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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Weekend Stitching: A Few Flakes Down, Two to Go


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My adventure in embroidering snowflakes in October has anticipated a touch of winter – maybe not as odd as snow in Texas last week, but it looks like this week is going to be a bit flaky here in Kansas.

Of course, if I mention it, it won’t happen. Weather in Kansas makes a liar out of anyone who tries to predict it with any accuracy ahead of time.

But let’s move on to embroidery! This morning, I’d like to share a quick update from the weekend and last week’s stitching adventures. I’ll also relate the rest of my plans for this frosty collection that’s steadily growing into a veritable blizzard on my work table.

Embroidered Snowflake in icy blues with beads

We better start with some icy blue. If I move too quickly into the restive reds & golds, I think some of you may very well balk.

I’ve been told by several friends that snowflakes should be silver, not gold. That they should be blue, not red. That they should look cold, not warm.

And I perfectly agree.

Most of the time.

When it comes to Christmas, though, I can’t help stirring in reds and golds. So you’ll just have to bear with me!

The flake above is particularly spiny and crystally. It sports a bunch of Miyuki delicas on a quick-to-stitch background of fly stitch, whipped stitches, and straight stitch in icy blues.

Embroidered Snowflake in wintermint color scheme with beads

Here we have a wintermint version of the snowflake featured in this article, this time without any metallics.

There are plenty of beads to add some subtle sparkle, though. The dotted areas that are not yet stitched will be tiny French knots.

Embroidered Snowflake in blue metallics with beads and crystal

I call this one my feather flake. It’s one of my favorite snowflakes so far – very simple and quick to stitch, but striking! The bugle beads combined with the icy blue Miyuki delicas worked out better than I initially thought they would, and I found I really liked the addition!

I could not resist a tiny Swarovski flat back crystal in the center.

You know why? Because I love sparklies!

I know there’s a school of thought that adheres to the principle that One Must Never Use Glue in Conjunction with Embroidery. And I know some folks will be shocked and horrified that I used glue to fix that crystal into place.

But I adhere to the principle that, if it works, it works.

And it all depends on the glue!

Embroidered Snowflake in blue metallics with beads and crystal

Please close your eyes if this makes you queasy!

Here’s the red and gold for the week.

I like this design and I like how it came out in reds and golds. I’m not 100% convinced on the beads, but – my word! – do you know how many choices of gold beads exist in the World of Beads? It’s hard to narrow down gold beads that work! These were my favorite of the ones I tested (but I didn’t have all that many to choose from, admittedly).

I like them. I’m not sure I love them. This flake will benefit from interpretation in a chillier color scheme this week, and I’m sure I’ll get a better idea of how to play with the embellishment.

Embroidered Snowflake in blue metallics with beads and crystal

I used quite a bit of red metallic on this one.

I like working with the icy blue metallics better, for some reason. I also prefer stitching with the #8 braid in the Au Ver a Soie metallics that I used on this flake:

Embroidered Snowflake in blue metallics with beads and crystal

This was the first flake I stitched in this whole sea of snowflakes that have been slowly developing. I’m not sure if I shared it here, but I shared it on social media, and I shared the pattern with members on my Patreon page.

It’s stitched in #8 braid from Au Ver a Soie, and golly! It took no time flat to work it up. What a great evening project!

This flake was embroidered on a heavier linen, though, which really worked well with the #8 braid. For all the other flakes, I’ve used a different linen that’s slightly lighter. It doesn’t support the heavier #8 braid as well.

Another one of those examples of how, when planning projects, you really have to be careful with your selection of ground fabric: what fabric are you using? how well will it support the techniques you want to use? how well will it support the threads you plan to use?

Snowflake Plans

My snowflake plans are pretty simple:

By the end of the week, all the patterns I’ve doodled up should be stitched. There are twelve in all, each different (as snowflakes should be). There’s one extra that I call “The Floofy Flake” (you saw it here and here).

There are two designs that can be used for ornament backs, too, that coordinate with the snowflake theme.

I’ve been working the flakes in three different loosely grouped color schemes, so some of the flakes have been stitched more than once.

I’ll be assembling these small 3″ versions into ornaments, so when I start that finishing process, I’ll be taking step-by-step photos to put together instructions for making them up.

Today, I’m printing and transferring enlarged versions of all the designs, scattered down the center of a beautiful icy linen table runner, to demonstrate how the designs can be used in their mixed-size versions for applications other than ornaments.

Next week, I’ll start assembling all the snowflake information into a nice little instructional, pattern, and project package for you (no kits this time!), which will be available on the website later in November.

My goal with the snowflakes is to create a collection similar to the Twelve Trees of Christmas, with a variety of designs that can be stitched up fairly quickly, that provide great little projects for winter evenings, that convert into holiday and winter decor, that can be put to use for decorating the home or made into heartfelt gifts for family and friends.

So if you love stitching snowflakes, winter decorations, ornaments, or household holiday goods, keep an eye out for all the snowflakes, in all their glory, next month!


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(15) Comments

  1. In terms of working with color combinations, I’m a TOTAL newbie.

    When stitching something with colors selected by someone else, I did notice, that DMC 326 and DMC 725 look really wonderful when they’re stitched side by side. I love the vividness and brightness. If you ask me, the red of that pair doesn’t really look all that red when by itself, but stitched right near this yellow it looks great.

    Still haven’t quite figured out what to do about an actual gold color, but if all I want is a vivid red/yellow (pseudo-gold) combo, this works well for me. I’ve been using it in my first self directed project and I’m really happy with it.

  2. Mary, how long is quick? 2 hours, 4 hours, 2 days?

    My son bought me some sew on snowflakes (Swarovski) from Fire Mountain Beads last year, they have many great shapes for those who are squeamish about glue.

    I always have trouble with gold beads. So once again the son comes through and sent me some gold lined delicata beads. The combo of the translucent glass with gold inside made a huge difference to my project.

    Son loves bling 🙂

    Can’t wait for the snowflake designs!

  3. Beautiful work! Y’know, if the stitcher likes red/gold and the family thinks that’s not for snowflakes, you could always call them New Years fireworks.

  4. Oh Mary, so loving this flaky project and directions it’s taking you. Red and gold will suit my Christmas house perfectly but I need to throw a tidgey bit of purple too, maybe on the border of the ornaments or just the date on the back.
    You’re so right about predicting snow too, most of the time if you think it’ll be a white commute you’re proved wrong, (thank you Mother Nature) but then there’s those mornings, and always when you forgot to raise the windshield wipers last night and you just want to turn around and go back to bed. I’ve got a sneaky feeling we’re going to have a La Nina winter in the Pacific Northwest this year.
    Happy flaky stitching in all their glorious colors, whatever they may be.

  5. All are enchanting. I do love the icy colors for snowflakery. But the red and gold one is actually my favorite. In truth, my brain doesn’t read that one as snowflake, but I am ever and always a sucker for reds and golds together and it draws me in with thoughts for many applications–reminds me of the kaleidoscopes, too. Anyway–another lovely set of ideas for winter stitching. Thanks, Mary!

  6. Mary
    Snowflakes are rare at this time of the year over here but we certainly use them in Christmas decoration 🙂 I am looking forward to the patterns and maybe being able to share some stitching sessions with my grand daughters before Christmas.
    in Oz

  7. The snowflakes are a lovely idea for little ornaments. I do love the blues, but the design of the reds and golds snowflake is beautiful.

    Forecsts of snow already! I hope you are not in for a really cold winter.

  8. Mary,
    I LOVE snowflakes, so I was really excited when you started stitching them. I loved seeing the first few, and then there were more, and more, and MORE!! 12 Snowflake patterns?? I can’t wait for your guide to come out next month! As I was reading, I was already planning to stitch up some flour-sack tea towels for the holidays with these once you published them!

    I love all your interpretations (even the red and gold ones! lol), and look forward to seeing more, especially that runner! Thank you, thank you!

    1. Hi, Kathleen – They’ll be coming out later in November! Just keep on eye on the website here, and I’ll announce it when they’re available. Thanks for asking!

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