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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (40) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

In the Embroidery Hoop this Weekend


Amazon Books

Happy Monday!

There were several things in my embroidery hoops this weekend. It was a fairly productive stitching weekend!

Every summer, I prepare a couple three week embroidery workshops for youth that start at the end of July and go well into August. This year, being a perpetual optimist, I plowed through preparations for this year’s sessions, thinking that things might change enough to reasonably plan for the classes. We take about 6 children or youth per 2 hour session, with two sessions a day, with the age groups meeting on a rotating schedule for a period of three weeks at a time.

They’re fun classes. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to give kids a skill that they can further develop, that will give them a hobby and creative outlet to turn to, and that, hopefully, will last them a life time.

Obviously, this year’s workshops aren’t going to happen. Even if Kansas is open enough to allow it by then, I don’t have space for social distancing – which would be the most unnatural thing in any craft workshop situation with young kids, anyway.

Weekend embroidery: Folk designs and linen tea cloth

Still, I began stitching samples for one of the summer workshop designs and I couldn’t quit. I figured I might as well finish it and its variations.

So this past weekend was devoted to some fun, bright, casual embroidery that I could let loose on, choosing whatever stitches and colors worked well on the folk designs you see above.

The Name Problem

It’s the funniest thing – I really have a problem naming designs. I have no idea what to call a collection of these types of happy, chipper, sunny, bright folk embroidery designs. The whole time I’ve been stitching them, I’ve been trying to come up with some way to refer to them.

“Folking About” kept coming to mind, but it’s hardly a universal reference and most folks wouldn’t get it. (And they might think I was being a bit… cheeky.)

(“Folking About” is a reference to The Salting of the Slug, a skit by Riders in the Sky – probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I grew up with it!)

But very little else has come to my poor, uncreative, muddled brain. Any ideas?

So those were finished this weekend.

A Linen Tea Cloth

The other thing in the hoop, you might recognize as one of the scroll designs in my ready-to-stitch scroll towel set. (I have a few of those available in the shop right now, along with some other designs, if you were waiting for them.)

But it’s not on a towel. It’s on a beautiful piece of crisp, white linen, hemmed up for a simple tea cloth (a square accent cloth for a table – this one is 30″ square).

I really wanted to try these designs on something a bit dressier. So I’m embroidering this square linen tea cloth with the designs around the edge.

We will see how that works out! I’ve modified the larger of the designs to stretch a bit longer on the center sides of the tea cloth. Because the stitching is relatively simple (I’m sticking with the stitching suggestions and colors for the original, that you can read about here), I hope to have it finished in a reasonable time. My thought is that I may prepare some (very limited) linen tea cloths, ready to stitch, for those who want to dress things up a step from flour sack towels. We’ll see!

I didn’t work on the Jacobean piece this weekend. I wanted to, but after I finished the folk designs above, I didn’t get back to stitching. You know how it is. Eventually, you have to face chores, laundry, and all those other exciting things!

For all the moms out there, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday! We had our first family Sunday brunch in about eight weeks, so that was nice!

If you have any name ideas for the folk designs, feel free to chime in below!

Enjoy your Monday!


Leave a Reply to Debbie Bacon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(75) Comments

  1. I think you should call the pattern “Country Dance”. I think that reflects the folk style, and the flowers and birds are dancing together.

  2. Lovely pattern. I like the idea of the linen clothes rather than the tea towels. Sad to say I’m not a big fan of the towels. And yes, housework eats up time and energy; and it seems this stay in place policy is zapping my internal energy to do anything. Got to get my mo-jo back.

  3. hi Mary,
    You have generously kept us entertained, encouraged and educated throughout our isolation. Thanks for all that. My suggestion for a name for your new designs would be “Designs for a Bummer Summer”

  4. The youth embroidery reminds me of a Pennsylvania Dutch embroidery. The word “Americana” also popped into my mind. May be those words will spark a good name. Good luck!

  5. Love this pattern ..colirs look like the Mexican fashion neckline on clothes..blouse..dresses. Folklorico is what I would call it. love ur work–!

  6. Hi Mary,

    As with all your designs, these are wonderful – a few name ideas in case you haven’t come up with the one you want yet.

    Just Folks
    For the Love of Folk
    All About Folk
    Folk Fun
    Flower Folk
    Folk Flora
    Folk Forever
    Forever Folk
    Folkus (pronounced Focus)
    Hocus Folkus
    Folk Story

    Thank you for your wonderful embroidery blog. I tell everyone about it. It’s a fantastic resource.

    Justine Beaudoin

  7. On yes, “The Salting of the Slug”–another great story from the Riders in the Sky. Nice designs too-very folkish, cheerful, and pretty. Love the colors. I’m terrible at names also so can’t help you there.

    1. Jayne got here first, but yes, my idea would be Bluebirds of Happiness, too. I love the design…i like bright, cute, engaging folkloric designs like this!

  8. I am Hispanic and these remind me of designs my Grandma used to draw when she first started teaching me hand stitching. She used pieces of old sheets that she hemmed beautifully even though they were just for practice purposes, not the nice towels you use. So how about “Parajitos y Flores” – “Birds & Flowers”. Thanks, Mary, for your creativeness and willingness to share.

  9. Let the young needle artists name the design! Just call it the Summer 2020 collection or some such placeholder name.

    Love you and your site, Mary. Glad your family could get together.

  10. Happy Birds, Sunny Birds, Spring Bouquet all come to mind. Love all your designs! I’m always recommending your instructional videos to my EGA chapter. Thank you!!

  11. Hello Mary,
    Your towel decorations are really charming. Perhaps you could call them “Bluebird of Happiness Designs.” They have a “German Schwalm”, and also “Pennsylvania Dutch” look to them.

  12. Hi Mary!
    I read about your difficulty in coming up with names for your patterns and I just had to chime in. I am a firm believer in K.I.S.S. and from just your description I thought “Brite Folk” would fit. You always choose fun, brite colors for your folk designs and even if there are no people in the designs I think Brite Folk would work.

    Keep up the great work. Sue

  13. Hi, Mary,
    I love the vibrancy and movement in the folk designs for the summer kids’ class-that-never-happened. I would call them Folk Art Fancy, or Folk Art Fun, or even Folk Art Fiesta. Thans for sharing them with us! Have a great day!

  14. Stitching is my happy place, virus or not. And stitching these pretty birds and flowers would brighten any day! I’d call the set O, Happy Day!

  15. Thank you for the trip down memory lane! You don’t hear of too many people these days who know about Riders in the Sky! I grew up on Sons of the Pioneers, & Riders sound just like them. My husband took me to see Riders in the Sky for my 50th here in town.

  16. Birds and Blooms? Birds and Buds? Feathers & Flowers? I love them, btw, I’m really hoping you’ll have them on tea towels or downloads. Or even just printed onto nice linen for sewing, because it’s so nice to find lovely designs preprinted without the challenge of transferring. I LOVE the birds. And the colors are so bright and cheerful! Abbi

  17. Yeah! Real linen. If I’m going to embroider towels, they have to be linen to last.
    I made the mistake of embroidering cotton napkins. That was 3 years ago, and they already have holes. The linen ones, look hardly worn.

    Love your Scandi Birds. I had a class with a Finnish teacher, who brought an ancient books with many of these types of designs. All of them were either in red or blue.
    This rainbow one is quite fun.

  18. Why not call your folk designs “Dutch Magic?” Or “Dutch Delights?” They look very much like Pennsylvania “Dutch” (Amish) hex symbols to me!

  19. How about Sweet Summer Fancies or Summer Blooms and Birdies…
    They are very cheerful and I love the colors!

  20. Hi Mary,
    I don’t know whether it would work for your youth-oriented workshops, but *IF* all those youngsters have computer access, you may want to consider teaching via facetime of zoom. There are music lessons, dance sessions and all sorts of active pursuits over there, wo why not embroidery?
    Stitching right along,

  21. I love the tea towels with the folk art designs Mary! Such bright, cheerful colors! Do you have this pattern available for sale? I would really love to purchase them if you do.

    Thank you!

  22. I love all your towel designs, but I think these are my favorite so far. How about “Cheerful Chirps”?
    Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be just right. Thank you for all the lovely and informative work you do.
    Stay safe and well.

  23. Like Nina I immediately thought “Pennsylvania Dutch”. How about Pennsylvania Dutch Fantasy or something like that? (I am terrible with names for things also, trying to name my paintings gives me fits at times!). Love this design. Just lovely. It would look sooo pretty on so many things, clothing, quilt blocks, etc. I think this is your best design yet. Sorry about your summer classes. 🙁

  24. This may be simplistic but how about: Folk designs Kansas Style ….. or
    a Happy Place Folk Designs

  25. Please offer the folk designs in a ready to stitch kit. Either as a tea cloth or towels. I would prefer towels, I still have people left who need a set. I love your site, thank you for your freely shared information.

    Linda Goode

  26. I would call them “Chirp! Flowers” or “Chirp Flowers”. The birds look so cheerful and the flowers are so bright and sunny 🙂

  27. Ah, yes! Riders in the Sky! Have loved them for years.

    Someone suggested Folkways for the name – I was thinking that, too! The designs and colors are beautiful.

  28. Can I suggest “Adora Flora” for your teaching piece of embroidery. Looks like a great teaching project. Well done, Mary … and thank you for your fabulous efforts in keeping embroidery alive all over the world (Australia in my case). Without your contribution I wouldn’t be stitching at all. Your explanations and videos of stitching techniques and beyond are simple and easy to follow. If I can’t work it out I “go to Mary”. Kind regards, Carol.

  29. Another vote that these charming designs have a Pennsylvania Dutch “Fraktur” art feel about them, especially the “distelfink-ish” bird motifs. I like the suggestion “Country Dance”, or maybe “Lancaster Spring” or “Folk Fancy” (also a pun on “plain folk” or Amish)?

    1. Yes, it’s that Pennsylvania Dutch look, too. So many styles of folk design share that similar look. I love the barns in that area of the country!

  30. Mary, I read with interest of your annual summer embroidery classes for young kids. I think that it is great thing. It seems that stitchery of all types is not so popular anymore. Wonderful that you share your time and talents. My late Mother taught me sewing, embroidery and crochet. I can still see her hands in my mind. Alas, my daughter had no interest. But, I am still making merry with the needle and hook. Thanks for all you do. Love reading your blog and always look forward to each one you share.

  31. I Lve this ,I get the folk artof the design but, to attract the younger generation it comes across Boho to me and is very popular now ??? Just an idea.Have fun stitch on!

  32. I think the best name for these colorful embroideries would be “Just Folks” or “Just us Folks”.

    Is there any way you could prepackage them into kits for kids? You could have zoom classes for sure!!

  33. How about “Bird in Hand” ? There are birds and it’s a hand towel. Also Bird-in-Hand is the name of a town in the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, Amish country.

  34. Naming something is something I also struggle with. So I usually don’t bother. That being said, I thought of ‘Folksy Birds and Blooms’. Not at all creative but descriptive. Always enjoy your blog so keep it up.

  35. The old Shaker tune, Simple Gifts, comes to mind when I look at these folksy designs and mostly primary colors. That’s the name I would give it.

  36. How about “Stitching For Folks”. The other thought I had was “Summer Daze”.
    Both silly I know, all this mess and seriousness lately has made me crave some silliness. Take care and stay well.

  37. please let me know when:

    Tulips & Tweets Ready to Stitch Towel Set
    $24.00 SOLD OUT

    Is available?
    Thank you!
    Debbie Bacon

    1. Hi, Debbie – There’s limited stock today. If they sell out before you get to them, please email me at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com to be placed on the Advanced Notice list. I can’t add you to that list from here.


More Comments