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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Society Silk Embroidery – a terrific remix!


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How about some Monday Morning Inspiration?

Vintage embroidered linens are an obsession of mine – I love to collect them, especially if I find beautiful ones that I can afford.

Sometimes, I wash them up and use them for gifts.

Sometimes, I use them in my home.

Sometimes, I just want the embroidery – I want to rescue it somehow, because it’s beautiful. But I don’t always have ideas on how to do that. So the linens end up being stowed away until inspiration strikes… and then, admittedly, they risk being forgotten all over again.

So sad!

Enter: Kelly Cline.

Society Silk Embroidery and Long-Arm Quilting

Kelly Cline is a long-arm quilter, and she does pretty amazing things with old Society Silk embroideries.

I’m enthralled by her combination of vintage embroideries with long arm quilting. I love what she’s doing to reclaim these pieces of Society Silk, making them into new pieces of textile art.

Society Silk Embroidery and Long-Arm Quilting

I’ve written about Society Silk in the past, so if you want to know more about this type of embroidery and its history, you can find a few articles here on Needle ‘n Thread:

Hand Embroidery: Lessons from the Past

Society Silk Embroidery: A Beautiful Resource

Vintage Linens for Embroidery

Society Silk, Revisited – a historical overview

Society Silk Embroidery and Long-Arm Quilting

What Kelly does is take old pieces of Society Silk that she acquires, and she makes them new again by applying her long-arm quilting skills to the embroidered pieces.

She quilts with fantastic textures, patterns, and flourishes that really enhance and show off the embroidery, and she turns the resulting pieces into items for display.

Society Silk Embroidery and Long-Arm Quilting

I especially love her Oklahoma piece! Maybe it’s because I’m partial to the Midwest. Maybe it’s because of all the texture. Maybe it’s those leafy, whirling insets of quilted lines among the green leaves, the pebbles behind the text, and the neat and tidy checkers. Maybe it’s the green silk leaves and the big clumps of white milkweed…

I suspect it’s a combination of all of the above. It was definitely love at first sight.

Take some time to meander through Kelly’s blog and see her Society Silk pieces. She’s got quite a few of them on there, including a very vibrant pansy mix.

I hope you enjoy the stroll and that you’ll be as twitterpated with this ingenious reclaiming of antique embroidery pieces as I am!

Enjoy your Monday!

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(15) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    How fascinating to take old pieces of embroidery linen and create such lovely pieces, they are beautiful, especially her Oklahoma piece. The history of Society Silk is really interesting and the the photos of Society silk pieces on flickr are stunning. I was certainly twitterpated with these lovely embroidery pieces and the interesting history of Society silk. Thanks for sharing these lovely pieces of embroidery with us and for the links to the webpages on this interesting subject.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Dear Mary, thank you for this post and for the link to Kelly’s blog. Love it.

    I have a question: I have HUGE linen sheets from my great-grandmother with white work embroidered initials.

    I wanted to display the embroidery, but I didn’t know if I could cut out the embroidery part or leave as is and fold it under somehow.

    What would you suggest?

    Thanks, Jackie

  3. Hi Mary. Love this post. I thought you and your readers might also enjoy the work of Cindy Needham. She does the same thing (and does workshops) but uses a domestic machine. Thanks for all your wonderful information

  4. Wow Mary, they are so beautiful and the site is amazing. Thank you, I will never look at old linen in the same way.

  5. I’m a bit conflicted about the idea of repurposing beautiful old pieces rather than preserving and conserving them, but Kelly Cline’s quilting is wonderful and she does them justice. Thanks for the links back to your older posts on Society Silk embroidery.

  6. I love this!!! I don’t always like what people do with vintage stuff, but Kelly has a great “eye” for enhancing the society silks!! nice to see

  7. WOW! Talk about inspiration! Being a quilter myself, I just loved looking at these pieces. I always admire doilies and vintage linens but think ‘what would I do with it’? Well, Kelly has just given me a bunch of fresh ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. These are so beautiful I almost want to take up longarm quilting. There is a place near me with a machine you can hire…

  9. This is so gorgeous. One of my favorites of your posts. I’ve had so much on my plate lately I haven’t had time to really absorb this (and another of your posts I want to spend lots of time on as well) but I just had to come and say “lovely, lovely, thank you!” Not always the time to post a reply, but always my small bright spot in the day, Mary, are your blog posts.
    (Yesterday it was a run to the ER with my father…)

  10. Oh My Gosh – what a beautiful work of art! Thank you so much for showcasing such a variety of artists and styles – I probably never would have seen this without enjoying your site. I agree with you – I have so many pieces of handwork that I have tried to save and ended up just putting them away. If you could share any other ideas for using vintage items in different ways it would be so appreciated. Even though my skills are pretty basic it’s still fun to be inspired! Happy 4th! Toni

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