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



2021 (94) 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 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

The Embroidery Book Shuffle – Treats Available!


Amazon Books

Well, well, as it happens, I spent the weekend doing the Embroidery Book & Blog Post Shuffle!

It’s always a fun exercise, and a good way to keep me on my toes.

Today’s article is mostly a matter of getting some news out. If you’re not super interested in retail items (oh-so-lovely books!) available through Needle ‘n Thread, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give me a miss today.

Willing Hands and Willing Hands 2 on Needle 'n Thread
Continue reading “The Embroidery Book Shuffle – Treats Available!”

Floche, Floche, Floche! It’s Everywhere!


I’m never quite sure if I should ply you with the mundane details of everyday life in the studio.

Lately, though, since I’m surrounded by one of my favorite cotton embroidery threads, I thought I’d show you what’s up these days.

You see, in my world, everything gets done in small pieces. When it comes to kitting things up – whether it’s a full blown embroidery kit with everything in it, or thread packs, or sets of ready-to-stitch towels – it’s all done in increments, one small step at a time.

The floche thread packs that are coming together right now are a good example of the step-by-step process.

Floche embroidery thread for thread packs
Continue reading “Floche, Floche, Floche! It’s Everywhere!”

Erica Wilson: A Life in Stitches – Quick Review


Recently, a friend dropped me an email to find out if I had ever gotten ahold of Erica Wilson: A Life in Stitches, which reminded me to mention the book to you sooner, rather than later!

It’s been on my reading list for a while, and I go back and forth to it, reading it in small increments when I can, but I haven’t finished reading the whole book yet.

I generally like to read the complete book before I review it, but some books take much longer than others! This book requires a quick mention, because it’s one of those “get it before it’s gone” publications.

Erica Wilson: A Life in Stitches
Continue reading “Erica Wilson: A Life in Stitches – Quick Review”

Embroidered Grapes 4: Structured Fillings, Shisha, and Overcast


Let’s truck along with some grape embroidery today, shall we?

We’re almost finished embroidering the grapes in this project, which is part of a series of tutorials you can find in the How to Embroider (Blank) Index here.

Members on Patreon will find today’s tutorial posted as a downloadable PDF on my Patreon page here shortly. It may not go up today – more information on that below.

The grape bunch we are embroidering features a sampler of techniques that you could use to embroider grapes. You probably wouldn’t combine all these techniques into one coherent design (if you wanted it to be coherent!), but the point here is to give you many options for embroidering grapes. You pick the options you like!

Today, we’re going to look at grapes 9, 10, 11, and 12 in the bunch. We’ll be exploring two new filling options and a new outlining option.

Embroidered Grapes tutorial: fillings and outlines
Continue reading “Embroidered Grapes 4: Structured Fillings, Shisha, and Overcast”

Daylight Smart Travel Lamp – Review


Have you ever looked at your embroidery in the bright light of day and discovered that the last thirty minutes of stitching that you put in the night before doesn’t look quite as good as you thought it did?

This has happens to me all too frequently. Sometimes, it might be a matter of stitching when I’m tired, or when I’m just not into it and being attentive.

But sometimes, it happens because the night before, I abandoned my stitching light and sat somewhere else, making do with whatever light was on hand. It pays to stick with my good light!

When we travel, though, we don’t often have the option of our favorite stitching lamp. Mine are too big and too heavy to tote about. So I have several small lights that work well for travel. They never work quite as well as my studio lights, true. But they work well enough for the type of stitching I take with me when I go somewhere.

Today, I’m reviewing the Daylight Smart Travel Lamp for you. It definitely has pros and cons, and they’re both worth considering carefully before making the investment in the lamp.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons
Continue reading “Daylight Smart Travel Lamp – Review”

Needlework History: On Mills, Floods, and Embroidery Threads


Last week, my interest was piqued by an article from Piecework that led me down the kind of rabbit hole I particularly like – the kind that involves a complicated but exciting era in US and world history, and that also involves the development (or non-development, depending on the events) of needlework and the needlework industry.

The Industrial Era was a crazy time in history, really, full of contradictions. Every era of history is easier to evaluate retrospectively, of course. While it is obvious that many good things sprang from the Industrial Era, or took root during that era, it was yet an era fraught with abjectly dismal circumstances and consequences in many regards.

Today, needleworkers in the US who want to work with silk obtain silk threads as imported goods. We don’t manufacture silk in the US.

During the Industrial Age, however – from the early 1800’s well into the first half of the 20th century – we actually had mills that produced embroidery silk that was popular around the world.

Initially, the silk was produced from worm to fiber, but that didn’t last long. Eventually, with the opening of Japan for trade, it made more sense to import the raw silk from Japan, where centuries of breeding and raising silk worms had already established a flourishing industry producing the best quality silk. The silk was then finished in the US into various textile-related products.

Corticelli silk history - Florence MA mills
Continue reading “Needlework History: On Mills, Floods, and Embroidery Threads”

Stitches Built on Foundations: Texture & Dimension in Embroidery


There’s little I love more than the composite embroidery stitch – that is, the stitch that’s built on other stitches.

Today, I thought I’d offer a list of stitches that are built on foundation stitches. Foundation stitches are the first stitch that goes down in a composite stitch, providing a base on which to build some sort of composite effect by incorporating other stitches and techniques into the foundation.

The final result of these types of composites can range anywhere from simple to complex.

The great thing about composite stitches built on foundation stitches is that they are, more often than not, highly textured and slightly dimensional. This makes them excellent techniques to add into any embroidery project where texture plays a big role.

Embroidery Stitches built on Foundations: Texture & Dimension
Continue reading “Stitches Built on Foundations: Texture & Dimension in Embroidery”