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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Goldwork Dots: Lining them Up!


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More goldwork dots today! But I think it’s the last time I’m going to show them to you.

You see, I’m musing about how much of the Medallion Project to show you these days. I don’t want to bore you to death with the slow progress!

And it is slow progress. All hand embroidery is slow progress, compared to what we’ve become used to with machines to do all our work. The slowness of it – the whole “journey” of any handwork project – is part of the appeal of handwork. Whipping out the Medallion on a machine wouldn’t be quite the same! And in fact, it couldn’t be the same. Many of the elements of this project can only be achieved by hand. And even those that could be achieved by machine wouldn’t look the same. So the progress is slow, and I can live with that.

But can you?!

Ecclesiastical embroidery: Goldwork on Silk Hand Embroidery

So, I’ve been debating! Do I update every little step from here out? Or do I just show you the remaining stages? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Ecclesiastical embroidery: Goldwork on Silk Hand Embroidery

After all, showing you 50 goldwork dots, or 5 stem-stitch-filled sections, one at a time would become a bit much, wouldn’t it?

Ecclesiastical embroidery: Goldwork on Silk Hand Embroidery

And my poor brain can’t necessarily come up with anything original or clever to say, each time I show you the same thing!

Ecclesiastical embroidery: Goldwork on Silk Hand Embroidery

No matter what angle we might look at the project from, the other four sections around the Medallion are just repeats of what we’ve already seen.

Think about it: I could cry “Look! It’s a gold dot!” forty more times in the process of this piece. At which point, methinks we’d all go a bit dotty…

Ecclesiastical embroidery: Goldwork on Silk Hand Embroidery

On the bright side, I’ve moved into color lately! I mean color other than blue. The Tudor-style roses around the outer edge are providing me with a bit of relief now from blue, and blue, and more blue. And the switch to a different type of thread has been delightful, too, as the roses are worked in Soie de Paris, instead of Soie d’Alger.

These are the last major steps for the Medallion Project:

1. Finish the silk on the Tudor-style Roses.
2. Finish the goldwork: the gold threads on the roses, the remaining gold dots, the goldwork outlines of the major parts of the design (the outer ring, the inner 5-petal center).

That’s where I am.

Further updates will include only major section finishes (along with any instructional posts along the way), until the final finished Medallion is revealed. This means you won’t see the whole design, straight on from the front, until it’s finished. Will you be ok with that?

Or do you really want to see each dot?!

You can follow along with the development of this whole project by visiting the Medallion embroidery project index page, where I’ve listed all the articles relating to the project from its conception to now.

If you’d like access to all the tips and techniques discussed in the Medallion Project, including complete step-by-step coverage of the Tudor-Style Rose, conveniently collected in one document, interlinked, referenced, and indexed, why not add the Marian Medallion Project e-book to your library? It’s packed full of all kinds of embroidery tips for undertaking a project like this, all in a convenient electronic format for easy searching.


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(65) Comments

  1. I’ve become quite attached to this project (which is easy to say when I don’t have to stitch any of it), but no, I guess I don’t want to see every single dot as a separate post. 🙂 However, it is really interesting to see the progress in a slightly more ‘big picture’ way, learn anything that you’ve learnt along the way and (sorry about this but it IS interesting) see where things go wrong. 🙂

    1. LOL! Well, Anne, when things go wrong, it always makes for a good teaching moment, anyway, right? I actually prefer writing about mistakes – it’s an easy format for writing: this is what I did, this is why it was wrong, this is how I fixed it.


  2. Mary,

    The medallion is breathtaking. You’ve left me speechless!

    I am looking forward to more updates on this project. It’s such a treat to the eyes.

  3. I will be “okay” with whatever updates you choose to share. Your work is beautiful and I never tire of reading your posts. Seeing how you tackle large, complicated projects bit by bit, and the progress you make steadily over time, is good inspiration for us all.

  4. Mary…Mary,

    Please, even if not EVERY dot, would love to see this progressing.
    Your work is simply fantastic and inspiration to ALL of us. I could not wait till you complete the whole thing before I see the Medallion again. I look out for your progress EVERYDAY.

    Lots of love,

  5. G’day there Mary, you’re up early tonight! That means I won’t be tempted to take a peek at what you have for us ‘today’ when I wake in the night!
    These dots are indescribably beautiful. And, yes, I would like to be surprised with lots finished later on. Not that I’d get tired of them, really truly, or your supposedly minimal explanations, … H e r e a r e f o u r p h o t o s o f a n o t h e r d o t .
    M o r e t o m o r r o w … One can’t get enough of what one loves… Nuff said.
    They truly seem larger than life. I find it hard to visualise their real size, even in the photos that aren’t so close up. And that red is precious.
    Dot posts or no dot posts, I’m sure we’re all cheering you on to a splendid finish.
    Cheers, Kath.

    1. That’s ‘funny’. There’s supposed to be big spaces between those letters and words that have all run together! I probably should have had DOTS between them. Serves the purpose anyway, same message!

    2. Funny, Kath! Well…… I’ll still be updating you on it, but in Big Chunks, instead of little ones! A big chunk up tomorrow, actually! ~MC

      PS – I’ll take some photos later on in “context” so you can see the size of the different bits. I’ll see if I can thrown in a ruler or a tape measure…

  6. Well, each dot may be a bit much. But watching the work grow is also gratifying for the reader. After all, we have been with this piece since the start and naturally want to watch it grow from creation to completion. Personally one of the reasons I so enjoy reading your blog is that I get to watch you make design and stitching decisions, and yes, I also get to see errors and corrections. I learn a bit all along the way.

  7. I love your dots! (and all the other information you give!) I do have a question about inside the dot…does the gold go in and out or is it couched? also, when you do the stem stitch, do you add each row on the left or on the right of the stitch, or doesn’t it matter? Thanks for everything 🙂

  8. OMG Mary; I absolutely LOVE the updates. Can’t get enough. This project is looking exquisite and is SO inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I love seeing the close ups, and truly love to see atleast one snap of your overall progress each time.
    Colleen in Canada

  9. Actually, I would love to see each dot. You don’t need to be eloquent about them, but they are so gorgeous! Maybe just numbers: 1-9. It looks like the finished piece is going to be amazing!

  10. This has been a wonder to watch you work through the process. It’s just beautiful beyond words and just that little bit of red (so far) just pops.

    I’ll gaze in wonder at whatever you show us.

  11. Please keep showing every bit of progress! You don’t have to write anything…just “here it is!” your posts have been a delight. Because you focus on ecumenical works, have you ever experienced Divine Direction with any of your pieces? Thank you for the wonder
    of your handwork.

  12. YES, I want to see every stitch!!! If anyone is bored they can look elsewhere one day. I come here every day to see every step in the process. There is no way I will ever do anything this fabulous, so please et me continue to enjoy yours! Every step of the way. Really. Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing with us. JaneS

  13. I love watching your progress on this. Your work is stunning. How about compromising by giving us updates as you complete each section?

  14. This has become my favorite blog to read lately and my favorite topic! I get so pumped every time I get to read another update on the Medallion project! I think it is because it is just SO SO beautiful! I love just gazing at the pictures. So … please update as much as you can stomach it!

  15. Hi-Mary, That offer is very generous of you, but really, those who need to see them all being processed are being unreasonable, not to mention depriving you of stitching time. What you’ve shown of the dots so far, is enough to demonstrate the methods involved. Are you going to introduce the color red into this project?

    1. Yes, the red shows in the last picture in this post…. the Tudor-style roses are red. Also, some of the gold outlining on the edges has red incorporated…

  16. I never tire of seeing this project unfold. Well, if you’d get tired of posting each dot, how about just showing each section as it is finished?

    Seeing something reveled each step of the way reminds one of how life used to be. It used to take years to learn a skill. That’s what I feel I’m getting through your site – the expertise of a master craftsman, and I’m the little apprentice soaking it all in!

  17. Bore me?!

    Ummmm…no. That ain’t gonna happen. I WANT all the piddly little details and I’d bet a quarter everyone else does too.

    So carry on. 🙂

  18. Yes, I really want to see each dot! But I would even more love to see a tape measure next to the row of dots! I know you said they are barely bigger than 1/4 inch, but I’m having a hard time visualizing that. I don’t do this kind of handwork myself, so following along with your project is something I find just fascinating. Don’t spare us even the smallest detail!


  19. Thank’s Mary. Your work is titanic!! I love your informations and my eyes are sparkless..Excuse me for my “bad english “,sorry

  20. Mary,
    Are you kidding? I’m enjoying every single step of this magnificent piece. In an age of machine everything, it is such a joy to see your beautiful handwork and watch this project unfold.

  21. I would love to see each step even if it means each dot. I look forward to seeing your posts about this project. It is almost as much fun reading about it as it would be to stitch it.

  22. I don’t mind seeing every dot, I look at some of those medieval buildings that took decades to built and sometimes think it is sorry that so many people just don’t appreciate the time and effort that goes into handmade articles anymore.

    Enjoy the journey of finishing your great work of art dot by dot!!!

  23. You are so right. All handwork embroidery is soooooooo slow, but I love it. I get so much pleasure out of each little stitch. I simply cannot understand how people get enjoyment out of machine embroidery when basically you just hit “go”. To each her/his own.
    And I love your updates, no matter what they are.I can see some little white spots in the red. Will you fill them up with more outline stitches, at least it looks like outline to me.
    Louise B.

    1. Hi, Louise – those are just the padding stitches so far – the actual satin stitching isn’t done yet, hence all the white. That layer will be satin stitched over, so the white won’t show….


  24. Mary,
    your work is so impressive and so beautiful that I never tire of seeing it. In my humble opinion, you can show all your advances. For me it’s great see your progress. And I must to admit that, you embroider infinitely faster than me!

  25. I’m really enjoying all the updates on this project. You are doing such a brilliant job! And I can’t speak for anyone else but I am not bored yet!!! 🙂

  26. Your photos are so beautiful and your work is so wonderful that I enjoy seeing it each time you post. I love seeing each little part that you finish because it is all so lovely. Thank you for taking the time to share it all!

  27. I have to agree with the majority of “votes” here…I have become vested in this project and love seeing the bits come together. While dots aren’t a big deal, watching the progress helps me learn how to better manage my work without ripping it from the blocks and putting something new on. You’re helping me learn tenacity and patience in such a lovely way.

    Please keep us posted with bits of the Medallion project…but I assume you need some reprieve from it in writing the blog-since it’s so consuming. Just promise not to leave us in the dark until it’s done!


  28. Hi Mary…
    Simply stunning… and how about each quadrant of dots if not every dot? 🙂 I am also very attached to the project and nothing would be boring to see…really! Your work is so very wonderful.

  29. Mary, I absolutely love all of your work and posts (your pictures are always so nice.), but I can imagine that for you it can be very taxing to try to find new ways to describe the same repeated elements. I would like to continue to see updates on this project, but I’m fine with the realization that you don’t need to post each and every item if it is a repeat. But do please keep sharing all of your new steps, even when you have something that you decide to re-do or that you have a change of heart about. All those experiences help those of us who are still relative “newbies”! Thanks again for sharing.

  30. I love seeing your progress, no matter how great or small! Maybe you could just include a photo in each post, with no dialogue needed. If you’ve had an “aha” moment with a stitch or design element or color choice, it would be great to hear about that too. I do look forward to seeing what you’ve accomplished and can’t wait to see the finished project. Thank you so much for sharing.

  31. At first I wanted to tell you that I love seeing every step, but you convinced me as I read your post. Now I rather look forward to the anticipation that will build up to the final reveal. Have enjoyed every minute of the project so far. Like a soap opera; every post leaves us hanging. Oooh what a tease that bit of red is! Wasn’t prepared for it.

  32. Well, I rush to see the medallion pictures but I also love it when you throw in little bits of stitch play and other tidbits not related to the medallion. I’ll be happy with an occasional peek while you are working towards completion. As long as your decision doesn’t become a chore that you’d rather avoid.

    I come to this site first thing each afternoon anyway – regardless of what you’re posting.

    Doreen from Maine

  33. I think I might suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop showing us your progress. It’s such a beautiful piece of work! I love watching it grow.

  34. ok…so not e-v-e-r-y dot, but I really do want to see detailed updates on the progress. The repetitious slow nature of the work does not bother me at all though…It is intrinsic to the handwork process and seeing the piece develop almost day by day is heartening and really conveys the WORK aspect of this utterly amazing project.

  35. Maybe I missed it, but how did you fill in those little blue triangles and how will they attach in with the blue bands? There is still more to know!!

  36. But one of the most fascinating things about needle n’thread is watching the projects take shape. Could there be a nice compromise? Is there a place you could just post uncommented pictures of each dot’s progress? Or perhaps every other dot. It appears that I’ve turned into a medallion junkie…


  38. You make some good points–I guess I don’t need to see every dot–but if you must err, please err on the side of showing us too much. It’s such a beautiful project.

  39. ohhhhh I so love watching every little bit of your progress..u simply rock…I had a dream you finished this lovely work of art and then had a blog giveaway…LOLOL>>>>just kidding! but I soooooooo love this piece…but I cant commit to this project right now…so…like everyone…I will enjoy every little bit of it you share! love loveeeeeeeee your blog!

    1. Oooooh. That’s a very good question! I have “My Deadline” and then the actual deadline. My Deadline is mid-April. I would LIKE to be finished by Easter (April 8), but I’m ok with April 15. The actual deadline is the end of May. Apparently, the vestments are made, just waiting for the Medallion, to finish the back of the chasuble.

      But I need to stick with my mid-April goal, because I have too many other things to do, and this is really taking all of my time right now!

      Will I make it? We shall see!!!!

  40. Mary,

    I think you may need to realize that while you may think writing about dots is boring, those of us in the peanut gallery love seeing the work progressing. And that means we like to see the dots as they are made. Well, not every dot, but maybe in bunches. This is such a beautiful piece that I, for one, want to see it progress in a fairly incremental pace, not by leaps and bounds. That is, if you can manage to keep from fainting of boredom of writing about dots!

    Also, having some whole photos of the work from time to time really helps those of us in cyberspace have a good appreciation for the progression of work in the piece. (something I’m guilty of not doing in my posts, but no one has complained so far).

  41. I would love to see every dot – I would not get bored. Pictures could stand on their own – you wouldn’t need to add commentary each time. Please show us as much as you can without it becoming a burden to you. I learn so much from your blog.

    Thank you for all you teach us.

  42. Mary,

    Tell us about the project when you want to. Are you doing these Tudor roses the way you worked out the individual one a little while ago?

    I’ve learned a lot, reading through your articles on the project. In this one, you talked about coloring a drawing. How about some posts on the earliest, planning stages? Things like the origin of the medallion, how you determined the size, colors, threads? That’s part of the process, too.

    1. Hi, Joanne – Much of the development of the project (color choices, etc.) can be seen in the index articles that are linked to in every post. Pretty much the whole story is outlined chronologically through those articles.

      Yes, the roses are exactly the same as the small Tudor rose – that was a test project, to make sure they’d look right and to know what I would need to do five of them. Well, materials wise, anyway. Time wise, they go a bit faster, since I’ve already worked one out…


  43. I have to say that I appreciate your pictures of progress, no matter how slow! I’m still new to embroidery, and have hard a hard time being patient with my own pieces. It’s helpful to see that even for someone more experienced than me, it’s still a slow (sometime laborious) process. So thanks!

  44. Mary None of your newsletters or mailings have bored me even if it is something you have showen me before I seem to learn something new each time I read one. When I have a lot of email build up and I have to go through and delete some, I never delete yours before reading them because I learn so much from them. I am a reading learner and don’t have a chance to be at my computer often while stitching. So I often print your instructions to use while embroidering rather then learning from a video.

    1. Hi, Karol – thanks for your comment! Saving the e-mails and printing instructions is a good way to build up your own little “resource center” for future use. I’m glad the newsletters come in handy and you enjoy them! Thanks for letting me know! ~MC

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