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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Jacobean Progress: Embroidery, Beads, and Mistakes



Gosh, I have rotten eyesight. Often, when I’m embroidering, I don’t see a mistake right away. Often, I don’t see it until I start editing photos.

Even when I use my CraftOptics – which come in very handy if you’re eyes are not so great and you really want to see detail – I don’t catch certain mistakes. I think working with Soie Perlee is especially difficult for me, when I’m filling with it. The way the light plays on the silk makes it difficult to distinguish the stitches.

Still, what a thread to work with! I love it! (You can see how Soie Perlee lines up to other silk threads in this article, if you’re curious about the thread.)

I’ve made the tiniest bit of progress on my Jacobean design and Anna has made some progress on her version, too. If you’re just now joining me on this project, you can find the previous article on my progress here, and the backstory on Anna’s version here. Anna is my niece who works with me right now. She’s 26, and while she’s had a bit of experience in general embroidery, she’s never done this type of project. It is making her bead-obsessed.

Today, I’ll show you where we are, talk about what stitches we’ve used and why, point out my mistake and muse about how I’m going to fix it.

Jacobean Embroidery Project Progress and a Mistake
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In the Embroidery Hoop this Weekend


Happy Monday!

There were several things in my embroidery hoops this weekend. It was a fairly productive stitching weekend!

Every summer, I prepare a couple three week embroidery workshops for youth that start at the end of July and go well into August. This year, being a perpetual optimist, I plowed through preparations for this year’s sessions, thinking that things might change enough to reasonably plan for the classes. We take about 6 children or youth per 2 hour session, with two sessions a day, with the age groups meeting on a rotating schedule for a period of three weeks at a time.

They’re fun classes. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to give kids a skill that they can further develop, that will give them a hobby and creative outlet to turn to, and that, hopefully, will last them a life time.

Obviously, this year’s workshops aren’t going to happen. Even if Kansas is open enough to allow it by then, I don’t have space for social distancing – which would be the most unnatural thing in any craft workshop situation with young kids, anyway.

Weekend embroidery: Folk designs and linen tea cloth
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Thread Talk: Variegated for the Laundry


I’ve had some inquiries lately about variegated floss that can be used for embroidered items that will be regularly laundered.

DMC has a line of variegated threads that I like, called Variations. They meld with the DMC standard floss colors, and they are fairly easy to come by.

But other thread companies also have their variegated lines, and today, we’ll chat a bit about Cosmo’s Seasons.

Cosmo embroidery floss - variegated Seasons
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From the Bookshelf: Tudor Textiles by Eleri Lynn


I’m reading a book!

This is a big deal!

I’ve always been an avid reader, but lately, all my “reading” has been in audio format while I’m working. But the book I’m going to show you today is not available as an audio book (which is a good thing!), so it’s off the bookshelf and in my hands when I’ve got reading time.

Tudor Textiles is just what the title promises: a book about textiles during the Tudor period (1485 – 1603 in England). If you’re a history lover, an enthusiast for historical textiles, if you are curious about the Tudor period and the royalty and palaces from that era, if you’re into art history – you’ll love this book!

For the 17th century reproduction embroiderer, the book will give you insight into the whole foundation of the styles, materials, and so forth from the era.

Tudor Textiles by Eleri Lynn
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The Other Jacobean Embroidery Project – There are Two!


Personally, I don’t enjoy stitching two similar embroidery projects simultaneously. Sometimes I do this, so that I can troubleshoot or so I can try different materials with the same design.

There are, in fact, two versions of my current Jacobean piece underway.

On the very delightful-for-me side, I’m not embroidering the second one. Anna (my niece) is.

I suspect Anna will show me up. She has a doggéd determination to work through problems and to get things “just right,” and I’ve admittedly lost that kind of obsessive tenacity for meticulous detail with my embroidery over the years.

Part of it has to do with the fact that she’s a newbie and she hasn’t developed the confidence that normally goes with years of experience in any kind of craft.

This is her first embroidery project of this type. She’s done a lot of what I’d call “casual” embroidery. Flour sack towels. Some of my snowflake Christmas ornaments. She’s also done a bit of cross stitch and she sews clothes and such. So she’s familiar with a needle, but she’s never done a more complex surface embroidery piece for display, from start to finish, making her own decisions as she goes along.

Jacobean embroidery on natural linen
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The Stem & a Fill on Jacobean Sea – Stitching Progress


I’m pretty excited to get back to stitching this morning! I love developing an embroidery project and seeing how my ideas are going to pan out.

Believe it or not, I’m always unsure of every new project I start. I don’t know, until it’s finished, if I’m going to like it at all. I don’t know if it’s going to live up to whatever is percolating in my head. I can’t tell you how many times I say, “Well, that didn’t work!”

But I love the exploration! I love the trial and error! And when I fall asleep at night, my head is normally whirring with The Next Step.

I wake up super-charged to get to it. And it makes a great carrot! A developing embroidery project is always a marvelous enticement to get those Needful Things finished every day, so I can concentrate on stitching for a few hours in the afternoon.

Here’s a little bit of progress on the Jacobean design I’m playing with, with some starts and stops and explanations of my thought process – what went right, what went wrong, what I decided to change and why…

Jacobean design embroidery project in silk
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How to Iron Everyday Usable Embroidered Goods


You can iron your embroidery.

I do it all the time!

But I hear from a lot of people who say, “I know I’m not supposed to iron my embroidery, but I have this tablecloth…” or “…I have this pillowcase…” or “I finished a flour sack towel and I want to give it as a gift…”

Everyday, usable embroidery is bound to need ironing, especially for a nice presentation. If it’s being displayed in your home or it’s being given as a gift, you want it to look crisp and nice and fresh and smooth and pretty!

I’m going to use one of these scroll towels that I finished last week as an example of how I iron everyday, usable, embroidered household linens.

And you’ll find information at the end of the article about the ready-to-stitch towel sets available for this design group.

Scroll Design towel set for embroidery
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