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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Springy Stitching – Because I was Cold


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This week’s to-do list on Monday morning included setting up two embroidery projects that I’ll be working on after I finish the leafy tree project.

I like to set up embroidery projects a little in advance of a finish, so that when I finish a project, I’ll have something to start stitching on right away. With these two new projects, my plan was to get them set up this week, but not to stitch on them.

First, I need to finish the leafy tree. I have three more leaves on it. They’ll take a total of, what? Thirty minutes, maybe! I just haven’t tackled those yet.

Then, I have a bunch of computer work begging for my attention, so the next three work days must involve focusing on the computer. I can’t just lallygag around stitching – not when my computer is insisting on work, right?

So of course I’m not going to start stitching on any new project right now! There are priorities, after all!

Springy Stitching: Flower Line Embroidery

I went about setting up project #1. This is a very simple embroidery project that I’m going to use to establish a few basic points about embroidery (more on those later).

It’s one of those projects that will probably take a weekend to stitch. Everything about it is relatively simple.

When I set up a project, I transfer the design if necessary and then I pull the embroidery thread in the colors I want to work with. I gather the necessary tools – hoop or frame, scissors, needles – and put everything together either in a project bag or in a box or maybe on a tray or something that’s easily accessible.

Springy Stitching: Flower Line Embroidery

In this case, I put everything together on a little tray. If I need to cover it or transport it, I can slide all that easily into a project bag or even a large ziplock.

Did I mention those trays? They’re lunch trays for kids. But they work great for keeping embroidery supplies neat and tidy on a table.

I picked them up on clearance at Target. What I like about them is that they can fit in a project bag, and when you’re out and about – or just moving from room to room – with your stitchery, everything fits nicely on the tray and stays organized.

This is the photo of the tray that I posted on social media when I was working on my holly towels around Christmas:

Using Lunch Trays for Embroidery Supplies

But we are not talking about Christmas here! No, no. We’re talking about Spring.

This little project that I set up is particularly Springy.

I set it aside safely and planned to ignore it until I took care of all my other To-Do List Priorities.

You understand how this is going to go, don’t you?

Well, it’s been so cold and gloomy in Kansas. And this week is no exception. Snow, ice, cold. Gray skies. It’s cozy indoor weather for stitching, sure. But once in a while, you just want some Sunshine and the promise of Spring!

And darn it. Yesterday I was cold. There was nothing for it! I sat down in front of my window, where the birds were wreaking havoc on the feeders. I turned on my cheesy fireplace space heater (which I love and I’m not apologizing for!), and …

Springy Stitching: Flower Line Embroidery

… you know the rest.

It was as magical! I swear, when I looked outside, the grass looked greener. The sun seemed stronger. The birds sang more sweetly and were a little less voracious around the feeders. And that wasn’t snow and ice coming down! Surely it was soft, warm rain!

It didn’t last very long. I had to go out and de-ice the walkway, a chilly task which brought me back to reality in a jolly hurry.

But isn’t it wonderful what embroidery can do? It transports a person! It’s perfect for lifting the spirits on cold and gloomy winter days!

Hope your week is going well so far! A little thread talk coming up later this week. I’ve also been reading a couple new-to-me embroidery books that I’ll review in the near future. And I’ll show you the finish on that tree, too!


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(18) Comments

  1. Mary, I love the spring flowers and would like to embroider them on a flour sack towel. Will you please add the design to your shop so we may download it?!?!?! It looks like a project I’d actually finish LOL.
    Thanks! Kim Farmer

  2. Dear Mary

    Spring has really sprung here in North London the sun is shinning and it’s cold but warm in the sunshine and daffodils are beginning to bud and crocuses have certainly budded and theres a spring in my step as I speak (or write) and the nights are getting lighter so all good so far. I like the tray as you say great for organising embroidery accessories. Your new project looks interesting and I look forward to the progress on it. I hope your spirits stay lifted for the rest of the week. Thanks for sharing with us your new project and tray divider/organiser and good luck with the computer issues.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Mary,
    I swear when I looked at the picture of the flower you are stitching, I thought you’d put a smiley face in the center! I looked more closely and saw I was mistaken – but on a day like today (we’re due for 5-10″ of the white stuff) even the thought made me smile. 🙂
    Mary in MN

  4. One comment and one question: First, the flowers are lovely and I don’t blame you for taking a break from the snow and ice to stitch a few. Can’t wait to see the finished project!
    The question: My grandmother embroidered a lot, every day, she did amazing cutwork pillowcases (she called them “pillowslips”) and tablecloths and I loved watching her work. In my early teens I made a couple of stamped dishtowels but then there was college, career, family, I learned to knit (my obsession) and crochet and quilt and I retired and of course Grandma (not her embroidery, which I treasure) is gone but I still want to do embroidery. So, where and how to start? Assuming I’m not the only wannabe among your readers, can you recommend a post or two among your awesome archives for us, maybe a “how to get started” book, or just toss out a few suggestions?
    Thank you!
    I hope your ice melts and spring comes soon,

    1. Hi, Susan – you might consider scrolling through the section “Tips & Techniques” in the main menu here in Needle ‘n Thread. There’s a subsection especially for beginners, where you’ll find links to articles with beginner tips in them. Hope that helps!

  5. Love your Spring Project. The colors are pretty and the pattern is “Happy”. Just curious, are you just embroidering, or when you are done, is it going to be something. I love everything you do, I struggle with knowing what to make besides the usual, dish towels.
    You have such a talent, it makes me want to drive to your place for a weekend and take a class from you.

  6. Is that the pillowcase you made with your sister? I love the fabric cuff on it. And the stitching will compliment it so well.

  7. Hi Mary,

    “I like to set up embroidery projects a little in advance of a finish, so that when I finish a project, I’ll have something to start stitching on right away.”

    you should have said that three weeks ago, so I wouldn’t be left stranded now with nothing to stitch. 😉 No, I’m joking – I might have guessed myself, it’s so simple. For want of an ongoing “true project”, I just started freehand stitching an illustration to the fairy tale Rapunzel. An addlehead is the best place for quirky ideas popping up.

    Hope you’re warm and cozy again! *passing some sunshine over to Kansas* :o)

    Angela from the Ore Mountains

  8. You can see GRASS??? We have 24″ covering ours, on top of a 1″ layer of solid ice 🙂 Fortunately, this far north, we see the days getting longer quickly, bulbs I forced in the fridge are growing lots of leaves and one bright red tulip has already bloomed, and spring-like colors surround me in weaving, watercolors, and of course embroidery. I cherish the few days we have sun for the silver and sometimes rainbow sparkles on the snow, and on the gray days, the indoor colors are that much more vivid. Yay for color!


  9. Oh! So that’s what I can do with those little trays. I’ve had some for ages and hadn’t thought of them in relation to my stitching.

    Still trying to figure out how to move from small projects to larger format. I don’t have any equipment and would prefer to avoid the interim step of buying something I hate.
    I think some Evertite bars are in my future, but I’m not sure what size to buy. Still thinking it over, really.

  10. I like your spring thoughts. I haven’t got much done. I came down with Spring fever which is not pleasant on the cold, wet, rainy days of winter. Your tree is very nice. It delights my eyes. So, I’m going to gather something or other and draw one on muslin. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. Lovely! And is this table linen, picture, bag or an example? I love the border fabric and could see a set of springy pillowcases budding.

  12. Good Morning Mary. I’m going to make a pillow case soon and then try to embroider a flower border. Is your floral pattern that used on your pillow case available?

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