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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Stabbing the Coral Stitch – Solutions for Hooped Embroidery


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This morning, I’d like to share a little embroidery stitch tip with you.

If you like to embroider with your fabric taut* in a hoop, you may have found that some of the diagrams in stitch dictionaries are hard to imitate.

This is because most diagrams in stitch dictionaries illustrate the stitch in the most space-efficient way by showing it “sewn” rather than “stabbed” – by showing the needle mostly on the surface of the fabric, scooping up bits of the fabric to make the stitch, rather than being taken all the way to the back of the fabric.

If you’re not sure what the differences between stabbing and sewing a stitch are, you might want to read this article on stabbing vs sewing that I wrote a while ago.

“Sewing” embroidery stitches when your fabric is drum-taut* in a hoop or frame can be awkward and difficult. Sometimes, it’s just darned hard to scoop the fabric up!

And often, with some stitches, a sewn stitch looks significantly different from a stabbed stitch, due to the way the different methods cause the stitch to interact with the fabric.

Stabbing the Coral Stitch for embroidery with a hoop
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Embroidery Needle Facts: Three Points worth Knowing


On a website called Needle ‘n Thread, it probably isn’t too surprising that I’ve written a lot of articles about hand embroidery needles.

For those who are just getting into the hand embroidery world and just becoming aware of the Broad World of Embroidery Needles – and even for those seasoned stitchers who might like a little brush-up – I’ll include some further reading about needles for embroidery at the end of today’s article.

But today, I just want to mention three facts about hand embroidery needles that you might not know, that might help simplify your Stitching Life a bit when it comes to using, choosing, and organizing your embroidery needles.

Embroidery Needle Facts: Three Points worth Knowing
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Portable Lighting Solution for Needlework: Coast Headlamp


I’m always on the lookout for good lighting solutions for hand embroidery and other needlework. Short of your needle, I think the most important “tool” when you’re stitching is your lighting.

And while excellent lighting can be had naturally in a sunny window or sitting outside, the fact is, many people don’t stitch during the day, and even if they do, they don’t always have the right situation to take advantage of the sunlight.

So, yep. I’m always on the prowl for lighting solutions to share with you so that you can find your ideal light.

As the summer winds down here in the northern hemisphere, with the days getting shorter, good lighting is even more important. And with seminar and workshop season going into full swing, with holiday travel coming up, with football season kicking in, and all the other myriad reasons we might take our needlework away from home, easy, good portable lighting solutions are ripe for consideration!

Today, I want to show you my latest lighting acquisition. I bought this on the recommendation of a friend who hikes and knits.

Coast Rechargeable Headlamp with Needlework
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A Finish – Embroidered Table Runner for Fall


Before I launch any kind of embroidery design with a stitch guide, I like to test it in several situations.

Besides working my Festive Fall embroidery design (you know, the one with the pumpkin, leaves, and wheat that’s been sneaking onto Needle ‘n Thread lately?) on cotton towels, I decided to stitch it on a linen table runner.

I learned several things in the process.

Overall, I like the results! Here are some photos right after it was finished – nothing “staged” to show it off all that well, but it gives you an idea of how the design worked on this small natural colored linen table runner.

Festive Fall - pumpkin, leaves, wheat autumn embroidery on linen table runner
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How to Embroider Wheat – a Simple Approach


Today, I thought I’d share a quick overview of a very simple method for embroidering wheat motifs.

I’ve received several questions about the wheat on this autumn design I’ve been exploring, so I thought I’d share a quick look at how I’m embroidering the wheat on my pumpkin design.

Incidentally, I think I’m going to call the pumpkin design Festive Fall – Decorative Autumn Corners for Hand Embroidery. So if you’re looking for it when I finally get it out on the website, that’s how it will show up! A stitch & color guide will be available, as well as some ready-to-stitch pieces with the designs already transferred for you. Look for them in September!

So here’s a brief overview of a simple approach for stitching wheat elements on hand embroidered items. Feel free to give it a try!

How to Embroider Wheat - a simple approach
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It Holds Embroidery Hoops, Too!


Way back a gazillion and some odd years ago, I wrote a review of the Needlework System 4 stand and frame clamp.

I’m told that this review has sold a lot of Needlework System 4 stands, and I’m happy to hear that! It’s a great stand. In fact, I’d go so far to say that the Needlework System 4 stand is my favorite embroidery stand for average sized projects. I’ve been using mine for some 12 years on a regular basis, and I’m still using it. I’ve had to replace some of the washers and make some minor adjustments, but for a stand that gets a regular workout and isn’t really treated with kid gloves, it’s held up really well!

When people email me and ask if I still recommend it after all these years, I give a hearty yes.

Lately, many inquiries revolve around the fact that there’s no mention of “embroidery hoops” with this stand. Is it possible, so the inquiries go, to use an embroidery hoop with this stand?

Here’s my reply.

Needlework System 4 stand and embroidery hoops
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Tool Talk: a Tool Block, a Laying Tool, and a Stork


To tell you the truth, the stork shouldn’t be in today’s title. But I figure questions will come up – since they are scissors, after all, and needleworkers have A Thing for scissors – so I’m including them, too.

It’s been a while since we’ve done some Tool Talk! Needleworkers love their tools, so now and then, I like to highlight some tools on the market that are exceptional.

Today, I’m highlighting a tool block with its matching laying tool and a pair of stork scissors. The tool block and laying tool are made from gorgeous, hand-turned wood, so if you have A Thing for beautiful wood tools, then wake up! You’ll love these!

Tool block for needlework tools
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