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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Perfectly Portable Projects!


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Do you ever make a decision to do something and then wonder, What the heck was I thinking?!?

I do that with embroidery projects all the time (if you hadn’t noticed). More to the point, I do it with embroidery deadlines.

After all, it’s one thing to say, on a day like January 12th, For Christmas this year, I’m giving everyone a hand-made ornament.

It’s another thing altogether to say the same words on a day like, for example, November 1st.

But I tend to do things like that.

Twelve Wreaths for Christmas - portable projects

My internal dialogue goes something like this:

November 1st until December 25th is…

Wait. That’s not even two months!

That’s ok! You can do it! You have almost Two Whole Months!

Wait. How are you possibly going to finish at least a dozen more ornaments in less than two months? During the busiest time of the year?

Are you kidding me! It’s Two Whole Months! Plenty of time!

Do you realize how many other things you have to get done between now and Christmas?

Oh, no problem! You can work on them at night. On Sundays! You have plenty of time!

Twelve Wreaths for Christmas - portable projects

They say that Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, or something to that effect.

When I decided I’d do the whole Christmas Wreath Thing again – taking all the extra stitched samples and stitching up a few more new wreaths – and make gifts from them, the first thing I did was assembly-line the process.

I discovered that, if I planned ahead just a little bit, the wreaths make Perfectly Portable Projects.

First, I gathered all my ingredients for each wreath together. Using thread drops – like these – I precut my threads and divided the repeated colors among the wreath projects. The project fabric and the organized floss went into a ziplock bag.

I stuffed three of these ziplocks at a time into a zipper bag, along with a pair of scissors, a selection of needles, and a hoop. And I dropped that bag into my purse. Whether I was at home at night, at work with some downtime, or in the car, at an appointment, visiting with friends or family, I had my projects with me, and I could stitch.

But Then There’s Finishing

You might think that the finishing process defies portability, but no!

At my worktable in the studio, I did the tried-and-true assembly line process and prepared all the separate elements for finishing.

I made a mountain of padded foundation boards.

I mounted the embroidery on the boards until I had a nice stack of them.

I made an array of small hanging cords.

And I cut wool felt disks for backing.

Twelve Wreaths for Christmas - portable projects

Then, I assembled all the elements for finishing each ornament in a ziplock bag again.

Each ornament got a couple yards of floss in the edging color, a hanging cord, the embroidery already mounted on the padded board, a wool felt disk, and thread that matched the wool felt.

I stuffed a selection of ready-to-finish ornaments in ziplocks into a zipper bag, added scissors, a few mini wonder clips to hold felt or cord in place while working, and a selection of needles.

And again, I slipped that whole bag into my purse.

It goes with me everywhere!

Twelve Wreaths for Christmas - portable projects

Lately, Ive been working on finishing the whole boatload of embroidered wreath ornaments at night, at home. I find, if I have a good book to listen to, I can stay up until all hours (ok, maybe until about 11:00 – I zombify any later than that) and finish two or more ornaments a night.

It always surprises me how much I can get done, if I can take a project with me.

In fact, at this rate, I can probably make enough for next year, too!


Anyway, all of this is just to tell you that these little wreaths have worked out to be Perfectly Portable Projects!

Because they’re so Perfectly Portable, I’ve been able to finish more of them than I would have, had they been stationary, stay-at-work or stay-at-home projects.

As PPPs, I can take them anywhere, whether it’s home, work, visiting family or friends, appointments with long waits, car rides, and the like.

If you’re struggling with the idea of how to get some handmade gifts finished before Christmas, why not explore how you can make your projects portable? It’s a great way to make progress in places you wouldn’t normally stitch!

The Wreaths!

You can find Twelve Wreaths for Christmas available for download here in the shop.

We still have a very few materials kits corresponding to Twelve Wreaths available as well. This is the same materials kit for the upcoming Stitch Snippet stitch-along that will launch next week on Needle ‘n Thread, so if you’d like materials for that project, that’s where you’ll find them. There are enough materials in the kits to finish 6 ornaments from Twelve Wreaths, excluding DMC floss. You can see the details in the product listing.

To all who purchased Twelve Wreaths and to all who purchased the kit, thank you so much! The kits are winging their way to you now and will hopefully be with you soon!

I can’t wait to start the Snippet with you next week!



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(8) Comments

  1. Geepers… that’s some serious organization!!!

    I did get a chuckle out of zombifying at 11 pm … I was expecting to see at least 3 am. I had to scroll back!

    1. LOL! I seem to start shutting down around 9:00 pm, unless I have something to keep me very occupied and focused. But I’m usually up around 4:30 am, and I’m at work by 6:30 or 7:00. I’m definitely a morning person, unless I absolutely *have* to be a night person, which only lasts till 11:00 at the latest before my brain shuts off.

  2. Mary, at the end you say you can finish 6 trees. Does this mean I can make 6 trees or 6 wreaths? I’m in out in the trees!

    P.S. Perfectly portable….yup…trees left at Dentist’s Office. Dentist closed till the week after Thanksgiving. Oh no, I’ll never finish. And then guess what? The office manager dropped it off at my home. Isn’t that nice?

  3. Love the edging stitch on the wreath. Is this stitch pattern/instructions available somewhere else or is it specifically for this wreath. Thank you.. PattiK

  4. I am in awe of your vast knowledge and passion for embroidery (I found you searching for simple leaf stitches.) Thank you so very much for sharing with us. I was a ballet mom — among my many titles with four kids. Waiting for our daughter at dance class and helping run our ballet boutique led me to sewing projects. Unlike drawing and printmaking, prepping or hand sewing was portable! I’m learning embroidery now to add pretty details. I don’t know what I’d do without my bag that I take everywhere or the handmade needlebook I sewed for all my pins and needles. Happy Holidays!

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