Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (61) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Glorious Goldwork and Pearls!


Amazon Books

Whenever I hear from Larissa Borodich, a stitching friend from Moscow, I always know I’m in for a visual feast! Her goldwork and pearl embroidery is always sumptuous, meticulously worked, and downright beautiful!

Larissa’s latest piece – like the last stylized pomegranate she sent photos of – comes from a design I shared on Needle ‘n Thread ages ago. It is by far one of my favorite “sampler” designs for goldwork – and it could be interpreted in other types of embroidery, too.

So, here’s some splendiferous eye candy for you this morning, plus a little bit about the design itself.

Goldwork & Pearl Embroidery from vintage goldwork sampler pattern

Glorious, isn’t it? The combination of goldwork threads, pearls, and semi-precious beads is exquisite and rich!

Goldwork & Pearl Embroidery from vintage goldwork sampler pattern

For the goldwork threads, Larissa used gold cord, imitation Japanese goldwork threads T70 and T71, and chip work using check purl. The beads are amethyst.

Goldwork & Pearl Embroidery from vintage goldwork sampler pattern

The couched gold threads in the center are worked over padding, as are the pearls on the “fronds” on each side.

The completed embroidery is 6.5″ x 5″.

More About the Embroidery Pattern

This design is the center section of this goldwork sampler pattern by Hinda Hands, which I wrote about here, years ago.

This is one of those designs I’ve always meant to work into a nice, clean line drawing, and some day, I will! The pattern can certainly be used for more than goldwork! It would interpret well into a crewel embroidery sampler, too, for example.

You can find the book that this design came from (it’s called Church Needlework: A Manual of Practical Instruction by Hinda Hands) available online for free at Internet Archive. It’s an excellent old book on ecclesiastical embroidery and the techniques used in church needlework.

When I bought my copy of this book, there weren’t yet any extensive online collections of public domain books, and not a lot of interest in old ecclesiastical embroidery. Books on the topic – even old, used ones – were hard to find, and when you did find them, they were pricy.

Now, you can find this book used through sources like ABE books online, but there’s also a reprint out that’s available. The reprint, though, is a direct copy, and it’s not guaranteed to be perfect. The description on Amazon has a bit of a disclaimer on it. But if you like to have the book in hand, rather than accessing it online or downloading it to your computer, you can pick up a copy of it fairly inexpensively now.

More of Larissa’s Embroidery

If you’d like to see more of Larissa’s embroidery, you can browse through these previous articles on Needle ‘n Thread, highlighting her work:

Beadwork & gold threads embroidered frame
Pearl & goldwork embroidered frame
Meticulous artwork in tent stitch
High relief pearl and goldwork icon
Stylized pomegranate in pearl and goldwork

Thank you!

Thanks so much for the flood of good wishes after Wednesday’s article! I would like to reply to each and every one of them, and if I can, I will.

I don’t really like to use Needle ‘n Thread to sound off about personal problems, but I did want you to know that I have a little hurdle in front of me that’s going to slow me down for a bit and affect my publishing schedule here on the website. Looks like I’ll be having surgery around the first week of November – keep me in your thoughts and prayers, and I’m sure all will be well.

By the end of November, things should be back to whatever we can call “normal” – you know, thread-obsessed, embroidery addicts chatting up the world of needlework. Sure, that’s normal! In fact, it’s the best kind of normal, right?

Enjoy your weekend!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(56) Comments

  1. It’s not only Larissa’s embroidery that’s splendiforous. I met her in Moscow a few years ago and she is an all round fabulous person. Generous, hospitable, pretty. Lovely memories.

    1. Oh, Hazel! Thank you so much for remembering me! With all your travels and so many people you meet. It was an honor to meet you in Moscow and spend fabulous several hours with you! You inspired me!

  2. It’s lovely to have you back today! I have been thinking of you and wondering how you are. I’m sure there will be lots of us who will certainly be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers every step of the way over the coming weeks until things are back to our embroidery obsessed “normal”!

  3. All the best through your hurdle ahead! At the very least, embroidery is a good hobby to have while recovering! Maybe we, your readers, can see about sending you more pictures to give you encouragement and enjoyment while you get fully recovered!

  4. Thank you for the links back to Larissa’s earlier work. They really are inspirational! I love that combination of embroidered frame with embroidered image. I did wonder, in the first two posts, what kind of image would merit such a lovely frame, because it didn’t look like a painting. Now I know!

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re now looking at an upcoming surgery. But, in my experience it’s always been a significant relief when the problem is fixed. So I wish you a speedy recovery, and improved health down the road!

  5. I certainly missed you yesterday. I checked in a few times just in case. 😉 I will be praying for a successful and uneventful surgery for you.

  6. This is just breathtaking! Going to keep this post bookmarked to serve as inspiration for the goldwork class I signed up for on Craftsy. It is going to be my winter project, thanks :).

  7. Oh my gosh, dear Mary Corbett, you will be in our thoughts and prayers. Please take the best of care of yourself. Don’t worry about the website, just take it easy. Your readers will help out and send you photos of all the lovely needlework they have accomplished as a result of your instruction and inspiration.

  8. Thank you for inspiring us, once again, with the remarkable work of Larissa. She is such an amazing artist and stitcher. I am in awe!!!
    I know that you will get over your “little hurdle” and get back to normal according to plan. But in the meantime, know that we are all sending you our very best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.

  9. Dear Mary

    A Beautiful piece on the stylised pomegranate Larissa, I love the pearls and the semi precious stones so beautiful well done. It’s nice to hear from you Mary I hope you are feeling better, I’ve been thinking of you and wish you a get well soon blessing. Glad to hear you have a date for the surgery and I hope all goes well, take lots of rest, I’ll be thinking of you.

    Regards Anita Simmance xxx

  10. Hello Mary, This is to wish you the very best for your forthcoming surgery. I cannot tell you how much your column means to me, and so many others. You will be in my thoughts.

  11. Dear Mary,

    Just wanted to send you prayers and hugs for an easy recovery. Please take all the time you need; we’ll wait for you.


  12. Oh, that is indeed a sumptuous, gorgeous piece! Wow! Every time I look at it I see something new and beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. Yes, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Mary.

  13. Really, Mary, I tried to start my comments off with some exclamations but your system kicked me off, saying I was making a duplicate remark!! LOL, oh well, I guess i’ll have to find some other way of saying how ABSOLUTELY AWESOME

  14. Mary, I’m sorry to hear you have to have surgery. I hope it’s not terribly serious. my thoughts are with you.

    I am absolutely awestruck at this latest example of Larissa’s work. actually I think gob smacked might be more appropriate as it is AMAZING piece of work. I’ve always enjoyed looking at Larissa’s work, and am becoming pea green with envy at her skill. Like you she is very talented!!! If only….sigh.

    Larissa, you’re an amazingly talented lady!

  15. Dear Mary,
    Sending positive thoughts your way and hoping for your complete and speedy recovery.
    Larissa Borodich’s embroidery is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Get well soon and thank you for all you do for the world of embroidery.

  16. Hi Mary,
    Hope all goes well with your surgery and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Hopefully you’ll be feeling well enough to spend some time stitching. Use it as an excuse to work on fun stuff and the projects you love the most!

  17. I feel rather ashamed to admit that it was only when you didn’t blog a couple of times this week that I realised just how much I look forward to your posts, whether they’re gorgeous eye candy like this or snippets of news. I do hope you are fully fit again soon. There’s a lot of us out here rooting for you!
    Amanda in the UK

  18. Love and very best wishes for the weeks ahead. There are so many of us in all parts of the world thinking of you Mary!

  19. This piece of work is stunning.

    I will be keeping you in prayer as you plan for your upcoming surgery and pray you have a complete and speedy recovery.

  20. Dear Mary; There are, as you can read , so many wishing you an early return to full health. Some website called you the ” goddess of embroidery”. You are very much a part of my life “MARY SAYS…” is something my family hears regularly. So remember that good vibrations are coming to you from many places in the world including New Westminster, Canada.

  21. Great to have you back, Mary, and such a treat to see Larissa’s lovely work. I love that she used jewel stones for the beads. Don’t we live in a wonderful time when we can commune with like-minded people on the other side of the world!

    As to surgery, I also face surgery, essentially repair, and being vegetarian and a homebody with no family, I don’t know what the holidays will bring. Maybe audio books and spiced tea? I am anxious about the pain-killer making it hard to think! I fear it leaves a person mentally fuzzy for some time after stopping. And no heavy lifting! So make good notes and get your ducks in a row! I for one don’t mind if you do like Garrison Keillor [Prairie Home Companion radio show] and offer us a repeat show, even though all your articles are right here. You might — while your head is clear! — line up some repeat shows that we would not think of, but you remember what went over well in the past. Easy does it! Don’t “should” on yourself! Uh-oh, there goes a duck!

    1. Dear Mimi and Mary,
      In my unfortunately somewhat extensive experience with painkillers after surgery: no, they do not leave you fuzzy after stopping. The strength and kind of painkillers were downgraded as necessary. Just be sure you take them as prescribed – skipping them is not a good idea.

      My thoughts are with both of you –
      Helen Hicks

    2. Mimi and Mary:
      I second Mary Hicks’ comments. Don’t worry about the painkillers–they won’t affect your thinking, either while you’re on them, or when you taper off them. Definitely take them as prescribed, and reduce them when you no longer need them, which is usually a matter of just a few days. Best wishes to you both.

  22. Wow!! Stunning and gorgeous, Larissa. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. I love it!

    Wishing you Mary, the speediest of recoveries. We will miss your daily posts but I know all of us hope you take the time to heal and come back full time when you are ready. We will be here.

    Sending thoughts and prayers your way!

  23. This work is just staggeringly beautiful. The patience, the skill, the design, are all just extraordinary. No words to really describe.
    Question though…I was under the impression that tent work, used alone, would create a distorted work, twisting it into a parallelogram rather than a square. Is this incorrect? If so, I would gladly use tent stitch instead of cross stitch

  24. Mary I want to wish you a quick recovery from surgery – take what rest you need before and after as I am sure everyone of your readers want to see you healthy first before blogging! Take care there will be many people thinking of you

  25. Stunning piece. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Prayers will be ongoing, and thoughts continuing. Normal will happen when it’s meant to happen, please take good care of yourself. God bless,

  26. My Goodness, this is such a beautiful piece of embroidered artwork! Thank you for sharing it with us. Larissa does an absolutely spectacular job at making a person hold their breath.

    I will definitely keep you in my prayers for a surgery that takes complete control of the problem and for an extremely quick recovery! Again thank you for sharing and have a wonderful creative day!

  27. Take care of yourself, and my best wishes for the coming weeks. I hope you have people close by to spoil you. There will be many, many people all over the world on your side.

  28. I’m trying to stave off hand surgery for my trigger thumb till after the holidays…Best of luck to you on yours! Hope you sail through!

    I have embroidered Christmas ornaments to finish, and a baby blanket for the little one due in February.

    I guess there is no good time for it though.

  29. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for sharing Larissa’s work with us (and thank you Larissa!)I enjoy this mix of pearls & gold, precious stones… I’m becoming inspired to give it a try…
    Secondly; Wishing you a speedy recovery and prayers for good health Mary. Take good care of yourself (I’m sure your family will help!). Your loyal ‘subjects’ will be waiting for you….

  30. Dear Mary, I will keep you in my prayers during this special event in your life.
    Rest, take care of yourself. Wishing you a speedy recovery, until then I will practice my sewing and look at your website daily for inspiration.
    God bless you and your surgical/medical team.
    Judy Kocsis

  31. The article about Larissa’s work is so satisfying: the work itself in its stunning glory, the references to Larissa’s previous work, the references to Hinda Hands books and so forth.
    I’ve only looked at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk so far. The UK site only has 3 used paperbacks in “Good” condition but does have a hardback edition. So to check shipping and other sites.
    Thank you for letting us know that there might be fewer posts for a while. It will keep our imaginations from running wild with conjectures.

    Again, best wishes and prayers for your recovery –

  32. Hi Mary,

    I was sorry to hear you will have to go in to surgery soon, and I’m crossing my fingers for you. Just wanted to take a few minutes and thank you for this blog, which has really expanded my stitching horizons.

    And also… Larissa’s work is breath-taking! Wow!

    -Monika in Mobile

  33. Hello, I love Russian Goldwork , could you please advise me where I can get patterns and kits for this beautiful art form?
    Many thanks

More Comments