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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Unique and Beautiful: Harp Needle Case by Jenny Adin-Christie


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Good morning, and Happy Monday All Around!

Once in a while, out there in the Wide World of Needlework, an embroidery project so unique and so beautiful catches my eye and makes my heart go pitter-pat – and compels me to share it with you!

This morning, by way of throwing temptation in your path (sorry), I want to highlight just such an embroidery project, created by Jenny Adin-Christie. And even if it isn’t something you would work yourself, I’m sure you will appreciate the beauty, delicacy and uniqueness of this needle case. Plus, there’s some fun reading about the original museum piece on which Jenny’s needle case is based.

Harpe Needle Case by Jenny Adin-Christie
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Crewel Creatures – Hazel, on the Wild(er) Side


If you’re one of those stitchers who loves surface embroidery in extravagant designs full texture, patterns, color, sparkle and beads, you may already be familiar with Hazel Blombkamp’s series of books featuring projects that hint at a Jacobean flavor, but are totally modern.

Hazel’s “crewel” books – punnily titled – focus not on crewel embroidery, but rather on fabulous and ornate stylized floral and similar surface embroidery designs. The projects are worked with a variety of mostly cotton threads in fantastic stitch and filling combinations.

Always fanciful, sometimes flamboyant, Hazel’s designs are wildly ingenious when it comes to her use of patterned and textured elements.

With her latest book, Crewel Creatures, she steps over (or just barely scoots over a hair?) to the wild side! The book highlights six curious creatures worked in a style that is definitely All Hazel.

Crewel Creatures by Hazel Blomkamp
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Party in Provence: Adding the Beads and Finished!


Today, we’re exploring the very last step in embroidering Party in Provence, a hand embroidered kaleidoscope we’ve been working through together here on Needle ‘n Thread.

If you’re just joining in, you can find all the installments for this embroidery project in my embroidered kaleidoscope projects index, where you’ll also find step-by-step instructions listed for a few similar projects that are just as fun to stitch.

The last step on Provence is bling! It’s time to add the beads!

Adding Beads to Embroidered Kaleidoscope
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Comparing Figures in Ecclesiastical Embroidery


If you’re relatively new to Needle ‘n Thread, you might not know that my first forays into advanced embroidery techniques came about due to an interest in historical ecclesiastical embroidery. I was taking a history of art class in my early days in college, and one of the works of art I chose to research was a piece of ecclesiastical embroidery. I chose it not so much because it was embroidery – rather, I chose it because it was beautiful and because it was different from the more common artistic mediums my classmates were focusing on.

Over time, with a bit of study, a lot of experimentation, and making contacts in all kinds of interesting corners of the globe, I amassed an interesting collection of pieces, books, pattern portfolios and the like, along with many tidbits of information on the hows, whats, and whys of ecclesiastical embroidery.

From all that sprang a love and appreciation for hand embroidery, which I had dabbled in as a kid and through college, but never really saw as art until captivated by that first research project.

In ecclesiastical needlework, all the elements of the art of embroidery – and any art, really – come together. Purpose, technique, materials, thought, skill, symbolism, color, balance, beauty, proportion, order – you can find all these things in ecclesiastical needlework, whether you’re religiously minded or not. It is a fascinating medium to study, especially when it comes to the development and dissemination of historical needlework techniques.

Since it’s Good Friday, let’s take a close look at some pieces of Ecclesiastical (religious) figure embroidery that have crossed my path lately. The figures are somewhat similar in some ways, but vastly different in others. We’ll look at the differences and draw some conclusions.

Ecclesiastical Embroidery: Christ embroidered on vestments
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My Thimble Substitute – It Works!


Over the years, I’ve discovered that most folks who use a regular thimble when they embroider were raised on a thimble. All their hand-stitching lives, they’ve used thimbles, so that using one is second nature to them.

Tried-and-true thimble users wouldn’t even think of stitching without a thimble, it’s just that natural for them to use one.

But if you’ve never used a thimble – or if, the few times you’ve tried to use one, the result has been awkward and uncomfortable – there’s a good chance you’ve ditched the idea of ever getting accustomed to one.

Over the years, through numerous bouts of stitching, you’ve learned to put up with the discomforts that can develop in your fingers – you know, that microscopic hole in your finger that the eye of the needle always finds and slips into? That callous that won’t go away? That tiny area that splits, stinging and burning, because of the constant pressure of the needle?

Maybe you’ve adopted some of the thimble substitutes that have shown up on the market over the years and tried to make do with them. Or perhaps you’ve resorted to coating the skin with super glue or something similar. In some way or another, you’ve probably sought out temporary solutions to get you through the painful part of stitching without a thimble.

Silicone Thimble Substitute for Hand Embroidery
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Embroidery Projects & that In-Between Stage


Happy Monday! (It does come around quickly, doesn’t it?!)

I finished embroidering this leafy tree sampler project that I was working on.

I’ll be sharing the whole project with you down the road. I have a few tweaks to make on it and I want to stitch it one more time, with a different approach.

Normally, it’s a good thing when a project is finished, right? But when I finished this one, I found myself at that in-between stage – in a state of suspension.

I’ll tell you about that and what I did to get out of it. And I’ll share some portions of that leafy tree sampler and explain the steps I take after finishing a project like this.

Leafy Tree Embroidery Sampler
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