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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Should I Leaf it Alone? An Embroidery Finish


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Do you ever second guess your embroidery finishes, after you finished them with (what you thought was) satisfaction?

This happens to me frequently, and I think it’s mostly because I take photos of my embroidery projects to share with you. Sometimes, it’s not until I start going through photos that I see things I don’t like as well as I thought I did.

Be that as it may, I’m officially finished with the leafy tree, even though there is a little part of me that might go back and change one silly leaf.

Embroidered Tree with Large Leaves
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Paying Tribute to the Rose: Embroidery Designs & Stitches


Roses are a staple in the wider art world and in the more specific world of embroidered art, and for all kinds of good reasons. Among those reasons is the obvious fact that they are beautiful flowers. Another reason? Roses have been used symbolically throughout history – from heraldic symbolism to religious symbolism to personal and sentimental symbolism, roses have meaning.

When it comes to design, you can find all kinds of rose designs out there, from the very stylized to the very realistic.

The rose-related embroidery designs here on Needle ‘n Thread are stylized rather than realistic. Most of them are inspired by the symbolic roses that show up in ecclesiastical or heraldic needlework and art from past centuries. Extracted into single design elements or distilled into smaller designs, they make lovely options for embroidered art.

Besides a plethora of rose-related embroidery designs, you’ll find a few stitch tutorials available here, too, for embroidering roses.

So, today, a short tribute to the rose – a beautiful flower worthy of your embroidery efforts!

Roses to Stitch: Designs & Tutorials
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Weekend Embroidery: That Stylized Flower Line & Hoop Crushing


Last week, I mentioned I was cold, so I set up a springy embroidery project that would help warm the cockles of my heart – or at least, would dissipate some of the winter gloom that has settled over Kansas.

To keep the blood flowing, I decided to continue with this particularly cheery project this weekend during my bouts of embroidery.

As I was traipsing through the stylized flower line with needle and thread, trying to bring the flowers to some kind of life, my mind automatically categorized the things I like about it … and the things I don’t.

Because a hoop is an integral part of this project, I also contemplated a common question about embroidery hoops that occasionally shows up in my inbox. I’ll address it below while sharing all my Profound Musings on this project.

Embroidered Line of Stylized Flowers for household linens
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Thread Talk: Variegated Embroidery Threads – Thoughts & Questions


Variegated embroidery threads are embroidery threads that change color within the same thread.

We refer to variegated threads with other names – like over-dyed threads, space dyed threads, and so forth. But all of these threads share the characteristic of variegation. When there is variegation in a thread (that is, changes in color), it falls under the general category of a variegated thread.

From there, threads can be subcategorized based on dyeing methods. Some dyeing methods produce very subtle variegation, while others produce very vivid and bold variegation. Some rely on building colors upon colors, while others don’t. But in essence, if there’s a change in color within the thread, it’s a variegated thread.

Strangely enough, it took me years to discover that I could actually like and use variegated threads in surface embroidery. I used to have an aversion to them…

Variegated threads for hand embroidery - DMC Variations & Other Variegated Threads
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Springy Stitching – Because I was Cold


This week’s to-do list on Monday morning included setting up two embroidery projects that I’ll be working on after I finish the leafy tree project.

I like to set up embroidery projects a little in advance of a finish, so that when I finish a project, I’ll have something to start stitching on right away. With these two new projects, my plan was to get them set up this week, but not to stitch on them.

First, I need to finish the leafy tree. I have three more leaves on it. They’ll take a total of, what? Thirty minutes, maybe! I just haven’t tackled those yet.

Then, I have a bunch of computer work begging for my attention, so the next three work days must involve focusing on the computer. I can’t just lallygag around stitching – not when my computer is insisting on work, right?

So of course I’m not going to start stitching on any new project right now! There are priorities, after all!

Springy Stitching: Flower Line Embroidery
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Embroidered Pocket on a Tote: Finished!


Last week, I showed you a resurrected embroidery project – one of those projects I had high hopes for, but never got around to finishing. It’s this embroidered kaleidoscope design broken down to fit on a pocket for a tote bag.

With my sister – who’s much more adept at sewing than I am – in town, it was a good time to tackle the tote.

Her approach was to let me do the tackling while she advised when needed. This worked out well, because I learned a lot.

Hand Embroidered Pocket on a Tote Bag
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Stitching & Listening: My Recent Explorations


I’ve written before about the topic of listening and stitching in this article on entertainment options for needleworkers.

In the previous article, I went into lots of detail about some of the things I listen to while I embroider, and since then, not a lot of things have changed. I’m still an audiobook junkie, I love listening to specific kinds of music when I’m in the mood to, and I dabble with podcasts now and then.

Today, I’ll tell you what books I’ve listened to lately and then I’ll open the topic up to you! Perhaps we can share some recommendations for good material to listen to, especially among audiobooks and podcasts!

Embroidery and Listening: sources for audio entertainment while stitching
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