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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The Final Dragonfly: Simple Background, New Colors


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It’s hard to believe it is the week of Thanksgiving here in the States! It always ends up being a hectic week on the family front and here in the Studio for some strange reason. The only way the whole lively pre-holiday vibe could increase at this point would be if we got snow. Wouldn’t that be something?

But we’re going to put snow and holiday thoughts aside a little longer, and finish up the second dragonfly that we started last week. This is the final tutorial in the How to Embroider (Blank) series for 2021. But never fear! There’s more coming! Next year, we’ll have a similar series, with a better name and some really fun projects.

Let’s dive into the final dragonfly episode, shall we?

Embroidered Dragonflies: Stitching Tips

The background leaf design behind the dragonfly is very simply stitched in stem stitch, using one strand of DMC cotton, in pale green #772.

Because this is on the Glass Linen – a very delicate, light, open-weave, semi-transparent linen – I wanted to keep the background very light and airy.

Embroidered Dragonflies: Stitching Tips

The trick to line stitching on this fabric is to hide your starts and stops. That is, you want to keep wherever you begin and end your threads as discreet and invisible as possible. Otherwise, you’ll see the thread tweaking out behind the fabric.

To keep the starts as invisible as you can, this approach to starting your threads is very helpful.

To end the thread, whip around the backs of the stitches and when you stop whipping, work a tiny slip-style knot around the back of the stitches. Clip the thread very close to the knot.

Embroidered Dragonflies: Stitching Tips

The dragonfly is embroidered exactly the same way as Dragonfly #1, starting with the satin-stitched thorax sections (using embroidery floss and metallic braid). You can find directions for stitching the thorax here, and for stitching the wings here.

Remember when stitching the wing to work each section of the wing in a different direction of satin stitch.

Embroidered Dragonflies: Stitching Tips

The veins of the wing and the outline are couched metallic braid.

On this particular dragonfly, we used a very fine silk thread in a coordinating color to couch the braid. We used Soie de Paris 2125 to couch Au Ver a Soie braid #4 in color 2829.

You can use one strand of regular cotton floss to couch the metallic as well. It might be helpful to treat the cotton floss strand with beeswax to strengthen it, by running it through a cake of beeswax and then through your fingers several times. We didn’t wax the silk thread, but the cotton thread might be more prone to fraying from contact with the metallic.

Embroidered Dragonflies: Stitching Tips

The rest of the dragonfly is also embroidered just like the first dragonfly. You can find instructions for the tail and eyes, etc., here.

The lighting plays great on the dragonfly – it’s hard to catch it in regular household light. There’s a whole lot of sparkle going on, which is just what we wanted!

I’m a sucker when it comes to sparkle.

And that, my friends, is the end of the dragonflies. It is also the end of this year’s series on how to embroider different things. You can find all the tutorials for this year’s series listed here, under How to Embroider (Blank).

Members over on Patreon will find all the installments of these tutorials in a handy downloadable PDF format, for easy saving and printing.

It was a fun and productive year! I hope you enjoyed these tutorials and that you learned a lot from them along the way!

Big Things Coming Up!

This week, on Friday, I’m having the First Ever Site-Wide Needle ‘n Thread sale!! It will last through the weekend, or until things sell out, whichever happens first! If you have your eye on anything in my shop, try to get it early.

The sale includes all downloadable e-books, downloadable patterns collections, and all tangible goods that are in my shop at the time of the sale. It will only be for those items in stock, not for backorders or advanced notice goods that haven’t come in yet. I’m hoping to move out many tangible items, to make room for new kits and so forth for 2022.

On Friday, I’ll announce the sale and give you a discount code that you must apply at checkout to receive the discount.

Also coming up: A Stitcher’s Christmas, 2021!! This series of give-aways kicks off on December 1st. The series runs up to Christmas, with 10 different exciting give-aways. I love doing this series, working with several needlework businesses to bring you some fun gifts as we get closer to Christmas. Lots of lovely gifts for you this year, so keep an eye out and plan to participate!

Hope your week’s off to a fabulous start! I’m going to spend the rest of the day working on my Thanksgiving I Spy through the Needle’s Eye puzzle for you.

And drinking hot tea.


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(3) Comments

  1. You do such beautiful work and really enjoy your blog. Wishing you a very safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving with those you love.

  2. That is another lovely dragon fly! I never comment, and am not an embroiderer myself, but I love visiting with you at your website a few times a week. Thank you!

  3. Dear Mary

    This is a lovely dragonfly and beautifully stitched I love the metallic colour thread you have used and the beads it really stands out with the light airy leaves which all complement the project. I can’t wait for more but different of the same how to embroider they were very instructional and I learnt a lot though them. I can’t wait for the Christmas give aways hopefully I will win something. Can anyone apply to the sales or only those in the US. Thank you for sharing with us the final dragonfly project and for the techniques.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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