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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Happy New Year! And We’re Off….!


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Happy New Year to each and every one of you! I hope that the recent holidays brought you an opportunity to rest, relax, regroup, regenerate, and perhaps stitch a bit!

And I hope that 2021 proves to be an exceptionally stellar year for everyone. As with any year, on a personal level, it will be what we make of it, I suppose. Don’t let what you can’t do keep you from doing what you can! Here on Needle ‘n Thread, I hope to make 2021 a Great year!

I have Plans, you see… so let’s start out by chatting about a couple projects and unfolding some January Plans!

C’mon! Let’s go!

2021 Stitch Fun Sampler

A few years back, the concept of “A Year in Stitches” appeared and gathered great force in the online embroidery world. I thought it was a great initiative and a fun way to explore hand embroidery in little bits.

Even before that, Sharon Boggan’s TAST Challenge (Take-A-Stitch Tuesdays), where she explores a stitch a week, was already a popular and organized way of exploring embroidery stitches and committing to stitch at least a little bit every week.

I love both initiatives!

In mid-December, when I came across a leftover piece of linen that’s approximately 7″ wide and 36″ long and that had no real purpose, I decided that I’d incorporate these notions into my own Stitch Fun 2021 Sampler that I’ll work on in conjunction with another project of sorts that I committed to with a friend.

So I set the linen aside for January 1st, and thought no more about it.

2021 Stitch Fun Sampler

At the beginning of the year, I ironed the piece of linen, neatened the edge with a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine, stuck a 4″ hoop on one end, and penciled in 2021. It seemed like a good place to start.

My plan is to stitch something on this strip of linen every single day of 2021.

As an aside, this will actually be an accompaniment to another “project” of sorts. With a friend (and it’s something a couple of my sisters are doing, too), I committed to listening to a Bible-in-a-Year podcast, so I figure I can do the two things at one time.

There are no real rules to this Stitch Fun 2021 sampler, except this: I will not use new threads on it. It will only be scraps and leftovers from previous projects. No New Threads.

As for stitching, it really will be whatever occurs to me at the time. I have no doubt there will be chunks of band stitches, groups of isolated stitches, and even surface embroidery motifs here and there. It might contain words, small designs, practice bits, experiments. Who knows? There is absolutely no stitching plan for it, beyond No New Threads, and Stitch Whatever You Want.

Now and then, you’ll probably get a little update. Do you want to join me? You’re most welcome to! I’ll post progress here occasionally and on social media. On social media, you can find me on Facebook here and you can find my Needle ‘n Thread Community group on Facebook here. On Instagram, I’m @needlenthreadmc, and you can find me here. I’ll use the hashtag #stitchfun2021 with sampler updates, so if you’re stitching a yearly sampler and you want to connect, feel free to use that hashtag, too!

Other January Starts…

I also started an M monogram last week from Elisabetta’s A Sea to Stitch book that I reviewed here. I’ll have more of those books in stock soon – if you want one, please contact me for advanced notice when they arrive. I’ll send you an email when the new stock is in.

A Sea to Stitch Monogram M

I’ll share more information on this project, my approach to it, my plan for finishing it very soon!

Are you interested in the linen that Elisabetta uses on these monograms? I’m using the same linen, and I’m considering making small pre-cut pieces available for you. It’s a lovely linen to stitch on, and smaller pre-cuts would be an affordable way to work with it. Let me know your thoughts!

And I finished altering this goldwork design last week. I’m re-stitching it with the alterations. I’ll have more on that soon, too!

And, finally, I’m putting together a small series of finish-able projects for 2021, that I’ll be sharing with you throughout the year. The first one is a hangover from last year (this heart), so keep an eye out for those!

Lots coming up! I’m looking forward to 2021 with heaps of hope and optimism! Join me!

Happy New Year!


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(41) Comments

    1. 🙂 Isn’t it pretty? My sister gave me that beautiful afghan as a gift earlier last autumn. It’s lovely! I believe she bought the yarn collection (and followed the pattern) from Attic24.

  1. I started a year in stitch on Jan 1st too! Mine is much more doodly than yours so far. I’m using a very variegated thread and I plan just to stick with that throughout.

  2. Happy New Year, Mary.

    I would love to have a piece of the linen Elisabetta uses to stitch up one of the monograms!

    I’m looking forward to following along with all you have planned this year!

  3. Hi Mary…Our EGA chapter is doing a “100 days of stitching” with a sheet of paper with little skeins we can color for each day we add a few or more stitches we do each day. It can be a way to finish up/work on a unfinished stitching project or start a new one.

  4. I’d like to join you doing a stitch a week—–
    But–I don’t do Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc
    I’d love to stitch your 2021 design
    Any way for people like me to join in?

  5. Morning Mary –
    I’ve been anticipating this post with eagerness for a while now and boy did you deliver. I loved that heart when I first saw it, it’s so full of joy. The band stitch along looks interesting, kind of like a doodle cloth but with more purpose to it. A couple of minutes a day and you end up with something pretty when the fabric can hold no more stitches.
    Looking forward to enjoying this new year with you.

  6. Yes please have a piece of the linen available. I will be doing the smaller M from the beautiful Elisabetta book. I will buy one. Thanks!
    Barbara Miller

  7. Happy New Year, Mary! Here’s hoping that 2021 is a better year for all of us. W0w! You are planning to be really busy and doing your best to keep us busy, too. Yes, I would be very interested in trying out the linen Elisabetta uses. I currently have no fine linen to use for surface embroidery. I’m looking forward to stitching with you and your crew in this new year.

  8. I love the idea of stitch fun together. I’ll check out your groups. Thanks for the invitation & thanks for no pressure.

  9. Yes, please make the linen available! Not *too* small cuts, though 🙂 I’d like to use at least a 6″ hoop on it.

    thinking about the embroider-every-day challenge, have signed up for TAST (again…), going to find the piece of linen that I had planned for an inchies project but never started… Sounds like a great way to make 2021 my best embroidery year ever!

    1. I’m looking at 12″ cuts. I’m actually thinking about doing a small “linen collection” of various favorites so that folks would have kind of a sampler pack of linen to pull from for small projects … working on ideas…. more to come…

  10. I love this idea of a year in stitches and I love your idea of doing the embroidery while listening to Bible in a year. I am also doing an audio Bible in a year program again this year and it would be great to do the stitching while I am listening to the Word! LOVE all of your beautiful stitching. Happy New Year!
    ~Ginny K.~

  11. Love this idea Mary – thanks for the shout out for TAST – it started up again today. This is perfect timing. Just last night I was digging through my linens to see what I fancied for the start of 2021 as I still stitch and add to my long band sampler. I am not sure I will follow the no new threads ” rule as I love playing with different threads – but then I have heaps in my stash I could pull from so I might just do that as a stash busting thing. Thanks for proposing it as I am sure it will be heaps of fun!

    1. Oh, I love playing with threads, too, Sharon! That’s why I’m constraining myself on this one. I have so many partial skeins, open and cut threads, unmarked threads, and so forth piling up everywhere, that I figure I better start using them! And this seems like a good way to do it. I really love all the work you do with the TAST challenge. So much fun to follow – and to see how everyone else works with the stitches. Your book, by the way … review coming up! 🙂

  12. I always have trouble finding the beautiful fabrics you use in your projects, doodles, etc. I would love to have fabric here that I could just “grab and go”. Being new I don’t have a stash, and don’t know what fabric(s) to select to begin building one. So… if you offer fabric I will order it!

  13. I would be very interested to purchase linen fro you to work some of the Elizabeth projects as well as some of your alphabets.

  14. The ‘M’ embroidery is stunning, I love that color blue you are using, goodness I took part in A Year of Stitches a few years ago when I started back to embroidery, this year I decided to start my own year long project and stitch a goddess a day, and to keep my hand in stitching I joined the Facebook group Journal Threaders for 2021, so far its off to a good start. Happy New Year and Happy Stitching.

  15. This is great timing for the hearts with St. Valentine’s Day coming next month. All of your designs look wonderful. I received Elisabetta Sforza’s book for Christmas and look forward to doing some initials with it. Just trying to pick one of her color schemes first.

  16. Hello Mary,
    I trust you’re having a peaceful Christmas season. It’s always nice to read from you. I am a beginner stitcher (and I may remain one forever:) ) but I’d be interested in joining your stitching fun. What a great idea, it really sounds like something I can do since the rules are pretty loose so I won’t feel too intimidated.

    Also, is the Bible in a Year podcast/program the one from Ascension with Fr. Mike Schmitz? I’m starting too. Listening to religious formation podcasts while crafting (paper crafts in my case) puts me in the most meditative and productive stage, in fact, I made most of my Christmas cards while enjoying the Advent reflections and other series from the Augustine Institute.

    I can’t wait to see updates on this fun initiative.


    1. Yes, that’s the one!

      I have to keep the rules Very Loose on the yearly sampler thing, because otherwise, I will start taking it too seriously and it would end up occupying too much of my regular work time! So, all the rules are loose, except two: No New Threads, and Limited to Listening Time. Since last week, I’ve already got an abundance of chain stitched swirly stuff (and not necessarily attractive stuff) all around that 2021 that I started with. Now I have to figure out how to get out of the chain-stitch-swirly-rut!

  17. Dear Mary

    Happy New Year to you and your family. Well you have a lot going on in the land of Kansas and so many lovely projects to be getting on with for the New Year. I like the idea of a year in stitches and not having any theme in mind just what you fancy at the time of stitching great idea. I’m looking forward to your progress on a sea of stitches, the designs are so pretty and unusual. One question what linen does Elisabetta use for the designs. The goldwork design is lovely and beautifully stitched. I’m working on Corinne Lapierre felt animal families and making the deer family with great difficulty as I’ve never attempted anything like this before, but plodding on I love the little fellas and their clothes. Thank you for sharing with us your up and coming projects and for the photos, this should keep you busy during the winter months, we in the UK are under complete Lockdown again as the new variant of the Coronavirus is rampant at the moment, can’t wait for the vaccine.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  18. Happy New Year Mary!
    Yes please for the linen pieces- I received Elisabetta’s book as a Christmas present and am not sure where to start so being able to purchase a small piece of the linen is a good place! Thank you!

  19. This is so exciting, I too, am listening to pod cast for reading bible in a year. Also following a group where you journal and spend about 10 minutes each day. With passages from bible. So looking forward to the stitch project

  20. Blwydden newydd dda!

    Still on Christmas stitching but I’ll ‘finish’ (i.e. stop) today as it’s the 6th ….

    Been locked down for a while here. Trying to figure out if our cases are moving, even though the UK-wide numbers are going up. Tricky to tell with all the bank holidays.

  21. I would be interest in purchasing cuts of linen for embroidery. Working on a sampler like yours, or a voided monogram, or doing Sharon Boggon’s TAST has been on my list of good intentions for several years…

  22. I love your idea of a year stitch sampler. I have never done anything like this and I’ve already started since I’m a newbie I hope you will put suggestions in frequently to help and keep us going. I love all the suggestions you put in n needlenthread news I’ve become a better embroiderer because of you. Thankyou

  23. Stitching to audio using stash? On a specific week day? Check. Must confess stitching is more a daily activity, but 2021 deserves to be upgraded to special projects. Rather than one ( I respect your focus!) I have a number of band samplers that never seem to make it to the short list. This is the year. Since I made it to 78, I should be done by the time I reach 80. 😉

  24. Happy New Year, Mary!
    I would love to have an opportunity to see & feel what you and Ms Sforza recommend as good linen for stitching. I would eventually like to do her bread bag project so enough to do that would be wonderful! Other samples (large enough for at least a small project) would be very helpful. Would you consider labeling them somehow? Then they could be a reference.
    I would also love notification when you receive more of her sea monograms book.
    Thank you for your lovely website – such a source of information, instruction, and inspiration!

  25. Oh yes, Ms Mary, I would love to purchase some of this linen you’re talking about. Will it be available through patreon? Looking forward to this Linen sale, very much appreciated!! thank you, Gracie Hill

  26. I have been reading your blog for some time but commented only once or twice. Today I am writing not about embroidery but to tell you I started listening to the Bible in a Year podcast after you mentioned it and that I am very grateful that you did.
    I prayed for your health and when your mother departed. I imagine that now we are praying together.
    Warm regards from Argentina, Julia

  27. Hi Mary,
    I was over at Sharon’s place, Pintangle, and ran across her band sampler. She had a link back to you, so I popped over to check it out. Although I’m not an avid embroider, I do enjoy it. I’ve wanted to make a band sampler for years. But have never gotten around to doing. I would really like to try it this year. Even though this March, I though I could get started on my own band sampler with inspriration from you and Sharon. I would like to join in on this. Is there anything I need to do or post at my blog about this? Let me know….have a great day!

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