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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Back of Embroidery: 3 Tips for Keeping it Neat – When it Matters!


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Do you find yourself frustrated trying to keep the back of your embroidery reasonably neat?

There are times when the back of embroidery doesn’t matter so much, but there are other times when it really does matter – especially on pieces where the back of the embroidery will show.

Today, let’s talk about the back of embroidery: when it matters and what you can do to keep things relatively tidy on the underside of your stitching.

Back of Embroidery: Tips for Keeping it Neat
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Goldwork Embroidery Frame: Small Progress


I’ve been sneaking in some stitches on my goldwork circular frame project, here and there, when I can.

And my “some” stitches, I mean very few stitches. I’d hoped to be finished with the couched gold passing thread by now, but in fact, I’m barely started!

If you’re just joining us and you’re wondering about the backstory on this particular embroidery project, I’ve included some links at the end of today’s article so that you can explore the project further.

Goldwork Embroidery Frame
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Flour Sack Towels – Here’s an Excellent One


A couple weeks ago, we chatted a little bit about flour sack towels used for hand embroidery and other crafts, discussing their uses, history, and resources for good ones.

Today, I’m following up on that article with a review of what I think just might be the Best Flour Sack Towel for hand embroidery. I sorely wish I had found these a long time ago!

So let’s look at this fabulous cotton towel and I’ll tell you why I think it ranks right up there as the Best Flour Sack Towel for hand embroidery (so far in my explorations, anyway!).

Best flour sack towels for embroidery
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The Stitch Sampler vs The Doodle Cloth


One of my favorite aspects of playing with stitches is the resulting sample cloths that are peppered with a variety of color, stitch trials and errors, and other random bits of embroidery.

While preparing for summer embroidery classes for kids, one necessary item in each kit that we prepared was a blank piece of fabric, 10″ square. These pieces were linen of various types, pulled out of my stash, cut, rinsed, pressed, and surged along the edges. Their purpose is to give the kids a decent piece of fabric to practice on, so that they can master individual stitches before applying them to their projects.

As we were preparing the classes, I noticed that one of us called the piece of fabric “sampler fabric” and the other called it “a doodle cloth.” In class, we find ourselves each using our own pet term.

There’s a slight difference between a sampler and a doodle cloth, at least when it comes to concept, especially considering the way the term sampler has developed throughout the ages.

Sampler vs Doodle Cloth for embroidery
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Embroidery & Time – It’s Not Meant to be Fast


Good morning, and Happy Tuesday! I’m back home and settled into a flurry of work, thanks to the kids’ local embroidery classes that started yesterday.

It’s going to be a rather hairy week – the first round of classes for each class level takes a bit of preparation and time, and really cuts into the normal day! By next week, Anna (she’s my kindergarten-teaching-embroiderer-niece) will be taking the helm for all the classes, which means I can just melt away.

But during this week, as the kids are introduced to embroidery for the first time, she needs an extra set of hands in the class. So that’s where my time will be concentrated through Friday.

Time and embroidery are a funny thing. When you’re on the Total Enjoyment side of embroidery, when you’re not working against any deadlines and you don’t have to finish things quickly, the amount of time it takes to hand embroider something doesn’t really figure into a project choice. You pick a project because you like it, and you relish the amount of time you get to work on it. It’s like savoring a really good book – you don’t necessarily want it to end!

But when you need to do more, meet deadlines, and keep moving ahead with new and exciting things, the time it takes to hand embroider figures into a lot of decision-making!

Take, for example, this piece…

Voided Monogram in Hand Embroidery - E
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A Hearty Kaleidoscope: Free Hand Embroidery Pattern


A couple weeks ago, I prepared this embroidery pattern for you, and I was going to share it sooner, but time slipped away from me!

It worked out well, though, because I can give it to you while I’m away for a bit.

Appropriately, the design features several heart motifs, just so you know that I’m thinking of you and holding you in my heart, even if I’m not behind the computer screen this week.

This is a kaleidoscope pattern, much like those in my pattern e-book, Favorite Kaleidoscopes.

And as usual, I’ve chosen a rather cheesy title for the design.

Heart Kaleidoscope pattern for hand embroidery - free embroidery design
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Flour Sack Towels for Embroidery: Why & Wherefore!


Embroidered flour sack towels have been a Thing in America since the first half of the 20th century.

Today, we’ll talk a little bit about their history, why they work great for embroidery, and why they’re still a favored item in the home and in the commercial kitchen.

I’ll also share some resources for flour sack towels that I think work well for hand embroidery. I’m always on the look-out for the best flour sack towels, so I’ve run into both the good and the bad over the years.

Flour Sack Towels for Embroidery - Tips & Resources
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