Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 15: assembling the emery block

Today I have been assembling the little emery block from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’. Amazingly, here is the amount of equipment I gathered together, in order to do that:

Block 4

I didn’t actually use *everything* in the picture, but I did need most of it!! Here is the embroidery ready to be assembled (the piece with the bee on is upside down – only just noticed that!). Also, for those who read my last post about this project, I decided to take some advice and added a few yellow stitches to the bee, to stop him looking more like a vine weevil than a bee  🙂  I’m happier with him now. The rectangles at the bottom of the picture are of thick plastic cut from a ring binder, and quilting wadding.

Block 5

I stuck the wadding to the plastic with pieces of double sided tape, and then laced each embroidered piece over the plastic, using Perle cotton number 12, as it is really strong.

Block 6

Here are the pieces finished, with one showing the lacing across the back.

Block 7

Now the two pieces are ready to be made into the block. Isn’t the bee looking better, now?

Block 8

The cotton fabric I’ve chosen to line the house box, and some of the ‘smalls’ with, is this pretty green floral quilting fabric. Carolyn’s instructions suggested using green ribbon for the gusset of the emery block, but I couldn’t find any that I liked, so I decided to make a kind of bias binding strip from the green floral fabric (only it is cut straight, to follow the pattern).

Block 9

Starting at one corner, with 3/8 inch turned under first, I attached the ribbon piece to the front panel (with the bee on it), using glove stitch. It’s sort of like an overcast stitch, but has an  upright stitch and then a slanting stitch in the same position, making it very secure.

Block 10

This is how it looked when I had attached it all the way round, and slipstitched the short ends together where they overlapped.

Block 11

Then I attached the back panel in the same way. If you plan to make one of these, I’d suggest attaching the front panel first and then the back one, as I did, as it was much more  difficult to make the stitching on the back panel neat, as the block became rather stiff the more complete it became! I left a small opening on the fourth side, to add the emery powder. It would have been easier if I’d have left a rather larger gap, actually. As you can see from the picture, I left the thread attached at this stage.

Block 12

As I didn’t quite trust the emery powder to stay inside the block and not work its way out of the seams, I poked in a little bit of quilting wadding first, in tiny pieces, to line the cavity. I pushed it in using an empty biro case (note the EMPTY bit – you don’t want to inadvertantly draw on the embroidered panel by mistake!).

Then comes the messy bit – I made a funnel from paper, and taped it together. Then I poked the tip onto the opening, and tipped the emery powder in, a small bit at a time, and tapped the block on the table to make it go into the cavity. Then I stitched the opening closed, with more glove stitch.

Block 13

This is the block completed, next to my 3 inch stork scissors, to show how tiny this is when it’s finished.

Block 14

I’m very pleased with how this has turned out. The emery powder seems to be behaving itself and staying inside the block, even though I have tested it by squeezing it, throwing it and generally asking for trouble! And it really does work to help keep my needles clean and free of burrs, when I poke them in and out of the ribbon gusset.

Block 15

Now on to the scissor keeper……


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8 thoughts on “Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 15: assembling the emery block”

  1. This is absolutely adorable! I can see how tricky it must have been to assemble and fill with the emery powder and it really is a lovely little finished item. I’m enjoying following your progress so much with this embroidery project. 🙂

  2. I have a question about the plastic templates….does having the plastic layer underneath make it hard to stick the pins and needles through to get to the emery? I just seems to be a very hard barrier for the pins to go through.

    1. I see what you mean. I thought that as well, at first. But with this style of emery block, you only stick the needles in around the edges, through the ‘ribbon’ part, not the front or back. So, the plastic templates hold the front and back taut, and it doesn’t matter that the needles can’t be pushed in through them.

  3. This is so adorable, and you are a very clever lady. I wish I had started to stitch when I was so much younger and my eyesight was so much better. I would have persevered and learnt.

  4. Dear Janet, thank you for detailing the projects as you go along. It’s fascinating as well as helpful while I try to progress. I’d like to try the glove stitch on another piece I’m working on but haven’t located any tutorials. Do you have one available to share?

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