Thanks for your summary of 2015. I really loved your hummingbird project, and am planning on something this year in a similar style.
    I’m really looking forward to your new website and the projects and lessons you give us. Especially on stumpwork – something I really want to improve this year!

    1. Hi, Catherine! I’m digging out the stumpwork part of Late Harvest this afternoon – can’t wait to start playing with it! I’ll definitely be sharing my adventures. Happy New Year!

  9. Welcome back, Mary! Happy New Year! I hope you had a good break and rest, you certainly sound full of beans! I learnt so much from you last year, and it looks as though 2016 is carrying on where 2015 left off! More power to your elbow!

  10. Hi Mary,

    Happy New Years to you and your reader. I was wondering if you would consider a tutorial on turning a 18 mono canvas project into a dual edged square box pillow? I recently completed a 16 inch square 18 count design with idea of it becoming a pillow. What a sticker shock (over $150) to have it finished for me (I checked with several stores, same high price) so that did not happen.

    I have used my sewing machine to finish crewel work (dense fabric thread count) into single edge pillows but never the more open 18 count (stiff) mono fabric.


    1. Hi, Noelle! Ahhhhhhh…. I don’t really do a whole lot of needlepoint work on mono canvas. And I’ve never finished canvas work into a pillow. Did the project come with any finishing instructions that can help you out? I do have some finishing tutorials on the list, and they might be adaptable, but they’re being sprinkled out throughout the upcoming year, so I don’t want to leave you hanging. There are blogs out there devoted solely to needlepoint, where you might find some help. I’ll squizz around and see if I can find anything!

    2. Ahhhh is how I felt when I heard the price tag for someone else turning my finished work into a pillow!

      Design is my own … it’s on the stiff 18 count mono and that is causing me the concern.

      I have seen sewing machine finished Christmas stockings that were worked on 18 mono and the edge seam looked tight. I am just worried that the stress along the (sewing machine) seams of a box pillow might allow those large 18 count holes (along the seam) to move or skew a little bit ruining the overall look of a squared design.

      I am probably over concerned, should just go ahead, put a high count backing fabric behind the 18 count, machine sew the seams and push in the square foam form.

      It’s just I worked so hard to keep that design tautly square as I stitched and I don’t want to see it skew because of a pillow seam.

      I don’t think I wrote to you, but thanks for reviewing Craftsy.com. I joined two course through your link. Stumpwork and goldwork. It is fun, relaxing, informative watching their tutorials.

      Someone has already posted on Stitchin Fingers their stumpwork project from the Craftsy tutorial. It turned out quite nice.

      Warm wishes and your recovery is in my prays.


  11. Happy New Year Mary, so glad you are back! Am really looking forward to all the projects, tutorials and chats in 2016 – although I need to just get on and complete a few 2015 things first….

    1. Hi, Ann – Thanks for the New Year wishes! You know, every time a new year rolls around, I find I still have plenty of stuff hanging over from the previous year. Once, I tried to make a resolution that I would finish everything I started in the same year. It didn’t happen! I hope you have a terrific 2016!

  12. Like Wendy, I subscribe to and read a lot of blogs, but yours is the first one I open and the one that’s given me the most inspiration. Thank you for your tutorials, patterns, reviews, etc. You inspire me (and many others, I’m sure)! I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring.

    Happy New Year to you and your family…..

  13. Happy New Year! Very much looking forward to all the things coming on this blog for 2016! I’ve also got some big projects planned for this year, including some things I’ve never done before, which is exciting. I will be using your eBooks and techniques for most of them, Mary.

  14. Yaaay! You’re back! I don’t reply very often, but I read you regularly and I’ve really missed your bright and encouraging posts… For some reason my stitching mojo disappeared last fall…but it seems to be back now and you helped me keep in touch with a part of me that seemed sort of silent.
    The new website sounds wonderful – here’s hoping that the transition is relatively easy and painless! The stump work tutorials are coming right on time for me…will there be videos?
    I also hope that all is well on the health front for you – know that you’re in the hearts and prayers of many, many people! Happy and healthy New Year 2016!!!

  15. Happy New Year Mary
    I do hope it goes very well for you and all your family.
    Do you think you will ever consider putting all your stitch tutorials on to a DVD.
    I think it would make a wonderful gift for people who are just starting out, as well as the people like myself who are trying to improve all the time.
    Just a thought.
    Take care.

  16. You are the first person I have ever taken the time to comment on their blog. I just wanted you to know your site has become a precious lifeline for me. Very dramatic I know, sorry about that. I needing some creative food for my soul though….and you supply graciously. I think part of it is your sharing spirit which comes through with each lesson. Hope this New Year feeds your spirit also. Thank you.. PJ

  17. Hi Mary –

    Happy New Year! Seeing your post in my email this morning, gave my heart a lift, and put a smile on my face–even though I have not been far away from Needle ‘n Thread this past week.

    I’ve been viewed two or three How-to-Videos, used the search function which has taken me all over Needle ‘n Thread, and then I’ve followed links which took me all over the world!

    I’ve started up a simple crewel project. The perfect thing for the evenings when I’m too tired to work with the really fine thread in needlelace, but still want to stitch something. The (relatively) fat yarn and fat needle is perfect! I also signed up for Craftsy’s Crewel class. (In addition to the Stumpwork class.)

    Already planning a future project: something in Jacobean style.

    Thank you again for the inspiration you give to all of us, and for the wealth of information you’ve shared. Mary, you are a blessing in our lives.

  18. I wish you joy and contentment with your needle and thread too Mary. It sounds as though you have some fun things planned for the new year and I’m so looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us. Above all, take the time to take care of you!

  19. Mary, just seeing something from you in my inbox is enough to make me smile. It’s great to see you back! Whatever you write about will be welcome – I always learn something from your posts, and in the most delightful way.

  20. Dear Mary,
    Happy New Year!
    You do an astounding amount each year. Thank you! My hat is off to you. My needlework exists as plans and dreams fuelled by your wonderful enthusiasm. I have accumulated a small stash of materials so I hope that this is the year I make something, between work and other commitments.
    Take good care!

  21. Happy New Year, Mary!

    I hope you have had a nice relaxing little bit of time off and are feeling much better from your surgery. It is so inspiring to read all of your posts and I hope to learn quite a bit from you in 2016. But my big question is: What is this project that you told us how you were organizing the threads? I check every day and I’ve never seen it. I am really looking forward to following it, even though I’m not a cross stitcher myself.

  22. BONNE ANNEE ,BONNE SANTE,QUE 2016 SE PASSE POUR VOUS LE MEILLEUR ;Je vous souhaite beaucoup de courage pour supporter votre traitement et de broder ,longtemps ,longtemps j’ai beaucoup appris avec vous ,pour la broderie ,tous ces petits détails qui nous aident à
    mieux comprendre aurez-vous projet commun niveau intermediaire ;CONTINUEZ,VOUS NOUS FAITES REVER


  23. Welcome back, Mary! Hope you had a restful but invigoration break and that the year to come is wonderful. My big project was a wedding dress, beaded and constructed from very vague ideas from designer images and “It has to be Art Deco, Mum”, which travelled with us from Sydney to Central Park, New York, for a beautiful ceremony on September 1. I’ve spent the rest of the year on little things, and completing bits and pieces. At the moment it is a zip bag surfaced stitched following the design on Japanese furnishing silk brocade in pastel Au Ver a Soie threads. I’m sooo bored with the final tiny satin stitch dots! But it will finish this week if it kills me. Glad you’re back.

  24. Hi Mary
    Great to see you back on deck, and hopefully feeling good. Like the others I can’t wait to see what improvements/changes you are making to the site as well as the work on your commissions. It is a strange thing: I am not in the least religious but I love Christian embroideries and icons in particular.

    2015 has been a hellish year for us; as you have, we have battled with many health issues. The whole year was just one big stressor and this year just has to be better 🙂 I can’t wait to get started. And I loooove stumpwork.

  25. Happy New Year and welcome back. 2016 sounds like it’s going to be an exciting year; looking forward to following along.

  26. Dear Marie,
    I go just now in your web site.
    Happy, happy new year.I wish you success in all areas of your life. Very happy to see you because yes we miss you. I learned a lot during the last year, so when we announce new delicacies, I have the mouth water.
    Thank you Mary

  27. Happy New Year, Mary, and Many Happy Returns!
    I look forward to seeing your new projects for this year – and the new look for the site.
    As you know I sew for a living but I’ve got a few semi-embroidery things planned.. I’m making some fancy pincushions and more soutache monogram items. I’ll take pics and send them before they leave the shop (everything gets sold but I try to remember to take pictures). Please update us on how you are doing lately, healthwise. Stay well.

  28. Dear Mary, I have yet to write down my wish list of embroidery plans for 2016! I perhaps need to look at my lists for the last 2 years to see what I haven’t finished. I did finish the hummingbirds which took about 20 months! I have posted a photo of the piece framed on the Secret Garden Embroidery Flicker group page. I am working on a smocked baby nightgown at the moment. The Late Harvest embroidery is try beautiful. Looking forward to seeing your progress and other wonderful blogs from you in 2016. They are always a highlight of my day. Thank you

  29. Très Bonne Nouvelle année Mary.
    Que 2016 vous apporte joie, bonheur et santé.
    Merci pour tout ce que vous nous apprenez et partagez.

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