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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Weekend Stitching & Thoughts


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I managed to get in a bit of stitching this weekend!

That’s Big News! Once upon a time, weekend stitching was a normal thing in my life. I’m trying to reclaim that.

And while I didn’t get massive amount done, it was nice to get something done. Just a little bit of progress is always better than no progress at all, after all.

The stitching I’ve been doing on this project is very simple, very relaxing, not complicated at all.

Holly & Evergreen project on pre-finished linen

What makes this project (which I mentioned previously here) particularly appealing to me is the fact that I’m working on linen, and that the linen is pre-finished. When I finish the embroidery, the project is ready!

I love that.

Holly & Evergreen project on pre-finished linen

I’m only using three stitches on this: stem stitch, satin stitch, and split stitch.

This simplicity in the choice of stitches is typical of embroidery on household linens like this small tea cloth. Most embroidered household linens – whether they are linen or cotton table decor, or cute cotton accent towels, or cotton or linen bed linens like pillowcases, or embroidered upholstery for the living room – are not overly complicated with a gazillion types of stitches.

Normally, household linens are only worked with a small handful of stitches.

The most complicated of embroidered household items might be something like a sofa pillow embroidered with crewel work involving a somewhat larger – but not huge – variety of stitches.

But aside from crewel work like that, most embroidery used to accent usable linens rely on very few types of stitches.

Holly & Evergreen project on pre-finished linen

I was thinking about this point while stem stitching. Stem stitch is my go-to for line stitching. It is an inherently pretty stitch that’s easy and quick to work.

I thought about my own small collection of vintage and antique linens – I have a few table cloths, tea cloths, runners, and handkerchiefs that I’ve collected over the years – and how these linens of old, which were made with such skill and dedication, are so beautiful. And one of the reasons they are so beautiful is because of their simplicity.

Thanks to their simplicity, you can really see the embroidery. Your mind isn’t bamboozled with all kinds of complicated layers and levels to discern. The embroidery does what it’s supposed to do – it embellishes – but without being overdone.

I think that’s a good thing.

Holly & Evergreen project on pre-finished linen

And yes. I do love the fact that this linen is pre-finished.

Italian linen, hemstitched and ready to use?

A project that just involves the fun part – the embroidery – and no finish work?

What’s not to love?

So that’s where I am on this project. I’m about finished with half the greenery. Then I’ll add some satin stitched berry accents and call it finished: a quick project that will make a good Christmas gift.

For once, I’m ahead of the game on holiday stitching.

It actually feels kind of weird…


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(14) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    I just love that linen table runner you are working on. Where did you get it, I would love to make some Christmas gifts. Thanks.

  2. Mary: As always, your work is beautiful and inspiring. Please share where we might purchase the “Italian linen, hemstitched and ready to use…” pieces you are using. (I cannot fathom trying to finish these kinds of pieces on my own!) Thank you, Barbara-Ann

  3. I had a stroke a few years ago so I don’t stitch anymore. It’s nice to see that you are holiday-stitching – is this for Christmas?

  4. Good to hear you reclaimed a bit of time. I am trying to get started on some simple projects for Christmas gifts, too. Last year it was a quilt that gobbled up so much time. I am so thankful I got it done, and my granddaughter liked it. Small gifts are greatly appreciated, too.

  5. Hello Mary,

    Just a word from Montreal in Quebec, Canada, to tell that I love your website. And I love the set of tool you showed today. I love wood tools. I have two or tree (3) stillettos, two in wood and one in Ivory. The Ivory one did belong to my mother. Now she live in a nursing home and do not use it since she does not sew anymore and does not know me anymore. Anyway, the Ivory one, I do not use it but I touch it almost everyday. It is kind of a «lucky charm» for me.

    Last Christmas my husband gave me a wonderful stand from Needle Needes. It was a little bit long to get it. But it was furthfull the wait. The craftmanship is more than wonderfull and the beechwood is very good. I have to thanks Nicola Parkman for making me discover it. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Have you ever write about needle minder. I love it too. Since I bought some, my lazy Boy chair eat less of my needles!

    Thank you

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