Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 20: the thimble holder’s base

I am now up to stitching the base for the thimble holder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’.

The base has a circle of split back stitches done first, to define the shape. Then satin stitch is worked inside those lines. The thread is not taken ‘the long way’ across the back each time, but only a tiny stitch is made at the edge of the circle before the next long stitch is made across the circle, to cut down on bulk.

Thimble 9

A second layer is done, outside the line of split back stitch and at right angles to the first layer this time. I used Gloriana  variegated silk for this, so I ended up with a softly shaded effect.

Thimble 10

Then I made a trellis of light green threads across the shape, first horizontally and then vertically. Once that had been done, I repeated that with Kreinik Very Fine Gold Braid, keeping the gold thread very close to the green thread I had laid down first.

Thimble 11

Then I couched down each intersection with deep lilac Anchor stranded cotton, using two strands.

Thimble 12

This shows my oval embroidery hoop by Susan Bates (my favourite brand of hoop), with the pieces I have stitched so far for this project.

Thimble 13

Finally, before I could assemble the thimble holder, I stitched this little motif on a piece of scrap silk, to use for the reverse side of the lid. This is only 3/4 of an inch diameter, in real life.

Thimble 14

Now for the tricky part….putting it together!


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 19: the thimble holder’s top

This week I have been embroidering the top of the thimble holder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’.

The top features a little heartsease flower, and is only about an inch across. I started by stitching all the outlines with split back stitch, to define the edges. The top two petals then have one layer of satin stitch padding worked over them, inside the lines of split back stitch, before doing the top layer in long and short stitch.

Thimble 5

The two lemon yellow petals and the lower purple petal each have two layers of satin stitch padding (at right angles to each other) before the long and short stitch top layer is done, so that they are more raised than the other petals.

Thimble 6

This is the flower once the long and short stitch is finished, and a central French knot is stitched in deep gold silk (sorry it’s a bit fuzzy!).

Thimble 7

The flower is completed by the addition of highlights done in deep purple, and two fly stitches around the central French knot. Four leaves are then worked in fishbone stitch (one of them came out a bit wonky, unfortunately!)

Thimble 8


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 18: stitching the thimble holder’s sides

I’ve decided to tackle the thimble holder next, from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered Workbox’. It’s a cute looking project, but VERY SMALL!!! Although I love embroidering these etui pieces, the assembly fills me with trepidaion, so I’ll have to see how I go with this one.

The thimble holder looks, to me, like a little dustbin. The sides are embroidered with stripes of various embroidery stitches. I started with stripes about a quarter of an inch apart, using coral stitch in dark green Gloriana silk. Then I worked a row of stem stitch in Kreinik Very Fine Gold Braid close alongside the coral stitch lines.

Thimble 1

On the other side of the green coral stitch I worked another row of stem stitch, this time in deep lilac Anchor stranded cotton.

Thimble 2

Then I worked rows of running stitch in the dark green silk, leaving more of the thread showing on the top than underneath.

Thimble 3

This was so that I could then whip the running stitches with a light green stranded cotton, to give a striped effect. The instructions in the book said to then do a further line of whipped stitches in the reverse direction, using the Kreinik gold thread again, but I felt that that would make it too ‘overstuffed’, so I left it as it was.

Thimble 4

I’m pleased  with how this is turning out, although I was surprised how many hours it took to do! It only measures about 1 1/4 inches high by about 4 inches long.


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A blast from the past: looking through a vintage Cross Stitcher magazine

While I was out shopping last week, I came across a bundle of old (very old!) Cross Stitcher magazines from 1994 and 1995. I got 8 of them for £3 in a charity shop, and was very pleased with myself.

Vintage 1

When I got home, I sat down with a cup of tea to have a browse through. This is the first one I read, from 1994. It’s amazing how much things have changed since then! The magazine has quite different designs in it from the type that they now feature. There are more detailed designs in the old magazine, and things like the review of kits and charts on one theme (Christmas themes, in this particular issue) cover 26 items! I think that these days, there are far fewer options available to stitchers (in the UK at least), so reviews tend to be far briefer now. The emphasis on ‘country’ themes was clear, too, which isn’t popular much these days.

It may be my imagination, but the paper quality seemed to be better then – more glossy – and the number of pages was greater than now. It is also noticeable that there aren’t many ‘filler pages’ – double-page spreads offering reduced rates for annual subscriptions, and so on.

The articles are very interesting. I liked this one on computer design software, which was quite a new thing back in 1994. They compared four different software programs, varying in price from £32 to £399!! Think how much £399 was worth back in 1994!

Vintage 3

There is a funny paragraph in the computer charting article, which explains what a mouse is for, for those who don’t know:

“Almost everything is done using the mouse (in a computing context a ‘mouse’ is a device that you push around your desk in order to move a pointer around the screen. It has one or more buttons which you ‘click’ to make things happen).”

Another article is about the cross stitch designer Jo Verso, who, at that time, was really well known for her modern ‘sampler type’ small designs, available in book format. Jo was just starting to offer weekend courses, and the writer of the article attended her first one.

Vintage 2

The pages of adverts at the back of the magazine were interesting for two reasons. The first is that there were so many people advertising – both high street shops, and individual designers. Most were offering catalogues available by post, with payment by cheque or with stamps. No websites at all. That seems really strange now. Some people just *described* their designs (no pictures!), and expected you to send off your money based just on that! Also, it’s very obvious from the picture below that the advert pages were all in black and white, as colour printing was expensive, so was saved for the main section of the magazine.  I noted as well that an awful lot of the shops that advertised in 1994 are no longer in existence. And that’s not just because new ones have replaced them – in the UK, it’s now very hard to find an embroidery shop at all, never mind a good one.

Vintage 4

Still, it gave me a couple of hours of nostalgic pleasure to read through the old issue of Cross Stitcher again. And I’ve still got another seven issues to read  🙂


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