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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The Rehabilitative Effects of Needlework


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Well, I promised you some weekend needlework reading, but alas, I didn’t have a chance to cull out a good list of articles and interesting things from around the web to share with you!

Still, there’s one article from The Guardian that, under the circumstances, I think is definitely worth reading, so I’ll share that with you today, and, for those who want to read it, a short personal update!

Rehabilitative Effects of Needlework

Earlier this week, The Guardian published this article on embroidery therapy for soldiers returning from The Great War.

Today, I think we see even more the value of needlework as a rehabilitative activity.

I’ve heard from so many people who have involved themselves in personal or community activities that focus on needlework for rehabilitation, and their success stories are impressive!

While art therapy is not a new concept, I think, as far as needlework goes, it’s an area that deserves greater exploration and committed effort to bring the therapeutic effects of needlework to those who are really in need of them – especially the home-bound and those who are suffering from mental and physical illnesses.

It’s good to see that the therapeutic benefits of needlework are becoming more and more recognized. The article is definitely worth reading!

Personal Update

You may have noticed that I don’t write about personal stuff here on the blog – only because I consider Needle ‘n Thread a needlework blog, not a personal blog!

When my cancer adventures started in 2015, I began including personal updates as an attached PDF, that you can read or not, as you wish. If you don’t want to read them, no worries!

If you want to know what’s going on with me lately, here’s a little update.

For those of you who are new to Needle ‘n Thread and are curious about the backstory, you can find my personal updates linked to in the articles listed below, in chronological order:

Thanksgiving, 2015
Christmast, 2015
February, 2016
April, 2016
June, 2016
September, 2016

On Stitching Deadlines

Good golly. I’m not going to get the First Communion book cover done, I’m pretty sure! I’m still going to try, but… it’s not looking so promising! I’ll keep you posted!

I’m planning on posting progress on Instagram and Facebook this coming week, if you want to follow along in “real time” (or as real as it gets, anyway). I’ll also write the whole process up – whether I finish or not! – here on Needle ‘n Thread in the near future.

Have a fabulous weekend!


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(30) Comments

  1. Hi Mary, You Kansans certainly know how to party! Hope your dad is healthy again soon.
    It’s good to hear you are feeling well (perhaps except for all the time you spend grinding your teeth over the health care ‘thing.’ Yes that is truly a mess.

    Here’s to a happy, healthy summer for you and yours-and to the rehabilitative effects of needlework.

    1. Hi, Beth – I just took a look at that, and it seems to be going out to you. You might need to check your spam filter? Updating it just now (I saved your first name on the account) might also push it through, but if you don’t get an email update on Monday, please let me know and we can explore further! Thanks!

  2. Mary,
    Thank you for the personal update. I don’t post often but think of you and hope all is well with you and yours. Your family reunion sounds like it was a blast and a happy time. Many blessings for you and family. Stay healthy and thanks for your very fine needlenthread.

  3. I lost my mobility entirely to spinal injury & degenerative disease two years ago, becoming bedridden, which (unsurprisingly) caused terrible depression; the strong painkillers and other medications I was and am on affected my cognition, concentration etc very badly. Last autumn I began (re-)teaching myself embroidery, having not picked up an embroidery needle since I was at school, and it’s made such a huge difference to my quality of life. My mind and mood have both improved, along with my coordination, and it’s actually helped greatly with my physical rehabilitation too.

    I’d love to know if anyone is doing any of that further research and coordinated effort to bring it to more disabled &/ ill people!

  4. I value all creative work not so much for rehabilitation, but for respite from the stresses of life. I experience visceral and sensual pleasure looking at it [mine and that of others], designing, and just the process process of doing it. It is a specialty and expertise that I have developed via my own labors over the many decades of my life. It is restorative to my peace and gives me an affirmation of value that I don’t need to seek from outside myself. It is mine.

  5. I’m also a great believer in the recuperative powers of creative work, whatever form it takes. Thanks for the update, Mary. Although our NHS is in a mess here in the UK, and we moan about it more than we should, we are so, so lucky to have it!

  6. Mary, I have tried to connect with you via the contact Mary button with no response so I am assuming you have not gotten my notes. Our EGA Chapter turns 25 this year and we are planning a mini make and take pincushion project. We will be using the Clover forms. We are still deciding on a design and we’re wondering if we could get your permission to use either the Simple Daisy Wreath pattern or the Floral Knot pattern from your March 15, 2017 blog posting.

    The reunion sounds like a blast. Best wishes for good health for you and your Dad.
    Sandy Larson Diamond Chapter President

    1. Hi, Sandy! Of course you may! You are welcome to use the designs. I’ll send you an email. I can’t find your previous ones, which is a little disturbing – I hope I don’t have a problem with the contact form. I’ll look into it! Thanks!

  7. Dear Mary,
    Thanks for the heads up. So sorry to hear about your Dad, but I trust that he will be well soon. You really had a great time over Easter. With the logistics involved it must have taken quite a bit of planning, but if your family and relations are anything like you, I am sure everyone did their part with no hiccups.
    I will hold thumbs (a South African expression) and pray all your news regarding your spleen, will be negative and that you will be in remission. So sad to read about about your medical payments. I trust that will also be sorted.
    Lots of love, Elza Cape Town xxx

  8. A few years ago, I read a book detailing several embroidery stitchers’ stitching journeys. One was of a former inmate who learned embroidery while incarcerated. He would unravel socks for thread. He credited much of his rehabilitation to embroidery. Here in the US, we really need to get over the silly idea that embroidery and other fabric arts are worthless women’s hobbies and embrace it as having merit.

  9. Mary, glad you had a fabulous family reunion! Happy to hear you are feeling alright and things remain quiet on the health front . I will keep you and your father’s recovery in my prayers. I live in Maryland,,, lightning bugs in April,,, go figure??

  10. Thanks for the update, Mary. Yes, the issue / barrier of today’s high deductibles is frustrating, both for it’s amount and also for the unfair additional cost for the individual policy holder. Hopefully this issue will be dealt with more fairly in what is to come with changes in healthcare in the U.S.

    Love to you, too.

  11. Awesome family reunion Mary. It will have created many family memories for you all. As for you personal situation, I think those of us outside the States struggle to understand the medical system there. Here in NZ some wealthier people have private medical insurance. Most people don’t. We have an excellent public health system paid for by tax payers. It has been that way forever. It costs to see a GP but not for children under 6. I pay $38.00NZ a visit BUT if I need to go to hospital, it’s free. Waiting lists are a small price to pay. If it’s an emergency though, you go straight in.

  12. Dear Mary, Thank you for the lovely story of the brave men in WWl, that is truly lovely and inspirational. With so many men back from Afghanistan and other dreadful sites of War, this could be equally helpful. So glad to hear that you are hopeful of your cancer battle, the wonderful relay of your Easter gathering sounds truly wonderful. God bless you Margaret.

  13. Great to hear that the reunion went well, better still to hear that you are doing OK. Fingers crossed for the CT scan
    X Pam

  14. Dear Mary, I am glad to see that you seem to feel better. However, I feel it is a shame that money issue is such a problem in the States. Here in Canada, even though we have some problem to have acces to the Health care system sometimes, at least we have full governmental coverage for that kind of investigation and treatments.

    Talking about the therapeutic use of embroidery, as a retired OT, you do not have to convince me. At the end of the 1970’s, when I was studying at Université de Montréal, crafts where widely used as therapeutic tools wether to improve physical or mental capacities. But I did not know that embroidery had been so widely used and particularly with male patients.
    Nowadays, crafts have however been put aside and OTs are more working specifically on Activities of daily living and work related tasks. Ot’s we’re professionals who did not want to be seen as people who were given people activities to occupy them, which wasn’t the case. In fact , each activity was selected after an analysis to see its potential to reach goals in terms of increasing strength, range of motion, tolerance, etc.
    Thanks for sharing that article with us.

  15. Embroidery was also taught to wounded Australian servicemen in WW2. When I was in my 20s and used to stitch in public I’d sometimes be approached by men of my parents’ generation who would ‘confess’ rather shyly that they did embroidery too. Their story was always that they had been taught by their nurses as part of their therapy when in hospital during the war. I wish now I’d found out more of their stitching stories.

    Thanks for the personal update and very best wishes to your father for a complete recovery.

  16. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for the update. So glad you are doing well and hope your dad is back on his feet soon.

  17. Mary thank you for keeping us posted. I always look forward to reading your newsletters and updates, even if it must wait until the weekend. The reunion sounds like a well planned and really fun series of events! How lucky you are to have so many relatives who love each other enough to make the journey to be together. A speedy recovery to your Dad and the best to you regarding the Cscan.

  18. Hope everything is quieter for you now.
    I’m one of those who use needlework as a therapy since 2005 both mental and physically. And how good it has been! You were perhaps the first person I dare to interact with in this fascinating needlework world.
    And you how grateful I am for you.
    Thanks so much for your so personal letter. So surprised and glad. I received it just when I was leaving home to country side for Easter with large family. I’ve emailed you from there – Anything you or your family need I’m just here, you do know, just say.
    Just after Easter I went to Lisbon spending a week with my son and my in-law family which traveled to Lisbon for Easter holidays.
    And now I’m at my daughter’s home at Douro (countryside again) for a long weekend. It’s so great and grateful to be with my children – no more children – and my granddaughters (i’m still missing my own home, my bed, my bath, you know, saying this in a low voice…) xx meri

  19. G’day there Mary.
    So pleased to get the update, have been wondering a lot.
    My husband had a stroke 5wks ago so it’s been hospital visiting for me too. I’ve found I can’t concentrate on needlework under the circumstances but can knit ok, just something simple I don’t have to concentrate on too much. It’s a relief to keep the fingers busy. Busy fingers, quieter mind in my case as I have an overactive think tank! Ok when brainstorming for art work etc but not for waiting on test results at hospitals or sitting with a patient! Thankfully Terry is very fortunate and although has a number of issues to deal with over time his recovery has been good.
    Wonderful to read and see the pictures of the soldier’s embroidery. Pioneers, convicts, people in jails even today doing embroidery, arts and crafts always interests me.
    Thank you for all Mary.
    Cheers, Kath

  20. Mary, there are some 75 CT Scan providers in Kansas. Try shopping them. When my son was going to have a similar, I found that by going to a University Hospital, rather than my local hospital, the cost was substantially less. It’s worth a try. 🙂

  21. Dear Mary

    I’m so, so sorry to hear of your Dad I do hope and pray that he fully recovers soon. I’m so glad you had a great time with your family my goodness I thought my family was large but you definitely beat me. But I’m glad you had fun which it sounds like you did and I do hope you continue to be in good health my prayers are with you. I hope you are able to sort out the cost of the CT Scan and that everything will be well. Thanks for sharing the article on embroidery therapy with us.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  22. Thank you for the personal update. It seems that hospitals can be a bit like government – money management doesn’t make sense and important issues take the “hurry up and wait” approach. When they discovered my ovary issue, it took almost 4 months to schedule the surgery. LOL

    And yes, stitching is not only a passion or hobby but also an outlet for stress and worry. Who can cry and stitch at the same time? 🙂

  23. Hi, Mary! Loved reading about your family’s reunion; sounds really perfect. Don’t blame you for putting off your scan; $6000 is a big chunk of change. I know our hospital in my small Iowa town will actually discount your bill by 40% if you pay cash within 30 days or a certain length of time. Can’t hurt to talk to them. It’s a real problem in our country that health care is so cost-prohibitive that we put off important tests. Take care.

  24. Hi Mary

    There is a gorgeous blackwork Casket or workbox in the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand) collection. The casket was given to Queen Mary by The Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry and she gifted it to NZ in 1946.
    From the Te Papa website “The Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry was founded by the ‘Friends of the Elderly’ charity after the First World War. Very fine work was produced by extremely disabled men, often lying on their backs or lacking an arm or fingers, and was sold very successfully.”
    Photos and a bit more information can be found at http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/46646

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