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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Silk & Goldwork Embroidered Medallion – Finished!


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It was last June when I sketched up the original design that would become the Medallion Project. Just short of a year ago! And approximately 450 hours of stitching later – most of which was done between the January and now – it is Finally Finished!

Didn’t you hear all that joyous shouting Saturday around 2:00 pm? That was me. I let out a regular hoop-dee-doo.

This finished medallion will be appliquéd to the back of a chasuble, but that won’t happen until the end of this week. Between now and then, there’s one more step to prepare the medallion for the appliqué process, and I’ll show that to you once I’ve done it. Today, I’ll share with you the final steps in the embroidery.

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

When last we spoke of the medallion, we looked at the finished silk & goldwork Tudor-style roses. All five roses were finished, but the dots were not filled in. In the photo above, you can see what the whole thing looks like, with the dots finished, but without the finished edge. Notice that the centers of the roses are filled now, as well.

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

Here’s a shot with the piece on the frame, from a bit of a distance. I think the gold dots worked out well, though admittedly, I was a bit worried about them!

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

After the dots were finished and the main part of the medallion was finished, it was time to attack the outside edge treatment. This was the final step! I started with pearl purl #2 along the outer edge of the dark blue.

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

You can’t really notice the pearl purl on its own in the photo above, can you? It does not make a bold statement, but it does provide a nice clean edge along the blue. Never fear, there’s more gold to add!

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

Next up, several double rows of Japanese gold passing thread. This is a beautiful thread – it’s the same thread I used to outline the cinquefoil around the central monogram. I kept the width of this outer outline similar to the width of the outline on the cinquefoil.

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

And here you have, from afar, the medallion with the Japanese gold completed. But wait… there’s more!

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

The final round of gold on the outside edge is worked in a beautiful, thick, rope-like real metal thread called Grecian Twist. Grecian Twist is a four-ply metal thread, made from two types of gold – a bright, smooth gold wire and a rougher, matte-like gold – wound around a string core, and then the two types of thread are twisted together into a rope. The two tones of gold in the twist and the rope-like nature of the thread make Grecian Twist the perfect finishing outline.

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

And here is the Medallion, with the finished gold edge. But wait – there’s still a wee bit more!

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

The medallion will be appliquéd to the chasuble using a dark blue silk thread, in stem stitch, to create a finer dark blue rope like line just to the outside of the Grecian Twist, and to “close in” the entire medallion. The dark line around the outside will create a kind of “shadow” around the medallion, making the edge crisp and visible.

Since the piece is not yet appliquéd to the chasuble, to show you the effect of the dark blue outline, I tucked in some blue silk all around the medallion.

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

Here, you can see the medallion with the blue line around the edge. The photo was taking under a very bright stitching lamp, so let’s step back and see it from afar, too, at another angle, without the bright light of the lamp:

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

You can see that the blue line is barely noticeable, but it makes all the difference!

Goldwork & Silk Ecclesiastical Embroidery

There are a few loose ends to tie up still, in the form of two more steps: 1. preparing the back of the medallion; and 2. the appliqué process. I’ll try to show you both.

And that, my friends, is the Medallion Project. Thank you so much for joining me in the journey! It’s been a challenging project, but sharing it with you along the way made it really fun! I love hearing your feedback, reading your suggestions and ideas, and soaking up your enthusiasm, which was often spurred me on and kept me going! So thanks for that!

If you would like to see the Medallion Project develop from start to finish, you’ll find all the articles for this project in the Goldwork & Silk Medallion Project Index. The articles are arranged chronologically, from the beginning design process to the finished project, with all kinds of tips and techniques shared along the way.

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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(123) Comments

  1. Congratulations on a fabulous finish! and a hearty THANK YOU for taking us along with you on this amazing journey. I’ve learned so much and have been inspired to stretch my boundaries over and over.

  2. Dear Mary,
    That’s another superb accomplishment, congratulations! 🙂
    I’d like to ask you something for the grande finalle, so to speak – that you added up how much (approximately) you spent on this project. Yes, in dollars!
    I think goldwork is such a beautiful form of embroidery art, but since it’s not easy to find the supplies, it would be great having an idea of how much a complete project would need as an investment.
    Also, if you could comment on cheaper alternative supplies (if that’s even possible) for beginners, that would be great!
    I can’t stand wasting fine fabric and threads when I’m learning a new technique…

  3. I stumbled onto your website earlier this year looking for a nice fill-stitch video. Your long-and-short stitch tutorial got me where I need to go and your medallion project showed me where I could go in the future. The medallion is beautiful and you taught so much with your triumphs and your struggles.

    Thank you and huzzah!

  4. Congratulations! It is beautiful. Thank you for allowing us to accompany you on this journey.

  5. WOW! I thought I heard some trumpets but then I figured it was my imagination! LOL Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you. First a big weight lifted because it’s finished and then that awful let down that it’s not sitting there needing to be done anymore!

  6. Mary,

    I am speechless! This is beyond beautiful, this is just… magnificent. I’ve been following the development of this piece for a long time now. Congratulations on getting all the stitching done. It’s gorgeous!

  7. Congratulations on a beautiful job!!!!
    Cheers and a BIG pat on the back.
    I’ve enjoyed watch this unfold and at times would wonder at your patience in explaining your thoughts and techniques along the way.

    Thank you!

  8. I am amazed at your work! Congratulations and thank you for allowing us on your journey. I may have missed it early on, but how is this medallion going to be used? Beautiful work and congrats again!

  9. Very Lovely!!! I so wish I could afford gold work threads! I have so many ideas for the roses now its not funny anymore. lol

  10. Breath taking….I can’t stop looking at it.
    It seems like it went so quick following the progress on line .. wow. Thanks Mary for sharing!

  11. Okay, to quote the younger generation, “OMG! That is fabulous. I love the way the gold on white changes depending on the light and where you are when viewing the piece. I’m curious about who will wearing this beautiful chasuble, and will they have any idea of how incredibly blessed they are to where this piece of your heart and soul. It’s truly beautiful.

  12. That is a stunning piece of art. I am so impressed with the amount of time and effort you have put into this. I do hope that we get to see the finished piece in its “natural surroundings”.
    Congratulations on finishing it, it has been amazing to follow that journey from sketch to finished piece. You are amazing and I hope to keep learning from you!

  13. At the risk of making you all jealous, I saw this in person yesterday! Yes, I actually held it in my own hands and saw it with my very own eyes! Pictures do not do it justice…it is too awe-inspiring for words.
    Thanks for yesterday, Mary. Really enjoyed it.

  14. Many congratulations on completing this spectacular medallion, Mary. I know that you still have to finish and appliquéd the medallion to the chasuble but you must be very happy to have finished the embroidery.

    When that is done, sit back and soak up the well deserved praise that is coming your way. This piece is beautiful, that workmanship is masterful and it looks STUNNING!!!!

  15. Hi Mary,
    I don’t think you can hear me but I am standing and clapping for you. It is a very beautiful job, very well done.
    Thanks for sharing! Now take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back!

  16. Yes, I think I did hear you! Something woke me up at that time anyway. I’d rather think it was a cosmic “Yipeeee!” from you than the DS and a friend rooting through the refridgerator.

    The medallion is gorgeous and seems to glow from within when the light catches it right. I’d love it if you’d share a photo of the final chasuble.

    And thank you for taking us along on the adventures of making it!

  17. I can’t wait to get online with a cup of coffee to see what’s going on, on NNT. Your Medallion is a work art! Thanks for sharing the journey with us. Along with learning embroidery from the videos, I enjoy reading your posts, tips and techniques and the ask/share feature. Looking forward to more –Kathy S.

  18. A truly a magnificent piece of embroidery.

    Congratulations Mary, and thanks for sharing.

    Now it is finished I wonder if you will suffer from withdrawal symptoms?

  19. Just beautiful, Mary. Thank you for taking us along the journey with this project. It has been an education to follow along, and the end result is stunning. Whoever commissioned it is going to so pleased.

    The finishing touches with the Grecian twist and the outlining stem stitch really make it stand out.

  20. G’day Mary,
    I have to pinch myself to believe I ‘know’ such an amazingly talented and special lady. It’s one thing to have talent but another altogether to put in the hard yards to realise that talent. It takes a very special person and you are that person. Thank you Mary.
    May your love of Needle ‘n Thread always be a happy blessing and deep satisfaction for you.
    Congratulations on a superbly tremendous and worthwhile effort.
    Cheers, Kath.

  21. Many many congratulations! It is an outstanding piece of workmanship. I’ve been showing this to my husband, who is an Orthodox priest, and today when he saw the finished product he declared that he wanted something just like that for the Easter vestment set we’ve been planning to make him. To that end I would like to echo others comments in asking, how much did this all cost to put together? Thanks for all your inspiration!

  22. Stunning! I am in awe of your talent. It inspires me to reach a little further than I think I can with each project. 🙂 Thank you for sharing the journey and your time.

  23. Wow!
    Just WOW!

    I am SO happy for you – what a beautiful finish. You must be happy all the way from the ends of your hair to the tip of your toes. That is truly masterful! Congratulations on finishing an incredible project and many thanks for showing us what this journey looked like. I agree with Janet (#10) – I’ll never look at projects of this scope the same way again.

  24. Breathtaking! I can’t wait to see it on the chasuble. I was amazed at the borders. Each time I thought it looked great, then you added the next step and it got better each time! Beautiful work. Congrats on a job well done.

  25. Brava! Bravissima!

    Beyond being a superb example of goldwork and glorious to look upon, the documentation of your handwork is invaluable. You’ve given needleworkers everywhere an immense gift.

    Thank you.

  26. Mary, it looks fantastic, well done on your finish. its inspired me to have a go at the small Tudor rose.

  27. Absolutely gorgeous. Watching this project helped spur me on as well, to work on a difficult project of my own. (and when I had to rip out threads, I told myself if Mary can rip out gold threads I can rip out this…)

    Gave me lots of ideas as well. Thanks for the journey.


  28. Mary,
    It’s absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and techniques throughout the whole process.
    I’m sure it will become a treasured heirloom for the church!

  29. Yes, it is now ‘finished’…those last encirclements of gold and blue have created a frame of perfect proportions. I’ve been following your blog almost daily since you began with the tudor roses. I am both inspired and grateful to have been able to witness so much of this journey of creation. Thank you Mary Corbett, thank you.

  30. Magnificent. You did a great job on the edge, knowing exactly which type/size of gold to use and then giving a clean edge with a bit of blue. If I was trying to finish the edge, I’d probably still be adding rings to see if it looked done yet. 🙂

    Are you glad to be done and send it on its way or will you miss it?

  31. I am breathless, speechless. Have been following the whole process and am now just as relieved as you are. It is perfect. Every detail is exactly where it belongs. Sincerest congratulations!!!

  32. Congratulations and Well Done! It is an absolutely stunning piece of embroidery and I’m sure you are very proud of it. Thanks so much for bringing us along on this journey, especially since it took so much time and effort to photograph and document the process in addition to the actual embroidery. I can’t believe it’s been almost a whole year. I’ll definitely go back and look over your design process. So, what’s the next big project? 🙂

  33. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Congratulations on achieving such a stunning end to your project. I will definitely look differently upon these vestments that we so often take for granted.

  34. Hi Mary:

    Let me add in the general chorus of awe and admiration. This is beyond stunning! You must be so glad to have finished it – and you get to hand it off to somebody else for the tedious job of attaching it to vestments. Everything is perfect with the world as far as I can see.

    Again, amazing work that is a masterpiece and will be a thing of beauty for decades to come. Congratulations!

  35. That is spectacular, I have enjoyed the journey. Will you post pictures when it is appliqued to the chasuble?

  36. Wow, wow, and WOW! Such beautiful, beautiful work Mary. Thank you so much for letting us join with you on this project. What a wonderful work of labor and love.

  37. What a tremendous project! It’s been great to be peeking over your shoulder the whole way.

    I love the quality of your photos — I don’t think I’ve ever seen an embroidery blog with better macro shots. I long for wallpaper-sized files, so I can happily gaze at your work while I put off doing mine 🙂

  38. Wow! Congratulations! Words just aren’t enough to convey my admiration. Thanks for letting me share the journey.

  39. What a magnificent achievement! This whole process has been wonderfully educational for me. I have enjoyed every step of the process… even the missteps. I now have the courage to attempt something of this level. Thank you for educating us all in such a fun and inspiring way!

    “Samantha” raised some interesting points in the comment section. Would you be willing to share the cost of these materials, for those of us who need to budget/ wish list for supplies (isn’t that all of us these days…). I, too, would like to know if there are cheaper supplies for practicing these techniques.

    Thank you again for ALL that you do.

  40. Absolutely stunning! Thank you for sharing your incredible stitching journey, and congratulations on another amazing work of art!

  41. WOW oh WOW!!!!

    truly inspirational, Mary! It’s been quite a journey for you with us along for the ride. Thanks ever so much for allowing us to do this vicariously with you!

  42. Mary!

    Oh my goodness how beautiful that is! This project is my first real sampling of Gold work and I’m interested in trying it. I can’t even put into words how much I love this project and how it turned out. You are a master at your craft. I look for your message everyday. Thank you for your dedication and love of embroidery.

    Melissa Bird

  43. What a truly beautiful finish! The medallion is exquisite; I can’t wait to see what it looks like appliqued. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  44. Mary,

    What a lovely finish! What will you do now in your (dubious) 😀 spare time???

    Let us know how they like it. 😀

    Hugs and Love,

  45. Are you sure the medallion couldn’t go on a world wide embroidery tour? I actually reached toward the screen and then was disappointed when I couldn’t touch or at least get closer to the medallion. What does it feel like to create something so beautiful that it causes a visceral reaction for so many? Congratulations, your dedication to your art is remarkable and admirable.

  46. Mary –
    Beautiful, beautiful. The finished medallion is harmonious in every aspect – line, form, and color. I agree with other comments that the “documentation” of this project through your blog posts has been a valuable teaching and learning experience. You can certainly be justifiably proud of the results!
    -Sharon in France

  47. Mary, thank you so much for sharing every step of this magnificent journey. It is breathtakingly beautiful. You continue to be a daily inspiration to me!

    Marilyn P. in Las Cruces, NM

  48. Brava, Mary! The medallion is stunningly rich looking. You must be extremely happy to see its fruition. I also look forward to the final and somewhat mundane steps; I do hope you will be able to show those.
    Thank you for singularly valuable and inspirational blog.

  49. Aloha Mary,
    It is truly beautiful! A work of art and love. Congratulations on a job well done.

  50. Dear Mary

    What can I say absolutely beautiful, amazing. I love the Grecian gold and the blue edging that is my favourite bit although all of it is a work of art you must be so proud. Thank you for sharing the progress of the project and the stage by stage photos with us, its been fantastic journey I have felt for you through the ups and downs of the project. Just a question where did you obtain the Grecian gold from?

    Regards Anita Simmance

  51. Dear Mary
    this is so but SO beautiful!!! You always have the best way to go and finish! The finishing is a beauty.

  52. Mary, this is incredibly beautiful, and I feel lucky to have been able to watch your process and progress. Congratulations on a work of art that will be a lasting inspiration to all of us in the needlework community as well as to people of faith who see it in its liturgical setting.

    One question–how did you start and end the Grecian twist? Did you plunge the ends, “weave” them together, or perform some other kind of Mary Magic?

  53. Mary,

    The medallion is beyond beautiful. Your talents are amazing. I only wish I had a small fraction of your talent (measured in billions). Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. It is fabulous,gorgeous, beautiful. etc., etc. Congratulations.
    Thanks again for sharing.
    Red Oak, TX

  54. Comment #2 and a question/suggestion. Once the medallion is on the chasuble, could you make a modeling video of it being worn with the wearer moving about in the light. As I looked at the different images you have posted, I came to realize that the intense variation of ‘gildedness’ depends on the play of light on the piece itself. Something tells me that the true glory of this piece is going to be in the actual wearing, not just the wonderful balance and execution of a great design.

  55. Mary, what can I say? Your Medallion Project.. WOW!! It just blows me away. You are truly blessed with a talent for embroidery.
    Thank you for sharing with us all.
    God bless.

  56. Totally awesome! Beyond beautiful. Thanks for letting us share the ride these past months. I hope that someday you can post a photo of the medallion and its chasuble being worn during a service.

  57. Hi Mary,

    Congratulations, what an amazingly beautiful piece you have created and what fun to follow your progress. Thank you and looking forward to new projects, Debra from Sydney

  58. It is indeed one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever witnessed being made, step by step. Thanks to this new technology, we have been able to see this simply devine piece from start to finish. Thankyou from Australia.

  59. Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your kind and enthusiastic comments! There is such a World of Difference between showing the project to people who understand needlework and showing it to people who don’t!

    It’s been a very happy day, reading all your kind comments! There’s nothing quite like sharing a needlework project with folks who understand stitchery, art, and working with the hands. I just can’t tell you how much your enthusiasm means to me!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I will do my best to answer the questions that are still lingering in the days to come!


  60. The Japanese passing thread and the Grecian twist were truly inspired additions. Beautiful, Mary; just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the process with us. I learned so much!

  61. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And more than beautiful is your wonderful spirit of generosity in time, knowledge and sharing your fantastic work with all of us through your blog. Your work is an inspiration to me and hundreds of others as well as can be seen from all of the comments. Thank you Mary.

  62. Well done you!!! It’s absolutely stunning and perfectly stitched. I wish I could stitch so beautifully, maybe in another few decades!

  63. Absolutely gorgeous. THANK YOU soooooo much for sharing this process with us. I have learner so much, and it was so much fun to watch the progress of this piece!

  64. Congratulation! The Medallion is wonderful! Thanks for sharing your progress as you went along. I’ve learned a lot from your explanations and reasoning. The end product is absolutely beautiful!

  65. Mary,
    This project is so very beautiful. Congratulations on finishing and thanks for sharing–at all the stages–with us.

  66. STUNNING! Thank you so much for taking us on this journey with you. I am about to embark on a new series of artworks which will involve a lot of gold work. You tips and hints over the last few months have proved invaluable.

  67. Dear Mary,
    CONGRATULATIONS! What a fantastic achievement. Thank you for sharing your journey. The medallion looks absolutely brilliant!

  68. This is just stunning Mary!! I can`t imagine the love and time you have put into this, I do hope it is appreciated for the work of art it is!! Can you please post a clear large pic of it finished? I so want to put this up on my comp as my desktop pic…the colours, the stitching…it`s the most beautiful piece of embroidery I have ever seen!!

  69. This is a beautiful piece of work – well done. The edging finishes it off so well. It has been fascinating to see it develop.

  70. Simply magnificent!!!! All of your hours of hard work has definitely paid off. Thank you for sharing it step-by-step. It was lovely to see such a masterpiece created.

  71. Wow when I grow up I want to be just like you. You do such beautiful work and so precise. I am in awe of the work you do by hand.

  72. Congratulations,superb ,amazing, i´m from Brazil, thank you so much .i have been inspired to stitch.x

  73. Mary, what a masterpiece. It is truly a stunning piece of embroidery. Your attention to the smallest details is amazing, but of course the details really do make a difference — a big difference. I am also impressed by your patience, persistence, and willingness to rip it out and do it over! My absolute favorite parts are the magnificent roses. I would love to attend Mass and see this being worn. It perfectly exemplifies “for the glory of God”!

  74. This has been the best tutorial I’ve ever watched. Your work is exquisite.You’ve got the patience of a saint.This piece is absolutly gorgious and the priest that eventually wears it will be proud to show it off.

  75. Really stunning! Well balanced as a total with the outer circle and I love how the japanese gold shines in every photo. Hope we can see it when it’s appliquéd.

  76. Wowza! That’s just so gorgeous it looks too perfect for human hands to have accomplished…and if I had not seen your progress for myself…it would be hard to have believed it! A tribute to God’s own love…that he gave us a creative brain and ability to vision such stupendous projects as this! Bravo!

  77. I applaud you efforts. I joined your blog only last month and I want to say I have enjoyed your process. I do custom, one-of-a-kind machine embroidery pieces and I can relate to the hours it takes to get the best result possible. Keep up the good work. I was wondering if you worked on any other projects while working on this piece?

    1. Hi, Lacy – I did work on other things, but they are not quite as noticeable. For one thing, there’s the every day work of Needle ‘n Thread – creating things for content (for example, stitch tutorials and so forth), or just writing content, and keeping up the website. I also started up a little travel project, but it’s one of those projects that will only surface when I have nothing else to do with my hands and am in a travel situation. I worked up four models of a needlebook that I used to teach a class, and I dabbled with quite a few other little test projects. But as for a “major” project at the same time, no. I have a hard time splitting my concentration that way! But by the time the medallion was coming to an end, my mind was moving ahead to other projects! Hopefully, you’ll see the results of my ruminating in the months to come.

  78. I missed the long awaited reveal day, but have enjoyed it greatly anyway. Absolutely stunning, in case no one has pointed that out to you….
    Lucky the parishioners who get to see this in use. Truly blessed work. I’ve been in many churches over the years and appreciate the beautiful artisan made objects that have graced the sanctuaries and staff. It does enhance the worship experience. I wince a bit remembering some projects in various churches that were well intentioned but lacked the care you invested in your project. It is all meant to be uplifting, and this medallion truly is. Alas, budget projects look like budget projects. A former church I attended has a beautiful needlepoint piece as a backdrop to the alter (lacking the proper terminology here). It is a lovely stylized floral design that echoes the Tiffany stained glass above it, ooak, and a joy to gaze on each week. A professional designed it, and members created it in blocks. Which brings to mind that the designer included instructions for regular cleaning. Given that this chasuble will hopefully last for many long years, how would one care for it? Again, bravo!

  79. Mary, thank you for sharing the journey and teaching so much on this site! What a gift to be able to create and teach too! The medallion is worthy of its purpose!
    Soooo beautiful and special!

  80. Hi Mary,
    Congratulations on finishing the beautiful Goldwork Project. I have followed every step along the way and I am in awe of your talent, your patience, your attention to detail and your very great talent. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey and thank you for sharing this magnificent project.
    With the greatest respect and kind regards

  81. Congratulations Mary! The finished medallion is absolutely beautiful!!!!
    Although I´ve never done goldwork (and probably never will?) I´ve thoroughly enjoyed following your progress and have learned a lot – tips and ideas which will most certainly come in handy in my projects.
    Keep well.

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