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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (52) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Things Learned in the First Round of Stitching


Amazon Books

Sometimes, when I start an embroidery project, I know exactly what I want to do, and how it will work out.

I might change my mind about a color or shade; I might decide to use a stitch other than the one I first planned to use.

These are minor corrections, and, on some types of projects, I can generally correct them and move ahead on the original design, with the original plan.

Cornflowers in Embroidery

Other times, though, I might not be 100% certain about a project. I might be excited about the concept, but I might need to do some trial stitching and other “pre-war” just to figure out if the concept will work.

Will the design be a good fit for what I’m planning to make?

Will the stitches I have in mind present the picture the way I want them to?

Do all the colors work together? Do I need more colors? Fewer colors?

Will the project be accessible to most stitchers?

Will the project actually be as pleasing to the eye, or as interesting or fun as I imagine it will be?

These – and more! – are the questions I ask myself as I begin my first explorations.

That’s how it was when I started the cornflower project that I mentioned on Wednesday.

I knew I’d have to do some trial stitching. I knew I’d have to build a prototype of the Thing I had in mind to make. And I knew I’d have to see if the embroidery and the prototype would work together, as I had imagined they would.

Before I could decide if the whole project would be a definite Yes, we had to devote a day to trial stitching and prototype constructing.

And so it came to pass that one day, while I stitched, Anna cut fabric scraps up to build and test prototypes with various fabrics and interfacings.

I got far enough into the stitching to be satisfied that most aspects of it would work out.

Still, I learned that some stitches didn’t pull off the effect I wanted as well as I thought they would, so I made adjustments in those stitch choices.

I discovered that some subtle changes to my original drawings and the resulting embroidery design would make the stitching easier and ensure a more successful outcome for the stitcher. So I got those noted and made the adjustments.

While constructing different prototypes, we tried a few different fabric and finishing choices, until the Made Thing turned out as we pictured it.

Overall, we discovered that the Thing will work, design and all! The embroidery design and the construction pattern pull together quite nicely.

Knowing all this told me that the project is definitely a go and that I could attack it now with certainty.

It is at this point in a project – if I’m going to make it into a kit – that I can start ordering threads and ground fabric.

I can also start the hunt for that perfect little notion or button or accessory that adds a special finishing touch.

I can also begin the for-real stitching, photography, and record-keeping for the project.

In short, this is when the fun begins!

I’m going to be sharing this project with you in the not-too-distant future. If you hadn’t guessed, it’s our next Stitch Snippet stitch along.

We’ve been delayed on so many things this spring, that I haven’t been able to share glimpses of it before now.

We’ll talk about the project again soon. Next week, we’ll visit a few more wool threads, look at some linen ground fabric, perhaps explore a new book on the market (if I can finish reading it) and more!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(11) Comments

  1. The corn flowers you designed are so pretty — pretty colors with graceful, flowing stems and leaves! Beautiful!

  2. Ohhh, pretty! It’ll be interesting to see what you’re planning to make – more finishing ideas are always welcome. But I like the flower on it’s own very much too.
    I’ll be looking forward to your posts on this. Little bits of beauty to enjoy and learn from. Thank you for sharing your talent, both of you.

  3. As expected, the color is wonderful on the linen.
    What I really wanted to say, though, is that I SO SO SO appreciate hearing your whole process. I know we only see a teensy glimpse of the time, thought, and heart that you put into everything you do, and what we see is deeply thought out.
    Thank you for every post, every video, every photograph. You are such an inspiration and quite possibly the greatest influence (at least mine!) in embroidery today.
    I look forward to seeing more of this project.

  4. Coneflowers are Beautiful
    Would like to know what you’ve decide to make using them
    Love Karen’s work!!!
    Please keep me informed

More Comments