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 Sea to Stitch – and It’s Gorgeous!


Amazon Books

My heart is full of delight when I look at this book. It speaks to me on So Many Levels!

A Sea to Stitch (or Ricamare il Mare in Italian) by Elisabetta Sforza is her newest publication highlighting a beautiful sea-themed alphabet and decorative elements to embroider. The designs are exquisitely imagined and stitched!

If you have any penchant for the sea, if it calls to you as it has for so many people through the ages, then you will find something very enticing about this collection! For me, the designs in the book elicit a kind of tranquil wonder – that awestruck feeling that sweeps over a person when beholding the sea after long separation, or when looking upon something new and beautiful for the first time.

Today, I’ll show you the book in-depth, so that you know what you can expect inside its pages. I’ll also share some photos of some finishing ideas from Elisabetta’s collection. Finally, if the book is up your alley as much as it is up mine, you’ll find it available to purchase in my shop.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

If you’re familiar with Elisabetta’s beautiful embroidered monograms, it shouldn’t surprise you that A Sea to Stitch is such an exquisite collection!

There’s so much to recommend about this book, not the least of which is that it makes a perfect springboard for you to explore and create your own interpretations of the designs in inspirational words, in names, or in small vignettes and decorative elements. It will help you discover how to employ classic stitches in unique ways.

Besides being extraordinarily inspirational, it is a practical instructional guide that you’ll learn a lot from.

The letters and their embellishments are not difficult to stitch, either! Elisabetta uses easily mastered, well-known embroidery stitches in unique ways to construct the decorative bits. The designs are accessible for determined beginners – and beyond!

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

Written in both English and Italian, the book relies heavily on Henry Beston’s work, Outermost House, for inspiration. The sea is the theme, and Beston is the anchor for the book.

The contents are structured around the sea and the notion of our own personal journeys of discovery of what it has to offer. It’s well written in that regard, and although the English is sometimes obviously given as a translation, it is uplifting and good reading!

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

(This is probably the only thing about the year 2020 that has appealed to me so far!)

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

After the introduction, Elisabetta dives into the question of color schemes.

If you’ve seen the ocean over many days, you know that it is never the same from day to day! And so, we are presented with various color schemes that reflect the ever-changing moods of the sea.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

With each color scheme, we’re given corresponding DMC colors. If you wanted to work the letters in silk or other favorite threads, you could color match using the DMC colors as the gauge.

I would Love to embroider some of these letters in a variety of Au Ver a Soie silks – and I think I’m gonna! (Wanna join me?)

Above, you can see vibrant, warm hues…

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

… and here, tranquil, cooler greens.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

There’s a brilliant, tropical Mediterranean color scheme…

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

…and a classic, blue-and-green coastal scheme.

And there are other color options as well – the sea at night, for example!

You can, of course, play with colors. How does the ocean speak to you? What mood do you prefer? Tempestuous, mighty waves crashing on rocky shores? Calm and serene waters lapping gently over hot sand? What colors reflect that mood?

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

Then, we begin our journey to sea with what to pack – that is, the materials for the projects.

Fabric, threads, needles, hoops and frames – it’s all there!

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

Our “maps” are the designs. The hand-drawn letters are presented in two sizes: approximately 5.5″ high and approximately 3.5″ high.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

There’s also a collection of accents, swags, garlands, and other individual design elements that can be worked as stand-alone projects without lettering, or that can be incorporated into designs featuring inspirational words, full names, and the like.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

Then, we navigate the stitching – from transferring designs to fabric…

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

…to following a sensible order of work.

Elisabetta takes us step-by-step through embroidering a letter, and she shows us, via diagrams and photographs, how to work all the stitches and embroider all the decorative elements.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

The explanations and accompanying illustrations are clear and easy to follow.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

At the end of the book, Elisabetta talks about designing written words and names in a way that is easy and accessible, so that you can use the monograms as decorative capitals if you like, or you can “write” in the style presented in the book and embellish with the ornaments provided.

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

Although the book doesn’t go into finishing the embroideries into specific objects, Elisabetta shared on her Facebook page some beautiful items featuring the monograms, designed by her friend Laura Tremolada, whose Etsy shop is here.

Above, the frame holds a monogrammed message board (you slip your messages, reminders, or memorabilia behind the ribbon) with hooks at the base of the frame for hanging things. What a great idea!

A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza

This frame has two parts for messages and memorabilia – the upper part, in coordinating striped fabric, uses small clothes pins for hanging cards or photos, and the lower part with the monogram uses taut ribbon for tucking things behind. Beautiful!

So with a little ingenuity and creativity, there are many ways you can use embroidery and monograms to personalize functional items and make them beautiful.

What a great way to use repurposed frames and the like!

In a Nutshell

The book is fabulous, the designs and the colors are truly inspired, and if you have any attraction at all to the sea, to monograms, to surface embroidery – it’s a treasure!

Where to Find It

Well, if you’re in the US, I’m carrying a limited quantity in my shop, and I’ll send it to you today via Priority mail. This is more or less an experiment in importing and resale. We’ll see how it goes! If it sells out and you’re interested in a copy, drop me a line and I’ll put you on an advanced notice list for further shipments.

Worldwide, you can find stockists listed here on Elisabetta’s website.


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(24) Comments

  1. Ordered!
    Can’t wait to get it. I have a couple projects in mind just from seeing the review. (Is it here yet? Is it here yet?)

  2. I love the ocean blues, tans and corals. This preview was a beautiful reminder of many years of Navy life. After > 20 years in the Midwest, I’m now dreaming of Mediterranean blues and South Pacific sunsets. I especially appreciated the stitching order that makes those seashells look so real. Just for that alone this book would be worth it.

    1. Hi, Teresa – please drop me a line at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com, to put you on the advanced notice list. That way, I can send you an email when the new stock comes in. I expect it next week. Thanks!

  3. It looks beautiful – thank you for featuring it. Does the 2020 example involve painted fabric? The background colouring doesn’t look as if it is stitched from here.

  4. Oh Oh Oh. I missed the “A Sea to Stitch!!” I just looked at my email and they are all gone.
    Please put me on the extremely desirous advanced waiting list and I will hope to be able to purchase it from you soon.
    Thank you for your review and all the pictures and I’m so hopeful you can restock.
    Anne Simpson

    1. Hi, Anne – if you’d like to be on the advanced notice list for A Sea to Stitch, please drop me a line at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com and ask to be put on the advanced notice list. That way, I can send you an email once the new stock is in. Thanks!

  5. Dear Mary

    From the photos above A Sea to Stitch looks a beautiful book with lovely monogram designs. From the list of stockists I can’t see where to purchase the book in the UK, I assume it’s only available in Europe. From the photos it is a lovely book and a lot of effort has gone into the writing, photographing and instructions of the book and it would be a lovely book to own and stitch the embroidered monogram pieces. Thank you for sharing with us some of the delights of this book and for reviewing the book with all its wonderful monogram embroidery pieces.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  6. OH! When can I get this? Living near the beach as I do, this is a great book for me! I cannot wait till it’s available here. This will make a beautiful picture for any wall in my home. I have several books of floral alphabets, but this one tops all of those. Is it appropriate to beg for a Christmas gift in November? Forget that. Anything is appropriate in 2020!

    1. Hi, Beverly – If you drop me a line at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com, I’ll put you on my advanced notice list. You’ll receive an email when the book is back in stock. 🙂

    1. Hi, Marjorie – If you drop me a line at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com, I’ll put you on my advanced notice list. You’ll receive an email when the book is back in stock. 🙂

  7. Just popping in to say that I just received my copy and am delighted with it! Props not just for the beautiful book but for the very efficient and effective shipping & handling. Although the book after prompt shipment was delayed about a week in various places in the heavily burdened USPS system, the padded envelope and cardboard protectors kept it absolutely pristine while keeping the parcel light and compact. Highest quality, start to finish!

  8. I see this book is sold out on your site, will you be getting more? It looks like a beautiful book.



  9. Mary, I just received my copy of Elisabetta Storza’s, A Sea to Stitch. It is truly a beautiful treasure, and I thank you so much for introducing me to her beautiful artistry. Thank you, Susan Turner

  10. Hello,

    Do you sell to Canada? I am very interested in A Sea To Stitch. Thank you for yor time and consideration.

    Marie keough

  11. I love this book, well I should say all the books, you have a beautiful line of work.
    Please let me know where can I buy your books.
    Thank you,

  12. As always you found susch an exquisite embroidery book. I am in love with this book. Your description an explanation are enough to encourage me to find it here in Canada.
    It’s fortunate that I “found” it on your Pinterest site. I must have missed the newsletter for it. So many gorgeous embroidery work to admire, so little time, what is a girl to do? If one wants to at least embroider a few items ❤️

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