Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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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Weekend Embroidery: Stitching the Trunk, Floche, and Changing my Mind


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I’ve made a little more progress on the Jacobean Blues embroidery that I showed you last week, but as usual when I first set out on an embroidery project and start exploring stitch options, I’ve had a few Moments of Pause.

I’ve changed my mind once.

And I’m pretty sure I’m going to change it again.

Today, I’ll show you what I’ve done so far, talk about the thread a bit, show you an element that got stitched & removed, and share my thought processes along the way, for whatever they’re worth.

Jacobean Blues embroidery project

This is the trunk. There are some adjustments I want to make in it. Close up, I like it ok. As I back up from it, the white takes over, and since it’s not equal everywhere, it tends to look a bit wobbly.

There is a reasonable chance – a pretty certain chance – that I might stitch this whole area again.

Then again, I might very carefully pick out some of the areas that are bothering me, and just re-stitch those. I’ll let you know.

Jacobean Blues embroidery project

Even if I’m not entirely sold on the embroidery itself, I love the thread!

As I mentioned in last week’s article, I’m using floche, which is a non-divisible, softly twisted, fine cotton thread with a sheen to it. You can read this article on three reasons to try floche here, if you want to learn more about the thread.

If you’re looking for floche in the States, you can find it through Needle in a Haystack, where they sell it in whole hanks and also broken down in quarter and half hanks – both of which will give you a lot of thread.

Although you can’t blend on linear stitching with floche as well as you can with regular cotton floss, it’s still a wonderful thread to work with. I love it!

Why Aren’t You Using Silk?

That said, someone asked me why I am not using silk. And I’m having Much Pause over that question.

Why am I not using silk?

Or, more to the point:

Why am I NOT using silk?

I suppose I just wanted to stitch with floche. There may be another reason hovering in the back of my head, but I can’t recall it at the moment!

The question started me thinking about using silk, and you can imagine what kind of dilemma that puts me in.

It’s tough being a thread addict. It’s kind of like being faced with a candy buffet. You approach, for example, with just a tiny piece of licorice on your mind, but then you realize there’s a whole world of fruit slices and gummies and chocolates and crunchy things and every kind of other known sweet stretching out before you. Before you know it (and human nature being what it is), that bite of licorice by itself just isn’t enough. Your mind boggles at the choices!

But then a sense of calm overtakes you. You pause, take a deep breath, skip it all, and head straight to the French pastries and the Italian coffee.

So I’m pausing on that whole silk question, momentarily.

Jacobean Blues embroidery project

This little exercise in satin stitch didn’t last.

I love these blues, but I don’t like the mid-tone blue by itself. It reminds me of that ’80’s blue when I see it – kind of a dusty, “country” blue that I’m not very fond of. So when I saw this solid mass of color, I immediately rebelled and cut it all out.

Jacobean Blues embroidery project


I feel better when I cut out things that I don’t like.

And I always feel better when there’s no doubt about what I like or don’t like. In this case, it was a clear-cut I Don’t Like It.

I’ll keep you up to date on what happens with this particular piece!

Where’s the Design for Jacobean Blues?

For those who have asked me to post the design, the whole piece will eventually be available here on Needle ‘n Thread. It will most likely be a project e-book, although I’ll be walking through my process here on the blog as I work through it. Even if you don’t have the design, you can still pick up tips and techniques for your own designs – or similar projects – as we progress.

In the meantime, though, at the beginning of August, I’ll be sharing the pattern for this design with my patrons over here on my Patreon page, as a big thank you for your support!

What’s Patreon? It’s a platform where patrons can collectively support websites, craftspersons, artists, and so forth who gives them something of value. I use it primarily to keep Needle ‘n Thread (and my YouTube channel) free of annoying network advertising that you find on most blogs and videos today. If this interests you, you can find my Patreon page here.


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(10) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    I like what you have done with the trunk I think it looks lovely with the different shades of blue. But I agree with you on the mid-tone blue I didn’t like it. Lovely another e-book I can’t wait. I like silk thread but I’ve been stitching with floche thread lately and its a lovely thread to work with, its thicker then silk thread and it looks great. Thanks for sharing with us your progress on this project and for your observations on the various techniques that you are using. Happy Monday.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. You are so right with the feeling of “not liking it”. I really appreciate when I clearly know while I am stitching that I don’t like something. It is easier for me to cut. Tho sometimes I stitch a full piece and just a detail in the middle really bother me and if I start to cut the threads, I also cut the good part.
    I’ve just discover your blog, I really like it, I love the fact that you share your embroidery journey through blog posts.
    I love the tone of blue you use, and I have to say the precision of your stitches are incredible.
    Have a great day,

  3. Love reading your newsletters. Not sure where I heard this but Floche was discontinued. It’s a shame. Melita

  4. Hi Mary!
    That’s a beautiful job right there! May I ask you if it’s hand-embroidered or if you used a machine?

  5. The “80’s” blue—I laughed when I read that and knew just what you meant.! At a Secret Santa gift exchange in the late 80’s, one woman was delighted with her blue and soft maroon dish towel and potholder and exclaimed that it goes perfectly with her kitchen. Another woman said, “Jan, that goes with everyone’s kitchen.” That’s the only thing I remember of the party 30 years later.

  6. Have you thought about using a white velveteen fabric with this design? I think it would look quite attractive using that background.

    1. Hi, Linda – Do you mean velveteen with a pile? Like velvet? The difficulty with velveteen and any fabric with a pile is that your embroidery stitches will sink into the pile and look either irregular or disappear completely, depending on the thread you’re using and the type of pile on the fabric. Normally, when stitching on velveteen or on velvet, you need to put a fabric on top of the ground fabric – like a sheer organza, for example – do the stitching, and then cut away the excess of the sheer fabric, in order for the embroidery not to sink into the pile. I could see doing something like this on velvet, in those circumstances, but with the detailed areas, it could be very tricky when it came to cutting the excess fabric away.

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