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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Stitch Fun ’21 Update: Some Text and Cheating


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On my Stitch Fun 2021 Yearly Sampler project, a few things have been going on.

I’ve worked some random bands of stitching, I’ve added some more text – which I duly decorated and will probably decorate more (there’s a great area for some flying critters!) – and I’ve cheated on the Time Rule.

Stitch Fun 2021 Random Sampler progress

True confessions: I know I said I would only stitch when doing my morning listening (I’m listening to The Bible in a Year podcast this year), but several times, my listening has extended to other things. And this past weekend, when it was fuh-reez-ing in Kansas and I didn’t go anywhere, I listened to some bookish stuff and did some stitching on it one evening.

And then there were a couple episodes of Pride and Prejudice. You know – the one with Colin Firth? I flicked that on at one point and stitched on this.

So, yes. At this point, the sampler has a bit more than 20 minutes a day in it, as I’ve had a few bouts of extra stitching to keep me occupied while chillin’ out.

I bent my rule on the podcast listening thing. I may bend it further. In fact, I may write a new rule that overrides the first rule, saying that I can stitch on it whenever I’m listening to something and I don’t have something else I have to be doing.

Yes, I think that sounds about right!

Stitch Fun 2021 Random Sampler progress

It is ever thus. We always find a way to justify ourselves, don’t we?

For me, this project must be a carrot. I can’t stitch on it whenever I want to – or I’d be playing with it all the time! So it has to be something I allow myself to do only in certain circumstances and when I have accomplished things I must do.

In any case, last time we met on this project, I was adding fabric to the sides to make it easier to hoop up. I think I was about here:

Stitch Fun 2021 Random Sampler progress

That bright blue stuff – lines of backstitch – became padding under a diagonally striped raised band in bright blues.

Stitch Fun 2021 Random Sampler progress

I haven’t been snapping a photo every day after progress (probably because of the Great Time Cheat mentioned above), but I’m going to try to do that from here out. It’s easy to forget!

You can see in the photo above that I don’t necessarily follow any particular order of work, either. I do part of a band, something else occurs to me (like the text), I work on that a while – and then go back to the previously started band.

Then, I hopped back to the text and decorated it a little more, went on to another band, decided to add a couple more flowers and French knots to the text area, and so forth.

I’ve moved on to other bands below the text now, but I still see things in the text area that I want to add. For example, I might work in some bees, just for the fun of it. Or a wee butterfly.

Stitch Fun 2021 Random Sampler progress

Unlike the previous line of text that we talked about in this article – where I free-handed the quote – this bit of text got a little more planning and precision. I wrote it out first, spaced it, and then copied it. I even marked the edges of the fabric so I could be sure that it was straight.

There are limits to my ability to be random and to completely free-style something like this. I’m not the type of person who would be happy looking at permanently embroidered text sloping down the fabric. Since I know this about myself, I took some care in the placement of the lettering.

I used an overcast stitch, which is similar to trailing. Overcast and trailing are both satin stitch techniques that involve stitching over some thread. In the case of overcast stitch, the thread weight never changes. You’re always stitching over, say, one strand of the same thread, just to give your letter some lift and padding.

With trailing, you work with bundles of thread, and you can reduce or add to the bundle as you want your lettering to thicken up or thin out.

In my case here, I stitched over two strands of coton a broder, using one strand of coton a broder. Coton a broder is a fabulous thread for this type of lettering! You can read about coton a broder here.

Floche, which I’ve also written about extensively, is good for this type of lettering, too, but there’s a little more body to coton a broder, and it works really well with overcast stitching.

To make the letters a little more decorative and a little less cold, I added serifs at the tips of the strokes by extending the length of the overcast (satin) stitches just a tiny bit.

We’ll talk again about overcast stitching and lettering in the not-too-distant future.

So that’s where I am on Day 41 in 2021. I’ll probably be stitching in this area of the sampler for a while. I’m trying to keep the length of fabric divided into fourths in my head, so that I don’t end up without enough fabric at the end of the year – or with too much fabric left blank.

On Friday, we’ll do more wheat!

See you then!

PS – I’ve added some Ready to Stitch Towel Sets to my shop, if you’ve been waiting for them!


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(20) Comments

  1. Oh this is so lovely! I’m doing TAST with your FB group & I think I need to add something fun like this to my stitching time….where I can just play.

    Have you heard of the knit or crocheted temperature blankets? Looking at this makes me want to try something like that in embroidery.

    1. I have heard of that! And I think someone out there did it with an embroidery sampler, too, if I recall correctly. My problem would be that the temperature would change before I ever finished a band or an area – except right now, when we have a very long stretch of frigid temps. But usually in Kansas, our temperatures fluctuate greatly within 24 hours from fall through spring, even in midwinter. I think it would be a fabulous approach, though, to this type of random sampler!

    2. I may try one eventually. I could keep a temperature log so that I could work at my own pace.

      I live near you in northwest AR…we do have pretty extreme temperature changes…sometimes as much as 20 degrees within 24 hours. I’m sure you have that too.

  2. Dear Mary

    We have the same taste in listening I have read the bible through but it took a lot longe then a year as I was working and could only read a few sentences at a time, but a great read. I love Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and I have it on my television hard drive. The sampler is coming along nicely and I love what you have done with the lettering it looks lovely with the overcast stitch and the added embroidered flowers etc makes it really stand out. Thank you for sharing your updated embroidered sampler with us and for the photos and links to other tips.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. 🙂 Thanks, Anita! Yep – that P&P is really the best version of it, I think. Totally enjoyable! Granted, Mrs. Bennet can drive a person crazy, but that just proves how well the part was played. I hadn’t seen it in years. It’s been so cold here lately, and I just had the need for a cozy, quiet, warn afternoon in front of the heater. Fit the bill perfectly!

    2. Dear Mary

      Thank you for your reply. It’s been cold and snowy here in North London and most other places in England. But today Monday 15 the snow has melted and the sum is out and a lot warmer. I’m still making accessories to my deer family which I will send to my Great Nephew and I will have another quiet book to make as My Niece/Goddaughter just had a baby Girl Ava Elizableth born on the 8 Feb 21 Great news.

  3. Hi Mary,
    Love seeing your Sampler project! Its whimsical nature reminds me that not all stitching has to be perfectly planned out. Plus is looks like a ton of fun. And thank you for the mention of the Bible in a Year Podcast. Not only is it interesting and well done, it is truly a blessing. I appreciate you recommending it earlier this year. Best to you!

  4. Oh Mary! The lettering is so so wonderful! It is so crisp and perfect! I love the way you did the serifs and the angled E! I can’t wait for a tutorial on this. Your stitching as always is so beautiful and precise!

  5. I always read and gush over your work, I rarely comment. I love that you are allowing yourself extra time to work on what makes you happy and content… particularly during all this 2020 overflow! (We all though it would be over with by now, alas, no)

    I was reading a mental health/self care account the other day where they wrote about allowing ourselves to break any and all rules as long as it didn’t harm ourselves or others… like, washing a half load of laundry or perhaps running the same load of dishes through the machine multiple times if need be because we just couldn’t deal with rinsing them prior to the first cycle. The post included things like taking a full day to just do nothing or everything -the idea that we know what is best during this time.

    I know your post isn’t quite the same in meaning or intention, but still, I love that you are sneaking time to work on projects just because you want to! I am currently staying with my kids while my new house goes through escrow, so my schedule is quite different now than before. (You remind me that I need to rewatch A&E P&P!! -when I get all moved in, of course. Right now it’s all Disney, home school, and DOGS! lol) Thanks for the inspiration to get some projects going asap!

  6. If I saw that lettering on something random that I just came across, I would assume it was done by machine. You put so much effort and care into something so small because you simply cared. I think that’s beautiful.

  7. You and others are inspiring me do something similar! And… What stitch(es) are you using on the unfinished row right above the lettering? It has vertical red lines and a blue over-stitch. I like it! Thanks!

  8. I like the raised band, but it’s trailing which fascinates me. Overcast is in my books, but trailing? Never heard of it ….

    (Will now get distracted looking it up ‘just’ while waiting for teaching stuff to compile.)

    Still trying to figure out how to transfer the wheat to some fabric. I guess I don’t have much experience transferring designs. I usually just kind of make stuff up or transfer a tiny bit, if I need to, in whatever make-do way occurs to me at the time.

  9. I like your sampler. The section of snowflakes is so suitable for this time of year. For a project with no solid plan, it’s looking very coordinated.

    I’ve seen those knitted or crocheted temperature blankets done in quilts also. Some have both low and high temperature, some do only high temperature, and a few add in precipitation. I think most record the numbers and work in spurts, at least it seems that way for quilters.

  10. You give some instruction on overcast letters in your ’09 letter sampler (Fox), but it’s only for straight lines — how do you do the curves? Is it on your site — I haven’t been able to find anything.

    Thanks for all your instruction/tutoring!

    1. I haven’t really show a lot of overcast here on the website, I guess – I just did a quick search and found Not Much! Funny, because I live the technique. On curves, you do it the very same way – you just basically satin stitch over the laid thread, pulling it a little out in front of your stitching path. Maybe I’ll be able to work up a better post on it soon. It’s such a simple but lovely technique!

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