Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 14: primrose flower and calyx

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I’ve been stitching the primrose flower and calyx at the bottom of the front heart panel. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

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This pretty little primrose flower sits at the base of the heart shape. The calyx needs to be stitched first. I found that the design was a bit off-centre for this shape, so I corrected it in pencil before stitching the outline. It’s also a bit oversized, I feel, but I can’t do much about that now!

The calyx has one layer of stitched padding, worked with one strand of Anchor 266, before Cretan stitch is worked over the top using two strands. Keep your padding stitches well away from the edges of the shape, so that the shaping ends up being gradual, and not lumpy.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Using Cretan stitch for filling in this calyx means that you will need to work the long arms of the stitch VERY flat – almost horizontal. It’s sort of like a flat Fly stitch – the movement of the needle is almost identical to Fly stitch.

Mary Corbet has a good video for showing how to do this stitch.

How to do cretan stitch video tutorial

To give the impression of a rounded front to the calyx, angle the horizontal arms up slightly at each side.

The primrose flower itself is then stitched in the same way that the small pink flowers were, using House of Embroidery Pale Lemon substitute. I found that I had to ‘tidy up’ the outline of this flower as well, before stitching it, as it was decidedly squiffy!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The instructions say to then whip the Blanket stitches with the copper metallic thread – I didn’t read the instructions properly, so I whipped the short parts of the stitches, instead of the long uprights, but the finished look isn’t much different. Hopefully.

It’s then suggested that the Blanket stitch petals have two more blanket stitches worked into alternating loops of the original row, to make a loopy edging. I felt this was too tiny to manage tidily, so I changed that to a line of Stem stitch worked in the HoE thread again, to finish the outline. Neater, and more successful, I think.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The centre of the primrose has a ‘forget-me-not flower ring’ of beads made from number 11 beads – Mill Hill 275 with one Gold one for the middle. I used one strand of silk thread and a betweens #10 needle to make it.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui


The filling stitch for the primrose leaves is Tied Wheatear Stitch. I did three straight stitches to each section in Anchor 265 substitute with one strand, before tying them down with Oliver Twists 004 variegated substitute. I can’t find a video to help with this stitch, but the diagrams in the magazine are good.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The small leaves at the top centre of the heart are also stitched using the same stitch and thread colours, so do these at the same time, so save re-threading your needles! I could only manage two of the straight stitches in each space, rather than three for these smaller leaves, though, or it got too crowded.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

These are the leaves once outlined with Anchor 268 in one strand.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I have needed to make quite a lot of minor adjustments as I’ve been stitching this part of the etui, which I find quite frustrating when working from a published design. I think my main gripe is that the shapes are too small for some of the stitches suggested, as well as the drawn outlines being ‘off’ sometimes. I think this might put off less-experienced embroiderers, as they might blame themselves when it doesn’t come out as successfully as they were expecting. But I’m enjoying doing the actual embroidery, as usual!

Next week, I’m planning to tackle the beaded forget-me nots.

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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. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

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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5 thoughts on “Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 14: primrose flower and calyx”

  1. Wow I am so glad you posted this. I have taken my Primrose out for the third time. I don’t get that detached blanket stitch that goes around the outside. I don’t really like the yellow either so I did my first one pink. I am working on one of the scissor hearts now because I can’t seem to do the front without that puckering. I am on my third front now, but did complete the back.
    As to the Primrose will you do the 2 detached blanket stitch rows?

    1. I wasn’t sure about the primrose being yellow, either – I don’t think the colour ‘sits well’ with the other shades on the panel, really. I think my primrose looks finished, now, though, so I won’t be doing the two extra rows of detached blanket stitch – I’ll leave it as it is.

  2. Hi Janet! I am so grateful that you are blogging your experiences with this project! I am taking a lot of notes! I hope this is okay to ask now…. can you explain why it is important to have a muslin back layer? I haven’t stitched anything that way yet and it just seems like it will make it harder to stitch. She said to do the same thing for Home Sweet Home and I opted to not add the muslin. I am using a linen blend fabric from the fabric store and haven’t had any issues with the small amount of stitching I have done. Granted, I have only stitched a couple of the smalls and haven’t put them together yet. Thanks!

    1. Hi Anita! I like to use a muslin backing, as Carolyn suggests, but it’s not essential. I find that it helps to keep the linen fabric from stretching if you have two layers in the hoop (both pulled drum tight, and with the grain going in the same direction for both). If you have areas of dense stitching (such as satin stitch, for instance), a single layer can go ‘bobbly’ (don’t know the technical term!! Dimpled, perhaps?), but two layers keep the fabric flat around the edges of the stitching. Also, if you have two layers, then when you are starting and finishing your thread ends, you can use just the muslin backing fabric to secure your thread in, so there’s no risk of your thread showing on the front fabric. When you come to mounting the finished stitching by lacing it over mount board, for instance, you cut away the muslin up to the edge of the design, and only lace the linen fabric, to reduce bulk. Make sure you use quilter’s muslin, and not the loosely woven kind used for jam-making! Hope this helps 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply Janet! Yes, the muslin would help to stabilize a looser linen. I was also wondering about the bulk when finishing, so thanks for that tip!

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