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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2020 (105) 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)

Thread Love: Au Ver a Soie Metallics


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We’ve chatted about Au Ver a Soie metallic threads before here on Needle ‘n Thread, but I can’t help it! I have to revisit the subject and share them with you again. Why? Because I’ve been working on something sparkly!

When it comes to hand embroidering with metallic threads, it’s true that there’s often a bit of dread involved. That’s usually because we’ve had bad experiences with metallic threads.

Normally, if stitchers across a wide range of disciplines have consistent frustrations with a particular type or brand of thread, I generally figure the problem is not the stitcher – it’s the thread!

Because so many embroiderers have problems with many available metallics on the needlework market today, metallics in general get a bad rap. And that’s unfortunate, because there are metallic threads out there that are better than others, that are easier to stitch with, and that yield lovely results.

Au Ver a Soie’s metallic threads fall into this category. They are by far my favorite metallics to use when I want to add some sparkle to my embroidery projects.

Au Ver a Soie metallic threads for embroidery
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Catching Up! 17th Century Beadwork, Samplers, and Other News


Good morning, my friends! If you love historical needlework, today’s news bit is for you!

I’m also going to share a picture of the wedding dress that I mentioned the other day, for those who asked. And there were many of you who asked!

The last many months, things have been a bit discombobulated in my life, but I think (I hope) that life will settle down into a controllable routine for a while now. There’s much to catch up on behind the scenes, and I’m working again on a normal publishing schedule for the blog. As the days unfold, you should notice a little more regularity here, if all goes as planned. Thanks for sticking by me!

Ok, to move forward, this is time sensitive information. October 2nd and 3rd, an auction of a fabulous collection of historical needlework is available online, and I want you to know about it. You might not be able to participate, but you can certainly take a peek at the items being auctioned and perhaps glean a bit of inspiration for your own pursuits.

17th century bead embroidery auction
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Hand Beading a Wedding Gown


This time of year, there’s always loads of stuff going on in my studio. Besides autumn embroidery (I can’t resist stitching something in anticipation of autumn each year), I’m already looking ahead to Christmas while trying to tie up loose ends from earlier in the year.

I have a lot of loose ends this year – those projects that I should have written instructions for by now, those kits that I should have ordered supplies for by now, those tutorials I should have videoed by now. This year, I’m a bit more behind than usual.

But that’s ok! Everything happens for the best, and everything that’s supposed to happen, will happen in good time.

To avoid stress in my Needle ‘n Thread world, I try to stick to the principle of not letting what I can’t do keep me from doing what I can. Or, in another sense: I do what I can do, and I don’t worry about what I can’t do.

But there are some “little” projects that come up unexpectedly, that I don’t mind doing – in fact, that I want to do, that I’m excited to do, and that I’ll put aside other things in order to do. And this is one of them!

Hand beading a wedding gown with pearl beads
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Autumn Variety – Ready to Stitch Set Available Now!


Here in Kansas, Autumn is spreading over the landscape pretty quickly. The trees are changing color, chilly nights are the norm, and Fallishness is showing up everywhere!

To celebrate my favorite season, I’ve put together another collection of ready-to-stitch autumn towels featuring maple leaves, oak leaves and acorns, and, of course, a pumpkin. The new set, called Autumn Variety, is available now in my shop.

It’s a fun set! The designs are a little less complicated than the Festive Fall design (which is also in stock right now) and they work up pretty quickly. You’ll have them adorning your autumn kitchen before you know it!

These sets are definitely embroidery for relaxation, and now that the darkness falls from the wings of night a little bit earlier each day, it’s a perfect time to cozy up to this type of stitching.

Let’s take a closer look at the set, and I’ll tell you a bit about my color choices and stitches.

Autumn Variety ready to stitch towel set
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A Practical Guide to Needle Lace


I have long loved needle lace in most of its forms.

I’ve not explored it in serious depth, but I have dabbled with it, read about it, and in general, I’m always attracted by needle lace, both ancient and modern. There are certain types of needle lace that appeal to me more than others, and there are various practical uses of needle lace techniques in embroidery (or in finishing) that I think are worth knowing for any embroiderer.

Lately, I’ve been considering some further explorations of needle lace, and to that end, I’ve been pulling together my own resources and discovering a few new ones.

Today, I’d like to show you a needle lace book that I came across lately, that I like and that I think has some excellent merits when it comes to instructional content.

A Practical Guide to Needle Lace by Jacqueline Peter
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When to Use a Frame instead of a Hoop


I’ve had quite a few embroidery projects going on in the studio this year.

For example, you might remember that we kicked off the year with a voided monogram in floche. And then there was the whitework variation.

There’s been quite a bit of sampling going on this year, too – like this project, and this project, and this project.

There were some new spring towels, and some scroll towels, and some new folk towels.

Here, the Key to my Heart was finished as a hanging sachet and another voided monogram was finished as a needlebook.

Anna finished her Jacobean Bird, and I finished Jacobean Sea.

I started some more miniature stitching, I started (and finished – but I haven’t shown you yet) an ecclesiastical embroidery project, and Anna finished a gold and silk work project, which I have just started and hope to finish soon.

In and out of everything, I’ve worked on my hexie quilt project, too.

And there are a couple other projects still simmering and stewing, which I haven’t shared with you yet.

The reason I’m bring all of this up is because I’ve been asked several times lately a few questions about embroidery frames and hoops. The questions distill down to these general inquiries: What makes you decide to use a hoop over a frame or visa-versa, and should I be using a frame instead of a hoop?

Embroidery frames vs embroidery hoops - when to use one instead the other
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Trish Burr’s Embroidery Transfers – The Shortest Book Review Ever


Since we’re moving into the weekend – that blessed time when we can contemplate leisure activities and The Next Project – I thought it would be a good day to share a very short book review with you.

It’s challenging to write a book review about a book that has very few words in it. But I’m sure I’ll manage to say something. The most notable Something is this: if you struggle with transferring embroidery designs accurately, that struggle is about to end. (Yay!)

So please allow me to present this new book on the market – soon to be released, bound to be very popular, and definitely worth getting your pre-order in!

Trish Burr's Embroidery Transfers
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