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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Quick and Cheap Finishing for Embroidery Samples



One of the questions I’m frequently asked is what I do with all my little embroidery samples that show up here on the website.

It’s a legitimate question! And it’s one I’ve pondered myself, too, innumerable times. What to do, what to do…

Now, I’m not talking about larger projects that I generally end up framing and giving as gifts, but the little projects I’ve stitched for the website – like all the letters for Stitch Sampler Alphabet. Or all the sample monograms for this series of embroidered monograms.

Or this little tambour bird or this little tambour flower. Or this shisha tree. Or this shisha thing. This spring tree? An autumn tree? How about a pumpkin basket? Or a woven stitch sampler?

All twelve trees for Twelve Trees for Christmas. Or this lettering sampler. Or this long and short stitch sampler. How about small doodle cloths?

The list could go on, and on, and on, and on. It seems that, in twelve years of blogging, I’ve done a lot of small stitching.

Over the years, I’ve stored my samples in binders to use for demos or to revisit when I need a photo, or I’ve stacked them in storage boxes, to pull out when I need them. Some, I haven’t looked at in years! Others, I’ve dug out for this reason or that.

One of the first things I contemplated when my dedicated studio space became a reality was how I could display little bits of stitching in a cheap, quick way – a way that wouldn’t require a lot of money for finishing and wouldn’t require a lot of time to accomplish. So today, I’m going to show you what I’m doing with small stitched samples from over the years. Maybe it will give you some ideas, too!

Finishing small embroidery samples for display
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Embroiderer’s Book of Design – Nice Pattern Resource!


Well, my friends, this week did not start the way I planned!

By today, I should have been working in my new “digs” – the space I’ve rented to host all things Needle ‘n Thread. Yesterday, I had planned to show you around a bit. But due to unforeseen technical difficulties, a tour and a chat will have to wait.

In the meantime, I’m writing from an iPad, which leaves a lot to be desired. I’m optimistic, though! I’m sure the glitches will be sorted this week and the studio should be operational soon. Not attractive, mind you. Just operational. That’s all I’m striving for at this point. I’m dying to get some stitching done and to share with you some design work and doodling I’ve been dabbling with.

Speaking of designing and doodling, today, I’d like to share with you a free online source called The Embroiderer’s Book of Design: Contains Initials, Emblems, Cyphers, Monograms, &c. It’s a neat book and it has a lot to recommend it. It might take a little bit of work to get the designs transfer-ready, but the book itself is a terrific source for ideas!

Embroiderers Book of Design - Ideas for hand embroidery, monograms, and more
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For William Morris Lovers – A Design Resource


If you’re alive and kicking today and in tune even just a little bit with the craft world in general, you’ve probably noticed the coloring book trend. It’s been going on for a while, and although the market is pretty well saturated with “adult coloring books,” I’m thinking the trend will probably continue.

For embroiderers, the explosion of whimsical and diverse coloring books available today offers a different approach to their use. Coloring book designs can be easily adapted to embroidery designs. For example, I’ve done so here with this hummingbird coloring book page from one of Jahanna Basford’s books.

As long as you’ve bought the book and you’re using the designs for personal use (you’re not reproducing and selling them, or selling items made with the designs embroidered), then you’re perfectly allowed to adapt a design to stitch rather than color.

For those more specifically interested in designs that are textile related, and for William Morris lovers in general, there’s a nice design resource to be found in a beautiful William Morris coloring book that I want to show you today. This was a birthday gift from my sister earlier this year. She knows me well!

William Morris Designs Coloring Book
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First Things First – My Embroidery Trestles are Up & Ready!


I mentioned last week that I’m moving Needle ‘n Thread into a new space. I can officially call it a “studio,” I suppose, because that’s where I’ll work, design, stitch, mail things from, and (tentatively) offer some small classes and the like.

I’m very excited about it! Once I get things situated, I’ll take you on a little tour of the apartment (flat) that’s half of a duplex that I’ve rented. I’ll tell you the whole story of why I ended up going with a residential space despite my deepest dreams and desires of setting up shop in our pretty historical downtown district, discuss the obstacles, the pros and cons of the set-up, and give you some before and after photos of the simplest and affordable cosmetic changes I’m making to the space. Perhaps if you’re considering expanding a space – maybe you have a small home needlework business, too? – it might give you some ideas.

But, first things first!

While I haven’t started transporting the daily essentials to the place (I start that today), I did take advantage of all the empty space to assemble my trestles. Yes, I will Finally have a Dedicated Trestle Space! I want to show them to you and give you some information on where you can find them in the States.

Trestles for Embroidery Frames
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Embroidery & Travel – The Cat and the Clump


As I mentioned last week and shortly before I took off on my little vacation, I did some traveling recently. And of course I took some embroidery with me!

After all, the plan during my sisters’ reunion was relaxation, and I always figure embroidery is a terrific tonic for relaxation.

And I knew a few of my sisters were bringing knitting along, so it made sense to bring some stitching, too.

And since I was driving, I had plenty of room to tote stuff! Yay!

Tote bag with embroidery supplies for travel
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Stitch Fun! Embellished Wheatear Band Tutorial


Good morning and Happy Friday all around!

Today, I’m going to share with you a little Stitch Fun! tutorial for a decorative composite band, worked on a foundation of wheatear stitch.

This band can be used for lines, gentle curves and the like. I’ve used it on letters (in Stitch Sampler Alphabet) and I’ve used it for decorative borders or just little pretty accent sprigs. It’s an easy and fun combination!

Stitch Fun Tutorial: Embellished Wheatear Band embroidery stitch
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