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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Thread Talk: Get Your Southwest Color Fix!


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You already know it. But, in case you have any doubts, I’m going to say it anyway: I’m a thread junkie.

I love embroidery thread! I’m drawn to thread like an ant is drawn to sugar. Like a bee is drawn to pollen. Like Icarus was drawn to the sun. And like some people are drawn to chocolate.

Put me amongst embroidery thread, and I am happy.

There are worse addictions in the world, so I suppose I’m not ashamed of the fact that I love thread so much. I am a little bit mortified, though, when I look at all the thread that I’ve accrued over the years and realize that there’s really no way for me to use it all. Ever.

So for the past year or so, I’ve stopped accumulating thread just for the sake of having, and I’ve been working solely from threads I own. While this may make me feel temporarily self-restrained, it doesn’t curb the addiction.

My determination to work from what I own has resulted in a few testy moments. Going into a needlework shop and facing a wall of thread, only to pass on all of it, almost causes me to break out in a sweat. The whole experience can be rather depressing.

Fortunately, my determination doesn’t prevent some very kind people out there from feeding my addiction (God bless ’em!). Recently, I received a pleasant package in the mail, containing several samples of a reader’s favorite thread. And when I opened the package and began to revel in the colors, I knew I had to share them with you!

Those of you who love over-dyed threads and vibrant colors, beware.

Artfabrik Hand-dyed threads

These are samples from Laura Wasilowski’s hand-dyed threads available on Artfabrik, sent to me by a different Laura, down in south Texas. Laura in Texas carefully wound some of her favorites onto little bobbins and popped them in the mail, because she just knew I’d love ’em. And she was right!

She also included a delectable skein of this particular thread:

Artfabrik Hand-dyed threads

Also from Artfabrik, this colorway is called Southwest Rainbow. If you love Southwesty colors, this skein of perle cotton #8 should just about do you in.

I love it! It’s everything I like about a Southwest color scheme…

Artfabrik Hand-dyed threads

…from the earthy oranges, yellows, and bright reds that reflect the heat of the desert and the blazing sunsets…

Artfabrik Hand-dyed threads

…to the brilliant blues and turquoises and the vivid greens of Southwestern skies and cool springs.

As the happy possessor of these gorgeous, fun threads from Artfabrik, I am, of course, faced with a dilemma: What should I do with them?

Once upon a time, I sketched a gecko, with plans to stitch the little beastie in Southwest colors and a myriad of stitches. Is it time to resurrect him? He was inspired by a little sculpture I saw when driving through the Land of Enchantment (that would be New Mexico). But he never got past the drawing stage. When I first beheld these threads, The Gecko was the first thing that sprang to mind. I can see it now: all the right colors, all the texture from the various stitches, and all with one skein of fabulous thread!

In any case, I like these threads from Artfabrik, and I suspect many of you will, too. If you haven’t seen them already, browse through their offerings here. If you scroll to the end of the page, you’ll find photos of all the colorways, to help you make that impossible decision on what colors you really want.

You’ll also find other resources on the page, at the top, including a link to this very nice reference image of needle sizes to match different sizes of perle cotton. If you’ve ever wondered what needle to use with what size perle cotton, this will come in handy!

Sorry to feed your thread addiction a little more, but I always figure it’s nice to know what’s available out there to meet our various stitching needs!

Hope you enjoy browsing!


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(34) Comments

  1. oh Mary, the beauty of these threads takes my breath away! I soooo understand as I am a knitter and a paper crafter. I follow you to see what beautiful things you are doing but do not actually embroider. As hard as I try to NOT purchase more yarn and/or paper I sometimes fail. My apartment is 3 rooms (I downsized a few yrs ago) so I must think before I buy. And, organization (with the help of the container store)is key when living in a small space.

    1. I saw a funnel cloud (not touching all the way down) today in the distance on the way back from Kansas City! But no worries – it was quite distant.

    1. Hi Susie,
      I know that international shipping seems high. But the rates you see on the website are for Priority Mail (fast mail). I can also send your thread via standard mail (slow mail). It will cost less but take longer in reaching you.
      Just let me know if you want fast or slow mail via email and I’ll refund part of the shipping for slow mail.

  2. Dear Mary

    I do like your thread addiction it always surprises me and what a lovely present just right for to feed you, the colours of the thread are so vibrant. I like the mix of the over-dyed threads on Laura’s web site, so many blend colours of thread it’s lovely. I can’t wait to see your Gecko lizard embroidered in these vibrant over-dyed threads that would be something. Thanks for sharing your gift with us and for the links to Artfabrik threads very enlightening and keep up the addiction. Nice to hear from you and I hope you are well and resting. Have a great weekend.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to threads. Between you and Lorraine at Color Compliments constantly tempting me I don’t stand any chance of dedicating my self to anything. Thank you so very much!

    You wouldn’t think I’d need any more thread as my sister won Commonthread ‘s Grand Prize last year…..Every color floss DMC makes…. and gave it to me for Christmas. But, these threads are so beautiful and would work perfectly for the (12) whole cloth quilts I’m making for family Christmas presents this year.

    The best I can do is be thankful that I don’t do any gold work!

    Even though you are my enabler I must thank you for all you do. I’ve learned so much from you and your site. It so outweighs the dent to my bank account.

    God Bless!

  4. That gecko will be your present to yourself, the project to which you will escape when other projects are not doing as they should. Gorgeous colors, really beautiful!

  5. Gorgeous threads!! Who wouldn’t love them?
    About your thread addiction, Mary, I have to pass along something I read recently. I believe it was in relation to a quilter’s fabric stash, but it applies just as nicely to an embroiderer’s thread: People don’t expect coin collectors to use their coins to buy groceries or a stamp collector to use his collection to mail letters, so why should they expect me to use use my fabric [thread] to make something?
    Revel in your beautiful threads to your heart’s content, dear Mary!

  6. Wow, these colours are gorgeous! I’ve just bought the complete sets of fine and raw silk from House of Embroidery. Officially to put them in my webshop… Good justification, isn’t it? However, I will play with some of them too!

  7. Thread, fabric AND chocolate addicted here! Oh my that skein of thread! Wow! I will be very interested in seeing what you make from it 🙂

  8. I too am thread obsessed!
    I love the overdyed threads & that Southern Skein is gorgeous! fortunately there are a few suppliers here in NZ so I don’t have to dream so much.
    Of recent I have been using dyed Tencel – which is lovely to use and I can get it in amazing vibrant colours.
    I confess to have recently put in a purchase for metal threads from the UK. I also have a “wish list” of threads – some are whole ranges, not for a project but just so I can have them! It is probably just as well I don’t have unlimited funds or I would have ALL the threads and probably a Thread House to store them in.

  9. Hi Mary…..its been awhile since Ive been on….I have so much mail to read…but yours are always the ones I read first.

    I love threads too….cant get enough…Ive been doing alot of stitching this past month…our weather has been very wet, rain for 20 days….but mother nature is letting us know something Iam sure.

    Getting back to the threads….Iam working on a dimension crewel design, which you cant find much anymore and when I do I always get a few because the thread is included…my question about the thread is
    how do you decide when the thread isnt included in your projects what type and size to buy?

    I dont have a problem selecting colors but the size for crewel is a little thicker then your regular floss….so Iam going to say its like yarn to me.
    I love how it looks on the fabric more so then floss and I know sometimes you have to use floss but the perle 8 is so nice…okay Iam glad I stopped by today and glad your doing all that you do for us Mary…..hope you have a great holiday weekend and God Bless you sweet lady.

  10. The noise I made when I saw those colors was not a natural noise a human being should make. Also i’m at work, so I’m pretty sure all of my coworkers have written me off.

    I guess I’ll just have to get some of this thread and embroider all the time now…

  11. Laura taught at my embroidery guild some years ago and brought a luscious array of hand dyed threads and fabrics. I sure had a fun time shopping! I generally visit her booth at the Chicago International Quilt Festival and pick up one or two treasures. She’s a great teacher…if you ever get a chance to take a class with her, do. I learned a ton and had great fun, too.

  12. Hi Mary, I hope you are doing well. I think of you all the time. You are feeding my thread addiction too! I do love those southwestern colors, especially since our own trip to New Mexico last year. Take care.

  13. But Mary, if you don’t have the thread you want to hand, how can you stitch? Isn’t that what stash is about?

  14. OoooH! Thread! I know the feeling, and yeah the guilt at realizing I will NEVER use it all…but that is one gorgeous skein, and I love geckos – Did you know they have the most ingenious little ‘sticky’ pads on their feet that let them slither up a pane of glass? When I lived in LA, we had one get loose in our house and for a couple of years, it made the cutest little noises as it hid in the crannies and cracks of the old place, gobbling up any noxious buggies that came its way. Looking forward to seeing your gecko come alive with these gorgeous threads!

  15. Thank you so much for mentioning my threads on your blog, Mary. What an honor!
    And I’m so happy you like them. It was a great surprise to see that my friend from Texas (the other Laura) kindly send you some. I hope you enjoy them and can’t wait to see what wonderful art you make with them.

  16. Why oh why do you do these things to me Mary? I am sitting here trembling, almost fainting, feeling slightly sick – I believe it is a panic attack. And all because of some thread! Who would believe it – apart from a similarly afflicted embroiderer, possibly like yourself. It may be fortunate that where I live there are no shops with a ‘thread wall’ to tantalise me but there is the internet, always the internet. And now I can nothing for it but to visit this site and drool and drop gorgeous threads into my virtual basket or cart, and then wait for the gorgeousness to arrive.

    Gee, that sounds great, thanks a lot Mary. You are a true friend.

  17. Just perfect for my new addiction:temari balls.
    Thanks for this, Mary, and hope you are keeping well.

  18. I am from New Mexico and love bright colors. I wanted to attend a quilt show in Chicago as Artfabric was going to be there. I think I have some of her threads in my stash…Looking forward to seeing your gecko.

  19. LOVE this thread! I used to stop by their booth at the Lancaster Quilt Show every year and still have a nice stash. I haven’t been for the past few years so I’m not sure if they are still going to that one. I like to use the perles to big stitch on quilts. It’s so much fun to show off the beautiful threads this way not to mention making the quilting go ALOT faster :). Thanks for reminding me that I need to inventory my stash!

  20. Glad to read your inspiration & wonder if the 2011 animated movie “Rango” would further motivate your use of such threads. I fashioned myself a top to wear with shisha mirrors for the eyes of the embroidered whimsical chameleon character. Glimpse visuals of this Depp voiced well appreciated (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rango/). I suspect today’s release of new Looking Glass film, which none of the reviewers seem to like, will still propel me to stitch new Wonderland imagery.

  21. Oh that’s beautiful. I love the colors. I would love to see how you use it for your gecko. I’m a newbie and so far I’ve worked kits where I’m told what colors to put together. I know that’s not very original, but I’m wanting to learn. I hope you’re feeling better now.

  22. Oh my they are gorgeous. I fell in love with the Southwestern colors scheme of nature when I spent five years in Texas. These will definitely find their way into my stash. Thank you !!

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