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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I Found It! or The Tale of a Lost Embroidery Tutorial


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Sometimes, I sit and ponder an embroidery design for a long time before I settle on a particular stitch to use on it.

Or sometimes, I dive right in with a particular stitch in mind, find out it’s All Wrong, take it out, and then ponder.

I find it’s usually more efficient to ponder first, but I tend to learn more when I dive right in. Ahem. I learn things like the fact that it’s more efficient to ponder first…

Stem Stitch Rose Tutorial

The other day, I was working on a wee design and trial-and-erroring (I’m sure that’s a legit term) a bunch of different approaches for floral elements. I tried woven wheels. I tried ribbed wheels. I tried bullion roses. I almost tried a cast-on rose

But nothing – nothing – was matching the picture in my head.

I knew I had a tutorial for the picture in my head, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I had called it, what the stitch was, or how it worked. Did it have foundation stitches? Did it start with a knot? Do I pick up fabric? Where’s the needle in relation to the thread with each stitch? All the things that you know, when you really own a stitch, but that I could not recall for the life of me.

I couldn’t find the tutorial under the Stitch Fun! index (which is usually where I list stitch tutorials like the one I knew I had written), and I couldn’t even remember approximately when I had written the article.

You see, it has come to this. Needle ‘n Thread has a lot of content on it, and even I can’t always remember what’s here.

So I sat and contemplated.

I was, in fact, chagrined.

But then I remembered that I have a handy-dandy, powerful search engine on my website.

For those who don’t know it, the search feature is across the top main menu, the very last option, that says “Search” and has a magnifying glass next to it. If you’re on mobile, click the hamburger menu in the top right corner of the screen and scroll down to the last menu option, which also says “Search.”

I typed “rose tutorial” and wouldn’t you know? There was exactly what I was looking for! And as soon as I saw it, I remembered what the stitch was and how it worked.

Glory Be and Hallelujah all around!

Stem Stitch Rose roses

I set about testing the technique – the Stem Stitch Rose – in my little space, and lo! I found it was exactly what I wanted there: it’s a textured stitch, it resembles a rose, it is easy to create, it works with various types of thread, it can be small or large.

It was, in short, everything my little heart desired!

I’m not entirely finished fiddling with the design here and working out colors and textures. But on this small project, which is quick to work and results in a very satisfying finish, this rose ticks all the boxes. On top of everything else, it’s adaptable and it’s accessible to all levels of stitchers.

Now I’ll go back to the drawing board, I’ll fiddle with the design layout a bit to better accommodate the floral elements in a more pleasing layout, and then I will restitch the sample, experimenting with some other optional color approaches.

I know. I know. It’s a tough job.

Man, I love it!

I’ll be sharing more of this project with you as it develops. There’s much more to it!

In the meantime, yes, I did add the stem stitch rose to the Stitch Fun Index.

It’s only five years late to the list – but hey! Embroidery is a slow process.

What’s the rush?


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(13) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    Funny that you should forget about your search feature! I have several email folders for your stuff, but I’ve used your search feature more often than not when I’m trying to remember how to do a stitch! Thanks for all you do!

  2. “You are a stitch!” was most definitely a phrase coined to describe you, Mary.
    It wasn’t just once I chuckled whilst reading your blogpost today.
    Nope. It wasn’t even twice!

    It doesn’t seem to matter what you do – stitching, chatting, reading, writing – because you are always firing on all cylinders. All of you is engaged: your fingers, your eyes, and that roaming brain of yours looking for (and finding) so many amusing things.

    So I have to say this and I’ll try not to say it twice: you could make your living by writing, Mary, if you were of a mind… even if, for now, you’ve piled all your efforts into entrepreneuring (I’ll have to check the MaryCorbetDictionary on that one). No matter what you do, Mary, you’ll find the joy in it.

  3. Love this lil post!! I too would like to say Ybid Stem stitch rose is my favorito tambien! Quick question, do you sell the Linen fabric in your shop. I see you use linen in all your tutorials Always the Best! Gracie

    1. Ooh ooh, I know the answer to this one! Yes, you can see what linen sampler packs are currently available in the Needle’n’Thread shop by clicking on “Shop” in the top menu bar of the homepage, and then “Embroidery Supplies” in the menu on the right of the “Shop” page.

      As of this writing it looks like the white linen pack is not in stock at the moment, but the natural-colored and pastel assortments are available. (Okay, not really pastels, the name of the collection is “Spring Colors”, very pretty!)

  4. I grew up calling this a ‘fibrone rose’ but when I googled that term the only ref was to an Australian book on smocking from the 1930s – maybe that’s purely an Australian name. (I’m Australian.) The book’s in Internet Archive.

  5. Would you believe this is how I learned to add roses to smocking on my girls’ dresses more than 40 years ago! Thanks for jogging my memory on a stitch I used a lot and loved!

  6. I forget about the search on blogs too, not just yours! My problem is sometimes I don’t know the right term to search for.

    I’m glad you found the stitch you were looking for – it does make a nice rose!

  7. Hi Mary!
    I have used the Search bar on your site often! I can always find what I need! Love the rose! I have used that one too.

  8. Seconding the appreciation for the Needle’n’Thread search feature, and I especially appreciate that it includes post comments in its searchable content! There’s quite a bit of useful info here and there in comments and Mary’s replies to them, and it’s very helpful to get those hits in a search.

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