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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An Embroidery Hodgepodge


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Every year, I have this idea that January will be a quiet, calm, peaceful month. After all (at least in Kansas), it’s usually the doldrums – that part of winter that’s just gray and cold and not much is going on. It’s a good time to reflect, to calmly approach the year, to get one’s proverbial ducks all lined up.

But it never actually works that way. I think it’s a matter of ideas boiling over and that feeling that it’s time to act on all of them. Then, of course, I get into a bit of a frenzy, with loose ends going everywhere, and I find by the second half of January, I’m desperately trying to evaluate where I am and where I’m going. I have to slow things down, prioritize, organize, think things out.

And by the end of January, I generally feel a little more together.

This happens every year.

Today, I thought I’d share an embroidery hodgepodge with you. This mix represents a little bit of where I am and where I’m going right now and then heading into the next couple months. I’m at that point where I’ve put the brakes on and I’m prioritizing and working in a more systematic way to get things together! There’s no particular order to this particular hodgepodge.

I suppose that’s what makes it a hodgepodge.

Silk embroidery threads - color collection for project

First up, there’s this collection of silk threads.

I’m designing a project with these. It’s still in the design phase. It’s not a huge project. But it’s at that point where it is constantly simmering in my brain, where the design has come together somewhat, and where I need to start making precise decisions on details before I start the sample.

Aren’t they lovely colors? They’re silk – Silk Perlee, as a matter of fact, from Au Ver a Soie. We don’t normally see them on wooden spools in the US, but they are ever-so-charming, aren’t they?

I’ll share more of this project with you, when it gets to the more interesting stages, where pictures make sense.

floche for embroidery: heart project

Then, swinging the pendulum the other way, there’s this collection of threads.

Do you recognize the collection? Look familiar?

This is cotton floche, and these particular colors are the colors I used on this project last year:

floche for embroidery: heart project

Right now, I’m in the process of working up all the step-by-step stitch instructions for this heart ornament (which I filled with a little pocket of lavender – you can read about it here). The project is called Key to My Heart, and it will be coming out soon here on Needle ‘n Thread.

floche for embroidery: heart project

I can’t decide if I like the front or the back of the design better. I admit, I love these little strips of stitchery!

floche for embroidery: heart project

These are also the colors I used on this voided monogram needlebook. You can read about it here.

So it’s a versatile thread collection – lots of bright, cheery colors, and a great way to work with floche.

This is also coming soon! It’s one of my priority projects right now.

Jacobean Sea embroidery project

Remember this project from last year? It’s what I ended up calling Jacobean Sea, basing the name on a combination of design style and color choices. You can read more about it here, if you missed it from last year.

I wanted this to be my January priority, but in fact, it’s about 4th on the list right now. I need to put together the instructions for it, but first….

Goldwork & Silk Rose

I’m working on this.

I’ve re-imagined the silk and goldwork rose design that you can see here in this finished piece, and I’m stitching it up, photographing the step-by-step process, and writing up the instructions for it.

This is my first priority, simultaneous with the heart project.

(Can you have two first priorities?)

And yes, I’m also working on the M monogram from A Sea to Stitch.

And, oh yes, there’s this:

Stitch Fun 2021 yearly sampler

This isn’t a full-fledged project, though, thank goodness.

Isn’t it hilarious? What was I thinking, with all that mishmash at the top? I wasn’t thinking!

In any case, this is the progress on my Stitch Fun 2021 yearly sampler. I only work on it for about 20 minutes each morning, and it’s rather a mess. I think I kept going on the top of the sampler with all the scribbly bits, because I was trying to cover up that completely unbalanced, uncentered, discombobulated 2021.

My niece Anna took one look at it and said, “Wow. If this is foreshadowing, it looks like 2021’s gonna be chaotic.”

Thanks, Anna. Pththtpththtphtpthpth.

Coming Up!

I’m adding a new book to the available offerings in my shop here on Needle ‘n Thread! It should arrive this week. It’s called A Fine Tradition, featuring the embroidery of Margaret Light, and published by Inspirations Studios (so you know it’s going to be a beautiful book). It IS a beautiful book, full of wonderful projects, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Strangely, though it was shipped to me from within the US, it is taking longer (and costs more to ship!) than shipping twice as many books from Italy. Go figure. I’ll let you know once it has arrived.

I’m working on a tutorial called “Wheat Five Ways” (although it may end up being four!) that I’ll be posting here for you. Sometimes, it’s fun to see how you can achieve different looks on the same motif with different stitches – and how sometimes, the simpler, quicker stitches offer perhaps the better results!

We’ve been prepping ready-to-stitch towel sets and restocking them, so you can find a few more available now in my shop, including Let it Snow and Tulips and Tweets. We’ll be restocking more sets this week and next, so if you’re looking for anything in particular, keep an eye out on the shop.

In a Wheat Field by Elisabetta Sforza sold out very quickly, but more are on their way and will be in stock soon. If you want to be on the advanced notice list for those, just drop me a line.

I’ll be sharing progress with you on all the projects above as I work through them, and as I put together instructions, I’ll be sharing tips with you right here on the blog, so lots to look forward to!

And now, I’m going to go Prioritize for real! Time to make a knock-out list!

Hope your week is going well!


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(14) Comments

  1. You say hodgepodge, I say cornucopia.
    Very exciting work you’re doing. I’m especially happy that Jacobean Sea is on your schedule — it’s at the top of my wish list.
    All best to you!

  2. Regarding the ‘mishmash’ at the top of your 2021 stitchery project – I don’t think that’s what it is at all. To my mind I think it simply adds a feeling of ‘weight’ to the top which will be a good contrast to the rest. At least that’s my theory anyway (and you are more than welcome to disagree with me!!).

  3. I enjoyed this Hodgepodge. That seems to be the way of my life, while looking for order in my own chaos. As I looked at your 2021 needle book, I thought, turning the 2021 into satin stitch over the top would give it prominence and smooth out the rough edges. Who knows what the year will bring? Hopefully many good days of stitching for all of us.

  4. Really love the voided monogram and they are beautiful colours. You’re inducing floche-envy again among your European readers!

  5. Don’t forget your daily stitch sampler is supposed to also be a hodgepodge! 🙂 But if you want to rescue the 2021, Just stitch over it again – whipping it, maybe? More french knots to fill it in? – in a darker value. That will make it more prominent, and cover the rather cute curlicues that are currently on top of it. Or just let it go, knowing it’s all just for fun!


  6. Dear Mary

    Well so much going on in the hodgepodge blog and how lovely all those beautiful projects to be stitched and e-books to be published really looking forward to the books. My favourite is the heart ornament and the voided monogram, so will definitely be purchasing these for the future. Looking forward to your project with the silk perlee threads I do like threads on wooden reels. I really like floche thread as well it is so lovely to work with. Thanks for sharing with us your lovely hodgepodge of projects for 2021 how exciting and interesting they are.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  7. Would you perhaps consider selling sets of that beautiful cotton floche from the picture above. I’m so in love!

  8. What a delightful embroidery hodgepodge … and a delightful word! I particularly love the little heart ornament, it’s so cheerful. I look forward to seeing your priority projects emerge, Mary. 🙂

  9. Would you mind sharing where you are finding this cotton floche in so many colors? I would love to start a collection of this beautiful embroidery thread.

    Thanks, Lynne

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