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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My Mellor = More Mellor


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What is this gibberish? you may well ask.

I like the word mellor. Say it over and over again, and it starts to sound a little odd, but it has a nice mouth feel, for a word. Tack a British accent onto it and it sounds quite posh. Say it as an American and it sounds round and full and comfortable.


What is it? It’s a goldwork tool. I’ve talked it about it before on Needle ‘n Thread, but today, I’m writing about it for a different reasons. I’m writing about it today by way of REJOICING!

And I’ll tell you why…

Goldwork Mellor

I have a lovely sterling silver mellor that I’ve had for years and years. I’ve always loved using it, because it seems to me less tinny and less sharp-around-the-edges, compared to the brass-colored mellors that are sold today for goldwork.

Years ago, I remember reading that sterling silver was favored for goldwork mellors because it is a softer, less abrasive metal, and therefore, better for prodding goldwork threads. I’ve not been able to locate sterling silver mellors these days, though, so I’ve always treasured mine…

… until I lost it.

When we started this major goldwork project that I’ve been sharing with you lately, I really, really wanted to find it.

Goldwork Mellor

I looked everywhere. High, low, in, out. You know: everywhere I could possibly have stowed a small tool that I didn’t want to lose – which is the best way to assure I would never remember where I stowed it.

It took sorting and shifting the entire contents of my studio (preparatory to moving) to finally discover the thing. Anna found it while packing up.

And so, feeling very Biblical (drachmas and all), I rejoiced. And I’m calling all my friends together to rejoice with me, for what was lost is now found.

If you’d like to know what a mellor is and how it is used, you can read more about the mellor here.

The fine-tipped end of this small paddle-shaped tool can be used a number of ways in goldwork: it’s a laying tool, it’s an awl, it’s a prodder and poker of things, it can help you un-stitch when necessary (somewhat often when doing chip work). The broad flat side of the tool can be used to smooth out the line followed by couched, to gently push couched threads closer together, and so forth.

For additional information about mellors and to see them in use, you can look up videos on YouTube to show you what a mellor is and how it’s used. There are a couple good ones, but of course, they are peppered with ads, which is why I’m not linking directly to them here.

I really prefer using the silver mellor to using the more commonly available other-metal and stainless steel varieties. Is it just my imagination that it somehow works better? Probably. But it is significantly less tinny feeling, and the edges are definitely round and smoother. It’s such a comfy tool. I’m happy to have it in hand again!

I’ll give you an update on the goldwork project hopefully next week. We are presently working on the back of the project, securing all the plunged threads, and we’ll have something more exciting to show once we can flip the frame back over again.

Have a jolly weekend!


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(13) Comments

  1. Hmm. Useful and beautiful. [Thinks…]

    I have an old silver spoon of paddle shape with nicely rounded edges, and a friend who is a silversmith. There might be a possibility here.

  2. So glad to hear that your lost treasure has been found. I would venture to guess that most of us can relate to that situation of not being able to locate the tool that works THE best for a specific task!

  3. What great news that what was once lost is now found! I have a stainless hall marked mellor that I got ages ago at the Royal School the first time I went to England 20 years ago. I also have a mellor that I think is stainless steel that I got in this country.

    But like you, Mary, I prefer the “English” one because the tip is not just rounded, it’s also tapered and I can therefore slide it slightly under metal threads to adjust things. I carry it in my tool case because it’s good for a great many things.

    Now if I could only stop losing my teko baris …..

  4. That’s marvelous! Found is the title of a marvelous children’s book in our church library which tells of the story of our good Shepherd. Being found is indeed a time for rejoicing.

  5. Dear Mary

    Long time since I have written, been busy with quiet books deadlines for a friend of mine, and socialising. Anyway I know what you mean about a mellors I really like the one I have and when I have created goldwork projects it is a necessary tool to have as part of your accessories. I wish I had a silver one they look and probably are more sturdy but as you say they are hard to come by. I’m so glad you found your mellor. Thank for sharing with us your thoughts on the humble mellor.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  6. WooHoooo on finding the mellor!!

    It looks like the sterling silver option is no longer available at Ms. Berlin’s site. Searches show there are some available out there, no idea if the sellers are reliable though.
    I wonder… there is sterling silver polymer clay. Or buy a bit of sterling silver sheet? Would it be possible to make one? Or I bet a jeweler could make one. Neither would be an inexpensive endevour, but if someone is serious about their goldwork, it might be an option.

    It looks like the one on the Berlin site is 2 7/8″ long x 1/2″ wide, doesn’t say how thick.
    How thick is your mellor Mary?

  7. Mellor……elvish for “friend”. Lord of the Ring by J.R. Tolkien.

    Speak “friend” and enter. This being the password into the dwarf realm of Kazud dulm

  8. I read your article and felt your pain….and eventual joy. Wish me luck. Mine is still hiding. But I’m purging so maybe……
    I think mine was purchased from Access Commodities. A gift from a friend and I cannot bear to tell her.

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