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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Embroidery Sneak Peek & Stitching Repeats


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Just a quick little snippet today, to share a sneak peek of one embroidery project I’ve been working on lately – this Party in Provence kaleidoscope mentioned earlier last week.

I wouldn’t want you to think I wasn’t getting any stitching done, after all!

Embroidered Kaleidoscope: Party in Provence on Needle 'n Thread

This is the design so far. I’ve tested a variety of options on the embroidery, to achieve the look I have in mind. I’m pretty settled now, so the stitching should go much faster, since I don’t have to stitch, unstitch, think, stitch, unstitch, think, repeat…

I’m having a lot of fun with this project, despite a few snaggles here and there.

On Designs with Repeats

I’ve had a couple questions about working designs with repeats, and whether or not it gets boring.

Hand embroidery is rarely boring to me, but I could see how a design with repeats could become boring, if the design is particularly huge and the outcome is not all that exciting.

On this project, repeated motifs don’t bore me at all! On the contrary! The motifs on all the kaleidoscopes I’ve designed so far are small, so even if there’s repetition, it’s “small” repetition. Each repeated element works up quickly.

Each section is a collection of elements, too, so if you take the repeat on the whole section, there’s plenty of variety to keep things exciting.

At the same time, as the piece grows and develops, it becomes more and more exciting to see the whole design blossom.

Finally, there’s something very soothing about repeats. You get into a definite rhythm with them, that makes the embroidery relaxing. I suppose part of the relaxation is that you know what you’re doing – there’s no stress of getting the next thing wrong and messing it all up. Still, there’s enough challenge in keeping it accurate, so that the blossoming growth looks pleasing.

So, no. I don’t get bored with repeats on this type of work! In fact, I love it. And it seems to be good for the brain, somehow, with its ability to be relaxing, but at the same time, to be exciting because of the growth in the design.

Embroidered Kaleidoscope: Party in Provence on Needle 'n Thread

Choices, Choices

My biggest problem with this design has been with bead choice. Since I’m not a die-hard bead embroiderer, I don’t have a huge selection of beads on hand. Deciding on beads that will work takes some trial and error, some research, and even…yes…some purchasing.

For better of for worse, my bead collection has grown slightly over the last two weeks.

Coming Up!

I’ll be chatting with you about a particular Bead Pet Peeve next week – with a solution, of course!

I’ll also address a question that comes up all the time: how do you decide what stitch to use where?

I’ve taken out this Mellerstain Firescreen project (from Crewel Work Company), for two reasons: 1. I don’t want it to languish too long – I’m sure it’s missing me! and 2. I’ve been thinking about crewel work lately and I feel I must bare my deep, innermost thoughts to you on the subject! So we’ll talk about that next week, too.

Favorite Kaleidoscopes Pattern Collection

If you’d like to stitch up your own version of Party in Provence, you’ll find the pattern available in my Favorite Kaleidoscopes collection – over 30 kaleidoscope designs for hand embroidery and other crafts.

Favorite Kaleidoscopes Collection of Hand Embroidery Patterns

You’ll also find the pattern for Birthday Bash and Tulip Festival in the same collection!

The kaleidoscope designs range from small 4″ designs to large 8″ designs, from simple to complex. You can read about the collection in detail here, or jump straight over to my shop to grab your own copy!


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(11) Comments

    1. Thanks, Heidi! I started to pretty heavy on some of the vines, with beading and textured stitches, but it just didn’t do it for me. I like the lighter look on the outside better – I love scattering beads here and there! 🙂

  1. This is so cheery on another grey day! It looks like you’ve been having some fun with this design. I’ll be glad to hear your thoughts on beads. I’d like to be incorporating more into my stitching and using up those I have on hand.

  2. I love this design. You have such a gift when it comes to combining color! That, added to your absolute stitching skill, makes your work so inspiring!

  3. Generally the only repeats in pieces I do are borders around the edge of the piece.

    I used right to the main design and stitch it – that is was attracted me after all – and leave the borders for last. I would then finish the main piece and either be annoyed the border was left and I had to stitch it or I would put the piece aside as I did not want to bother with the border. I finally came up with the idea to always do the border first. This way I go through it quicker to get to the main design.

    I do have one situation where repeating designs are a benefit. When I am doing a stitching demonstration at a reenactment I cannot have out the printed instructions, diagrams, etc. The piece I am currently working on at events had a repeating border. It was easy to remember for a session what colors and stitches so I did not need to take out any info to stitch it.

    (When I am doing the main design I end up printing a slightly enlarge copy of the section I am working on and cutting the paper down to just a piece which will fit in my hand. I make notes on the back of the color and stitch codes for that piece.)

  4. This is just gorgeous already. I hope you’ll have the pattern for sale in your shop!! I’d love to work it up. Also, I’ve been waiting for your first Kaleidoscope pattern (the one in oranges and purples) I’d love to buy it: I’m dying to do it also!! 🙂 Hugs, H

  5. Thank you for the sneak peak. This is looking so beautiful – I love those bright jewel colours. My fear of repeat and symmetrical designs isn’t boredom, it’s keeping my stitching sufficiently consistent from one repeat to the next.

  6. Dear Mary, after reading ALL your posts (ok more than once I confess, I am a fan) I have noticed how title for a piece seems to give you a hard time, well let me tell you that you were quite inspired with this project because the Party in Provence is sooooo appropriate. I love the design, the Colors, the stitches, the beads in fact if you were to come up with an ebook with this one I would buy it in a heartbeat. You are very inspiring, thank you for all your insights and wisdom.

    1. Not at this point, Sian, but thanks for asking! When I do get to the point of launching a class, I’ll announce it here on the website, but it won’t be this year, most likely.

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