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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Holiday Embroidery Ideas: Stitch Stuff for Christmas!


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If you’re like me, you’re probably still thinking it’s early days in the whole holiday preparation scheme of things.

I’ve heard that there are highly motivated, highly organized stitchers out there who actually embroider things for Christmas early in the year.

While I admire them – and I often wish I were one of those people – it never really works out that way for me. Usually, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I get a hair-brained idea to stitch up holiday gifts. And then I do those frenzied late-night stitching sessions a couple days before the gift is due.

Don’t be like me! There’s still plenty of time to stitch up a fun gift or two for Christmas, enjoying the whole stitching process in a relaxed and calm state.

Here are some project ideas to help you do just that!

Holiday Embroidery Ideas

Christmas Embroidery Patterns

If you’re looking for embroidery patterns that would work well on gifts like flour sack towels (which make great gift basket liners, by the way), linen guest towels (you can use pre-made blanks!) and the like, you might enjoy some of these designs:

Boughs of Holly Corner Design

Holly & Joy – a lettering design in a bunch of different configurations

Some blackwork-style trees – just adds some beads for decorations!

Quaker Style Motif – this little tree would make a great little ornament!

Embroidered Ornament from Stash

A couple years ago, I ran this series on stitching an embroidered ornament from your stash. You’ll find finishing instructions in there, too!

Counted Cross Stitch Patterns

The following patterns work great with water-soluble canvas, to stitch on towels, pillow cases, a tree skirt – or what-have-you!

You can find tips for working on water-soluble canvas here.

You can find some tips on a substitute for water soluble canvas here – just use a printable water-soluble interfacing and your printer to make your grid. It works!

These patterns would also work great for embroidered filet lace (net darning) or filet crochet!

Winter Snowflakes and Leaping Deer – counted cross stitch designs that work great on water-soluble canvas

Leaping Deer & a Tree

A Simple Snowflake

More Snowflakes – including a corner design

A Great Big Snowflake

Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread

On Friday, some Thread Talk! I’ll be reviewing a line of embroidery threads, and I can’t wait to chat about them with you! I’ll show you some fantastic embroidery worked with them, and share a great little offer you just can’t refuse if you love thread.

I’ve made some progress on my crewel project this week. Not a lot, but every bit counts. I’ll share that with you soon, and a sneaky little discovery about the ups and downs of wool thread.

And gosh, do I have some delightful surprises for you, between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I’ll be running a series of give-aways to prep you for the season of giving…and maybe to put something you really want in your own stocking!

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!


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(8) Comments

  1. Last year I made an ornament a month, well actually 2 for the first 6 months but I got a bit behind after that so I still have a bunch to catch up on, as I wanted lots of ornaments in my tree and this was the best way of making that happen. I shared the cross stitch patterns on a site I share with some friends as an extra incentive to keep going as there is nothing like having people waiting for the next pattern to show up to keep you on track. Since it’s a non profit site I don’t think you will mind me sharing the location so the curious can have a look : https://sites.google.com/site/nccinternationalheadquarters/ornament-of-the-month—sal

  2. Dear Mary

    Like you I leave everything to the last minute I hadn’t realised you have so many Christmas links great. I really looking forward to your future posts especially the serious of give-away’s I might even enter this time as there might be something I really would like to put in my Christmas stockings. Also looking forward to the thread talk. Thanks for sharing with us the links to the Christmas stitching and for the future posts on the give-aways.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. 🙂 I, too, often finish gifts on the last night… last moment – that’s when I’m most productive… I’ve no other choice
    It’s still early enough for Christmas stitching…but it’s never too early…and it depends on the amount you’re planning to make….
    years taught me I better start as early as September (no, Christmas in July is not for me) , so usually I start in autumn by getting inspired looking through all the pictures…, feeling anxious and never knowing what to begin with… eventually I pick up the needle and pretend to be working on something…each year trying to bite more than I can chew….there really are too many techniques and designs and ideas
    Thanks for sharing some more

  4. I didn’t see these on your list but I’m sitting here right now stitching the chicken scratch Christmas trees you wrote about back in 2009. Every year I stitch some kind of tree design ornament to include with the home canning baskets I do. Can’t wait for the thread talk. Love me some threads!

  5. Oh Joy! Sometimes I think you read my mind. I’ve done a few felt ornaments to tie onto presents. It’s work I do in the car when traveling. Last year I thought that my French knots need practice, so I took your advice and made a French knot snowflake.
    This year I thought it would be fun to do little 3 inch pillows with “Joy” on them (one letter per pillow). But, I was still fussing about, wondering about getting a few of your monograms on transfer paper and behold and lo! Look what you’ve given today. So guess what I’m stitching in the car over Thanksgiving?

    Now that’s a lotta Joy to be thankful for.

  6. When we were first married (37 years ago) I used to stitch an ornament from a kit and then stitch something related to the year on the back and put the year on it. (For example, the year we were married I stitched the year and interlocked wedding rings on the back of a Jacobean design heart ornament). This went on for eight years and then we decided that I would instead make a tree skirt and stitch the designs on same as the tree was going to be taken over by these ornaments.

    Well, of course I never made the tree skirt – the precut batting piece is still in its bag. I have stitched and made other ornaments over the years. (Okay, in this house, anything small that we don’t know what to do with becomes an ornament.) We now have 4 decorated trees in the house ranging from 4 feet to 7 feet plus two smaller trees (one beaded and one of foam) which I made. We have 4 trees as each time some sort of ornament was going to take over the main tree, we bought a small tree to decorate with that sort of ornament, one of which – in our studio – has an assortment of ornaments we have made. (A good number of same is still on the main tree.)

    In 2011 we bought a very small RV (in a Chevy van) and I felt that it needed to be commemorated. On checking my stash of ornament kits in the basement I found that all of those left had a front and back design so I could not continue the former tradition and made the needlework an ornament on its own. I photocopied a photo of the RV from the catalog and used the photocopier to adjust it to size. I then used a light table to transfer the design to fabric for the ornament. Husband loved it as a gift.

    While we tend to drive cars for decades, we traded in our car the following year and got a new one. I decided to make a companion ornament. No catalog. I download a picture from the Internet and again used the light table. Unfortunately the night after I finished the embroidery we were in an accident and the car was totalled. (Next day we have had it 6 months.) I did not finish the ornament. We decided to buy the same car again in a different color. I restitched the car on the piece of fabric intended for the back and waited until (long) after we got the new car to stitch the color. I found myself putting off stitching the color and finally realized in my head I was afraid it was bad luck to finish it. Therefore there is a stitch missing behind the back wheel. The two cars form the front and back of the ornament.

    Husband bought a loom last Christmas. I am currently embroidering him working on his first piece which he wove in January 2016. I took a photo of the loom and used it to make outline of the loom and drew him in behind as a cartoon character I used to draw of him back in college – the hair will now be gray.

  7. I am sort of new to the stitching scene. I love some of your stitches, and hope to be as good some day. Thank you for sharing

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