Mary Corbet

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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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Gold Silk on White Linen – It’s Coming Along!


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Off and on this week, I’ve been able to spend some time in the afternoons out in the “studio” getting some stitching done on this hand embroidered pall that I’m trying to finish. Working out there in the afternoons is terrific! I’d almost forgotten how much more a person can get done when working in a “dedicated” space. It’s cool and quiet, with few interruptions… except for Emma.

Two of my nieces have been working out there with me – Anna is working on the first pall that I set up and Emma, who’s now 9, is working on a stamped pillow case. Emma is prone to knots. So every six minutes, practically on the dot, she says, “Ooooooooh. Another knot!”

Guess who the Official Knot Remover is? Riiiiiight!

Still, the pall is coming along!

Hand Embroidered Pall

As I’ve progressed on this piece, I’m really glad I switched to the finer linen and decided to use the gold. I like the way it’s coming together. Again, I’m using two shades of gold-colored Soie d’Alger, which is a stranded silk. I’m using two strands of the darker silk to outline the main structure of the design (the cross and central circle), and one strand of lighter gold on the lilies. (You can find the original design for this piece here.)

Hand Embroidered Pall

What I really like is that the shape of the design is very clear, while the lighter gold lilies (from farther away) almost tend to add a light, lacy-looking filigree to the piece. They’re not super-visible as lilies in particular, unless you’re looking at the piece up close.

Hand Embroidered Pall

The lettering is underway. I’ve decided to use a stem stitch filling for the letters. I prefer to keep the overall look of the stitching the same on this, and if I went with satin stitch, I think the letters would not blend so well with the whole look of the piece.

Hand Embroidered Pall

I’m picking out parts of the letters to work in the dark gold, in only one row, to add a little depth. The rest of each letter will be filled in with the lighter gold.

So that’s where I am. Today, I plan to make some fairly good progress, if all goes well!

Needlework Companions!

Emma says hi! And yes, she is sitting ON the table….

Needlework Companions!

Here, she’s moving on to the butterfly on her pillow case. The outline of the butterfly required only six knot stops… but you know, that’s quite all right! It’s grand to have stitching company, after all!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!


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(11) Comments

  1. Enjoyed the mention of Emma the Knot-getter…reminds me of my embroidery travails as a girl; we wore dresses to school then; and my sister and I were in the habit of doing our stitching before school..I ALWAYS, without fail, managed to embroider my dress to the work, causing my mother to have to snip everything out anyway!

  2. It is coming along beautifully! and speaking of beautiful…your little niece is just lovely. I am so glad there is still interest in the old ways.

  3. Hi Mary!
    The Pall is looking great!
    As for Emma, let her know that she is doing a better job than me. At age 42, I have to pick out my knots after every 4 stitches! Ha!

    Best of luck to both of your projects!

  4. G’day Mary and Emma

    We wouldn’t want Aunt Mary to forget how to undo knots Emma. We don’t know when she might get into a knotty situation! Sounds like you and Anna are doing a good job there. I like your dress. Nice to meet you.

    Nice progress Mary.

    Cheers, Kath

  5. Your pall is lovely.I have a quick thread question. I went to buy some DMC for a dish towel I am working on and the fabric store no longer carries DMC. They now have a cotton embroidery floss call Sullivans. Have you ever heard of it? Just curious as to your assessment of the quality.

    1. Hello, All – Thanks for your comments!

      Just a quick note here for Michelle – I don’t know what to tell you about Sullivan’s. I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t think it would hurt to try it. I’ve read it’s a decent floss, but, again, I haven’t tried it myself. If you try it, let me know what you think of it!


  6. Hi Mary,

    The pall is looking lovely and I for one like the contrast the light and dark gold silk has given to the piece. Cant wait to see the finished project.

    Emma and Anna are lucky to have you for stitching company. You are a great inspiration….

  7. Hii Mary,
    The pall is coming along beautifully and I love the selection of colours especially..
    And nice meeting you Emma… You r so lucky to have an aunt like Mary as ur knot remover and teacher in embroidery..
    Love n regards,
    Deepa Sethuraj

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