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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Embroidery Sampler Samples


Amazon Books

If you say the word “sampler” or “samples” over and over again, they will both start sounding like very weird words.

I hesitated to use the title of today’s post, because it seems somewhat redundant. Sampler Samples. That’s like saying samples for samples of samples. But they really are sampler samples.

Last week, I mentioned an idea I wanted to develop this year and here’s a little more development on the idea.

Embroidery Samplers - small samples

I’m cheating a little on the color on this sample. My only opportunity to take photos this past week was on a phone, in evening light, and I couldn’t get a true color.

When I tried color correcting in Photoshop, I have to admit, I liked the result – almost better than the original color scheme!

If your monitor is giving you anything similar to what my laptop screen is giving me, the sample above is more green than blue.

In fact, this sampler is worked in a very lovely range of blues – wintery blues.

Embroidery Samplers - small samples

This one isn’t quite there yet, either, color-wise, but it’s a little closer.

These little sampler samples are going to finish into little Somethings soon. I hope they turn out as I envision them! If not, I’ll make a few adjustments and start the process over.

These are small pieces. The width of the design is probably 1.5″ – 1.75″. The height is about 3″.

They’re little pieces, but they pack a might punch when it comes to showing off stitches! As these pieces develop – and when we finally get to the finish line – I’ll definitely share them in depth with you! But at this point, until I work out the kinks, I’m afraid it’s just a glimpse here and there.

In the meantime, it this sparks a little interest and you’re keen to stitch your own embroidery samples on a sampler of sorts, I do have quite a few articles here on Needle ‘n Thread about stitch sampling, doodle cloths, and the like. Here’s a list that will get you started:

The Stitch Sampler vs The Doodle Cloth

Developing an Embroidered Spot Sampler

Stitch Fun: Lattice Sampler

On Stitches and Samplers and Such

Embroidery Stitch Dictionaries

Besides the innumerable online resources available for learning embroidery stitches these days, it’s a great idea to invest in a stitch dictionary or two, to have on hand as a good reference for learning stitches.

Here are my reviews of a few stitch dictionaries that I love. Take a look – you might find one or two that interest you. It never hurts to have more than one stitch dictionary, because not all stitch dictionaries cover the same stitches and they each have a different approach, which can be very helpful when it comes to learning and building confidence with stitches.

If your budget will only allow one right now, that’s ok! Any of these are good!

The Embroidery Stitch Bible – Book Review

The A-Z Series of Embroidery Books (and especially their Embroidery Stitches and Embroidery Stitches 2 books)

Embroidery Stitches Step-by-Step or Stitch Sampler – this particular book has been available under different titles for years. The various titles can make it confusing. But it’s a great stitch dictionary!

Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches – a classic! It should be on your bookshelf!


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(11) Comments

  1. I have often wished I could find a source for the lovely stitch sample books I see on Pinterest. Most seem to be from Japanese students working them from a French class. I love the way each stitch is worked as a small design and then they may have 6 designs to a fabric page. I have also seen them done as a large cloth and then framed.
    I would be so neat if you did something like this were we bought a small stitch project from you to add each month to a larger piece (book or sampler to frame). This reminds me of that.

  2. Dear Mary

    Yes I agree sampler and samples do sound the same after repeating them for a while. I can’t wait to see what that something soon is going to look like. I think they are very pretty stitches and the added beads make them stand out and sparkle even better. I agree that stitch dictionaries are important I have a few my self and often refer to them, but I mainly turn to you when I’m stuck on how to embroider a stitch. I hope you are well and that your mum is better and she is able to return home soon. Thank you for sharing your new project with us of sampler on samples very pretty and I’m glad you have something to occupy yourself with.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Hello Mary,
    Lovely stitching as usual. But if these are 1.75″x 3″ what count fabric and what size beads are you using, please? They must both be incredibly small!

    1. I’m not quite ready to put together supply lists and so forth. I’m just experimenting at this point! 🙂 As far as threads go, they’re normal embroidery floss, etc., and most of the beads I’m playing with are 15/0 and 11/0, so nothing too extraordinary! It’s all the spacing, really.

  4. Mary,
    Would you let us know when disaster strikes you or your part of the world, that you are OK please. No, I am not asking for personal information such as your address but if we knew in which area of Texas you lived in, it would stop people like me from worrying when we hear of problems in Texas. Also, How is your mother getting along?
    Wishing you well and safe.

    1. Hi, Ann! I’m in rural Kansas, and though it’s stinking hot out, we don’t have anything extraordinary going on. Tomorrow, in fact, they say the high will be 80 degrees (F), so that’s a breath of fresh air.

      Mom isn’t doing so well – all my energy and focus is in that direction at the moment. Thank you for asking!

  5. I am a new to embroidery and wondered what type of cloth you’re using for this sampler? The holes look too large to be weaver’s cloth, but it’s a close-up picture so it’s hard to tell. I dislike practicing stitches on cross-stitch fabric as it’s too stiff and I’m hoping to make a new resource discovery based on your answer. Thank you!

  6. Hello there!
    I have a couple of questions, which I’m sure you have been asked many times. Where do I begin? How do I begin? Is there a beginner’s kit you recommend?

    I mentioned to my mother the other day that I should learn to cross stitch because I found hand base stitching relaxing. She recommend me to your site. Now that I have looked at it, I wonder if I ought to learn embroidery instead!

    Thanks so much!
    Leslie Burnett

    1. Hi, Leslie – You might enjoy starting with some ready to stitch towels, since the transfer is already done for you. I have a set of fall towels (called Festive Fall, here: https://shop.needlenthread.com/product/ready-to-stitch-festive-fall-towel-set) that includes three towels, each with a version of the same design on it (a light, medium, and full version). There are no instructions with the towel sets, but this particular set does have an e-book available, which includes materials (thread colors and so forth), stitch layout guides, and how-to instructions for the stitches, with tips for stitching the towels throughout the e-book. You can find the e-book here: https://shop.needlenthread.com/product/festive-fall-autumn-corners-for-hand-embroidery-e-book

      So if you want to embroider something fallish, that would be a great place to start. I’ll have a new set of towels out this week, with other fall designs. The designs might be a little simpler, if you want to wait to see those, but they won’t have an e-book. They’re just the pre-transferred towel set, and then I’ll have a blog post available that talks about the threads and stitches I used.

      Any of those pre-transferred and ready-to-stitch towels are a great way to try out different stitches and to embroider something that is finished and useful. They make great beginner (and beyond) projects.

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