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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Goldwork – Central Medallion in Progress


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Good morning from Kansas! I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful weekend.

We had a lovely Easter here! I took the whole day off – not one stitch, despite a looming deadline. I had spent the day before picking out a lot of embroidery, so I knew I needed to take a good full day’s break so I could come back with fresh eyes! Sometimes, you just have to step away.

I’ll go into more detail on this part of the goldwork altar cover project a little bit later. I’ll cover information on threads, techniques, tips and so forth in a future article. But this morning, I just wanted to show you what I’m working on and tell you where we are on this project, which is due two weeks from today.

(Did I just say two weeks from today?)

Goldwork Altar Cover - Central Medallion

If you’ve been following along with this project (you can find detailed progress updates in this index here), then you know that there is goldwork lettering across the front of this altar cover that we’re making.

What you might not know, because I hadn’t quite gotten to the designing of it, is that there is a decorative medallion between the two words.

The words divide equally on each side of center. Between them is an approximately-8″ round medallion which features a Marian monogram, keeping with the style of the art in the church for which the cover is being made.

I did finally get around to designing the medallion and that’s what I’ve been working on. There have been hiccups along the way. There always are. I’ll talk about them later!

What I like best about the medallion so far is the background silk, which you can see in the photo above. It’s a very deep blue flat silk and when it catches the light, you get a different color profile depending on the angle at which you’re eyeing the thing. It’s a glorious color of blue! My plan (my hope, my deepest desire at this point, my desperate longing even…) is that the depth of this blue color will pull the color back and push the goldwork forward.

The next best thing that I like about the piece is that the goldwork is in both silver and gold.

Goldwork Altar Cover - Central Medallion

The silver is glorious. I don’t work with real metal threads in silver very often, but that may change! The silver adds a lightness and airiness to the embroidery that you don’t necessarily get with gold.

Wow! I just realized that the heavy rippling silver line of rococo (that’s the name of the thread) in the foreground is bowed more than it should be and needs to be removed and re-applied.

See. Everything works out for the best! If I hadn’t shared this update with you today, I might not have noticed that bowed thread until much farther down the road, when it would have been much more difficult to remove!

While I’m embroidering the medallion, Anna is busy hand hemming the velvet altar cover. The cover is 162″ (4.5 yards) by 38″. Three sides are fairly simple hems that are supported with a twill hemming tape. As you can imagine, hand hemming that much velvet can be a bit tricky. I’ll share some information on the whole process once we’ve finished. There are some excellent tools out there to help when working with velvet – and as always, having the right tools makes a huge difference in the outcome!

Coming Up

Later this week, we’ll look at the next installment of Little Blooms. We’ll be working on decorative vines.

I posted a video for members of the Needle ‘n Thread community on Patreon yesterday (for Dedicated and Avid Stitchers), so if you didn’t get that notification and you’re signed up as a member, feel free to check out the video! It’s a long one covering the whole method of embroidering the floral clusters.

And in the meantime, two weeks!

Will we make it? Keep your fingers crossed!

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(3) Comments

  1. I’m very excited to see the finished altar cover. It’s going to be stunning! I’m also looking forward to the velvet-hemming techniques. Thanks, Mary, as always.

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