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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Ready-to-Stitch Garden Party & Thread Bunnies!


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Every year, I find myself preparing some kind of embroidery project in anticipation of Spring – something I can enjoy while winter slides away. Something that promises sunny days and cheery blooms ahead!

Over the past few years, I’ve turned these projects into ready-to-stitch towel sets that you can enjoy, too.

This year’s ready-to-stitch Spring collection is called Garden Party! It’s a light, colorful, whimsical design set, replete with lady bugs, a butterfly, and bright stylized florals scattered along a series of swirly vines.

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

Perfect for relaxed, no-pressure handwork, these sets are a great way to familiarize yourself with various stitches, to play around with your stitch and color choices, and just to have fun with your embroidery.

On projects like this, I choose colors and stitches spontaneously. Whatever stitch I want to try, whatever color strikes me as suitable – that’s what I do.

I don’t follow any pre-conceived layout or directions. I just let the embroidery unfold as it goes.

This is an excellent exercise for anyone who wants to practice stitches and gain confidence in making their own choices on projects.

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

For those who like a little bit of direction with color selection, though, I’ll tell you all about the colors I used.

First, a bit about the towel set, though.

The Towel Sets

Like the other ready-to-stitch sets available on Needle ‘n Thread, this is a three-towel set with three variations of the design, one on each towel. The designs are transferred in crisp, clear lines, ready for you to stitch.

The towels are lint-free white cotton flour sack towels, approximately 27″ square, with a hanging loop on the corner.

Embroidered, they make wonderful personal gifts (think wedding showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, house-warming, hostess gifts for various holidays). I use them to line gift baskets. I also use them as little tea cloths in the middle of the table to add a splash of color for company. I use them to line bread baskets at meal time. I’ve even used them as “wrapping paper” on wine bottles or loaves of crusty bread for hostess gifts.

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

The large version of the design stretches across the center of the lower edge of the towel (about 18″ long).

The medium design is situated in the lower right corner of the towel, opposite the hanging loop.

The small design floats at the lower center of the towel. The elements on the this variation are slightly smaller than those on the other towels.

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

Whenever I work up these ready-to-stitch designs, I use DMC stranded cotton (called “floss” in the US) because it is good, consistent quality and widely available.

Stitches & Stitching Tips

Normally, I stitch with two or three strands, depending on how heavy I want the line to be. I use a #7 crewel (also called “embroidery”) needle.

Most of the stitches I use fall among the Basic Ten – the ten basic embroidery stitches that are good to have in your repertoire.

Occasionally, I might throw something else in for the fun of it. For example, I like to work Palestrina stitch when I want a textured line. Worked with three strands, it makes a great knotty line.

If I want to fill small areas (I don’t like filling large areas on these types of projects), I’ll use chain stitch or stem stitch as a filling.

I use French knots for small flower centers. I use satin stitch here and there, where filled dots or other small shapes come in handy.

For example, ladybugs are really just satin stitches with a few extras thrown on. (I’ll have a tutorial for stitching a cute and quick ladybug available for you next week).

And, sometimes, I work what I call “chunky long and short stitch” for some filled areas. It’s chunky, because I’ll usually use two strands of floss to fill the area quickly. It’s not delicate needlepainting that takes a long time – rather, just a quick filling method for small shapes (like the butterfly on the large design in this set).

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

Here are the colors I used on my version of the Garden Party designs.

My Color Palette for Garden Party

If you’re planning to stitch the designs, you may certainly use the same colors, or you can expand the list, or you can choose your own favorite color palette.

Purples: 208, 209, 210
Yellow: 725
Greens: 906, 907
Pinks: 891, 956, 957
Blues: (Variations) 4022
Red: 817
Black: 310

Hop Hop Thread Drops

Is it possible to have Spring without bunnies? Or bunnies without Spring? I think they’re made for each other!

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

And I think this project and these darling thread drops are made for each other, too!

Hop Hop Thread Drops are bunny-shaped thread organizers. They’re die-cut from heavy card and held together by a ring. They have a place to loop your thread and a spot to write your thread type and color number. There are 20 bunnies on a ring in each package.

Garden Party ready to stitch towel set

There’s also a little extra hole on each bunny, where you can loop those stray bits of already-used threads that still have life in them or that you’ve only taken a few strands from.

I like thread drops and similar organizational tools for this kind of project. With your threads pre-cut, labeled, and held together in one collection, it makes them super easy to transport and to work with when you’re out and about, away from your regular Spot.

When I set up a project like this, I pre-cut my threads to a working length, loop them on the thread drops, slide the whole collection into a little bag, and when I’m ready to work with them, I can hang the ring close by for easy access.

These particular thread drops are so dang cute! I thought they’d go really well with this project… and really, any project that would benefit from this type of thread organization.

If you like them as much as I do, you can order them from my shop individually or in combination with other items.

Ordered individually, one pack of thread drops will ship first class, as it is much more economical.

If combined with other items, they’ll ship priority with the other items in your order.

Available Now!

For those who are excited to stitch up Garden Party, or who want to add some Hop Hop Thread Drops to your collection of useful stitching tools, you’ll find both available here in my shop.

Orders placed before noon (central time) today will ship Priority mail this afternoon, and, if all goes well with the post office, you’ll have ’em before Easter.

If the towels sell out, I’ll be happy to prepare more – just drop me a line and ask for advanced notice.

The Hop Hop Thread Drops will probably keep multiplying, as bunnies tend to do. If they sell out, I’ll bring more in. They’re fun!

If you live outside the US and you are interested in the towel sets and thread drops – or any tangible goods in my shop – please contact me and we can discuss shipping methods and costs.


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(16) Comments

  1. Hello Mary,

    I wonder if you can provide the PDF version of the Garden Party design. I would like to embroider on a runner to add to my Spring collection.

    Thank you very much.


    1. Hi, Sophia – I may make it available as a PDF collection for purchase in the future, but I am working on a few other things at the moment, so I’ll have to circle back to that idea in a little while. Thanks for asking!

  2. Dear Mary

    The above design is so pretty and really springy just what the doctor ordered at this time of new growth everywhere, the butterfly is my favourite and the colour of the threads are also lovely and I love the Hop, Hop bunny thread drops a great idea. This would make a lovely Easter present. Thank you for sharing with us this lovely springy design and for the opportunity of purchasing it and it’s great that you are considering international delivery. Thank you.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Hi there!

    Quick question: Are the transfer lines washable? I ask because I have an earlier set of towels that I’ve mostly completed and there are elements left that I’ve simply lost the puff for (there’s nothing wrong with them, I’m just being a fickle pickle) — when I wash the towels will those lines come out or are they permanent?

    Thanks so much!!!!


    1. The lines become fainter with laundering and eventually they will disappear – or mostly disappear. I don’t know if I would leave the elements un-stitched, because they won’t disappear that fast. But they do fade considerably after laundering.

  4. Hello Mary,
    Will you release an e-pattern (PDF) of ‘Garden Party’, if so when?
    Being in Australia it is not practical, current covid mail delays, or cost effective to ship the printed towels. Although what a lovely gift they would make. Oh so jealous that my American stitching sisters get to create such a lovely project.

    I love reading your tutorials. I hear ‘your’ voice instructing me although I have never heard you speak in person. I enjoy your turn-of-phrase.

    Wishing you a splendiferous day.
    Jan V

    1. 🙂 Thanks Jan – I’d like to release the whole collection of ready-to-stitch designs at some point, but I have a few designs in the pipeline that I want to get out first.

      You can hear me on all my videos. But don’t expect much! No soft voice or lovely accent here, I’m afeared – just me, and I’m thoroughly Midwest American. 🙂

  5. Is there a tutorial on working on these tea towels so as to have a really nice reverse side without seeing starting and stopping stitches, especially when they will get quite a bit of laundering? Thanks.

    1. Hi, Janis – The first towel set that I made available here on Needle ‘n Thread was the Floral Corners set. I wrote an e-book that goes along with that set, that takes the stitcher step-by-step through working a towel, with all the instructions on how to start and end threads, how and when to carry working threads on the back so that they aren’t loose, etc. So that e-book has all the info you’d need for stitching any type of towel, but the project in the e-book is the Floral Corners design. You can also use the search feature here on Needle ‘n Thread to look up different topics, like “starting and ending threads” or “starting and traveling threads on the back of work” or “threading a needle” and so forth. I’ve covered these types of topics on the blog over the years, in other projects, so you can definitely pick up tips all over the blog. I don’t have specific step-by-step instructions for each towel set, though. Just general information on the colors and stitches I used on the samples.

      All that said, you will normally always be able to see where a thread begins and ends on this type of stitching – there’s nothing wrong with that. The idea is to keep the back neat… but it’s still the back. And it’s ok for it to look different from the front.

    1. No, sorry. It’s just available right now in the ready-to-stitch towel sets. I do have plans to make those designs available in the future. I just haven’t had a chance to format them in a way that would allow an easy traceable transfer at the correct size.

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