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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Needlework News Snips – Four to Explore


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Good morning and happy Monday!

Normally, I gather up a more extensive list of needlework resources when I share news snips, but these four artistic, inspirational, useful, or informative topics are worth taking a little time over. I wanted to share them with you on a Monday morning to give you the opportunity to enjoy them during the week as you have time.

Sometimes, for me, Monday morning is my quietest time. It’s when I do my weekly planning, but it’s also about the only time during the week that I spend time reviewing online needlework finds. Maybe you’re in the same boat.

Go grab a cup of something warm and cozy, and let’s have a little browse together!

Needlework News Snips, January 2021

Erica Wilson

Erica Wilson played a dominant role in enlivening the needle arts in the US (and even throughout the world) in the latter half of the 20th century. Winterthur Museum has constructed a wonderful online exhibition about Erica Wilson here. It’s very informative and inspiring!

Color Palette Converter

I’ve mentioned Stitch Palettes here on Needle ‘n Thread before. It’s a website where you can find terrific color combinations selected from photos and translated into useful modes, like RGB, CMYK, and HEX color codes, as well as DMC thread color codes. For the stitcher, this is useful!

This morning, Stitch Palettes has released a beta version of a palette generator, which allows you to upload your own favorite photos. It will select the dominant colors and convert them to DMC thread colors.

Careful! It’s fun… and a bit addicting!

Design, History, Embroidery, and Rabbit Holes

These last resources are for the historical embroidery enthusiast who is interested in the Gothic Revival era and the Arts & Crafts Movement, and beyond.

The first is a book that I don’t think I’ve shared with you before. It’s Pugin’s Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume, available online through Internet Archive.

If you’re looking for images and the meat of the matter when it comes to design, you’ll have to get about half way into the book. If you’re interested in reading and learning about that era in design (Gothic Revival in England), the whole book is worth reading.

Pugin was one of the greatest Gothic Revival architects and designers, and I find his artistic and design outlook fascinating. It’s interesting to realize the extent of his influence on future architecture and design styles – which definitely carried over into the embroidery and textile world. Pugin was a huge proponent of embroidery as a “vital and serious practice.” His influence (and the influence of other prominent Gothic Revival architects) prompted a revitalization in embroidery in the earlier 1800’s that carried into the latter part of that century and well into the 20th.

The Leek School of Embroidery, at Leek in Staffordshire, was established around 1879 by Thomas and Elisabeth Wardle, who were collaborators of William Morris, who in turn was strongly influenced by Pugin. Wardle & Company was a firm that dyed silk threads and fabrics used in embroidery and other textiles. Morris remained in Leek for about two years, learning processes for dying that he would later implement in his own company.

St. Edward the Confessor church in Leek features stained glass from the Morris company, but it also houses a collection of beautiful ecclesiastical embroideries that sprang from that era and beyond.

Here’s a collection of images from St. Edward the Confessor in Leek. You can click on them to see them larger.

This page from The Victorian Web concentrates on “The Hierarchy of Angels” embroidered panels from the church that were gifted by Elizabeth Wardle, a daughter of Thomas and Elisabeth. (Beautiful embroideries. And I love the feet! LOL!)

And this page offers links to other embroideries from the Leek School of Embroidery.

If you start researching the beginning of the Gothic Revival movement in England in the first half of the 1800’s and you follow its influence into the 20th century (and beyond), you’ll find a rabbit hole of very interesting embroidery threads through all eras. It seems practically inexhaustible, these little connections here and there to this school and that influencer, and so on. It’s really one of my favorite rabbit holes!

And That’s All, Folks!

It’s not a huge list of explorations, but if you get into any of the above, you’ll find hours of inspiration, ideas, and information about needlework!

Hope your week is off to a great start! Later this week, we’ll talk about a goldwork and silk project and I’ll share other project progress, some tips, and more!


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(15) Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing the exhibition about Erica Wilson. What a wonderful rich life she had, and her legacy, in her books, kits, and remaining pieces, is fantastic. I remember I had two of her books from the 1970’s — I guess I gave them away because they were in black-and-white. Wish I still had them….

  2. Thank you, Mary ~ now I have a revised “plan” for my Monday! What a delightful revision. I was a huge fan of Erica Wilson. Mush to my delight the dress featured was one I had made for myself and hugely modified for my daughter! I had a quick search, unlike all my recent patterns (less than five years old) My clothing patterns are still in a filing system, ( granted only I maybe able to decipher it). Didn’t find the original but my copies. She’s who really got me hooked on smocking and needlework. And of course your other resources. Thank you for sharing. Barb

  3. Oh dear! Rabbit hole, indeed! Oh how I wish I could press a restart button on my life!
    Sighing with pleasure…

  4. These weren’t rabbit holes, they were a whole subterranean cave system! Particularly taken with the Winterthur exhibition – one of our favourite museums (and shops!) anywhere – and Erica Wilson was certainly formative in my embroidery life. I have a number of her books and embroideries – both finished and unfinished. For decades the blackwork Swiss one was my take-along for traveling, the just-in-case-I-get–bored piece. As traveling may be completely a thing of the past, I should get it out and finish it. Thank you.

  5. I did not know that William Morris had spent time in Leek! I shall have to go and visit the church sometime when that’s allowed again. I went to the same college in Oxford as Morris (not at the same time!) and we had several of his tapestries as well as stained glass by Burne-Jones in the chapel. It was magical.

  6. I love this site. I’m just starting needlepoint after a 35 year hiatus. I’m looking forward to hearing from you through email. Thanks for sharing. Stay safe. ❤

  7. Thank you for the information about Stitch Pallettes. I did jump right over to it and enjoyed it’s many applications.
    Always learn something in following you…

    Warm regards,

  8. Thank you Mary—L-o-v-e the Winterthur retrospective on Erica Wilson! Dare I ask if you will be adding her “pattern transfer method using net” to your list of transfer ideas? Clever & straightforward, although I’m not really comfortable with the permanent marker. In 2001, there was an Erica Wilson shop in NYC, upper 5th or Park Ave? Tiny sign, 2nd floor walk up, jammed with yarn. My embroidery career was just starting, I didn’t know bupkis & had no clue what I was looking at. One of many missed opportunities.

  9. Dear Mary

    Very interesting array of news snips. I really like the exhibition on Erica Wilson I have watched her on youtube and I thought she was fun and a very interesting flamboyant embroider with lots great exuberant ideas which I love and her kits look lovely. All the other news snips are also interesting especially the Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume and the rabbit holes are really interesting. Thank you for sharing with us your embroidery news snips rabbit holes and all and for the links to the relevant sites.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  10. The “Hierarchy of Angels” is exquisite. Thank you for the link, I never would have found it on my own. I am so enjoying your blog. Thank you.


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