Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.


Hello and welcome to the Sharp Needler.

My name is Margaret Cobleigh* and I am an 'off-the-grid', sharp needle-wielding left-handed hand embroiderer. Over the last several years I have greatly enjoyed reading the embroidery adventures of many stitchers from all over the world. I thought it was time to stop lurking and share my projects as well.

I am primarily self-taught and have been embroidering since I was a child way back in the 20th century. I learned surface embroidery stitches from the instructions in commercial needlework kits. (I'm not sure I'd recommend that as a learning method for a beginner!) In spite of that I became a decent surface embroiderer.

In the early part of this century I began taking classes and have been exposed to all sorts of interesting techniques, tips, and tricks from various teachers. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from these gifted individuals. My embroidery improved with every class.

I have had several opportunities to teach including a couple of classes on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread (the best embroidery site on the Web). I have also taught classes for my local EGA chapter Muchas Manos de San Diego.

You might be wondering what an 'off-the-grid' embroiderer is. Well, to me that means that I don't work on gridded designs so you won't find projects involving cross stitch or needlepoint here. They have never fallen into my interest area although I always enjoy seeing what others do with these techniques. I know nothing about thread counts and I almost always use a sharp needle! I plan to share the various projects that encompass my embroidery interests including surface embroidery, goldwork, stumpwork, etc. I am very interested in adaptation, especially of antique designs particularly from the Society Silk era and also the occasional original design. I prefer and generally work with natural fibres such as wool, cotton, linen, and especially silk.

My other goal is to provide technical information on how I do things. I try to think about what I wish someone had told me when I was learning and then share. This means that posts can become very embroidery-geeky, but that's what I am, an embroidery geek! I love embroidery, am endlessly fascinated by it, but try not to be too doctrinaire.

Please join me on my ongoing embroidery journey. This blog is focused on my individual projects, but I do occasionally post other related items on Pinterest and my Instagram feed. I welcome your comments/questions on my projects either via blog comments or email.

About the Cats

I am an unabashed cat person and my cats are encouraged to participate in almost everything I do. Though they aren't necessarily the best embroidery helpers, they are often nearby sleeping or supervising. Sometimes, they will show up on a post usually because they got in the way somehow. For the cat people out there here is a little bit about the cats.


Sometimes I think this seal point girl is related to her predecessor Koko (see below). She has some of the same qualities, not necessarily all good! She's a very good Siamese except that she has no meow, just an occasional squeak. She was born in April 2017 and was adopted from a rescue organisation, along with her brother Koji, at four months old. She likes to chase embroidery thread as it goes in and out of the fabric and figure out ways for me to not stitch in order to pay attention to her. Suki is also the laundry room supervisor and she's adorable, but sometimes looks like a serial killer!


This is my stitching buddy. Koji is a loving, sweet-natured big boy who loves to sleep, play, and cuddle. He's quite well-behaved when it comes to embroidery--unlike his sister, Suki--and mostly just likes to curl up and sleep next to me while I'm stitching.

My little brat cat, Oliver, is quite a character. He's a rescue born in March 2019. Much as Suki and Koji tormented Jack when they were kittens, Ollie drives Suki and Koji crazy sometimes, especially Koji. Suki simply slugs him when he gets too far out of line. Oliver loves to play and he's discovering the joys of sitting on a lap. He's also learning to mess with my threads, unfortunately. As he's gotten older and calmed down he gets along well with all the other cats.

Meili and Jingmei
These two sisters born in early 2020 are my last kittens. They are enchanting little critters and are energetic and full of life. Their names are Chinese and translate to: beautiful (Meili) and exquisite (Jingmei). Jing Jing is especially good at getting into trouble. Mei Mei, unlike the four other cats in the household, never seems to worry about anything, she's just happy all the time. She's also the most talkative of the clowder and has quite a trumpet for a voice. (Suki does not like either of them and I'm constantly trying to find ways of making it up to her for bringing them into her life.)

Koko was a gorgeous, naughty, opinionated, frequently adorable Siamese that only appeared on one post. Sadly, she died from cancer in 2017 around the time I started the blog. I adopted her as a senior and only had her for about 2 1/2 years, but I wish I'd had her longer. She is very much missed, but I'm glad she made it to the blog. She was very happy sleeping next to me while I stitched.

Then there was Jack...who barely showed up on the blog because he wasn't really a lapcat nor did he care if I was stitching or not. He was retired and mostly just liked to sleep all day in his chair or on a bed. He was an older rescue cat and was very friendly and chatty. He did not like Suki and Koji and they were obsessed with him, especially Suki.

I lost Jack in 2019. He is dearly missed.

* Pronounced COBB-lee.