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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Mission Rose – Finished! And Some Extra Notes


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Well, the Mission Rose project is, at long last, finished. Whew!

And here it is:

Mission Rose Silk and Goldwork Embroidery Project

And this is how you know I’m just not a skilled photographer. I never did get a straight-on, squared up shot. This one is the closest I got. I will have to do better once the piece is framed.

What Am I Doing With It?

This is such a popular question! Though I’ve answered it before, it keeps coming up, so I thought I’d address it clearly, with it’s very own heading!

I’m framing the Mission Rose and hanging it in my home. I don’t really have any of my own embroidery framed and hung here. All the major projects I’ve done have always ended up as gifts. So I’m pretty sure I’ll keep this one.

I’ll have it professionally framed, using museum glass, and it will hang out of the sunlight. The glass will help keep the piece dust free and will help preserve the gold from tarnishing too quickly.

It will most likely not be matted – there’s enough going on with the goldwork frames already – so to lift the glass away from the surface of the work, the framer will use spacers. Chances are, the frame will be black or deep brown and very simple. I don’t know yet for certain, because I haven’t gone frame shopping yet. I’ll show it to you when it’s finally framed and hung.

Mission Rose Silk and Goldwork Embroidery Project

Materials & Costs

Here’s a list of the retail cost of most of the materials for this project. When buying these materials retail, you have to buy them the way they come, so for many of the supplies, I definitely have leftovers! But for some of the supplies, I just scraped by. If I needed two quantities (2 spools, 2 meters, etc.), I indicated that below.

So, just to clarify, I did not calculate costs based on materials used, but rather on materials bought in order to work the project.

Silk Threads
Soie de Paris – 9 spools – $36
Soie Ovale in 1 color – $2.50
Silk couching threads – 50 wt and 100 wt – $12

Goldwork Threads
#5 bright gold smooth passing (15 meter spool) – $12
#4 gold smooth passing with silk core (18 meter spool) – $28
Check Thread (fine – #7) (10 meter spool) – $13.50
Tambour Thread #7 (30 meter spool) – $9.50
Elizabethan Twist (2% gold, 8 meter spool) – $19
#2 gold twist (2% gold) – 1 meter – $5
Pearl Purl – Super – 1 yard – $6.70
Pearl Purl #2 – 1 yard – $11.50
Pearl Purl #3 – 1 yard – 15.50
#10 Bright check purl (18″) (2) – $14

gold (package of 24) – $4.31
Pearls (100) $4.37

Total retail cost of silk threads, goldwork threads, and beads: $193.88, not including taxes or shipping.

This total does not include the ground fabrics (pink and blue silk dupioni), the linen backing fabric, the wool felt for padding, beeswax, #10 and #12 crewel needles, #22 chenille needle, and a curved beading needle (for securing threads).

Keep in mind, the total does not equate with the value of the finished piece. $200 for supplies for an embroidery project is a lot of money, certainly. But compared to the cost of the time and effort that went into the project, the cost of the supplies is negligible.

Mission Rose Silk and Goldwork Embroidery

Although the photo above has a pretty deep shadow on it, it does at least give more of an idea of the pink background of the piece. All along, the background has usually looked off-white, or sometimes taupe-ish, but it’s really a very pale, shell pink!

Making It My Own

When I began the Mission Rose project, I started with a design that came from an old piece of ecclesiastical embroidery given to me by my friend, Larissa Borodich.

Ecclesiastical Embroidery Panel

The original piece was worked in tambour embroidery in silk, and highlighted with goldwork.

Ecclesiastical Embroidery Panel

You can see here which part of the design I adopted.

I could have slavishly copied the design, colors and all, and recreated exactly the same design in exactly the same techniques, with new threads and ground fabric.

It would have been pretty. But I wouldn’t have been making it my own. And I wouldn’t have been doing something new – I wouldn’t have been taking embroidery forward, but just re-doing what had already been done.

When I isolated the rose design in the old piece above, I saw it differently. I saw it vivid, jewel-like, and rich. That’s what I tried to create. And so, while the design is an old one, the finished Mission Rose is new, drawing from the past, but re-imagined for today.

I hope you like it!

You can follow the entire Mission Rose project from beginning to end by visiting the Mission Rose Project Index, where every article about this project – including all the tips and techniques and materials – are listed chronologically as the project developed.


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(82) Comments

  1. Congratulations! I’m glad that this friendly rose will be staying with you, Mary. I’m sure it will be admired by all your visitors. I learnt a lot watching its progress. I like the way the two pink pearls in the centre finish the scrolls off so nicely.

  2. Mary, it is stunning. So many of the details such as the colored silks in the gold perle really make a difference in the finished piece. Thanks for sharing your journey in making it. When calculating the cost, I like to think in terms of $$ per hour — pretty inexpensive entertainment!

  3. Mary it is just stunning. Did you ever add up about how many hours it took? I’m trying to think of something else to say but I am just so awestruck by your talent and hard work!

  4. Absolutely stunning! Sometimes after I finish a big project (one that I have pondered over, taken out stitches, changed colors etc..) I feel a bit lost when it is done. So I try to have the next project sitting in the wings to start. I know you have plenty of projects so no feeling lost for you. Thank you for sharing this project – it is very inspiring.

  5. This is absolutely fantastic! I love the way you’ve worked the corners – it really finishes it off. I’ve really enjoyed following your posts, as you’ve been stitching this design. The financial cost is negligible compared to the satisfaction you must have got from stitching this (and the pleasure you’ve given other people, as they’ve watched the project progress).

  6. Wow! Congratulations Mary on finishing this work of art! You must be very proud of the results. It is stunning! I’m so glad it will grace the walls of your home.
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work with us. To see the progress on this as well as all the other projects, shows the incredible amount of work you do.
    I love all the photos and detailed explanations that go with everything as it shows your great love of your craft.

  7. So beautiful! It’s been so much fun watching your progress on this incredible piece! It is such a happy piece. I’m glad you are keeping it. It will make you smile every time you look at it! Thanks for sharing your work. I’ve learned so much, and it’s always a joy.

  8. !!!!
    Stunning. I am stunned. Speechless…
    I like it very much, Mary, it is a beautiful piece of art.

  9. Mary, Mission Rose is absolutely beautiful! I am happy that it will grace your home. Thank you for having us on this journey.

  10. Dear mary
    Congratulations on a mission rose accomplished. Thanks for having me along. I have really loved this project and I can’t wat to see what comes along next!

  11. Mary, G’day!
    What the heck do you mean “So I’m pretty sure I’ll keep this one.”? You pretty well had better!
    It seems to me that this particular embroidery has been more of a personal journey for you, and that I’ve had the privilege of watching you, almost as if I’ve been irreverently inquisitive, peeping over your shoulder.
    I’m not a big fan of gold work. I love seeing how you do it, but the overall gold look just isn’t me. With this one though, the centre embroidery so stands out and is so beautiful on the pale background that the gold doesn’t seem so prominent to me (sorry, if it’s supposed to). What I’m trying to say is that I would happily have this hanging in my home, and not behind the toilet door either!
    I do love the squiggles (forgotten their name) on the blue too. I love the overall look of those blue corner sections and how each squiggle takes its own separate journey but it all become one, like us, all on our separate Needle ‘n Thread journeys but are brought together by thee, Amen. Whoops, didn’t mean to go into preaching mode!
    Thank you Mary and Congratulations on your superb achievement.
    Cheers, Kath.

  12. Yes congratulations ! I have so enjoyed reading your journal notes as it has progressed …and this one being the best one of them all ! : )

  13. Mary, this is absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing with us every step of this amazing project. I’m glad you get to keep it. Please consider posting a picture that includes both you and the rose–perhaps when it’s framed? It’s good to be reminded about the size of this embroidery (somehow I keep forgetting that it’s rather small–which makes the level of detail even deeper). And, it would be lovely to see your face, too! 🙂

  14. Like it? I love it! And congradulations on finishing it!
    The old piece of embroidery is beautiful – and I can see the changes you made to the Mission Rose to really make it the way you wanted it to be.
    Thanks So Much for taking us with you on this journey!
    Can not wait to see your next project!

    Sarah 🙂

  15. Gorgeous. Just stunning. Thank you so much for allowing us to follow you on this project. It is such a beautiful work of art.

  16. Absolutely stunning. I’m so glad you’re keeping this one. It’s beautiful, impressive, and something you can surely be very proud for having accomplished.

  17. It’s just lovely. (By the way, I sometimes send links to your blog to other ladies with the heading “just for pretty”. This one, if they open it, will also be informative. I hope they decide to crawl around and see how long you took on this…I’m sure it’s well over 100 hours.)


  18. Dear Mary

    The finished Rose is absolutely exquisite, beautiful I love the colour combination of the silk threads and the different silk threads you have used and the different gold you have used and the way you have embroidered the gold. I especially love the corner work with the red silk thread and the pinkish beads you have chosen which matches the pink of the rose it all coordinates and gleams beautifully you must be so proud. I’m not surprised at the cost if you include the fabric and the man hours you have put into the piece it would cost a fortune. I’m also glad you are keeping it so that other people can appreciate it and you can enjoy what you have achieved, in my view you are truly an artist and very generous with your posts on this Mission. Well done.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  19. Well, what can I say – – – absolutely the best project that I have seen in detailed progress since I started following your blog – many many congratulations to you Mary! – – design is deceptively simple but has allowed you a really extravagant colour/gold palate to demonstrate to all of us just what you can do if you decide to do a large, detailed, complicated project.

  20. Mary, Seeing and reading about this project has been fascinating. To my eyes this is a museum quality piece and I appreciate it as much as such. Your design and needlework ability on this piece are breathtaking.

  21. Hi Mary,
    I have been following your Mission Rose project. The finished piece is just beautiful.
    Thank you for showing and sharing with all of us.


  22. Mary, it is breathtaking! I wish I could see it someday.
    For framing, are you planning to stretch the piece
    yourself, and if so, how does one stretch gold work?
    This has been a fascinating project to follow; and as
    one who also has few of my own projects in my own
    home, I commend your decision to keep it. I’m planning
    on working on a couple of projects this year for my own
    house – it’s time!

  23. You’re interpretation of the original piece is, to say the least, amazing. I jumped in about halfway thru this project and have learned a lot. Beautiful. Looking forward to what you come up with next. Thank you for sharing!

  24. Congratulations! Completing this gorgeous piece must be a fabulous feeling! This really is a stunning work of art. I have enjoyed watching it from start to finish – it has been a wonderful process. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  25. You hope we “like” it? We LOVE it! What a wonderful project! Thank you for all the inspiration along the way and your blogs about the issues you had and how you changed the piece as you went along. I also like your comment about not copying the original but using the original to create something new.
    I like your plan on how to frame it. By the way, how large is the piece? I may have missed it in previous posts.

  26. Wow!!!! I have really enjoyed your progress through this project and have learned so much. Thank you both for sharing your work and your web site.

  27. That is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the process with us. I’m so glad you are keeping it – if I was able to make something like that I’d make it a shrine .

  28. It has been a wonderful journey with beautiful results! Thank you for such an education! It was kind of like a good novel — we weren’t exactly sure where you were going all the time, but always with delightful twists, turns, and many revelations. Thank you, Mary.

  29. Oh so beautiful! What a work of art Thank you for taking us along on the journey from conception to completion. Your work is inspirational.

  30. Congratulations Mary – it’s beautiful. Thank you so much so sharing this project with us. It will look amazing in your home,

  31. Mission Rose is gorgeous! I particularly like how you finished the corners. I have decided to steal your idea of how you encircled the center. I am working on a big cross stitch piece that requires long strands of pearls to be stitched onto the design. I have seen it completed with each bead individually stitched but it lacks the natural flow that I would like. I think your idea of stringing and then couching the beads will give it just the touch a want. Thank you for the wonderful idea and also thank you for sharing your project with us. I am so glad you to decided to keep this one for yourself.

  32. Mary, this work is exquisite! I wouldn’t write off the idea of a mat though. A black mat with black core with an inch or two of plan pink space between the art and the mat might really focus the eye on the majesty of the gold. Like a diamond laying on a black velvet cloth. It would accentuate the sparkle. What do you think? Congratulations on your accomplishment. Enjoy it!

  33. Congratulations! Mary the Mission Rose is beautifu. I love the way you made it your own from the old ecclesiastical embroidery piece.
    You have a creative eye. Make sure you hand it somewere will you will see and enjoy it often.
    Thanks for sharing it with us alone the way.
    Take care & God bless.

  34. Just beautiful. And looking again at your “muse”, I prefer the way you’ve developed the rose bud on Mission Rose.

  35. An absolutely stunning piece of work, Congratulations on completion of this master piece. You have been most generous in sharing, step by step, as the work progressed, thank you so much. I’m keen to see the frame. I can imagine the joy it will be to have it hanging in your home.

  36. Well Mary you did it! And might I say the pearls in the four corners are perfect and accentuate the piece beautifully.

    I am excited to see what you have in store for your next project(s). Sorry, that does not give you much time to recover and relish what you have accomplished already. But you did it to yourself teasing us with a SAL from a book that you recommended and a monogram class that I have been anticipating for a while. 🙂


  37. Dear Mary,

    It is exquisite !!! I love it. Oh, to be able to embroidery like that. It should hang in a very special place in your home for all to admire. Congratulations. It is truly an elegant work of art.


  38. Congratulations, the piece is totally awesome! I’ve enjoyed following along with your work. I am in awe of your amazing work. Thanks for making hand embroidery a thing of beauty and art!

  39. WOW! i say WOW! Absolutely love it Mary! How big is the design? I printed off the pattern you created but am not sure if the pattern is the same size as the actual piece. Also, did you by any chance keep track of your hours?

  40. Mary, it’s stunningly beautiful. I real labour of love and so very worth the material cost and the cost in time (at least I think so)! I love everything about it.

  41. Hi, All!

    Thanks oh-so-much for your nice comments and your enthusiasm! I’m glad you like the finished Mission Rose – it was a fun project, but I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over so I can move on with some other plans.

    As life would have it, I no more than finished the Mission Rose and got everything cleaned up and situated for the new week, when I was visited by this year’s edition of the Creepy Crawly Crud – or the flu, or whatever it is. So I’ve been lying low these last couple days, trying to get through the worst of it. That’s why I haven’t responded to individual comments….. Sitting at the computer seems to be the worst place to be when you’re feeling yucky. I wonder why that is?

    In any case, I just wanted to say thanks for the enthusiasm! Looking forward to the next adventure!


    1. Dear Mary

      Oh I’m so sorry I do hope you feel much better soon I was ill last year twice with a virus infection and later with flu for 4 weeks so I know how you are feeling. Get well soon and thinking of you take lots of rest and wrap up warm with nice hot drinks.

      Warn Regards Anita Simmance

  42. It was lovely to follow the journey of an absolutely stunning work of art. It will look stunning framed and hung and I’m sure you will receive many comments from all who see it.

  43. Yes, Mary, I do like it. It is beautiful. I am pleased to know that you will keep it too; all too often we give away/sell (if we’re lucky) our work and end up with nothing to show people who ask ‘what do you do?’

    On the subject of the frame, may I vote for black? My husband makes all my frames and I have to say that when it comes to the crunch my favourite is always the plain black. And as this image is so forceful in its own right I think it demands a very plain but equally forceful frame. Just mho.

  44. Your work is inspiring, the finished piece is lovely. I’ve followed it from the start and every stage has been fascinating. And your treatment of the corners was such a lovely surprise – perfect. Can’t wait to see your next project.

  45. Oh, Mary, it’s wonderful! The colours are SO vibrant! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following you on this project, and even though you’ve used many techniques I can’t see myself doing (but never say never), it’s fascinating to watch such a beautiful piece evolving.
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

  46. Mary,
    This is absolutely beautiful! I am so glad I found your site. I am amazed at the wonderful artistry. You have introduced me to a whole new perception of embroidery.

  47. Beautiful! Though I don’t think I’ll ever do goldwork, I have followed along with this and very much enjoyed seeing it develop from concept to finished. I’m glad you are keeping this one for yourself. It’s a good thing to be able to treasure/enjoy your own work. And you do such beautiful work.

    And besides enjoying your progress, I think I learned a thing or two, too.

  48. Congratulations! Stunning work. I’ve been away, just had to go back through your blog first thing to see the final article about the Mission Rose. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the stages of the project, thanks very much.

  49. Oh I will *never* be able to do gold-work for many reasons, but I think money will be the major one. That said, thank you for sharing this because inspiration is PRICELESS! You’re so generous by pouring yours out on the universe. Congratulations on a beautiful piece!

    It’s funny, I never keep any of the pillowcases or dresser scarfs I’ve done either, but I think it’s because I’m bored of looking at the piece by the time I’m done. I think maybe I should change that.

  50. I don’t know if you’ll get this but I have spent a most enjoyable evening reading and seeing your stunning work. Your talent and expertise are apparent and you make the work approachable. What talent you have! I love needlework. Thank you for posting this.

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