Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 43: making the lined inner box

The assembly of the Home Sweet Home workbox by Carolyn Pearce is coming on, now. Here’s how I made the lining for the box. First, to be sure of the lining actually fitting inside the box, I taped together the mount board pieces with masking tape, and checked that the shape would easily slide in and out of the main body of the box (allowing room for when the mount board would be covered in fabric, too).

Make 11

The box lining has risers fixed at the base of each panel, for the inner tray to sit on. These riser pieces have to be an eighth of an inch in from each edge than the panel they sit on, so that when the panels are in their final position, the risers sit neatly touching each other. So, I made a dry run of that process, too, to make sure everything fitted together, and then labelled each piece.

Make 12

Once I’d laced the lining fabric over each piece of mount board, I positioned the relevant riser on each panel (lining up the stripes, too – a bit of a nightmare!) .

Make 13

Holding the two pieces tightly, I Ladder stitched around the sides and the bottom edge (but not the upper edge – that is left unstitched).

Make 14

Once the risers had been attached to all four panels, I Ladder stitched the wall linings together, from the outside.

Make 15

Then I measured the size for the base lining panel, covered the mount board with fabric, and attached it in the same way that I had done with the base of the outer box (using my plastic container to support the box shape on while I stitched, again). None of these pieces were padded with felt first.

Make 16

Next up is making the lining pieces for the roof.


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 42: assembling the box

Now that I’ve stitched all the panels for the Home Sweet Home box by Carolyn Pearce itself, I’m ready to start assembling it.

Make 1

Each embroidered panel needs to be mounted on 2mm mount board, which is padded with felt first. Carolyn suggest gluing the felt on, but I find that using pieces of double-sided sticky tape in the corners of each panel is enough to hold the felt in place. The felt is cut oversized first.

Make 2

Then, once it’s fixed to the mount board, it is trimmed close to the edge of each piece of board.

Make 3

Each embroidered panel can then be laced onto the mount board, using number 12 Perle thread, as that is very strong. The corners of the fabric are mitred to reduce bulk, using quilting thread.

Make 4

This is the first panel finished, The felt gives a slightly padded look, without it being too much.

Make 5

When all the wall panels are mounted onto the relevant pieces of board, they can be joined together at the edges with strong thread. For this, you will need a small curved needle (as used in upholstery), and very strong cotton thread. I bought a pack of four in various sizes on Ebay. The needle I used was about 1 3/4 inches long in total, along the curve. Although it looks, from the image, as if I am stitching away from me, I found it much easier, once I got the hang of it, to always stitch towards me. I used Ladder stitch to join the panels – taking a stitch on one panel, then crossing to the other panel directly opposite and making a horizontal stitch there, alternating along the length of the join, pulling the stitches tightly as I went along. I found it helpful to rest the two panels on a heap of books as I stitched, to hold the panels in place.

Make 6

This is the first join completed.

Make 7

When all four walls had been joined, I measured the size of the space where the base panel would fit, before cutting the mount board for that piece and lacing the embroidery to the board. Then I attached the base panel by dropping it into position so that it was flush with the bottom edges of the four walls. Pins inserted in the edges of the fabric held the base panel in position while I Ladder stitched around the base, removing the pins as I went.

Make 8

I found it helpful to stand the shell of the house box on a tall plastic food container as I stitched, so that I didn’t inadvertently crush the gable ends while I had the box upside down!

Make 9

This is the completed outside of the box, showing the base once stitched into position.

Make 10

It only took a couple of evenings to get this far – but that’s the easy bit…….


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 41: the base and the roof

The base of the original stitched version of the Home Sweet Home workbox that Carolyn Pearce made (to appear in her book) had a plain, unstitched, base panel. But she didn’t like it, so she unpicked the box, added some embroidery, and assembled it again. I can see why she liked this version better, as it’s really pretty. Unfortunately, it’ll hardly ever be seen, but when has that ever stopped an embroiderer from making something anyway?!

The original base panel was supposed to have the name of the embroiderer and the date. I don’t like putting the date on things I’ve made – I don’t usually put my name, either! But the oval looked too blank with nothing in it, so I added ‘made by’ and my name, as Carolyn had done on hers.

The oval is a line of green chain stitches, worked in Perle number 5 (quite a thick thread – it makes lovely chains), edged on both sides with a line of stem stitch in Kreinik very fine braid.

Base 1

Then the red and orange anenomes are stitched in raised cross stitches, with a black French knot in the centre. The little flowers nearest to the green bands are made in Rosette stitch. On the left hand side, you can see where I’ve already worked the deep yellow French knots for the centres of the Forget-me-nots.

Base 2

Then the flower petals are stitched – five French knots for each flower, in pale blue and pale cream.

Base 3

Lastly, leaves in Silk’n’Color pale variegated green shades and Kreinik fine gold braid are worked in Lazy daisy stitch. I love the way this looks – and the way it builds up, using very simple stitches, to make something that looks really good. As I said, pity it’ll hardly ever be seen….

Base 4

You might have noticed that the spelling of my first name here is a bit different from what I usually use, maybe? That’s because my birth name is Janet, but my Sufi spiritual name is Jannat, and that’s the name I use when I’m not ‘working’. So, my business is called Janet Granger Designs, but my friends call me Jannat. It’s Arabic, and means ‘the garden of happiness’.

Having spent a nice weekend stitching the base, I then spent a pretty boring couple of evenings stitching the roof. In Carolyn’s book, she used a pale grey green 28 count evenweave fabric for the roof, and a variegated Perle thread to stitch the ’tiles’. But even though I bought the book only a month or so after it had been published, that thread was already unavailable. So, I chose a darker fabric (Zweigart Jobelan 28 count in Tartan Green – a fat quarter was plenty), and a crochet cotton, mercer 20, Lizbeth brand, in Leaf Green Dark for the tiles, and Fern Green Medium for the lacing. I bought mine from, for £2.75 per ball in 2015. But using a plain thread on dark fabric wasn’t much fun to stitch. It looks good when it’s finished, though.

[EDIT January 2017: for anyone wishing to find the dusty green roof fabric as listed in the second edition of the book (published late 2016), Lazy Daisy in Melbourne, Australia has it and is happy to cut a fat 1/8th for about Au$13, which is enough for two roofs. The price shown at the site is for a fat quarter.]

You start to do the honeycomb stitch by stitching blocks of stitches, four threads high by six stitches wide, diagonally across the fabric. For hours. And hours.

Roof 1

Then, using the lighter green thread, you lace through the blocks (not going through the fabric except at the very beginning and end of each row), up and down from one row to the next, from right to left.

Roof 2

Then you start again at the right hand side and work along the next row, creating a honeycomb effect.

Roof 3

It looks good when it’s done, but it certainly isn’t my idea of fun stitching. When my husband saw what I was doing, he said,’Why are you doing that?! It’s just green on green!’ Quite. And I’ve got to do two of them. One for each side of the roof. But this is the final bit of stitching before I can assemble the box, so the next bit should be a bit more exciting 🙂

Roof 4



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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 40: the pea pod and snail side of the box

This is the final wall panel of Carolyn Pearce’s Home Sweet Home Workbox. Not long to go, now!

I got a bit carried away with the embroidery on this one, and forgot to take pictures until I was half way through:

Pea 1

So, to go back a few steps: the pea flowers are done in Satin stitch with one strand of Anchor stranded cotton. The sepals are padded first, by stitching one layer at right angles to the top layer. Then a final layer of Long and short stitch will be worked on top of the padding.

Pea 2

The pea pods have Chain stitch centres, with sequins and beads added on top, and Chain stitch outlines. The main stem is Chain stitch, and the smaller stems are Coral stitch in light green, outlined with Stem stitch in darker green, whipped with gold Kreinik number 4 braid.

Pea 3

The little snail is worked in the same way as the one on the needlebook. The snail shell is padded with felt, and then Buttonhole stitch in worked in two curving rows. The bottom edge is outlined in Stem stitch in gold Kreinik braid. The snail’s body is rows of Stem stitch worked closely together. The eyes are bronze coloured seed beads on stalks of gold thread.

Pea 4

With the addition of a little ladybird, and then the usual meadow flowers along the bottom edge of the wall, the panel is now finished! This is the final wall panel, so now I only have the base and roof to do.

Pea 5


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