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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More Embroidered Snowflakes… and Blizzards


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I really wouldn’t wish a blizzard on anyone this early in the year… unless, of course, it’s a blizzard of embroidered snowflakes!

When I was a kid growing up in New England, I loved blizzards. As a child, after all, I didn’t really understand all the contingent factors that come with major weather events.

Embroidered Snowflakes

My family lived about an hour from Boston in the winter of 1978, during one of the most devastating blizzards that area has known. I was just a little kid at the time, but that weather event made a huge impression on me.

My dad was unfortunately caught out on the road. He was lucky to be able to find a small hotel to put up in. He didn’t make it home for four days.

We didn’t have school for at least a week! (No complaints there!)

Embroidered Snowflakes

I remember coming downstairs the morning after the greater part of the system went through. The house was uncannily dim. Snow had drifted over our windows and we couldn’t see out.

Outside, when the system had passed, the drifted snow was well over my head.

Embroidered Snowflakes

Unbeknownst to my mother, my sisters and I rode a sled down the snowdrift out of our bedroom window to the yard two stories below. Well, we were children, after all – and blissfully oblivious!

Embroidered Snowflakes

As a kid, I loved snow! I loved seeing it fall, going out and playing in it, catching snowflakes on my mittens and counting the seconds until they melted away.

I loved coming inside to warm up from it.

Embroidered Snowflakes

I loved all the cozy notions surrounding a snowy day – hunkering down inside to play, drinking cocoa, a fire in the fireplace while the wind whipped about outside.

I loved snow days, when we’d wake up very early in the morning and desperately listen for the horn that sounded in the distance to announce that there was no school.

Embroidered Snowflakes

And even as an adult, when the adventuresome call to play is not quite the same (!), when snow pretty much equates with inconvenience if you have to go anywhere, when I’m no longer part of the school scene (so a snow day really doesn’t matter) … I still love snow!

The exquisite, sculptured beauty of a snow-covered landscape; the glitter and sparkle and sometimes blinding whiteness of covered fields; the sugar-coated black tree limbs; the serene silence after a good snowfall – I hope for and anticipate these delights every winter.

Embroidered Snowflakes

So I thought I’d pay tribute this year to that ephemeral, icy little wonder – small in size but mighty in artistic and structural appeal – that we call the snowflake!

Remembering that folks appreciated the structure and scope of Twelve Trees for Christmas, I decided to create a series of snowflakes along the same lines.

I developed twelve designs and gathered supplies for many color schemes, which I subsequently cut down to about three general color groupings.

Then, reducing the flakes to 3″ from their farthest tips in order to make them ornament-sized, I prepared samples in the different color schemes, using a variety of threads – metallics, silks, and cottons, with options for substitutions so that people would have a place to start when choosing their own colors.

Focusing on a finishing technique that is accessible and easy, I put together some of the snowflakes as ornaments and photographed the process in easy-to-follow steps.

Embroidered Snowflakes

The ornament backs are embroidered, too, some with dates and some without, depending on preference.

Then, I decided that, while ornaments are fun, the designs can be used for oh-so-much more when it comes to decorating for the holidays and for winter when the holidays are over.

So I enlarged the designs and transferred several randomly placed, mixed-up sizes onto a table runner. I’ve been stitching whitework snowflakes on the runner for about a week now, in order to demonstrate the scope and usefulness of the designs. They’re not just for ornaments!

And you know what I like best about the snowflakes? Individually, they don’t take that long to stitch, and they aren’t highly taxing.

Oh, and there’s bling!

I have had so much fun with this project!

So for those who have asked, keep an eye out for my snowflake collection in just a few weeks! I can’t wait to share them with you! I hope you’ll like them as much as I do – and I hope you enjoyed today’s little sneak peek.

Happy Monday!


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(36) Comments

  1. I was in Chicago for ’78. We got blasted, as well; a foot or so of snow every day for a week. Then, in 96, I was in a Philly suburb where we got 42″ of snow that drifted up to 2nd story roof-tops. My kids begged me to let them jump out our bedroom window, but good sense prevailed.
    I have to say I much prefer your snowflakes to the ones on our sidewalks those years! I especially love the far right in the center row. Hoorah! Another project to add to my list of 217 and counting!

    1. I truly loved the snowstorms we had/have in Lancaster County PA, the dark, drab winters became a bright, white dance creating a sparkling wonderland 🙂

  2. I am also from MA and was 2 during the ‘78 blizzard and got to hear all about it from everyone for many years. We had some wicked Nor’easters in the 90’s, too. Miss living in New England.

    Looking forward to the snowflakes!

  3. love the snowflakes and can’t wait until the collection comes out! Your story brought back memories…I lived in the Back Bay of Boston that year and was planning my wedding. I walked to my office near the North End in the storm because there was electricity (and a shower) there and we didn’t have heat or hot water at my apartment. I was there 3 days and when I walked home, finally, a bridal shop was open on Newbury Street – they had been stuck there through the storm. I bought my wedding dress 3 days after the storm finished.

  4. Oh, how I envy you for your snow memories! We don’t get very much in the way of snow in Holland, and, yes, I’m aware of all the drawbacks, lol, but I do love it nonetheless 🙂
    So fingers crossed for some “White Delight” this year, I’d even settle for a smattering of it for Christmas (can’t remember ever having a white one…)
    But it’s good to know there will be stitchy snowflakes, if all else fails 😉

  5. Snowflakes!! Just what I have been looking for. I am in the process of appliquéing a snowman runner for the dining room table and need snowflakes to fill the middle to tie it together. This is a Jan-Feb project — looking forward to doing. Thank you, thank you for this timely post.

  6. What an appropriate post in my morning email, as I’m looking out my window here in Lawrence (KS) at a host of snowflakes riding into town on a blast of north wind!

    It’s definitely a good morning for the hunkering -down and the cocoa. 🙂

  7. I’m stitching your 12 Trees for Christmas right now, and they are positively addicting. Having so much fun with them. Can’t wait for the snowflakes to come out. I’ll be first in line.

  8. I grew up in Philadelphia (and now live in a suburb just outside of Philadelphia) and always looked forward to snow days! While our winters weren’t as blustery as a New England winter, we still had lots of snow and icy cold temperatures. I was laughing at your comment about going sledding with your sisters out your window!! Did you ever tell your parents? While I’ve never seen snow that high, we have had a good 24-30 inches that stopped our area and surrounding areas for a good week too! As an adult, I now understand how scary it can be, but I still look forward to seeing, as you so eloquently described, the quiet, serene beauty of a few inches of white bedding that covers the grass like a blanket and envelopes the tree branches with glowing icicles dripping from the ends. A cup of hot cocoa and a good view out the window makes for a peaceful morning.
    Thank you for sharing this memory and for your gorgeous snowflakes which I am so looking forward to seeing!

  9. Oh, Mary. These are really beautiful. And I loved your story, too.i grew up in Wisconsin and had a similar childhood. I love snow.

  10. Love the beautiful snowflakes! They look like so much fun to stitch! I was in Boston, a freshman in college, the blizzard of ‘78. We couldn’t open our dorm door so we did the same thing, jumped out the second floor windows into the drifts! So much fun!

  11. These will definitely be on my “must have” list, just like the Christmas trees were when they came out. Somebody’s (or multiple somebodies) Christmas card will have a beautiful snowflake on it. These are lovely, Thank You!!

  12. Oh, I like the green/red/gold snowflake. It looks like evergreen/fir branches arranged in a snowflake pattern. That is so neat. And it’s sparkly too.
    Not very winter themed or natural for a snowflake perhaps, and you’d lose part of the fir effect if you applied the colors on some of the other snowflake-shapes, but it’s cheerful and pretty and full of holiday spirit. And unsual too. It’s definitely one of my favourites so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest :). Stepping outside of the “classic” cool colors paid off, I think.
    The blue/gold combination looks good too.

  13. Loved your recall on snow days as a kid. I left Indiana when I was 11 so all my memories were of fun in the snow…..then we moved to Ohio as an adult and I found out why adults grumbled. I buried the car once and then took taxi’s for five years….they were cheap back then. I live in a hot state now so seldom see snow but it is a treat when it does. I look forward to your new snow flakes coming online to see……now I just have to get a printer. Thanks for all that you do.

    I loved the needlework news snips recently. I always learn something new.

  14. Beautiful. I think these will be great to pick up in the few minutes between the busy holiday preparations. Thanks Mary I will be watching for these.

  15. The snowflakes are beautiful and look like they are great fun to stitch. It’s sometimes nice to step away from the more serious or demanding embroidery and just enjoy some easier stitching.
    I was enchanted by your story too. Having grown up in Johannesburg, South Africa, snow was virtually unknown, let alone a heavy snowfall or a blizzard. That only happened in books.

  16. I remember the Blizzard of 78 very well. I was very pregnant with my daughter. When it was time to go to the hospital we had to follow a National Guard plow on tracks (like a tank) to get there. My daughter arrived safely into a white world. To this day she loves snow.

    1. I’m finishing most of the series as ornaments – I’ll be including finishing instructions in the final e-book – but I’ve also transferred a few on a table runner than I’m doing in whitework, and I just started mapping out a “quick” project for using the snowflakes enlarged in heavier threads on a not-ready-to-reveal project! There are plenty of ways to use the designs, but I’m finishing these samples on the white linen as ornaments.

  17. Mary,

    I can’t wait to get my hands on your snowflake collection! I’ve been drooling over all the gorgeous snowflakes you’ve been stitching. I need that collection ASAP to make Christmas gifts. 😉
    Thank you for all your hard work making these patterns for us.

    1. I’m pushing a two week deadline on them, Cayce – hoping to have them out by the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s getting a bit tight, though! (As panic rushes in….)

  18. Lol, I was 5 and I remember that blizzard too. I was on the East coast in a small Pennsylvania town. Now I live on the prairie in southern Minnesota. We have a lot of blizzards here. It’s still exciting but I never loved to play in it. Thank you for reminding me of its charm and wonder. Thank you for reminding me to thank Him for it.

  19. Hi, I was trying to find your second book on snowflakes…the one you mentioned in this article about blizzards. Is it available?
    Thanks and best wishes,

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