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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Should I Leaf it Alone? An Embroidery Finish


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Do you ever second guess your embroidery finishes, after you finished them with (what you thought was) satisfaction?

This happens to me frequently, and I think it’s mostly because I take photos of my embroidery projects to share with you. Sometimes, it’s not until I start going through photos that I see things I don’t like as well as I thought I did.

Be that as it may, I’m officially finished with the leafy tree, even though there is a little part of me that might go back and change one silly leaf.

Embroidered Tree with Large Leaves

I loved stitching this project!

The color transitions that introduced the autumn shades were exciting. It was hard to put my needle down at the end of the each stitching session. I was eager to see what comes next – like a good novel, you know?

The individual leaves work up quickly, so progress was evident right away. There’s nothing better than a project that unfolds in a quick, visible way every time you work on it. That kind of progress always keeps me motivated to get back to it as soon as possible.

Embroidered Tree with Large Leaves

Tipping the tree with the deeper rusty reds, browns, oranges and golds was a bit challenging.

At first, I tried to limit the color usage to only three shades in each category for the whole tree – three shades of green, three shades of yellow, three shades of orange, three shades of red.

This didn’t work out! I used a few more shades of color than planned. I also pulled in two variegated colors, even though that wasn’t in the original plan, either. Sometimes, variegated threads can help tie things together better than solid colors can.

Embroidered Tree with Large Leaves

Even though the reds and oranges really vivify this version of my leafy tree, it’s the transition area between the lighter green, the yellows, and pale orange-corals that I like best.

I like those shades up against the dark branches of the tree. In my mind, these are the quintessential indication of fall – that green and yellow mix, up against dark silhouetted branches on a tree that’s getting ready to burst into a dramatic change. It makes autumn trees look as if they are glowing from the inside.

Leafy Tree Embroidered in Greens

You might remember that last year, I embroidered this tree in greens. In the photo above, the embroidery is wet, as I had just soaked it to remove design lines and then blocked it.

You can see different stages of the development of the green tree in these two articles:

Weekend Stitching: My Leafy Tree Sampler of Sorts

Embroidery Projects and the In-Between Stages

I like the green version, but the design needed some tweaking. And the colors – though fine for a green tree – didn’t make the thing live the way I wanted it to. I had to at least try a version with an autumnal twist to it. And since I had to re-stitch the design with the improved pattern, I figured why not?

Embroidered Tree with Large Leaves

Maybe you’ll find that one silly leaf that’s bothering me – but I’m not going to ask for a whole influx of opinions or options on individual leaves! I wouldn’t want to put you to work that way! And I don’t really want to end up second-guessing every leaf. Overall, I’m satisfied with the tree.

Like It? Want to Stith It?

If you like the Leafy Tree and you want to stitch your own version, you can find my instructional & project e-book here. It takes you step-by-step through the project. You’ll find materials lists, stitch instructions, and all the info you need to successfully embroider your own version!

Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread

Now I can move on to the next project – which I’m very excited about and can’t wait to share with you! But I need to make some progress on it first, just to be sure I like it as much as I think I’ll like it.

Next week, we’ll have some thread talk with a few handy stitching tips. I’m playing around with several ways to work with variegated threads for different results, and I’ll share those tips with you.

There’s also a finishing job I’m working on right now! It involves this little deer on a tapestry small. I’ll share that with you shortly.

I’m finishing up this quick flower line project, too, when I need something quick and easy to pick up and stitch on. So you’ll see the finish on that soon, too.

We’re expecting a nice little snowstorm this weekend (you’ve gotta be jokin’… it’s March!), so it’ll be a good weekend to cozy down with some needlework.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, with plenty of quality time with your needle and thread!


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(50) Comments

  1. Your tree is lovely!

    It is the Artist/Perfectionist in you that drives the need to “change” that one little thing. I do a lot of painting in water color. Believe me, the creator always sees the flaws and will sometimes gloss over the perfections!

    I love seeing your work! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Delicious! What a great lollipop this would make with the flavors changing as you went along! But, since this is needlework (stay on topic, Linda), I can imagine so many applications for this–pillows, tote pockets, table runner; a series with the green one, along with creating spring and winter ones for a four-panel wall grouping or in corners of a tablecloth; and if one had the gumption, imagine shrinking it and embroidering it out in fine silks in a size that could be a brooch for an autumn coat or to fasten a scarf or on a sweater. So…I love it and find it very inspiring…beautiful, Mary! Thank you,

    1. You know, it started out as a lollipop, no kidding. It was straight. But then I tilted it, because it looked…. like a lollipop! 🙂 I’m glad you like it, Linda!

  3. I am wondering (and hoping) I can purchase this pattern? I absolutely adore both versions of it and would love to have a go at stitching this.

    1. Hi, Susan – Yes! It will be available soon-ish. I’m tying up other project loose ends first, and then I’ll get the pattern and stitch guide for this project together and make it available. Thanks for asking!

  4. I LOVE the tree and the changes in color. The texture is .. inspiring!!
    Have a nice weekend stitching. We are supposed to get a little snow here too but I don’t think it will amount to much — but it will be a good excuse to sit in a cozy chair and stitch!

  5. Dear Mary, the color transition is delightful – leave it alone! It is perfect as is.

  6. Oh my goodness Mary, the tree is gorgeous! I hope you’re going to come out with an e-book soon. I’d love to stitch the series. You are thinking of a seasonal series…right?

  7. Yes, Mary – “leaf” it alone. It has an ombre effect. PS I did not know the word “vivify” existed!

  8. Mary, this tree is just perfect, nothing to add, nothing to remove. I love the bending of the stem and branches. It looks like a ballerina or a dancing elf, masterfully juggling with all those leaves.

    What a difference – we have spring here for two weeks already, which is a joke as well, because spring set in in the middle of February! There are snowdrops and crocuses in full bloom, and there will be gnats, flies, and stink bugs in abundance this summer, since the winter was – as usual for some years now – too mild.

    Angela from the Ore Mountains

    1. Thanks, Angela! 🙂 Well, I’m looking forward to spring, but there’s something to be said for a good snow. It forces me to stay in and get stuff done!

  9. Morning Mary
    Your autumn tree is delightful. I worked 17 years front counter at a fast food place. Outside and across the parking lot were two trees right next to each other and in the fall I loved watching them gradually change color. It would start in the center where they met and work it’s way out to the sides. Each day was different, and then the leaves would drop in the same order.
    Your two trees represent perfectly what was my view for all those years. Will you be making a pattern available for this, I’d love to stitch them. Thank you so much for this glimpse at a beautiful memory.

  10. Mary-
    Agree with you on the two versions — really like the green but that second one just comes alive.

  11. The colour transition is stunning Mary. I can see that one leaf, I think. What will you do with the tree, will it be framed? What happened to the green tree? They would look gorgeous together.

    1. Soon-ish, Lisa. I’ll have the pattern and stitch guide available in the near future. I have a few other loose ends on other projects to tie up and then I’ll tackle the stitch guide.

  12. There is a leaf I would change but I wouldn’t let it bother me, that’s just me. Your tree is stunning. It looks like it is getting ready to shake those leaves off, it has so much life in it. I love it, the colours are amazing. Living in tropical north Queensland we don’t get a proper Autumn, coming from the UK it is one of the things I really miss. Your tree makes my heart and soul sing. Thank you.

  13. This is an amazingly beautiful tree. I am stunned at how it came out. Love everything about it (except one leaf)

  14. I love the leafy tree. What kind of thread, how many strand and what stitch did you use for the trunk of the tree to make it look almost padded?

    1. Hi, Norma – I’ll be putting together all the details on the project a little bit later down the road. I have a few other loose ends I need to tie up first, and then I’ll have all that information out. Thanks!

  15. ah, but if a dozen different people look at it with critical eyes and tell you which leaf they think needs fixing, you will end up with a dozen different leaves that people pick on, and then you’ll want to go and sob in a dark room. leave it be.

  16. Love your tree Mary! You didn’t say if a real tree inspired you, but it reminds me of Parrotia Persica except for the curvy trunk. It’s a real show stopper—your embroidery & the tree! Thanks for the smile.

  17. I love the tree as is – gorgeous colors and all the textures. Yes, I know I commented earlier that the 2 lattice fill leaves seemed out of place, but now that other lattice fill leaves are done – they fit right in. I’d say leave it alone, maybe you’re looking at it from too close, both viewing distance and having perfectionist tendencies in you needlework. On the other hand, I’d be interested in know what’s bothering and why. Then again, that doesn’t mean you’d need to redo anything.

  18. Mary it looks wonderful. I have a terrible memory, have you put this design available to buy?
    I cannot see a leaf that looks wrong to me.
    Thank you for what you do. You help me through my lunch times at work. A subject away from my work type, maths in a secondary school.
    Best regards, Julia

  19. I hope you’ll make this design available as a pattern! It would be a great way to learn some of these wonderful stitches!

  20. I am in love with that autumn tree. My five year old also loves it. Just commenting in hopes that you will indeed post instructions!
    I could also see modifying the base pattern for each season, and displaying. Beautiful!

    1. Hi, Lydia – Yes, I ran this as a kit last month (it sold out), and it will be available again in September. If you would like to be on the advanced notice list for the kit, you can drop me an email request for the Leafy Tree Advanced Notice List at mary@needlenthread.com

    1. Hi, Lisa – Thanks for your question. The pattern and instructions are only available with the kit. The kit, unfortunately, is sold out. If I make the pattern / instructions available as an e-book at this point, it won’t be until next year, due to lots of other things I have going at the moment. Thanks again!

  21. It is absolutely beautiful!
    We visited the So.Korean embroidery museum yesterday in Gangneung and your tree could absolutely be part of their exhibit!

  22. Mary
    If the leaf in the upper left hand corner is the one that bothers you I understand. For some reason it reads very stripey to me. What might you change it with?
    I too would like this design in an e-book.
    This is only my opinion.:)

  23. Hello,

    May I ask if you have a more detailed guide as to how you did this? More close ups of the leaves? I’d like to do the same as you. It’s really beautiful.

    Best regards,

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