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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Finishing Idea for Tapestry Smalls: Pocket Watch – & Kits in Stock!


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I am a bad shopper.

When I go shopping with a purpose – whether it be to find specific embroidery supplies, fabric… food, clothes, shoes, it doesn’t matter what – I am invariably a failure. I rarely find exactly what I’m looking for when I set out.

Eventually, I settle for something that “will do” and I call it quits. This can be very frustrating, and it generally puts me off shopping. I see shopping as a drudge. A Chore.

There are, of course, exceptions. The exceptions are generally those spontaneous shopping excursions that are completely unintended, when I go with someone else for company, to drive, or just to get out and refresh my outlook. It is in those circumstances that I find everything that I looked for in the past twenty shopping trips. Needful things, interesting things, delightful things – they all fall right in front of me.

And such was the case when I came across this fantastic little pocket watch casing. It was serendipitous.

I had haunted many antique stores looking for an old pocket watch casing that I could use for finishing one of my tapestry smalls from A Thousand Flowers. I never found one.

Not in an antique store, anyway…

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

Instead, one day, I was traipsing through JoAnn’s (which is a sewing & craft store here in the US) with a niece, not looking for anything in particular. I was just along alone for the ride while she bought a zipper or some such item.

I had long given up the pocket watch idea.

Suddenly, I heard music. I think it was the glorified song of angels busting forth a magnificent song something along the lines of “aaaaaahhhh.”

Then, a shaft of light from heaven came shining down on a package hanging on a peg nestled among some steampunk jewelry findings that I was sidling past, uninterested.

Within that package was a glass fronted pocket watch casing. It wasn’t “real” in the pocket watch sense. It had a glass cover, faceted. There was no watch in it. It wasn’t vintage – but it was made to look vintage.

And behold, my heart leapt. Could it work? asked I.

Why not? it answered.

And home we went, together.

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

Fast forward several months, to a time when I finished stitching this deer design which matches the other four tapestry smalls in A Thousand Flowers.

(The deer is not included in the original four charts in A Thousand Flowers, but I will be happy to make it available as a single chart supplement if folks are interested in stitching it, too. Any interest?)

I took out my pocket watch casing and gathered about me all kinds of things that I thought would be needed to finish this for fitting inside the pocket watch.

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

In fact, all I really needed was my circle template (that’s the green thing with the circles in it, in the photo further up), a piece of 1/4″ thick wool felt (you can find it on Etsy, if you’re looking), a small piece of dark red wool felt, and a needle and thread.

The thick wool felt, by the way, was a purchase from some five years ago, when I was making felt blocks to store needles in. I never thought it would come in handy for anything else, but here it was, ready and waiting!

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

The nice thing about this felt is that you can shape it by trimming the edges. It didn’t have to be perfect, but it did have to fill the cavity nice snugly.

If you don’t have the high density, thick felt, no worries. You can cut out several circles of wool felt and stack them to fill the shape, trimming as necessary.

I trimmed the thick wool felt to fit within the cavity of the pocket watch. And then I cut a small round of the red wool felt to top the thick wool felt.

Then, I just finished the tapestry small around the two pieces, in the same finishing method described in A Thousand Flowers, working over the back of the silk gauze with stitches so that it fit the felt shape.

Then I tucked the whole thing into the pocket watch, tapestry side up. Finished! It took a whole ten minutes, maybe.

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

The glass lid on the pocket watch – which, in fact, releases at the top, just like a real pocket watch – makes it perfect for displaying small piece of stitchery inside.

It’s almost as if the piece were designed with the tapestry smalls in mind! They fit perfectly.

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

The whole watch makes a lovely ornament. It would look great on a tree or as a small decoration on an ornament stand or an antique pocket watch stand.

It could also, technically, be worn as a piece of jewelry, which a chain running through the top of the watch. You could add a jump ring if you wanted. It’s a little weighty, but not super-heavy.

The glass facets along the edge add a nice decorative quality and a little reflective sparkle to the front, but they don’t take away from what’s inside.

Silk Gauze embroidery finished in a pocket watch setting

You can see that the whole watch is not too large, either.

I loved putting this together – and the more I look at it, the more I think it would be fun to stitch all four tapestry smalls again and finish them in the pocket watch, for a set of matching ornaments. I might do that, when my project line-up loosens up again.

The Deer Chart Supplement

If you already have the original A Thousand Flowers: Four Tapestry Smalls e-book and you want to add the deer to your collection, you can find the supplement with the deer chart available here in my shop.

Please note that the supplement contains the deer chart only (in three versions – color blocks with symbols, black and white symbols, and colored symbols, just like in the original e-book). There is no color & symbol key, no materials and thread list, and no stitching and finishing tips. You can print and use any color & symbol key from any chart in the original e-book, as all the keys are the same. To stitch the deer chart with the same color scheme, you need to own a copy of the original e-book, A Thousand Flowers: Four Tapestry Smalls, purchased either individually or with the kit.

Please note that the kit contains only enough silk gauze for four tapestry smalls, but it contains enough thread to do all five.

Where to Find the Supplies

Well, first of all, there’s A Thousand Flowers. If you’re eager for the kit – if you weren’t able to pick one up in the first batch – they are back in stock! I’m very excited about that! It took a while for one of the threads to make it over from France.

You will find the kit and e-book bundle here. The kits are limited in number, and whether or not I will do more is still up in the air. The cost of the kits are the retail value of the ingredients, and maybe even slightly less, depending on where you shop.

You can read all the details about the kit and e-book (contents of both, pictures of the projects, how the e-book delivery works, etc.) here.

For those of you who may have already purchased the e-book individually and you want the kit after all, go head and purchase the bundle (kit and e-book), then drop me a line with your purchase information. I will refund the discounted price of the e-book included in the bundle.

If you want to substitute your own thread and fabric from your stash to make your own smalls, you can find the e-book available by itself, here.

You can find the pocket watch available here through JoAnn craft and fabric store.

And if you’re looking for high density, thick wool felt, I recommend searching for it on Etsy. There are several available thicknesses through various sellers there. But be aware that it is quite pricy. I think stacking cuts of regular wool felt to fill the cavity would work as well, at a small fraction of the cost.


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(30) Comments

  1. What a great find! Thanks for sharing. Also, I’d love to stitch up the deer tapestry small to go with the others. Please make it available for purchase!

  2. Thanks for making the kits available again – I was finally in time to order one! And yes, I’d love it if you’d make the pattern for the deer available. It would be a nice addition to the set.
    Mary in MN

  3. Hi Mary.

    I’m interested in the deer pattern. I’m looking forward to receiving my kit. I have never tried anything so tiny, so it should be fun.

    The pocket watch finishing is a great idea!!

  4. What a great idea! I would never have thought of that and it looks adorable. Imagine a few of them in a glass display cabinet, it would look beautiful. Your work is awesome, Mary.

  5. That’s a good use of the pocket watch. Please release the deer pattern. I’m enjoying the other smalls and want to stitch more.

  6. Hi Mary,

    Please make the pattern available for the deer. I’ve already downloaded “A Thousand Flowers” and I would love to have the addition of the deer.

    Thanks so much.


  7. Thank you for these lovely patterns. I dithered about buying the kit since it was first offered. I wished I had done it then but luckily, I just did so and am looking forward to it. Could you please make the deer into a pattern? I am planning on making them as gifts and the deer would be just perfect to add to the collection.

  8. Mary, please release the deer pattern supplement for us to buy. I bought the kit when it first came out and I’ve stitched all four tapestry smalls. The kit is perfect in every way. I still have plenty of thread to stitch the deer. I had so much fun stitching the first four and I can’t wait to add another to the collection. I’ve been finishing them as ornaments, using your instructions for pin keeps in your ebook Lavender Honey and combining them with the instructions in A Thousand Flowers. They turn out darling. Thank you so much for releasing such a nice quality kit, with plenty of thread, and such beautiful charts. I’ll be watching for the deer! 🙂

  9. Yes, Mary! Please release the deer. I bought the first kit when it came out. I’m almost finished with the last one, the squirrels, and I would love to keep going since I still have enough thread left. They’re like reading a good novel. I don’t want them to end so if you can come up with other animals that would be good, too. Let me know or will you just mention it here on the website? I get your email so I will be waiting. Thanx!

  10. Dear Mary

    What a lovely find and just right for the Thousand Flowers Tapestry it’s always the way when you are not looking you find something you have wanted for a long time. I would love to purchase the deer pattern and try stitching the tapestry it would be fun, I already have a lot of Soie silk thread which I haven’t used so this would be great to try. Thanks for sharing with us you lovely find and for the Thousand Flowers kits and patterns. Happy Monday.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  11. The pocket watch is delightful! So glad you found it and mentioned it here! And yes, it would be great to have the deer design to go with the other four. I’m really looking forward to having my kit arrive for those — thank you for making another batch!

  12. I would love it if you made the deer pattern available for purchase as a pdf. This is the design that speaks to me. The joy is in the stitching.

  13. Wow, that’s really gorgeous Mary, and what an original way to finish the piece – it would never have occurred to me.

  14. I haven’t seen this watch at Joanns so I’ll be on the lookout. I would definitely vote for a chart with the deer!

  15. Oh Mary, looked for the pocket watch and noticed it is not available for shipping . Any chance of finding one in UK do you think?

    1. You might look up Jim Holtz products and see if there’s anyone in the UK that carries them. According to the description and package, this one is an “exclusive” product for JoAnn’s, but they may offer the same thing – or one very similar – in different packaging in different countries.

  16. Oh Mary, this won’t be the first time you’ve started a mini-obsession! And I mean that in the very best possible way! XO

  17. Hi Mary
    Great find! I love your tapestry smalls -have just set up the gauze to start. Please publish the deer design!
    And just want to let you know all your hard work providing a fantastic resource for needleworkers is greatly appreciated!
    Thanks very much

  18. Whoa! My resistance to counted work seems to be crumbling…first your thousand flowers projects lurking in the back of my mind–and in not daunting sizes–and now the deer under beveled glass! Oh my! What to do…what to do…

  19. I love A Thousand Flowers! I have ordered the kit. Yes, please make the deer available!

    I went to JoAnn Fabrics tonight and the pocket watch they had had amber glass rather than clear glass. There was no other peg for a clear glass watch. I asked a clerk to help, but she couldn’t find where there might be clear ones available.

  20. I love it, and doing a complete set as ornaments bellissimo! Funny I just found a square of that wonderful wool felt in my stash. It is a wonderful green with heather highlights. Since I can’t remember what project I bought it for, this might nudge me into trying these smalls that have been haunting me.

  21. This is absolutely gorgeous Mary! My Mom used to have an antique pocket watch she wore on a thick rope chain as a pendant and it looked lovely with sweaters – I think this would make an amazing pendant too 🙂 As someone familiar with the jewelry findings section (admittedly, in Canada with Michaels), the collections are usually short-lived and seasonal, and Tom Holtz’s line tends to sell out fast. So if you want a set, I’d buy the extra pendants now and keep them on hand, just in case!

  22. Mary, what a beautiful project but, with my eyes I could not even think of attempting anything that small. But, I will have to tell you that I love pocket watches, and came across one at a resale shop, not real expensive as I think it was a reproduction, but this would have been perfect for your project. I too hate to shop for anything for myself because I seldom find anything in my size or to my tastes. But, what you did with your find was just perfect. Thanks for sharing.

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