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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12 thoughts on “Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 41: the base and the roof”

  1. I love that you’ve ‘signed’ the bottom of the box Janet, it makes it so much more personal. Like signing a miniature. This whole project is so very special and makes me want to learn the different stitches that you’ve used and make my own.

    1. Thanks – it’s such a wonderful project, and it’s not difficult really, if you take it a stage at a time. The stitches used are fairly simple, usually, and the more unusual stitches are always explained at the back of Carolyn’s book.

  2. I’ll have to remember this honeycomb effect. I love your name by the way. Mine means “torrential rain” in Arabic. It comes from a poem. Apparently it rained VERY hard the day I was born 😉

  3. I thought it interesting that you do the French knot centers first and then the petals last on the Forget-me-nots, just a different build than I usually do. And the roof, it might have been tedious for you to stitch but the result is spectacular! All of your little stitching details work out to wonderful pieces of art. Not only art, but usable, warm, beautiful things to surround yourself with and make your living space special.

    1. I usually do the Forget me not centres first so that I’m certain where I’m placing them – otherwise, the petals have a tendency to veer off to one side, and sometimes there isn’t enough room left for the central knot!

    1. Yes, but not likely to happen on this particular box, as it took me three whole days to assemble the thing, and I’d have to take it apart to embroider anything else on the base.

  4. could someone give me an idea what size the roof panels should be? I know it will vary a bit but ‘m using different fabric and graph paper to mark it, but I can’t find any actual dimensions for it. just something of an idea? I don’t know where else to look and this blog is where I first found out about it.

    1. I can’t find it listed in the book, but my finished house’s roof panels are each 16 cms x 6.5 cms. But you’d need to stitch the roof design over an area larger than that and test it out before covering the card shapes, in case your house ends up being a slightly different size.

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