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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Needlework News Snips, November 2018


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It’s time to pull up a chair, pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage (it’s a two-tea morning for me!) and have a little needlework news chat!

Some of today’s “news snips” are announcements so that you can anticipate a few of the exciting things coming up on Needle ‘n Thread in the next month and a half.

And some are interesting tidbits to read (or view) when you have time over the weekend. I hope you enjoy them all! Let’s go for a little online meander, shall we?

Needlework News Snips, November 2018

Let’s start off with some educational bits!

On the Making of Specialty Threads

Over on Tricia Nguyen’s blog at Thistle Threads, you’ll find a few fantastic articles on bringing specialty embroidery threads to the market – and on the making of, especially, silk wrapped purl.

Tricia’s area of focus over the last many years has been to bring back to life many of the threads used in historical embroidery, especially from the 17th century. These threads, long unavailable, are now making their way into contemporary embroidery – new life, indeed! And they are fascinating threads!

The study, the time, the financial investment, the risk, the frustrations, the skills – can you imagine what goes on behind resurrecting a specific thread with particular characteristics, that work within a wider set of colors and types?

Three recent articles on Thistle Threads will demonstrate some of the above – they certainly help us appreciate the whole nature of the thread-making part of the needlework industry!

Check them out here:

A Bonanza of New Threads
How Silk Wrapped Purls are Made
New Sizes of Silk Wrapped Purls

Needle History

I like to know little bits about the history behind the tools we use in embroidery. And of course, the must commonly used – and absolutely essential – embroidery tool is the needle.

This article on the history of the sewing needle from the 16th-19th century is good, and short, reading.

And, for those who like to watch videos, this is a fairly popular one on the history and making of sewing needles.

Antique Pattern Library

If you’re a lover of needlework in general (whether embroidery, cross stitch, crochet, knitting, lace-making – you name it!) and if you’re not aware of the wonderful online resource, Antique Pattern Library, you should be! I often reference many of their excellent public-domain scans here on Needle ‘n Thread.

If you often make use of Antique Pattern Library, I’d like to encourage you to make a small donation to them before the end of the year. It doesn’t have to be much (or it can be – it can be whatever you want!), but any little bit helps. They’re a non-profit, so you can use the donation as a tax write off, too.

They’re trying to raise just $4,000 before the end of the year, to cover the expenses of the site, and to help bring new content in.

You can use any donate button on their website, or you can read more about donating, here.

On Finishing Techniques for Needlework

Making something out of a piece of needlework is called “finishing.” There are many, many, many ways to finish needlework into something.

This time of year, people are often looking for information on how to finish embroidery or other needlework into ornaments, or into other items for gift-giving.

I don’t go over a lot of finishing techniques here on Needle ‘n Thread, because it’s not really the focus of the blog – although I’m considering a series on the topic next year.

I’ve written an e-book called Lavender Honey & Other Little Things that focuses on finishing lots of little embroidery designs into basic finished little items, like ornaments, scissor fobs, pin keeps, needle books, and the like.

If you want to enjoy some excellent online tutorials on finishing, I recommend Learn to Finish, a blog written by Vonna, the Twisted Stitcher, who is a professional finisher. She’s got some great instruction, information, and ideas on there!

Needlework Tours

If you’re in the planning stages of that ultimate dream vacation for next year or the year after, now’s the time to start looking at bookings for needlework tours.

Needlework Tours and Cruises has their 2019 and 2020 itineraries up. While some of the 2019 ones are full, 2020 is still fairly open.

I like to cruise through the listings for needlework tours just for the fun of it – they’re dreamy! I recently came across one of the tour tutor’s projects on Facebook, and that set me exploring. It’s a real rabbit hole, once you start!

But really, if you have that kind of Santa Clause in your life, why not start dropping the major hints now?!?

Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread

Ok, the house-keeping part!

A Thousand Flowers – Coming Soon!

So, on Wednesday, I showed you my recent Tapestry Smalls projects, and I told you I’m releasing a limited run of kits, just to test the kit waters. I’m very excited about the smalls!

I’ll be releasing the kits on Friday, November 23rd, around 7:00 am central time. I can’t take reservations on kits or pre-orders. I have a personal policy against pre-orders, because I don’t like the idea of taking people’s money unless I have the goods in hand, ready to mail. And a reservations list is too time consuming to manage (and they don’t always work out). So the kits will be on a first-come basis.

After this run of kits, I do have just a few more that I’ll release down the road, that that are awaiting one color of silk. And, once all is said and done, if there’s a demand and it makes sense to do so, I’ll bring in more supplies to make more kits. We shall see.

The instructions are not included in the kit, and will only be available on Needle ‘n Thread as an e-book, like my other e-books. Those who purchase the kit will get a discount on the instructions.

Why the e-book? Several reasons: it is more cost-efficient; it makes the projects more widely available to the international community (no overseas shipping); it makes the instructions and designs readily available for those who want to start now; and it gives you an electronic copy that you can store on your computer and print (all or parts) as you need them or that you can view on a mobile device, tablet, and such, for easy transporting.

So look for the release next Friday around 7:00 am central time!

A Stitcher’s Christmas, 2018

Starting the week after Thanksgiving (Monday, November 26th), my pre-Christmas give-away series starts here on Needle ‘n Thread.

Thanks to several stellar small needlework businesses, I’ve got some fantastic prizes for you!

How about thread? Oh yes – gorgeous wools, colorful over-dyed cottons, sumptuous silks, and exquisite specialty thread (hint: that first news snip above)!

Beautiful needlework books? Of course!

Exquisite scissors? Uh huh!

And kits? Absolutely!

All kids of wonderful goodies, just waiting to come home to you! So keep an eye out for A Stitcher’s Christmas, 2018! It’ll be a lot of fun!

Have a wonderful weekend!


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(9) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    Very interesting short article on the history of the humble needle. I would love to go on a embroidery holiday around the UK it looks so interesting. Lots of exciting things going on especially your kits A Thousand Flowers and e-book and the start of the give-aways I can’t wait so exciting. Thanks for sharing the News snips with us and for the links very interesting. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Wow, Mary, lots of good reading here. I just spent a couple hours looking at different ways to finish stitched projects. I think I can now blame you for how my time just seems to disappear. 🙂

    Blessings. I keep praying that your health has returned for good. Maybe an update?

  3. I would love a series on finishing embroidery. Ssince so many design choices in the planning phase of our project hinge on how the embroidery will be used, it would be very helpful to learn more about a variety of finishing options.
    Plus, some of us are running out of wall space!
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. I always enjoy your News Snips. I’ve never read one that didn’t lead me down the several links. Thank you so much. You find amazing information

  5. Thank you for alerting us to an opportunity to support Antique Pattern Library. They are preserving history in a unique way. Enjoyed the “How needles are made” video along with its momentary glance into how pins are made. It gave me much to think about quality control. I am someone who is new to the world of really well-crafted needles -and the sorry purchaser of a box of pins that included many blanks (no points!). Can’t wait for the giveaway.

  6. Thank you for the information on Antique Pattern Library – it’s been a while since I stopped by over there.

    The needle & pin links were fascinating. I had no idea about the short life span of those who put the points on them back then.

  7. Thanks for sharing the Antique Pattern Library link. It is a treasure chest of beautiful patterns. Warning: I lost hours browsing the website going from one PDF to another. I am sure I will be using some of designs in the future.

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