About

Mary Corbet

writer and founder

 

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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Where Did the Blogs Go?

 

Amazon Books

A long, long time ago I can still remember…

… when there were loads of interesting needlework blogs online!

Needlework Blogs Update

In the earlier years of Needle ‘n Thread, keeping up with a long list of active needlework blogs was practically a part-time job in itself! So, as Needle ‘n Thread required more attention over the years, I had to trim down the time I spent exploring the wider online world of needlework blogs.

In the interim, lots and lots of needlework blogs disappeared.

I’m sure that some have sprung up to take their places, but the online world has a changed quite a bit in the last eight-to-eighteen years.

Changes in Online Content, Location, & Reach

Now, online audiences are reached more through social media outlets and hosted video content (usually peppered with really obnoxious advertising!) than through dedicated “online real estate” that offers in-depth, audience-tailored content with a lot more tooth to it. Audiences today have become used to the quick visual fix. Reading is practically passé.

And now, with the fine-tuning of AI (and content creation achieved by artificial intelligence), it seems that unique, personal, tailored content is likely going to continue declining in most spheres.

On the one hand, this can be a cause for disappointment or discouragement.

But on the other hand, it is a great opportunity for those who really love and care about certain subjects – in our case, we’ll say needlework, since that’s what brings us all together on Needle ‘n Thread – to provide better content and to tailor it even more specifically to their audience’s wants and needs.

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while, because, after all, it’s what I do.

Needle ‘n Thread is primarily a blog about embroidery. That’s how it started and that’s what holds it together – the blog. There is a lot of embroidery content on the blog, too. If you ever have a specific question about needlework, there’s a good chance you’ll find an answer to it by using the search feature on the website.

Needle ‘n Thread Real Estate

I’m happy (and a little proud) to say that Needle ‘n Thread differs from most online real estate today in lots of ways.

Over the years, I’ve tried to be very, very careful about maintaining an objective needlework-only website.

I’ve striven to ensure that my content was always relevant to my audience and that it’s not packed with over-used keywords, repetition, and irrelevant rambling – practices which are common in the blogging world because they boost search engine results. (Ever wonder why recipe blogs use the name of the recipe over and over and over again throughout the first few paragraphs of their posts, and then ramble on and on with irrelevancies, completely unrelated to the recipe at hand or cooking in general, to fill up space? It’s because they are catering to the search engines, feeding them as much as they can to get ranked higher on search engine results.)

And probably most notable of all if you’ve visited Needle ‘n Thread and explored the website for any amount of time – I’ve avoided filling the website with network advertising. This, in fact, was one of my first goals with Patreon – to allow me to avoid using network ads so that our community here would have a much better online experience while visiting the website. I wanted Needle ‘n Thread visitors to enjoy exploring needlework topics, to find what they need without the frustration of sifting the real content from advertised content, and to be able to rest their eyes and brains while delving into embroidery – away from the incessant hammering of aggravating, ubiquitous advertising.

This final point comes at a cost. Besides providing an income stream, online network advertising does something else for content creators. You see, search engines love websites that host network ads, especially if the ad networks belong to the same company that owns the search engines. Google, for example, loves websites that host Google ads. And so websites that host Google ads are more likely to rank higher in search results via Google than websites that don’t host their ads – usually regardless of the quality of content.

That’s just the way the game works.

But I gave up chasing that game quite a while ago. I discovered I couldn’t blog freely about embroidery, in my own voice, the way I wanted to, if I was constantly concerned about whether or not search engines liked me.

I decided that content would be my focus because that’s what would matter over time – solid content. I decided to build a website that would be enjoyable and informative for visitors. I decided that building good, helpful content would be the best investment for my online real estate.

And it has been. Needle ‘n Thread has enjoyed organic growth over the years, thanks to each one of you! Because so many of you have shared Needle ‘n Thread with your stitching friends, we have grown into quite a nice community here! Thank you profoundly for that!

(And please – feel free to continue sharing!)

But Back to the Blogs…

But to get back to the subject of blogs – there are still many good needlework blogs out there that have been operating for a while and that have great content if you’re interested in embroidery and other needlework.

Recently, prompted by a comment from a Needle ‘n Thread reader, I went through and cleaned up my Big List of Embroidery & Needlework Blogs to Explore so that it lists needlework-related blogs that are still active. The list is much, much shorter now, alas, but that’s probably a good sign that the content on it is good quality. There’s a lot to be said for longevity!

I’m sure there are more blogs to include in that list now, so if you happen to have any good recommendations for some favorite needlework-related blogs that you follow, drop me a line. I’ll be happy to take a look at them!

And while you’re thinking about content, here’s a question for you: is there any embroidery topic that you’d like to see covered on Needle ‘n Thread? Any question you have? Difficulty that you’re trying to overcome in your stitchery? Any technique you’d like more information on? If you’ve got any suggestions, I’m all ears! Drop me a line!

 
 

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(49) Comments

  1. Dearest Mary,
    I for one, am extremely thankful for your blog! I have been a long-time subscriber to your newsletters, and I look forward to each and every one. Sometimes the technique or topic discussed by you is not in my repertoire, but I still enjoy it, nonetheless. And I shall speak for myself and other subscribers and say how much we appreciate your blog and what you do to enrich our lives with your knowledge and expertise. Thank you every so much!

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  2. Mary, you blog like a writer, and I (we) love you for it!

    I have a question: How do you best substitute threads?
    My current dilemma is with a kit, from a most reputable source, that has a materials list running from A to EI! That, and the fact that there are a lot of specialty threads on the list that are difficult to get in this hemisphere, made the kit the most attractive option.
    But some of the quantities are short.* So far I’ve been able to pull substitutes from my stash, but do you have any suggestions for choosing a matching thread weight and color to complete a design? For example, I kept an eye on one remaining thread and divided the last length from the kit to use in two places, feeling that my substitute might look more deliberate if used in more than one spot.
    Another aspect is the times when there is no kit, and I want to use stash to substitute for the novelty threads called for in a design. Are there readily available options that work in place of, say, an overdyed thread or a novelty like chenille?
    [*In fairness, I know that the company would send me more of the kitted threads that are short; they are very kind about that. But who wants to wait a month for the rest of the thread to finish a leaf? And I don’t want to ask as each shortage arises, creating multiple tiny shipments from far away.]

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    1. Hi, Rebecca – The only way to substitute a thread for a very close match is to test it against the original thread. If you don’t have a stash of threads to do this with, you’d have to hunt around for threads that look or sound close to the original and acquire them somehow. Trial and error is really the only way, if there’s no direct conversion from one thread type to the other already published – and with specialty threads, there rarely is a conversation chart available.

  3. Hi Mary

    You have certainly achieved your aim regarding your blog. One of my go to places when I have embroidery or thread questions. Always on my list of references to give to those new to stitching or wanting to learn more.

    Thank you for this fabulous place.
    Sue x

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  4. I’ve got no suggestions for you other than keep on keepin’ on! I want you know how much I appreciate your blog and websites just as they are. ♥️

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  5. After, between my husband and my son, l learned how to use a computer, one of the first things l started looking for, was embroidery. That is how l came upon your site Mary. At the time you were still a full time teacher. That profession of yours came into good stead as you have an excellent way of teaching and explaining embroidery stitches. I have learned a lot through this blog. Thank you for all the hard work you do. It must be so satisfying to combine your passion for needlework into a fulltime career. Everytime someone asks a question about something embroidery related on social media, you are first on my list of references. May you still be around for many years doing what you love most, embroidery. Lots of love Elza from Cape Town.

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  6. Mary, thanks first for keeping true to your vision, which is what makes your site so accessible and jam-packed with useful information organized in a logical fashion. I have noticed the trend you discuss at length not only with blogs but also with podcasts. I feel that the quality and quantity of podcasts on subjects that interest me has declined. So I guess my question for you would be can you do a review of podcasts you follow as well as blogs and/or is it time for YOU to start a podcast??? I’d tune in! I like to listen to podcasts while doing handwork if I don’t have a book on tape handy, it’s a natural fit.

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    1. Hi, Kelly! Oh golly… I don’t know if I could squeeze in a podcast. I’m still concentrating on updating my videos. It’s an ever-challenging job, this whole blogging thing!

      Besides, I have quite the abhorrence of my own voice – I cannot stand to hear myself recorded! LOL! When I hear a recording of me, it doesn’t sound at all like the voice I hear in my head when I talk… and I do mean my real voice, not that other voice in my head. 🙂

  7. Hi Mary, thanks for including me on your big list! Just yesterday I realised that most of my “ponderings” are now posted to Facebook and Instagram, rather than on my blog, so I decided to try to remember to post there as well for that audience.

    I have found the demise of Feedburner difficult. I wish I knew what to swap to instead to allow people to read my blog posts in their email.

    Thanks for including me! Yvette

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    1. Hi, Yvette, Thanks for your note! Have you thought about using a newsletter service like Mail Chimp or Aweber? It is worth the fee, because it gives you the ability to reach your people directly when you need to. Publishing on a blog without that option does not give you as much control over getting your information to your people. You can automate, so that when you publish something to your blog, it goes directly to your readers. Additionally, you can use it to contact your people with specific information just for them. I could list many reasons why you should maintain a good list with an email newsletter service, but I imagine you already know them all! If you ever want to chat about it or you have any questions, drop me a line!

  8. I thank you for your carefully thought out plan and the integrity to follow through with it. I have followed you for many years. Even though I can no longer manage the needlework, I continue to support your efforts to keep people picking up needles to create beautiful designs. Your needlework is so outstanding I love to see how you create it. Thank you again for your hard work.

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  9. Many thanks, Mary, for taking the high road of rich content without making riches from it. We have a good internet connection now, but until just a few years ago, those recipe websites you mention and their ilk would freeze or crash my browser. They are still ANNOYING. They are arid deserts (not desserts!) compared to your cool forests. The depth and scope of information you offer, and the clarity of delivery, and the wonderful photos – not to mention the wonderful projects, free resources, and amazing things in your store – has made your site a go-to for me, and I’ve referred many to it as well. I’m glad you wrote this post, because, even when I’m not embroidering much, I welcome each new post by you, especially those which include information about your day-to-day life as a blogger, business owner, bespoke embroider, and those tidbits you share about your personal life. I could go on and on – good thing I’m not a blogger, I’m WAY too wordy! Oh, and I can add at least one more point – your willingness to answer queries with genuine attention to the question, and a full response. In fact, you are AMAZING!!! THANK YOU!!!

    Holly

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  10. Thank you for your wonderful blog and website. It’s one I have enjoyed and recommended for many years, and one I have turned to when looking for instruction on a specific stitch or embroidery technique. Please don’t ever change and keep on doing what you do best!

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  11. Your column about longevity of blogs inspired me to do what I have been meaning to do for a while – join your Patreon. But when I clicked, I did not see an option for an annual contribution. I am not comfortable leaving my credit card number with an on line organization. Is there another way I can contribute to your wonderful work?

    Thanks for all you do!

    Anne

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    1. Thanks, Anne! I’m trying to get a yearly option set up. There’s some difficulty in that when it comes to different levels of access. I just need to figure it out! I’ll try to do that in the next week or so. Thanks for the nudge!

  12. Thanks Mary, just a note to say how much I appreciate your keeping up a quality-content blog for followers to read! I joined your Patreon to be able to contribute in a tiny way to exactly that phenomenon: knowledgeable experts being free to create the content they want on their own schedule for an audience that really values their expertise, instead of being driven to produce whatever will monetize them most effectively for hosts and advertisers.

    As so many of the other bloggers I’ve enjoyed reading over the years are giving up blogging due to pressure to produce video content, Needle’n’Thread becomes an ever more cherished resource, not just for invaluable needlework information but for my online reader/subscriber experience in general. Thanks again, and keep up the great work!

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  13. Oh yeah, I forgot, content suggestions! A question occupying a lot of my needlework thoughts at the moment is: What do you recommend for the best outcome in hand embroidery on handwoven plain-weave wool? (Excuse my gratuitously mentioning wool in mid-August, but I’m visiting the Southern Hemisphere at present and it’s chilly around here! 🙂

    I bought some gorgeous natural-colored yardage from a weaver of my acquaintance, and want to make a vest from it with an embroidered motif on the back. I have figured out that I should probably full/shrink the fabric at least slightly; I don’t think I want to felt it all the way down to boiled-wool consistency and lose the gorgeous texture and drape of the handweave, but it should probably get at least a bit denser. And I definitely think I should back it with a light cotton muslin to embroider on it.

    Then what? Should I be using wool crewel yarns, regular floss, or what? You kindly gave me some tips in response to my June 5 query about using floche for garment embroidery, but that was on lighter-weight cotton or linen. I am just not quite feeling in my mind’s fingers, so to speak, what kind of embroidery thread would work best for this heavier wool fabric.

    I also have a ponder going on about construction. Ideally, I know, I would embroider the fabric in the flat and then cut and piece the garment from it. But this garment is intended partly for what I call “classwear”, i.e., clothes with something interesting happening on the back so that when I turn away from my class to write on the board there’s a visual element to help keep their attention. I’m quite liking the idea of wearing the same vest as a work in progress once a week, on Mondays, say, so at the start of term the students will see a very unfinished-looking design on the back and then more detail and color being added week by week. If I treat the backing muslin as an underlining and then have a “lift-away” separate lining for the garment itself that isn’t attached at the hem, it should be workable. But is it an absolutely terrible idea to periodically un-hoop, press and wear your embroidery project while it’s still a work in progress? I’m afraid that my desire to visually pique the class’s interest does not extend to the point of wearing a vest with an embroidery hoop still fastened to the back of it! 😀

    TL;DR: any posts about tips for embroidering on handwoven fabric, especially woolen weaves, will be super appreciated!!

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    1. Oh wow – that sounds like a great embroidery project! I don’t know if I would line the wool before stitching. I’d probably line the garment after stitching, during construction. But I don’t think most wool – especially if you’re going to wash it and let it partially felt – needs a backing fabric, unless it is a really, really fine wool and you’re planning to use dense stitching. I might use crewel yarns on a wool that’s partially felted, but you can use cotton – the cotton floss would provide a contrast in texture, anyway, and sheen. I suppose it depends on the look you’re going for.

      I think with wool – especially something felted – you could construct it and then wear it as a work-in-progress, especially if you left the lining unsewn, say, at the base of the vest. But if you’re working with a lighter fabric, that might be a bit more problematic, just for the sake of drape. If you have a partially felted wool – close to a boiled wool – you might not have to hoop it, and in fact, I think you’d be better off not hooping it. I don’t know how well a felted wool would recover from hooping. I’d definitely have to test that!

      I think it sounds like a fun approach to a project!

  14. I really appreciate the care and energy you put into your blog. It’s so informative, and has so much great information. I really appreciate what you share with us.

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  15. As you know, maintaining a blog is hard work.
    During the early stages of the pandemic I did a small blog for my needlework friends. It was fun for the first year as a weekly activity. But keeping it current, relevant and interesting was also hardwork. I think many blogs that aren’t teaching or selling blogs just peter out.
    Mine did.

    There has been a rise in blogging by commercial enterprises: London Embroidery School, Hand and Locke, RSN as well as more lecture series by EGA, RSN, Textile Arts, Lynn Hulse. In addition are the number of monthly Zoom stitch ins – Philippa Turnbull for Crewel Works, EGA Surface Stitch Zoom, EGA Metal works Zoom, my own 3rd Sunday of the month Zoom for the MidAtlantic Region of the EGA. As a result a lot of information is being shared.

    What I do miss is the quirky, personal commentary on stitching. One embroiderer’s commentary on the stitching life. That is why I so enjoy your blog and support your Patreon efforts. Thank you for carrying on.

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  16. Mary I for one am very grateful for your ad free blog. You have a wealth of information that I know I can rely onand I’m proud to be a Patreon member and encourage others to do the same if they are not already a patron. I also try to frequent your store as well. Keep up the great work and know that you have some very faithful followers!

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  17. Thank you for this informative post on non-stitching info. It does seem as though people’s need for quick easy and trendy has left blogs mostly in the dust! I appreciate your commitment to writing informative useful posts about needlework. I love the info and the exhibits you recommend, and books too, are wonderful! (That video about Linen! Mesmerizing!) Your question about what we would like to see here made me think. I am a miniaturist (dollhouses and painting) and found your blog from the petit-point tapestry you stitched years ago. (I wanted that kit but it is no longer available). I learned petit-point mostly from kits I bought from Janet Granger, a UK miniaturist who has also not posted in the past couple of years. What I want to learn how to do is chart my own stitching designs…. and lack the knowledge of where to start. I admit to altering some designs from kits, but want to do Medieval Tapestries in Miniature….. 22, 32, 40 count are the ones I am comfortable with. Any hints or suggestions would be appreciated!
    I also have recently been stitching Carolyn Pierce’s “Home Sweet Home” work-box from her book and am enjoying it immensely.

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  18. Needle’n Thread is such a nice site to visit. It is full of clear information and instruction, with none of the “stuff” that pops up at you from everywhere these days when you visit a blog (yes, I am talking about those distracting and annoying adds).
    Your website is always a great place to visit, regardless if I am looking to learn about some embroidery technique, or about materials and tools, or if I am just looking for inspiration for a next project.
    Thank you for keeping it the way it is. Your are doing a fantastic job, and helping many of us along the way.

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  19. Dear Mary,
    I discovered your blog shortly after retirement from work and joining an embroidery guild here in Montréal, province of Québec, Canada. It is members of the Guild how gave me the info about your blog. I receive your newsletter since then and your blog has been a reference for me from that time on. I suggest it to other embroiderers when they do not know how to do a particular stitch even though they do not master the English langage because your videos are so clear one can understand how to proceed.
    Your blog is an invaluable resource.
    Thanks a lot.
    Louise

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  20. Dear Mary

    I haven’t written for while but I would like to say…………..
    I’ve been a big, big fan of yours for many years now and everything I learnt about embroidery from stitching to goldwork to egg embroidery to button embroidery and all unusual elements of embroidery has come from your website Needle ‘n Thread. I have gone on from embroidery to making felt birds/felt animal families/topsy turvy dolls/felt quiet books and I am in the process of making a double topsy turvy doll two cinderella’s and Hansel and Gretel. This is all due to YOU and Needle ‘n Thread.
    All these different strands of embroidery started with your blogs from how to videos to photo instructions on different elements of embroidery. I’m always amazed that you have something new to say on each blog and you are so faithful to writing every week and sometimes on weekends. You always give clear and precise, easy to follow instructions, which I appreciate.
    I really appreciate your e-books and how they have helped me develop different embroidery projects and other elements of my projects.
    I do appreciate more then anything that your website Needle ‘n Thread has no very, very annoying useless and irrelevant adverts, it makes me so angry that I see a blog and I think that looks interesting, and when you go on their websites it’s full of adverts which slows up my computer. I absoloutely hate them. So thank you for not going down that road.
    I really appreciate your easy, natural way of writing especially your sense of humour and your tidbits on your family and work related subjects.
    So a big THANK YOU from me for all that you do in helping and developing skills to all who read and appreciate your website.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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  21. So many bloggers have gone to faster, easier places to post. Snap a photo, write a short comment, tag it, hit “post”. Sadly I miss all of that because I don’t have those accounts, and often even viewing without an account, let alone an invitation, is not possible. Not that I blame the former bloggers – writing a coherent blog post is Work! Even those blog posts that are only pretty photos take work to stage/take/edit the photos, upload the photos, etc.

    As long as bloggers are up front about if they earn money from links on their posts, I’m OK as long as they don’t get too pushy/beggy about using their links. I know ads will never go away, as that’s how we get free blog hosting. What I don’t like is auto-play video ads that suck up bandwidth, cover up the content, won’t close until it’s done playing, cause the page to jump around as ads load/close, etc. There are a few blogs I’ve stopped reading because the blog took forever or didn’t load, or was unreadable because of the ads.

    I don’t mind when people go off their main topic, I always have the choice to not read a post. I’d rather they post off topic (don’t we all have times where our projects just aren’t progressing?) instead of not posting at all, at least I know they are still alive.

    As to podcasts, vlogs, and other recorded things…I’m a fairly fast reader, so I rarely check those out unless I’m looking for a good tutorial on a specific technique. Many of them take far too long to say what a few written words could do. So my attention wanders and next thing I know, I have no idea what was just said. What can I say – even when it comes to written instructions, I’m more of a bullet-point person, not paragraphs that go on and on with lots of filler words. The steps and words start to run together in my brain. 🙂

    I guess the up-side is that with fewer bloggers sticking around, the more time I have to actually get things done.

    I do have one concern about removing inactive blogs from your list – sometimes inactive blogs have some really good information. I’d hate to have that lost simply because they no longer post. Maybe a separate list of “inactive, still good resource” or something?

    And lastly – thank you for keeping up with your blog and all the information it has. Your tutorials and instructions are clear and concise, not a lot of filler to sort through. This is one of my daily stops to check for new posts, and sometimes to re-read an old one.

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  22. Just wanted to say I think the generosity of all you share, albeit at some level for an income, is so obviously not that, you are a skilled craftsman/woman whose enthusiasm and talents you enthuse to anyone who however stumbling wish to create something lovely .

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  23. Hi Mary, I’d like to learn how to use multiple kinds of Au Ver a Soie in a single surface embroidery project. I keep impulse buying the gorgeous little collections (Dimensional of a single kind of thread, Discovery Packs or Ensembles) from either Hoop & Frame, or French Needle, but then I don’t know what to do with them other than to marvel at their beauty. Your Fall Tree taught me that Soie d’Alger is +/- like DMC, but softer and fuzzier – use short lengths and a fat needle to make a smooth hole for it. But now, I’d like to use others: Soie Perlee and Gobelins, Soie de Paris and 100/3 along with it. Soie Ovale, too but I think maybe that’s an entirely different kettle of fish? I’d like to incorporate them together, but how? Thank you!!!

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    1. Let me phrase this a little differently…. Each of these Au Ver a Soie threads are great for some stitches, but not so great for others. I don’t know how to sort this out, and would love a bit of insight as to what each is best suited for (surface embroidery), and how to use them together given their different construction and sheen.

  24. I just wrote a long comment on an old post but now I’m not sure if you’ll see it. To sum up I just wanted you to know that your website has literally saved my mental health during a long period of convalescent from GBS and so I wanted to say thank you, Mary for this wonderful place full of fantastic information and guidance. X

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  25. More goldwork! A project would be welcome, intermediate level, ecclesiastical subject. Your blog is unique. Love it for all the reasons you mentioned above. Thank you!

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  26. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the way you structure your blog. Content-focussed, relevant and interesting links, and you are always up-front about any affiliate links. I’m here for the embroidery, not the ads.
    Thank you
    Denise

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  27. Mary, your site is quite literally an educational resource that is inspirational, motivational, beautiful, always interesting and your “can do” approach is warmly welcoming to new embroiderers. One of it’s strengths is your candour. You are honest and not afraid to show is what went wrong and how you sorted it out. I think your “voice” is conversational but not waffly.
    I have followed you for a couple of years now and am being inspired to do more embroidery as your instructions are so clear.
    Please continue as you can see that I and many others appreciate your hard work!

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  28. PS I think a yearly subscription to your Patreon group is an excellent idea. I would use my birthday money to subscribe in a flash!!

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  29. Hi Mary,
    I’d love to have a little more instruction on Cutwork embroidery- Richelieu. I purchased a kit from the etsy store you recommended and while the instructions are in English they use terms that I’m unfamiliar with and I found them rather sparse. I’m particularly having difficulty with how to stitch the buttonhole edging after you’ve done the buttonhole bars. Then there are some cases where the buttonhole bars cross over in the middle of the open space and I can’t seem to get them right. Lastly I went looking online for instruction and there is Very little out there and what is out there is in some cases very poor quality stitching.

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