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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Thread Talk: Madeira Cotton Embroidery Floss


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This morning, a little thread talk! I mentioned on Wednesday, when we talked about some specialty lighting instead, that I wanted to have a little chat about embroidery threads. So here we are, chatting!

I’ve been trying out Madeira cotton embroidery floss. It’s a six-stranded cotton, like most cotton floss that we’re used to, but there are a few significant differences that make Madeira cotton unique.

Madeira cotton embroidery floss
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Wide Light for Large Embroidery Frames & Work Space


I was debating two topics for today: embroidery thread (I know, I know – it’s practically everyone’s favorite topic) or a lighting solution for certain embroidery and work situations.

The thread topic’s on hold for a little bit. I need to finish some more stitching before we can delve into thready wonders together.

So today, it’s lighting!

I bought a new light and I’ve been thinking about sharing it with you for a while. This light solves two problems for me, which is why I had it on my radar. I finally caved, because one of the problems was getting rather annoying…

Wide task light for work spaces and embroidery frames
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Stitching a Tree, and Color Transitions


So I’m embroidering this tree that I’ve stitched before.

There are times when I stitch things twice (or a veritably uncountable number of times, depending on what it is – I can’t tell you how many Little Things from Lavender Honey I have floating around among my embroidery supplies!).

I might stitch things twice for a number of reasons: I want another interpretation of it, or I want to try a different color layout, or I want to work out a glitch I didn’t overcome the first time, or I want to tweak the design, or I want better documentation of it, or I want to try it with different materials to give people different options… you get the drift.

Stylized Tree with Large Leaves, embroidered
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Needle Lace, Whitework, and a Great Set of Books


Have you noticed a little more chatter on the inter webs these days about whitework embroidery?

I think 2019 might be the Year of Whitework.

I’ve seen quite a few embroiderers discussing whitework lately on social media. Thistle Threads is offering an intense online class on 17th century whitework samplers starting this year. I’ve received half a dozen inquiries about this whitework instructional book recently.

And I’ve been playing with whitework ideas lately, too.

Once in a while, the whole notion of pristine white-on-white embroidery beckons me irresistibly. And the call has been strong in the last month or so!

Aemilia Ars Italian needle lace books
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Stitch Fun! Beaded Braid Stitch, version 1.0


I’ve been playing with the braid stitch – also known as the cable plait stitch – lately. I plan to use it on an upcoming project. It’s a great stitch!

While I was playing with it, I pondered its capacity for bead incorporation. I discovered that it does have great capacity for bead incorporation, but that there are some pros and cons to the obvious ways of adding beads to this particular stitch.

So today, I’m going to show you my first experiment with adding beads to the braid stitch, in a method I’m calling (very originally) version 1.0. Later on, we’ll look at a couple variations that produce a more stable result.

Stitch Fun Tutorial: Beaded Braid Stitch in Embroidery, version 1.0
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Vintage Stamped Linen Tablecloth: The Quandary of Salvaging


A couple months back, I received one of those surprise packages that are fun to go through but often put me in a quandary!

It was a collection of linens and other fabrics from a reader who was de-stashing and who wanted the goods to go to a good home. (Thanks, Laura!) In the box were nice scraps of linen and silk, good for experimenting on and for using for demonstrations and tutorials.

Due to the whole Christmas hubbub and general life happenings lately, I didn’t have an opportunity to go through and sort the package until just recently. One of the items in it was an older linen table cloth – huge in size – pre-stamped for embroidery. It presents a bit of a quandary.

I’m going to tell you a little bit about the tablecloth, explain the quandary, and tell you my plans. And then, of course, I’d love your input, too! Especially if you’ve had similar experiences (and I know many of you have, because you’ve written to me and asked what to do…), but even if not and you just have some ideas, I’d love to hear from you!

Pre-Stamped Linen Tablecloth for Embroidery
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Stitch Fun! Mock Wheatear Stitch Tutorial


Today, a simple – but fun! – Stitch Fun tutorial for a somewhat basic stitch that can be used as the foundation of much more elaborate decorative bands.

For newcomers who might not be familiar with the Stitch Fun! series on Needle ‘n Thread – or for those who might have forgotten about it – please let me introduce you! Stitch Fun! is a series of hand embroidery tutorials that explores less popular or more obscure embroidery stitches, stitch combinations, simplifications, and techniques, to help bring a little extra fun and excitement to your embroidery projects.

Today’s mock wheatear stitch tutorial falls into the realm of a stitch simplification. Though it simplifies the wheatear stitch, the mock wheatear opens up the possibility of working with a wider range of colors when constructing the wheatear stitch. At the same time, it offers a foundation for building elaborate bands of color and texture.

Stitch Fun Tutorial: Mock Wheatear Stitch
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