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 2017! Looking Back & Looking Forward


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Happy New Year, my friends!

I hope you enjoyed a peaceful, joy-filled holiday season and that you’re already testing the 2017 waters and finding them just fine.

2016 ended on a very quiet on my end of the computer screen – which is a good thing!

I indulged in quite a bit of stitching (not to mention 3.5 audiobooks). I didn’t enter the workroom once with the intention of organizing. (Why is it so easy to put that off until the “new year”?) And I filtered a lot of paperwork while messing with editorial calendars, idea lists, and all kinds of planning and goal setting. It was a semi-productive week!

Spending some time looking back on Needle ‘n Thread in 2016 helped me gauge my ideas and goals for 2017 (and 2018). So here’s a little glance backwards, and a broad glance forward!

Needle 'n Thread in 2016, Looking forward to 2017

2016 was a bit of an odd year for me. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2015, so most of my treatment happened through 2016. That kind of slowed things down a bit!

The First Half

In the first half of the year, the only projects I worked on much (and blogged about) were Late Harvest and a bunch of little kits – especially beaded miniature kits and the like (like this one, and these). I didn’t work on anything taxing at all, or anything that required much brain juice.

In short, I didn’t accomplish much that I had on my Grand List for the Year, but I managed to eke out a little bit of stitching!

The Second Half

By the end of June, when I started feeling a bit better, production picked up a little bit. I also started growing a little hair back by then, so, much like Sampson, I began to feel I could conquer things again!

I realized that the business side of Needle ‘n Thread was flagging seriously and needed a boost, so I published this e-book, Favorite Monograms, and I worked up this whole bunch of embroidered monograms to give you some ideas of what you could do with the monogram designs in the e-book. That added to the coffers a bit (thank you to all who purchased the e-book!) and helped float me and the website for a while longer.

During the last half of the year, besides that slew of monograms, I stitched up a couple test projects with 2017 in mind, including a few “kaleidoscope” projects – this one and this one and this one. They were a bunch of fun! Those kaleidoscopes and a few others will be making their way into their own spot on Needle ‘n Thread in 2017.

The End of the Year

And in the last couple months of the year, with an eye on 2017 as well, I set up several projects that I’ll be sharing with you as I make progress on them. These are kits designed by others – for example, the Mellerstain Fire Screen Kit in crewel embroidery, this surface embroidery project called “Modern Crewel,” and some others I haven’t shown you yet. One is a 56-count silk gauze project that’s terribly engrossing!

In all, I have five kit projects designed by others that I’ll be working through in 2017. I’ll share tips and little things I learn while I work through those projects. And, who knows? I may add more into the rotation, depending on what develops throughout the year.

The Techy Stuff – Last Year and This

Last year, in October, the new format for Needle ‘n Thread launched, and that was a Huge Thing! There are still changes and tweaks coming, and 2017 will see some significant changes on the site and in the background. The internet is a constant changing thing, always “improving,” and always demanding improvement. So 2017 will see the ongoing development of some technical changes on the site.

I’ll also be adding a whole new section to Needle ‘n Thread, and I’ll tell you more about that as we approach March. In the first months of the year, I’ll also be making some improvements to the newsletter that goes out with every article.

On a Personal Note

Thanks to so many of you who have written with seasonal greetings, who’ve inquired about my health, and who have been so very supportive throughout 2016! You occupy a warm, cozy corner of my heart!

I don’t have a health update for you yet, beyond “I feel pretty good.” I had tests done through December, and the follow-up isn’t until later this week. We’ll see how it goes!

Looking Forward to 2017!

I’m super eager to jump in to 2017 and see what the year brings and what we bring to the year! I’ve worked up my plan for Needle ‘n Thread, and I hope you’ll accompany me on our ongoing needlework journey ahead. There’s lots in store – I promise it’ll be fun, inspirational, and educational!

Wishing you all that is good for you and your loved ones in 2017!


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(30) Comments

  1. I’m praying you will get good news about your health and feel stronger and stronger throughout 2017. I’m anxiously waiting for a health update!

  2. Dear Mary

    I wish you a very Happy New Year and I hope and Pray that you will have good news concerning your health. It looks like many changes will take place this year on Needle ‘n Thread and I’m looking forward to the new section and am eager to see the progress on all your present projects, which I know will be inspiring and helpful, I’m also looking forward to sharing with you the Needlework journey and lots of fun and inspiration from. Thanks for sharing with us the up and coming events on Needle ‘n Thread for 2017.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Happy new year, Mary!

    Looking forward to what you’ll be showing and teaching us in the coming year, but mostly I am happy and grateful that your health is better and that we get to have you around.

  4. Speaking of organizing (or not!) maybe sometime you could write about how you organize your inspirations and developing your own projects out of all (if you’re anything like me) seeds of ideas that pass through the brain, and the possibilities of the things you might do?

    1. I’d like to know how others organize their inspirations too. I’ve assembled a hodgepodge of clippings in notebooks, and saved images, patterns, tutorials, on computer over the last mumblemumble decades. Oh – and books. Can I find anything? Nooooooo!

  5. Thanks Mary! So excited for what you have for us this year. I’ve had some time off and I have completed several projects — a few quick and easy ones and got some more involved projects framed and on my wall. I so appreciate you and this site. Take care and God bless.

  6. I hope that you have a safe, happy, and stitch filled New Year! Thank you so much for the joy and wonder your work instills in me.

  7. Thank you, Mary, for continuing to share with us your stitching expertise. And more than that, the grace with which you have confronted your health challenges over the past year. I am looking forward to working with you on the Mellerstain Firescreen. Right now I am working on a practice piece to help my fingers remember how to do crewel. I also really like the Modern Crewel project and a kaleidoscope and, and, and…………. Uh, oh! I also want to share with you a great discovery. Alexander McCall Smith on audio. I especially love the #1 Ladies Detective Agency and the 44 Scotland Street series. Another goody is La’s Orchestra. He has excellent readers and these are just right to stitch to. FWIW My best wishes for the coming year and may God’s richest blessings be yours. Much affection, Charlotte

  8. Thank you, Mary and all best wishes for the New year and 2017 to you. Special wishes for a good health report for you this month. Looking forward to a fascinating sewing year!

  9. I have noticed the energy and enthusiasm (dare I say perkiness?) back in your posts. I am so glad you are feeling better.

  10. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. I’m looking forward to 2107’s topics. I have intentions to do a few of your kaleidoscope designs and a reverse monogram, and really enjoyed your other projects as well. Best wishes for health, happiness and much embroidery in the New Year.

  11. Dear Mary
    Your newsletter is always the first thing I go to in my inbox! Thank you for sharing your talent with the world. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you and needlenthread ⭐

  12. Happy New Year Thank you for a wonderful year of e mails it’s the first one I open such wonderful inspirational embroidery patterns and designs. Looking forward to 2017 fingers crossed on your results next week. Pippa xx

  13. Dear Mary
    You are truly inspirational. Thank you for all of your skill, professionalism which you share so generously, your encouragement and downright goodness

    May you be blessed and have a wonderful 2017.


  14. Thanks so much Mary for all your wonderful posts throughout the year. I always send my students to your site for your excellent tutorials. I have been teaching children to embroider for many years and know it is a well loved art form. Their enthusiasm is energizing. I feel we need to teach as many young people as possible before so many of these wonderful ways for creative expression will be lost. Please feel free to read my blog…you might be the only reader. It tells the story of teaching embroidery in public school. I was very pleased to hear that you are feeling better and do hope that 2017 is a good one for you.

  15. Hi Mary – I don’t suppose you missed my comments throughout the Christmas season, but I did read each of your giveaway posts and marveled at all the wonderful things you had to share. I didn’t throw my name into the hat for any of them because you already had a ton of entries for each one. Now we’re into the new year and I’ll be back to my usual things. I wish you a much healthier 2017 and hope that it’s filled with only good things for you.

  16. Mary, have a wonderful 2017, starting with good news next week. Please! My resolution for 2016 was to stitch from stash – to buy new thread or fabric only for specific projects. I stuck to that, but only because needlework tools and books don’t count as stash. Same resolution for 2017, with the additions of ‘have fun while stitching’ and ‘learn and improve’. Your website is the best aid I know for helping me achieve these last two aims.

  17. Hi Mary,

    Wishing you and yours a very happy Year ahead and pray that all health issues will resolve themselves as best as possible. I look forward to all your offerings here in the coming months. Thank you for all the work you do for us.

    Cheers Judy
    SE Queensland, Australia

  18. New Year blessings Mary – keeping you in prayer that you will receive a good report later this week and be strengthened and encourage for the coming year. You and the work you do is such a blessings and encouragement to so many. Thank you so much.

  19. Happy New Year! Best wishes and prayers for a healthy year.
    I have learned so much from you and love seeing your projects, they are always

  20. Happy new year to you too! I really appreciate all the work you do on your blog: I look forward to each of your posts and am greatly inspired by your beautiful work! Thanks for sharing so much with us: I need to work on some of the monograms from your publication: I love the different ones that you did for us to give us inspiration. And I hope you will share with us the results of your health tests: I hope all will be well!!! Hugs, H in Healdsburg

  21. All the best to you in the coming year. You do inspire me, teach me, and I feel like I can do so much more than I ever ventured to do 4 years ago. Thank you. ~ Sally-Ann

  22. I’m so glad to hear you are feeling better and more productive. That is a good direction to be going in! May it continue.

    Your blog is one of the best written craft blogs (or any topic) I’ve come across. Your technical writing is so excellent, a rare skill. I say that as an editor who has had to edit engineers. You convey complex information on advanced techniques that allows me to imagine myself doing those things, and then doing them! And you do it with a lot of warmth.

    I look forward to following your journey here in 2017.

  23. Hi,

    I just found your site because I was thinking about trying an embroidering project. I have been diving head first into any crafting project I can find. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and with 2 young kids, let’s just say it’s been a difficult time. Crafting helps me relax, but also it’s helps by making me focus on something other than the disease, chemo, breaking up the kids fights… Hallelujah! When I read that you are fighting your own battle with cancer, I just wanted to reach out and wish you well. I hope everything works out.

    My husband always says : Unchangeable conditions are only “unchangeable” because we believe they are.

    Stay strong.


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