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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Natural Linen Fabric Sampler Pack


Amazon Books

Do you ever ponder the question of what fabric to use for your hand embroidery projects? Do you ever wish you could try out fabrics that you’ve heard of or seen, so that you can learn what you like and don’t like to stitch on?

In embroidery, we often think about embroidery thread more than we think about fabric, but believe it or not, the choice of ground fabric is as important as the choice of thread!

The right ground fabric makes a huge difference – sometimes, the key difference – between a-raging-success-of-a-project or a-ho-hum-it’s-ok-ish sort of project.

In the interest of giving folks the opportunity to try out different ground fabrics so that they can make informed choices, I’ve decided to put together sampler packs of various linens that I like, that make beautiful ground fabrics for hand embroidery.

natural linen sampler pack

The idea of linen sampler packs has been brewing in my mind for a long time.

I get questions about the linen I use all the time. Instead of sending you off to purchase larger chunks of linen that you might not actually love like I do, it makes more sense to me to get smaller pieces into your hands, so that you can experience the characteristics of different types of linen and make your own choices.

The first sampler pack I’ve put together, then, includes four specially selected types of natural-colored linen. Even though I probably stitch more frequently on white, I love natural colored linen!

The recent advent of A Sea to Stitch by Elisabetta Sforza encouraged me to move in the direction of the natural colored options for this first sampler pack, which includes the linen she uses in the book.

natural linen sampler pack

Four Types of Linen

I chose four different types of linen, each with its own noticeable characteristics.

One is a shot linen (different color warp and weft – this is the linen used in A Sea to Stitch) with a high thread count and a smooth hand. It’s suitable for all kinds of surface embroidery projects, and it’s a really beautiful Italian linen. It’s the lightest colored linen in the pack, somewhat sandy and stone-ish looking, thanks to the different colors of warp and weft threads in the weave.

I’m using this fabric as the ground fabric for the strawberries project we spoke about Wednesday. It’s also the ground fabric that I’m using on my Stitch Fun 2021 year-long sampler.

The second linen is a low-count, heavier weight, with a very smooth hand. It’s suitable for counted work (think: re-creation tapestries, historical canvas stitching techniques, etc.) and multi-use applications, linear samplers, and the like.

The third linen is Strathaven in natural. It’s a lighter color with about a 32/33 count in the linen, a full weave, and a smooth hand. It’s a soft, supple fabric, and it’s suitable for all kinds of surface embroidery applications, as well as linear samplers and more. By linear samplers, I mean projects like this:

linear stitch samplers

The fourth linen is a relatively high count even-weave (45 threads per inch) that can be used for surface embroidery, counted work, drawn thread work, and many embroidery applications. It is one of the darker fabrics in the pack.

natural linen sampler pack

In each sampler pack, I’ve included a card with a description of each type of linen and with instructions on how to prepare your new linen for embroidery.

natural linen sampler pack

Each 12″ x 12″ square is precisely cut, individually packaged, and clearly labeled with type, characteristics, and suggestions for use. They’re all bound together in a tidy pack and wrapped up in tissue paper.

The size of the linen cut makes it ideal for a medium-sized project (say, 6″ or so in either direction, size-wise), or for a couple smaller projects, like monograms or little samplers. You can also “extend” the linen for hooping or framing by adding strips of fabric to the edges, like I did here for my 2021 sampler.


Initially, I planned to ship these via First Class mail, and I did so with the first round. However, the delays in delivery were remarkable.

Instead, I’m shipping them via priority mail. Bought singly, they will ship in a small bubble mailer, via Priority, with tracking and insurance. The shipping time should be faster than First Class, and the service should be more reliable. Purchased in multiples or with other items, the sampler pack will ship via flat rate Priority.

Where to Find It, Re-Stocking Soon, and Advanced Notice

Right now, the natural linen sampler packs are available here in my shop, in a very limited quantity while I await the rest of my linen order.

I’ll be restocking as soon as I can.

If you don’t get in on today’s listing, drop me a line, and I will put you on the advanced notice list. You will receive an email once the fabric packs are restocked.

I used up the last inches of even my own stock of linen on these, so please don’t shoot me if I run out!

Wishing you the best of weekends with plenty of time to bond with your needle and thread!


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(33) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    So excited the linen’s look lovely and perfect for stitching. It’s so difficult to buy good linen in the UK that my mouth is drooling over the quality of the linen. I have sent you an email to ask you for the linen pack and to discuss postage. I really would like a bundle of these lovely linens. Thank you for sharing with us the linen pack and for the possible option of being able to purchase them from you. Have a great weekend.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Hi, Anita – Thanks! I will get back to you on international shipping, etc. The biggest problem with the UK is the custom fees, which, from what I understand, can end up costing almost as much as the package. :-/ As soon as I can crunch the numbers and the options, I will be in touch!

  2. Hi Mary,
    I tried contacting you via your store, and am not sure it went through. In case it didn’t, please notify me when the linen sampler pack is back in stock. Thanks so much, Sally Atkinson

    1. Hi, Sally – If it went through, you should have received a reply. If you didn’t, then just use the contact link at the end of the article. 🙂

  3. Morning Mary – Fantastic of you to put together sampler packs of linen for us, very much appreciated. Ground fabric is expensive for my budget so I’m very leary about buying it, not wanting to end up with a disappointment. But then I miss out on working with quality supplies.
    I know what my favorite is for cross stitch and I can and have changed the color of it with paint and dyes. Now I can do the same with linen. So excited to get a bundle, even if I have to wait. Looking forward to following the strawberries too as I learned quite a bit with the wheat.
    Happy stitching – Brenda.

  4. I even looked up the USPS site because it’s such a long time and I couldn’t remember, but there’s no surface mail option (except for businesses with large volumes etc.). That would make it really expensive. In contrast, I can post stuff (parcels, anyway – not sure about letters) to the US either air or surface. Surface is *much* cheaper than airmail. Last time I sent something it was about half the cost. It can take a long time, but it is usually much faster than the headline three months. Last summer, I sent two items to the same US address: one air and one surface. The surface one took a week even with all the kerfuffle with USPS and the pandemic. The airmail took a month. (Pandemic effect, I think – airmail goes on passenger flights. No passenger flights, no airmail. I was told today it is back to normal now but, still, airmail is about a fortnight to the US and certainly not less than a week!) Just if you’re unlucky, it can take a few months. But it gets there in the end.

    Do you know if any of the linens have sources in Europe? Presumably the Italian one should? I realist this wouldn’t have the attractions of a sampler pack but much of the benefit of that would evaporate in international shipping.

    1. There are plenty of online shops in Europe that sell linen – especially Tomboli out of Italy. If I lived in Europe, that’s where I’d be purchasing linen. There are some good linen sources in Belgium, from what I understand, and there’s Thomas Ferguson in Ireland.

  5. If you had information re. sources maybe you could sell a version of the card as an e-document? I don’t mean you should just give away the results of all the testing and research you’ve done to come up with the list.

  6. Hello, every day, it’s a pleasure to read your blog.
    I will be intesseted by your texture but I leaving in France. Have you a solution to send me your “Lin naturel”
    Have à nice weekend.

  7. Mary please let me know about the natural linen samplers. And if you ever do one with whites I’ll buy 5! 🙂
    All the linen I’ve bought has been thick and unruly. I love the way how you can almost see thru yours and how even the holes are. The ones I’ve found w/out a needlework store for hours. THREE closed in the area just when I was getting started & I didn’t have enough sense to know what fabric to get in the sales- I ended up with a bunch of strange thread!

  8. Dear Mary,
    Your linen pack almost makes me want to move to the US just to get one. It is a great idea! Alas the postage to this part of the world would be truely insane. Do you know where embroiderers get quality linen from within Australia please!
    Thank you.

  9. Please notify me when you receive your new supply of natural linen sampler pack.

    Thank you so much
    Lois Kotzan

    1. Hi, Lois – Can you please use the link for the contact form provided at the end of the article, to send me an advanced notice request? It’s an email list, so I need an incoming email from you to reply to. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Ellen – Thanks for your comment! Can you please use the link provided in the article, to contact me for the advanced notice list? It’s an email list, so I’ll need an incoming email to reply to. Thanks!

  10. Mary, my linen sampler pack arrived today, and I am so pleased. This is such a great teaching tool! I have found it much easier through my years of embroidery to learn about thread than fabric, and I love linen. You really are the top instructor for needlework. You are so good at anticipating and then meeting your students’ needs. Thank you for all you do.

  11. My linen sample pack arrived yesterday and it is lovely. It’s so nice to have this variety in my hands and to know exactly what they are and how to prepare them. Thank you—great idea! Now to choose some pretty designs

  12. I tried to sign up for your advance notice list on your contact page, but it doesn’t look as though my message went through.

  13. Hi Mary, since I’m in Europe and really not in the situation to afford shipping from the US (my latest order at the purchase price of 30 EUR cost me altogether almost 100 EUR, shipping, import sales tax, UPS brokerage and all), would you be so kind to mention the brands and names of the four linens you’re selling? So I could look for them right here? Thank you, Angela.

    1. Hi, Angela – Yeah, the shipping and import fees are dreadful! The linens are sold here under different names than they are in Europe, so I don’t know off the top of my head what is what as far as European brands go, but I will see if I can find out.

  14. I would love to order your sample pack but unfortunately I’m in UK. I was also wondering whether you have any online options for thread and linen in UK. Or anywhere I UK I can find floche in colours other than white. A friend sent me some a while back and I fell hopelessly in love with it!

    1. Hi, Rosemary – could you drop me an email? Just reply to this comment when it lands in your inbox, and request to be on the advanced notice list. It’s an email list, so I need to have an email to reply to. Thanks!

  15. I am interested in purchasing the Natural Linen Fabric Sampler Pack but it does not seem that I am able to order this on your site at the moment. Please notify me when it is back in stock so I can put my order in.

    1. Hi, Sharron – Thanks for your email! Please contact me directly by email to be put on the advanced notice list for the linen packs. It’s an email list, so I need an email to reply to, once they’re in stock. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for the notification that new linen is now available! I would like to purchase a set at the new price of $29.00. Please let know how to make payment, CC, check, PayPal ? If you are already sold out, please put me back on the notification list. Thanks for everything! Georgie

  17. Hello
    can I have a sample linen package please, how much does one cost? I want to try my hand at Lefkara embroidery lace

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