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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Summer Embroidery Project – Sneak Peek!


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One of the marvelous things about embroidery is that it can be as serious as you want it to be… or as whimsical.

It can be a Magnum Opus. Or it can be all Fun and Games!

I’m of the opinion that it should occasionally be all fun and games. Otherwise, we might take it too seriously. It might lose its ability to charm us.

And in fact, it might do the opposite of what it does so well: it might end up being a stress producer rather than a stress reducer.

And we wouldn’t want that!

Here’s a project that’s mostly fun and games, except for One Little Detail – one little moderately-wrong decision on my part, which I’ll share with you below.

Happy Camper Embroidery Project

This is a part of a series of three designs that you’ll see here on Needle ‘n Thread a little later this summer, called Summer Wheels. I mentioned it briefly when we were talking about color the other day.

This particular design in the set is a happy camper. It’s cheerful and fun! It’s one of those designs that is as fun as you want to make it, since there’s a lot of scope for color and whimsy.

For the project, I pulled a very random color palette of colors that worked with the pink check in the photo above. You’ll see why that’s important when I finish the project.

Happy Camper Embroidery Project

My intention was just to have a bit of fun stitching this design. And it is fun! Except…


Good Golly! That ground fabric!

The ground fabric we choose for our projects can really make or break the project – and it most certainly can have a profound effect on the enjoyment we get out of stitching.

In this case, I think I’ll be happy with it in the long run as I think it will finish ok, but in the meantime, it’s not the most pleasant fabric to embroider on.

You see, I wanted something very sturdy and tough, and I wanted a natural-colored ground, and so I chose the sturdiest, toughest natural-colored fabric I had on hand.

It happened to be a completely raw linen canvas – the kind you’d use if you were an artist and you prepared your own canvases.

It’s rough and tough, and it’s oh-so-sturdy.

It’s also a pain in the Royal Patoogi to stitch on.

Note to self: moderate all future desires for ridiculously sturdy fabric.

Happy Camper Embroidery Project

Still, the design is fun to embroider. In fact, it’s completely Fun and Games – no stress!

I’m more or less choosing stitches and colors randomly, although I had a general idea of the main colors for the design.

There are moments when I feel as if I’m going overboard with the saccharine-sweet-ice-cream-parlor-candy-shop look, but hey! We all need something a little sweet now and then!

So there’s a sneak peek of an upcoming project. I’m pushing ahead on this particular project right now because I want to have the whole thing finished and constructed by the end of the week. I’ll be out of town next week and this project is hopefully going with me in finished form.

I have a friend who has asked for this and the other Summer Wheels designs to be transferred onto towel sets. Is this something you’d be interested in? The other designs involve a vintage bike and a wheelbarrow at this point, and they all three sport a kind of hand-drawn doodle look. They’ll be available later as a downloadable design set with basic stitch instructions and instructions for finishing the constructed item I’m making with this design.

If you’d be interested in them as a ready-to-stitch towel set as well, let me know. The nice thing about the ready-to-stitch towel sets is that they really are stress-free stitching! No transfer involved, no finishing involved. Just the fun part – stitching!

If you have thoughts on that, feel free to chime in below!


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(152) Comments

  1. This project is just what I have been looking for. My cousin and also very good friend has been struggling with Uterin cancer for a couple of years now. She loves camping and goes all the time. I can’t wait to make this for her. You are the best.

  2. What a cute design; perfect for towels for my daughter’s camper! My son-in-law is an avid cyclist and they spend lots of time in their yard, so the set would be perfect for them. A download that can be added to other items would be appreciated, too! I enjoy your blog posts so much.

  3. I would be interest in a towel set of the Summer embroidery . Pleas let me know if there will be some and when they will be availiabe to order.

    Ellen Gallegos (Schulte)

  4. Yes please I’d be interested in the summer wheels set of towels. I love pre-printed sets and simple things to stitch while watching TV.

  5. Yes, would like to see these designs as a towel set!

    Curious if this ground fabric you used, is one of the fabrics in the natural colored fabric sample packs?

  6. Mary! This is oh so cute!!! And I would like the towel set. In fact, I already know who will get these towels! So please let me know when they’re available, and I’ll be one of the first to order! Thanks so much!


  7. One of my coworkers has a trailer (her family’s weekend getaway) and I would like to embroider the trailer for her. It would look cute on a towel.
    I’ll be first in line for a ready to stitch towel set! Great gift ideas!
    As always, Mary you come up with great ideas!!!
    Have a great Memorial Day weekend! I am looking forward to 3 days off from work and time to stitch, read and walk my dog.

  8. This is a really cute design!! I would love to see the Summer Wheels and the antique bike design available on towels to stitch!

  9. Mary, can you show us how to stitch tea towels with a nice neat back? I frequently have heard friends who had seen embroidery with an almost exact copy of the design on the back. I think we all would enjoy that. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talents and personality! Keep up the little colloquial words you use. They are soo much fun! God Bless! Phyllis

    1. Hi, Phyllis – Thanks for your comment! I have an e-book available in my shop called “Floral Corners” – it goes with the floral corners towel set (it includes the designs), but in fact, the stitching instructions and tips in there apply to any kind of embroidery like this. So even if you’re not embroidering the floral corners designs, you’ll learn all the little tips for a successful and neat completion for this type of project. This is the e-book: https://shop.needlenthread.com/product/floral-corners

  10. Oh my gosh, how fun is this! I absolutely love this design and coupled with the bicycle and wheelbarrow I am definitely interested. Being I am from Canada, it would be great if it could be a downloadable pattern!!!

  11. Hi Mary! That trailer is adorable and I would love to see those designs on towels. A fun Summer project for sure!!!!

  12. Oh Mary I would love a set of Summer wheels. They would look so lovely in my summer cabin in New Hampshire which my husband and I just bought this year! Diane

  13. Towel sets are the best projects! They are usually quick and make great gifts. Please do make them up as preprinted towels.
    Thanks for your great blog. You’re inspiring to read and keep me motivated when I hit that ‘dead zone’ of unfinished work. I appreciate the time you spend sharing your knowledge.

  14. Sumer Wheels ready to stitch towels sets sound like a good idea to me. I have really liked the ones in the past.

  15. I just love your first item in the upcoming summer project! I really do like the colors you chose, so summery and fun! You achieved your goal. I was wondering what you had sewn it on, and if that was the mistake! 🙂 Only because it looks like a pair of dungerees to garden in! LOL Maybe that is where your design could end up… To weigh in on the idea of already printed projects, I love it! I have ordered other projects from you and am having a great time with the “just stitching” relazing part of it. Thank you for your ongoing effort to provide us with ideas, teach, and guide us. It is so appreciated. Joy

  16. Mary,
    I would love this design as well as the other Summer wheels. My daughter has a camper that looks like this and I would love to make her some towels.

  17. Yes yes yes. Please do the pre-printed towel set, especially the bicycle. My cycling friend will love it.

  18. Good morning everyone,
    I would love to stitch these towels! I have camped all of my life, and for three generations my family has spent many happy summers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Such lovely memories! Thank you Mary.

  19. Mary,
    Love the designs. Either would work for me. But I prefer just the designs, so I can play around with what I want them to be.


  20. Love the camper design idea-but not on your towels. The reason? I find the towels too, too large! I have had to reduce them in size previously. So, I will want the designs only to transfer to my choice of fabrics. Your creativity is inspiring.

  21. Yes, add me to the list for ordering pre printed tea towels with the Happy Camper. I am still working on the full set as a gift for my daughter’s wedding, and these would fall into “summer-time” towels. Hope to see them up soon. If you are running an advance notice list, add my name to it. Thanks loads.

  22. Oh, Mary! Of course I’d love these designs on a towel set. I think I have made every set you have ever offered us. So let the wheels roll! I’m all set to drive one of these campers all the way to Kansas!

    Karen from Minnesota

  23. Yes, I’d love to stitch the set but not as dish towels. I would love to stitch them on linen to frame them possibly or as little pillows to fill a dough bowl, just don’t want to stitch them on a sturdy linen canvas. I love these stitch projects and would love to see more SALs (stitch alongs) to learn various stitches. The camper trailer is super cute!

  24. I love your towel sets! And yes, this would be a great one for that. I stitched up your bird and flower towel sets and my girlfriend made the most adorable aprons out of them! Yes, please!!!

  25. I would like your summer fun projects as patterns only. I think they would be great to do on a bag to carry that summer picnic lunch or summer fun reading books.

  26. Yes, please, more ready to stitch tea towels! Love the camper! Those would be perfect for an RV/camper!

  27. I would LOVE to have these as a ready to stitch towel set! They would be fantastic to use during summer months!!

  28. Please make them into pre=printed towel sets. I have finished two of your sets and am about to start a third. My family loves them and wants more. Best wishes. Becky

  29. Yes, please do the whimsical camper/wheels on towels.
    I can envision a wagon with flowers and flags, but I can’t draw worth beans!

  30. I’ve already chimed in about the proposed towel set, but would a pre-printed piece of fabric be possible, too? You know, something “hoop-able”?

    This is such a cute design!

  31. I have embroidered so many vintage trailers for friends over the years, on dish towels, game bags, and just wall hangings, but none as wonderful and whimsical as this one! Count me in!

  32. These designs would be wonderful on a towel set! And, even though it is hard to stitch on, your dark linen is perfect with the pink check, it adds to the whimsy of the piece.

  33. Fun, indeed! I am taking a mini-break from my 17th-century whitework course to embroidery on my doctor-daughters “white coat”. She is a pediatrician, so I have “decorated” a number of her coats for her patient’s amusement. This one is flying saucers manned by gary-larson cows! silly embroidery!!!

  34. I’m a quilter so I can see these a blocks in a fun quilt. Can’t wait to see the other ones.
    Thanks for some fun stitching this summer.

  35. I would LOVE a ready-to-stitch towel set! My niece and her husband just bought a camper and I really want to stitch your Happy Camper design for her.

  36. I am all for towel sets. With two daughters, two grands and a grandson who just turned 22 I expect our family of cooks to keep growing.

  37. Yes, I would like them on towels. Also, am interested in the tree pattern and thread set when they are out. Thank you!

  38. I’ve found cotton duck pretty easy to work with when I’ve wanted a durable fabric. (I think I learned that from Charles Henry and Elin Petronella on Instagram.)

  39. Oh, Mary, of course I would be interested in a towel set! I think I have bought every other one you have done, shared several with a friend who has taken up embroidery this spring, and given completed ones as presents. These would be absolute fun!! Thank you for all of your inspiration (and hard work.)

  40. I would be interested in this set. I have some friends that would enjoy receiving them as a gift.
    Thanks, Kay

  41. I hate transferring designs-definitely not my forte. I would LOVE the Summer Wheels printed on tea towels. Let us know when they are available.

  42. I am definitely interested in a Summer’s Wheels kitchen towel set. Would be a perfect gift for my Camping and Electric Bicycle loving daughter. Yes please!

  43. I am a camper and love the little one you have started. I’ve done a set of cross stitched campers, one for each season that are similar in style. Your towel set may just be the push I need to actually take up surface embroidery again instead of just drooling over your finishes.

  44. Hi Mary
    I know you can’t send towel sets overseas. But could you make these patterns downloadable, so we can put them onto our own towels?

    Thanks – Cheers

  45. Oh, yes, please! Ready to stitch towels are perfect for summer stitching. Is it a problem to add in floss sets? I’d love that.

  46. Really looking forward to the whimsical wheels set of instructions and towels. Your towels are so wonderful to stitch and gift!!

  47. YES!! I love the summer wheels design. And yes, a softer, lighter fabric sounds like a great idea!

  48. That is too cute. The colors are perfect. I have a camper pattern that I couldn’t pull together but I think I’ll just follow your lead. Thanks

  49. Yes please!
    I would very interested in purchasing the stamped tea towels of your summer wheels design!!

    Thank you!!

  50. regular linen fabric is a dream to stitch, makes keeping stitch spacing easy. I have been using it to do the 5 way to embroider….. perhaps if you washed the other linen it would soften. Regular comes in soooooo mant colors.

  51. Oh, yes! Grand idea for the design to be on flour sack towels. Yours are such high quality!



  52. I agree!! This design and the others you reference would be so fun on towels for summertime. I can see them used in vacation homes as well. I would to stitch a set.

  53. Hi Mary,
    I would love to try the towel set with “Summer Wheels” designs. When you get them up and going please have me on your list! I would love to purchase the kit! Geri Bosley

  54. LOVE THIS!!!!!! Looks so yummy!!! And the stitches look so fun and so spot on – ingenuity at its best!

  55. What fun! I wonder why so many of the guesses, including mine, went to flowers yesterday? The colors? So many “what’s blooming now” posts on blogs (not complaining!) ?

  56. The summer designs look like fun. Look forward to them as downloads but the towels are great for gifts. as I have friends and family members who are campers and bikers.

  57. It really is an adorable design! I wouldn’t mind getting some more information about challenges of stitching on raw canvas though.

    And yes. It belongs on towels.

  58. Adorable Mary! This motif would be a darling embellishment for a cushion or tea towel in an RV. It’s got that Girlie Glamping vibe. What a great way to kick off summer!

  59. I’d love to buy a set of towels but as I live in the UK thats a bit of a pipe dream.

    However I’ll definatley buy the down loadable pdf when it’s available.

    My daughter gave me a set of the Silk Mills threads for Xmas last year and they look the perfect colours for the Summer Wheels project.

    Thank you for all your work Mary, I look forward to reading each one as soon as they appear.

  60. Can’t wait to do the camper! Looks like fun!!! I may make a pillow with that design to go with us in our camper!

    Judy in Tallahassee, Florida

  61. What an adorable camper! I love the colors and fabric choice you made. Can’t wait until this is available.

  62. Dear Mary

    This looks like a lovely project and unusual really summary, makes you think of sun, sea and holidays which we all need right now. But alternatively we can stitch a holiday scene like you are and pretend we are away enjoying our break. I like the colour threads you are using and I’m really looking forward to the progress on this design, I hope you are able to get to grips with the ground fabric sounds like a nightmare. Thank you for sharing with us the Summer Wheels project and for showing us a sneak peek view of your new project it looks so much fun. Have a good time away next week.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  63. I’m not into towels to embroidery but would enjoy stitching those patterns for gifts! Frame and ready to go for birthday gifts!

  64. I would LOVE the Summer wheels to be available as a towel set! Thanks for all your amazing work, BTW

  65. I love the new camper design. We live in a camper part time and this would be perfect! I can’t wait to see your design so I can start it. I would love to see it on towels. I love all your designs and appreciate all the work you do in sharing with us.

  66. Seen the finished article and really like the addition of the gingham. I embroidered a caravan bag using a cheap ready made calico bag and added a patchwork applique caravan to the other side of the embroidery and stitched ‘Kate’s Glampervan’ for a friend we going camping with in a field – no frills and definitely not glamping in sight!

  67. Just saw your adorable camper, all finished and turned into a carryall. Very, very cute. Hope it is not too late to vote for a kit for your three summer projects. I’ve seen so many tutorials on transferring designs to fabric, but a kit would be sooo much easier. Hope you consider adding to your stock. Thank You, Toni

  68. Mary, YES YES I’m totally interested in a towel set with Summer Wheels designs.
    I also would like to purchase EACH ONE of your summer design stitching designs.

  69. I would love a tea towel stamped. I think that would be so fun to work on and great Christmas presents. Thank you for asking.

    1. 🙂 I hope some time soon. I need to finish the other patterns in the set. And then I need to stitch them. And then I need to … well, you get the idea! It takes a little time!

  70. Oh Wow i love this little camper.. Are we getting this one in the future??? At lease share the pattern and the threads please…

  71. Would like to know when Summer Wheels is available on towels.
    Thanks for the tour of the studio
    It gives me hope…. Skip

    1. I’m still working my way through a second sample, to determine the size I think will work best. Once I’ve finished the second sample, I still have to do the third, so it will be a little while, but hopefully not too long!

  72. Did I read correctly? This will be one of a series of three? Or is it available for purchase now? Would love to get a jump on Christmas gifts for those special camping friends.

    Beautiful design…

  73. YES!! I love the little camper design! And I would totally buy a kit with this on it! and instructions, since I am a beginner embroiderer.
    Thank you!

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