Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 9: stitching the carnation on the left

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in! This is what I am working on:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

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I just want to make it clear that some weeks I get a lot done, and some weeks hardly anything! Some people were concerned last week when I said I’d done 15 hours….don’t worry, I don’t expect to do anything like that much per week! Some weeks, I hardly get the time to pick up my needle  🙂  So, do what you can, and I’ll be doing what I can, and eventually we should all get this thing stitched, one way or another!


This is the main pink flower on the front left of the heart etui. I’ve never done Diamond stitch before – this pretty stitch is used as a filling stitch for the petals of the carnation flower. There are instructions in Inspirations no. 95 showing you how to do it. There’s also this Video tutorial on the Needle ‘N Thread website showing you how to do Diamond stitch, which I found better, as it’s a complicated stitch!

I used a betweens needle no. 9 and two strands of Anchor 1028 substitute to stitch this one. It helps to place the tip of your needle in the loop as you’re pulling the thread tight to make the knots, to help place them exactly where you want them to be.  I’d been planning to use no. 11 seed beads for the highlights in the centre of each petal, but when I placed them on the fabric, I though they looked a bit chunky, so I used Petite Glass Beads by Mill Hill no. 42012 instead – a deep pinky red, very similar to the thread colour. Start with the smallest petals at the sides, and work the diamond stitch on each petal, doing the centre petal last, when you’ve really got the hang of this stitch, as it will notice more! On the smallest petals, I managed to fit in two beaded repeats. On the next two petals on each side, I got three beaded repeats, and on the centre petal I got four beaded repeats. You might be able to do it a bit ‘tighter’ and get a few more, but I couldn’t manage it.


I used Anchor 55 – a bright pink – to stitch the outlines of the petals in stem stitch once the Diamond stitch was completed. This only needs one strand, and a betweens needle. Start with the centre petal, and define how much of a point you want at the base of the petal, as the other petals will follow the  curve set by this main one, around the top of the calyx.

On the magazine’s stitched model, the petals ‘grow’ directly out of the calyx, touching it. On the pullout sheet’s pattern, the carnation is much more stylised, and the petals are definitely separate. This annoys me!! The pattern has several differences like this. The drawn pattern seems to almost be an afterthought sometimes, once the article for the magazine had been completed, and yet people like me are going to spend weeks, if not months, recreating the heart etui, and need an accurate pattern. The carnation itself has been drawn  on the pattern too close to the right hand thick stem, whereas the stitched model’s one is placed much better. Too late now, though – I wish I’d noticed it sooner….

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The Anchor 55 stem stitching is then outlined again very closely with Anchor 62 substitute, in one strand. I didn’t realise, until I was doing this part, that the diamond stitch filling on the centre petal should have started higher up, filling more of the centre area up to the points, so I decided I will have to fill in the gaps with more French knots than the instructions suggest, using Anchor 1028 substitute.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui



The petals look a lot better once they have been filled with French knots in the gaps, and with the second row of stem stitch outlining. At the base of the petals, I worked extra dark pink in long and short stitch, to make it look more solid, as I don’t like the ‘floating’ look of the petals otherwise.


The calyx is first outlined with one strand of Anchor 267 substitute – if the drawn shape is a bit uneven, now is the time to even it up as you do the split stitch and define the shape. I then worked two layers (rather than the one suggested in the instructions), first vertically, then horizontally, inside the lines of the split stitch, using two strands. Then I did the top layer, also with two strands vertically, going just outside the split stitch outline. I stitched my lattice with the copper metallic thread diagonally, so that the couching threads didn’t sink into the vertical green padding, and then couched down the threads with one strand of Anchor 55, using tiny stitches.

The side sepals are worked in two strands of Anchor 265 substitute in Fishbone stitch (the left one came out far better than the right – don’t really know why!). The video tutorial on Needle ‘N Thread explains the stitch very well.

Fishbone stitch video tutorial from Needle 'N Thread

Then the centre lattice area is outlined last of all with the copper metallic thread.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The carnation has turned out really nicely, and I am pleased with it….except it will always be stitched too far to the right in the available space, for my liking!!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

If you’re stitching this along with me, how is your carnation turning out?

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The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).


Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.


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26 thoughts on “Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 9: stitching the carnation on the left”

  1. Add a few dots, beads, or chicken scratch stitches in that empty space if it bothers you.

    1. Hmmm, maybe….but the flower on the other side is placed properly (centrally in the space), so I’m not sure that that would look right, if one flower had ‘extras’ and the other one didn’t.

  2. Hmmm … that is very frustrating when there are anomalies in the pattern! It’s frustrating because you know it’s there, but I think it will still look very pretty when it’s finished and I love the colours and textures in the carnation flower. 🙂

  3. Hi Janet, I found the differences between the pattern sheet and the pictures annoying too! I even have a sneaky suspicion that the threads provided in the official kits, are not always the same as used by Carolyn… However, your first flower turned out beautifully and it inspires me to crack on with mine! Love, Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica, Yes, I reckon some of the threads are different too – different colours, and different brands. I suspect that Carolyn’s completed project was ‘analysed’ by someone at Inspirations to make the article after it was completed, and the list of threads and beads used wasn’t compiled as the project was stitched. The drawn pattern varies in several places. But it’s still pretty, nonetheless.

  4. Ditto for all the comments on design differences. Just about to start the carnation and I too will be substituting threads, although that in itself is a rabbit hole for me!

  5. Really grateful you are doing this as a stitch-along! Thank you so much. I’m a little late to the party I’m afraid. I am still waiting on supplies (ordered from all over the web world!) so will be way behind stitching. However, will faithfully keep up with your progress until then.

  6. My carnation went fairly well, but I just couldn’t get the beads to stay put in the middle knot of the diamond stitch, and the instructions gave no hint how to achieve this, so sewed them on afterwards. Most of my lily is done too, but I’m waiting to see how you tackle the outlining after reading Jessica’s notes. I might use Palestrina stitch. My subbed beads from stash are Mill Hill Petite 42012, and it’s remarkable how different they look against the different pinks of the carnation and lily. Photos sent in email to you, but I might do the couching on the lower right lily petal again, it’s not quite at a complimentary angle to that on the right.

    1. My beads kept sliding about, too, so stitching them on afterwards is a good idea! I think I might change the outlining stitch on the lily – I’ll have to see. There are so many shades of pink and green in this project, that everyone’s will come out different, if we sub even one colour – and I’ve subbed almost all of them!

      1. Actually, wanting to carry on stitching today, I just used stem and outline stitch for the lily petals. It looks fine, and more delicate than the model.

  7. I have caught up and this variation and the knotted diamond stitch has me stumped as to how and when to add the bead. I will need to find a #9 sharp and see if that will go through my bead and thread.

    1. The time to add the bead is when you have come up on the left hand side ready to start a new diamond, and just before you loop the thread through the previous completed diamond stitch – thread the bead on then. If that doesn’t seem to work for you, then do the diamond stitch without beads at all, and stitch them on afterwards 🙂 I used a quilters/betweens 10 to do my stitches, but a sharp #9 would work too.

      1. I had such a mess I ended up taking it all out. Then I stitched the stem stitches around the petals first and filled it after. I did as you suggested and went thru the bead on each direction. It came out a million times better!

  8. Janet, HELP. I am struggling with the carnation. I have spent hours practicing the knotted diamond stitch but it just looks clunky to me. I like it so much better with a single strand but worry that it won’t be substantial enough next to the lily. What do you think? I love the lily and enjoyed stitching it but I’m not loving the carnation!!!

    1. Well, it’s your embroidery, so you can, in theory, stitch it how you wish. I agree, though, that the lily is quite a solid piece of embroidery, so the carnation might look better with quite a solid look too. If you use one thread, then just make the diamonds more ‘elongated’ and flat, so that you are getting more repeats in – that should give you a more solid look when it’s done.

  9. I would love to join in, as I have a wealth of supplies already, including several linen choices. However, I am in the U.S., and the book is over my budget. Would it be ok. to stitch along if I create my own, similar pattern? Karen

      1. Great! Would you please tell me the overall measurements> width and center length of the main heart? I’m guessing about 6 to 8 inches wide?

  10. Well I have finished the lily. I really felt it was chunky too! I didn’t do the bottom leaves with the satin stitch in the background and changed up the colors. I also finished the leaves on the carnation but not the lily. I went on to the little pink flowers.
    Then I went to Hobby Lobby here and bought even more beads. I am not sure what i will end up using for the forget-me-nots. BTW, should we send you photos? Do you have a way I can include a photo with my post back to you? I can host the my photo on my website so it is just a link will that work?

    1. You can email images to – that’s the best way. I’ll add a link to the footer of each blog post to make that clear. Please make sure your images are large, clear, and in focus, thanks! For the forget-me-nots, of you don’t want to use beads as described in the instructions, then using all French knots is a good substitute.

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