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

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Embroidering Dragonflies pt 4: Tail & Eyes


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Good morning and welcome to the last installment of Dragonfly #1 in this series of tutorials on how to embroider a dragonfly!

If you’re just joining us, you will find all the articles relating to this tutorial – plus several other tutorials, including how to embroider wheat, strawberries, daisies, and grapes – in this project index. Lots and tips and techniques in there, so why not have a browse?

We’ve already embroidered the thorax and the wings on our dragonfly. Today, we’re going to embroider everything else: tail, eyes, and little bits to enliven the bug.

As usual, Needle ‘n Thread members on Patreon will receive the latest tutorials of the series in a handy-dandy PDF format for easy printing. I’m rolling the last tutorials into one download, and it will be available soon.

Embroidered dragonfly - tail, eyes, and bits
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Maple Leaf – Free Hand Embroidery Design


Sometimes, you need to embroider just a touch of the season. Instead of a full-fledged, all-out, massive seasonal embroidery project, a simple nod to the season may do.

And what better nod to fall than the maple leaf? It’s the quintessential emblem of autumn color.

Granted, it’s not the only fall foliage that enflames the landscape (I’m rather partial to the sumac that lines the backroads of Kansas like a blazing fire this time of year), but the maple leaf is certainly the grand contender when it comes to flashy autumn color changes.

So, for your stitching pleasure, here’s a single maple leaf design for hand embroidery – simple, quick, and seasonal.

Maple leaf embroidery design
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Diversions from Needlework: Different Needlework!


Did you miss me yesterday?

I meant to be here, but I got held up by a wee problem: to wit, I was stuck on the phone with my insurance company after someone attempted to break into my car, ruining the window in the process. These little things! (I live in a comparatively tiny rural town, so a rare and odd occurrence.)

Then, I spent a much more pleasant rest-of-the-morning recording a chatty podcast with Gary at FiberTalk, which will be up sometime soon.

So, not an all-unpleasant morning, the first part being one of those little life glitches that, in the scheme of things, is not that big of a deal – after all, it could have been worse – and the second, being a pleasant distraction and escape from normal routine. (An excuse not to work? Hmmmm…)

Clothesline Rug
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Embroidering Dragonflies: Winging It!


I’ve been waiting to write this post, just so I could title it winging it.

Today, we’re going to look at an easy way to embroider the wings on a dragonfly, and we’re going to go about it with a very loose approach. You’ll see what I mean!

The last time we looked at the dragonfly, we stitched the little body or thorax of the bug. Today, wings…

Embroidering the wings of dragonflies
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Weekend Reading: Samplers & Tapestry Embroideries


Happy Friday – and happy weekend!

Gosh, we’ve been pummeled out here in the Midwest with bleak and rimey weather – maybe not quite frost (that comes tonight), but with wind and rain and chill. It’s been positively lovely! It’s always lovely when you don’t have to go out in it, right?

Just in case you’re stuck indoors this weekend, or even if you’re not, here’s a fabulous book on the history of samplers and tapestry embroideries that you might enjoy perusing. It’s truly a rabbit hole, if you have any interest at all in historical needlework, in sampler stitching, in embroidered tapestries, and the like. I enjoy it for its historical perspectives and its delving into the make-up of samplers.

Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries
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Embroidering Dragonflies, pt 2: Wee Bodies


I almost titled this morning’s article Vile Bodies, as a nod to Evelyn Waugh (an author I like), who was born 118 years ago tomorrow.

However, Vile didn’t really work. Wee definitely works better, because the dragonfly body (or thorax) that we’re going to embroider today is pretty darned small, in the scheme of things!

Today, we’re moving on with installment 2 of embroidering dragonflies, and we’re going to stitch the thorax.

If you’re just joining in on this tutorial series, we started with the introduction a couple weeks ago, and the first installment last week, where I talked the supplies I used and made the design available.

All episodes of this series are available under the main menu on Needle ‘n Thread, under Tips and Techniques, in the How to Embroider (Blank) Index. In that index, you’ll find all the tutorials that we’ve covered this year in the series.

So – the dragonfly body! C’mon, let’s do it!

how to embroider dragonfly body
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On Pincushions & Ports


I really wasn’t going to write about this until I had Needful Things in hand, but many of you have asked, so I thought I would put a little placeholder in your head for this!

This year, Inspirations Studios initiated a new series of needlework books, beginning with volume 1 in The Design Collective, which is dedicated to the making of pincushions.

Because it’s coming from Inspirations Studios, we can reasonably surmise a few points: it’s going to be a fabulous series, it’s going to be packed with gorgeous projects, and the instruction will be excellent!

Plus, the pilot book in the series – on pincushions – is a great way to kick the series off! Why? Because pincushions are small, they are charming, they are multi-use, you can never have too many of them, and they are eminently doable as far as a project goes.

The Design Collective: Pincushions
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