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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A Thank You for a Thank You: This Embroidered Quilt


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A few weeks ago, I was surprised, astonished, gobsmacked even, a little humbled, very touched, and downright delighted to receive an unexpected gift in the mail. Today, I want to show it to you.

It’s the tale of eleven stitchers who put together their skills to create a quilt. They are all part of my Needle ‘n Thread Community page on Facebook. They corresponded by email, and the coordinator of the project included all their correspondence and their stories as they worked through the quilt in a notebook so that I could know each of the participants just a little bit.

The quilt is meant as a Thank You – I see it as a testament to the whole idea of Community and Kindness which naturally developes through needlework.

Much like this embroidered banner from the Valley Quail EGA chapter, the quilt will hang on my studio wall with pride of place. It will be a lovely source of inspiration and a conversation and instructional piece that I can use with my local students. It’ll be a source of cheer for me – a daily reminder of the kindness and generosity of the needlework community and of these eleven ladies!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

The quilt is a perfect size for a wall hanging. Enclosed with it were several leftover pieces of the background fabrics, so I’m making some fabric tabs to attach to the top and bottom. I’ll hang the quilt on a rod, with a rod inserted at the base as well, so that it hangs straight and true. I’ll situate my EGA banner above it.

It’ll be a wonderful display!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

I always figured these kaleidoscope designs would make great quilt squares! I am so happy to see I’m not the only one! This is one of the designs that I’ve been itching to stitch, but I’ve just never had the chance. Great colors and stitch choices!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

Here we have a sheep on a sunny hill, under a blooming tree, surrounded by floral vines with birds, and lots of bees! (I think there’s a touch of Lavender Honey & Other Little Things here!)

Such a sweet representation of an idyllic spring day, all wound up in a lovely crazy quilt-styled square!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

What embroiderer doesn’t love a beautiful pair of scissors?

This particular pair, surrounded by vines and blooms reminiscent of Stitch Sampler Alphabet, is remarkably stitched in great detail using metallics. This particular block has my mind swirling with ideas about stitching needlework tools. Wouldn’t it be fun to put together a series of vintage tool-related embroidery designs?

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

LOL! I think this says everything. A very precise summary of what embroidery is! And I love the art nouveau frame!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

Adorable! I love this little appliqué bird! So cute!

“Bloom where you are planted” has always been a favorite saying, too. I think it summarizes a good recipe for happiness.

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

The abundance of this block, the house shape – there’s a message here that resonates with me and my family. Without knowing it, the embroiderer has created a block that represents a kind of motto for my entire family. In all of our houses, we’ve pretty much all lived by this statement. You see, we’re a social bunch, and there’s always room for one more!

How could she have known how appropriate her embroidery would be? Definitely serendipitous!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

This little bear, stitched in Turkey work, reminds me so much of my childhood. I love the style of this fellow! And it’s the most tactile piece of embroidery – every person who has seen this (and I’ve shown it off to many family and friends!) has reached out and touched this little bear. He’s so cozy, and I love his smile.

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

Floral abundance on a heart – one of my favorite motifs for stitching! And lilacs! They are my favorite flower.

I have a lilac bush under my window at my studio, and there’s nothing more pleasant in spring than to have the window wide open so I can smell the lilacs while I’m stitching! Beautiful!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

Mmm, mm, mm. Speaking of serendipity, these are my kitchen colors – very Provinçial and cheery! I love the chicken! The stitching on this block is so precise and delicate!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

I love the simplicity and accuracy of this design. It doesn’t come out as clearly as it should – that’s my fault, because I took the photos before I could hang the quilt properly – but the circular layout on this is beautifully stitched and perfectly round. The design style of the floral elements and the whole piece is lovely!

Thank You Quilt with embroidered squares

And finally, Chicken Scratch! I’m such a huge fan of gingham embroidery. This pattern is especially pretty and so perfectly executed. I’m going to have to… you know… adopt it and try it myself. I haven’t gotten to play with gingham embroidery in a long, long time, but now I’m itching to try this pattern out!

Thank YOU!

You can imagine how this happy gift strikes me a bit speechless. It is hard to say thank you adequately for such a kind and caring gift of time and skill and generosity!

The English teacher in me keeps falling back on Shakespeare:

I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks!

Thank you, my friends!


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(23) Comments

  1. Oh the quilt is just lovely and such variations of our needlework!!!!!
    I cannot wait until you start the chicken scratch. I have always wanted to do it and have not even begun to do any.
    I am hoping you will guide us step by step so we can learn.
    Something wonderful to look forward to learning.
    Please make it soon!!!

  2. Hi Mary, what a lovely quilt! I hope you know how much joy and happiness your teaching through your website brings to all of us.



  3. Wow – what an incredible gift! It’s things like this that remind us to be grateful and I know for certain that the entire group of ladies are grateful for what you do for all of the needlework community. Enjoy your gift Mary and feel the love!

  4. This is good. Several acts of gratitude sewed together. I wish I could’ve been a part of it. But this’ll have to do: Thank You, Mary, for All the Work You Do. You teach and you, most importantly, inspire. I feel as though I can express myself with embroidery in a way that I cannot in other mediums because your videos and articles are so complete, and your projects always include a bit of wiggle room to personalize according to our skills and tastes. (And you are no longer an English teacher, so no criticizing my run-on sentences! Lol!)

  5. What a wonderful tribute to all you have given the stitching community! And YES, a series with needlework tools would be awesome! While I love what you do with the Jacobean inspired designs, it’s not my style. But needlework tools as inspired in this quilt would be fantastic! Thank you for all you do.

  6. Colour, creativity and fun! They surely had a great time stitching that quilt, and it shows.
    Hats off to you, ladies, and I second your thank you message to Mary for all she does for stitchers the world over.

  7. Such a beautiful gift. Bet you didn’t get much work finished the day that arrived (I’m thinking too excited to work). I am particularly interested in the chicken scratch and gingham block. Gingham adds a farmhouse vibe for me and I have also been very interested in whitework. I think it would make a beautiful christmas/winter block. Thanks for sharing, Shelly

  8. What a lovely, thoughtful present! A generous gift of time and talent. It will be a cheerful addition to your studio wall.

  9. Oh that is so very lovely and caring! What a delightful little gift! And thank you for showing it in details! It feels and look very cheery and special.

  10. Today it is a couple of years after stitching a running bear on a piece of denim…
    The bear has RYA STITCHES, uncut loops, in its body. This was to help it appear young. There is TURKEY WORK, cut loops, primarily on its face and jawline. It is funny how the same stitch gets a different name just because the surface loops have been cut and/or trimmed.

    I am sorry the running movement is not more clear. The legs are bunched together under this bear. More practice needs to be done to draw attention to such details.

    The >70 mass of daisies were created before realizing how realistic non-symmetrical blossoms appear. Now, most of my lazy daisies are made up of uneven collections of 3 to 20 petals. Shorter petals help add to a more 3-dimensional look.

    I am grateful to have my little piece become part of your big quilt, Mary Corbet. It is wonderful to believe my work may help others smile.

  11. What a lovely gift. I think my 2 favorite blocks are a scissors and the swirls. Thanks for sharing such lovely work.

  12. What a lovely present! Beautiful stitching, and loving thoughts. It’s a recipe for gratitude! Ladies, what a nice thing you have created, and so nice that you shared it with us, Mary!

    You’ve shared so generously of your time, skill, talent and knowledge with us. I am always turning to your website for help when I’m stuck, or looking for a recommendation. And you’ve steered me to some amazing books I didn’t know I needed until you reviewed them.

    I wonder how many people go and tackle a technique that they didn’t know they’d be interested in until you wrote about it?

    Oh, you’re just the best kind of trouble maker! Just see what these ladies did? 🙂

  13. Ohh what a beautiful and thoughtful gift! I love the variety of the individual embroideries and how they’ve created a whole together as a quilt. I can see what a cheerful addition it will be to your studio and it must make you smile every time you look at it. 🙂

  14. I love the red and white gingham chicken scratch. I was just wondering is it just the regular gingham that you get in a fabric store? In the picture it looks thicker than just the regular gingham fabric.
    Thanks so much,

    1. That looks like it might be a fabric like homespun, but it’s too square. You want thread-dyed fabric (where the threads are the actual color and they are woven to make the fabric) rather than a printed fabric. Also, it could be because the photo is close up, so you’re seeing more of the weave than you would if it were further away.

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