I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. I am now ready to make the strawberry emery. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!
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The strawberry emery is, I think, what gives this project its name, and not the rather ‘raspberry-looking’ beaded berries on the etui itself! It’s a very cute little strawberry, but a bit fiddly to make, and I found that I needed to change quite a few things along the way to successfully make this. Here’s the image from Inspirations number 95, so you know what we’re aiming for:
The instructions said to make the emery strawberry from velveteen. Yeah, right. Anyone know where you can buy a four inch square piece of velveteen these days? Me neither. So I used felt instead, which worked fine. I also used a small piece of quilter’s muslin for the lining.
The strawberry emery is attached with a cord to the very bottom tip of the heart etui itself eventually. It helps to make this cord first, as it gets a bit complicated later on when you start to need several pairs of hands. At first, I tried to make the cord using alternating half hitch knots, as the instructions suggested. But it quickly became obvious that this type of cord would be far too thick to go through the holes in the beads that I’d bought. And my cord looked messy 😦
So, I made a ‘normal’ twisted cord instead, which came out neater and thinner. I used 2 lengths of DMC Perle 8 Avocado green, each cut 36 inches long. I knotted the lengths to each other at each end, making a loop two yards round, with two knots in it. I clamped one of the knotted ends under the presser foot of my sewing machine, and held the two lengths out taut, then put a pencil in the loop, and started twisting the two lengths together until they started to kink back on themselves. Then I folded the cord in half and let it twist up on itself, knotting the loose ends together at the sewing machine end to stop them unravelling, eventually making a cord 13 inches long. This was way more than I needed, but meant that I had plenty to play with!
I folded the felt and muslin in half, and stitched the seam with backstitch (by hand, rather than using a sewing machine, as I could control things better!). The very tip of the cone needs a slight rounding off, so that the strawberry doesn’t end up too pointy.
With the lining, I did a line of running stitch around the top edge, folding a seam allowance in as I went. In theory, now is the point to put the emery powder in, before drawing up the threads and tying them off tightly to make the berry shape. In practice, I cheated, and used cotton wool. I find that emery powder always falls out, making the embroidery messy with little black dots, so my ‘strawberry emery’ is a fake one!
Here’s the lining once I’d tied off the gathering threads:
The felt strawberry has lines of seed stitches worked all over it, in offset rows, in yellow:
To attach the cord to the strawberry, first I knotted the cord at the ‘untidy’ end, leaving the other end ‘neat’ (this is important later, when you come to attach the cord to the heart etui itself). The total length from the knot to the neat end is about five inches. To be able to thread the gold bead cap and cloisonne bead onto the cord, I looped a needle threaded with sewing cotton through the loop at the neat end of the cord, and then while the needle was still attached, I threaded on the bead cap and bead, and pushed them down the sewing thread and onto the cord. I’ve no idea how they managed to thread on the bead and cap on the one in the magazine pictures, as it just says ‘thread the cut ends of the cord through a cloisonne bead’. Have you ever tried doing that?! Great way to waste a whole afternoon.
The filled lining is placed inside the felt shape, and the end of the cord is then placed inside, knotted end in first, before drawing up the top edge of the strawberry with gathering stitches and tying off tightly. Stitch through the knot itself a few times as you go, to make sure the knot won’t slip out.
If I’d have used velveteen, I would have had to turn in a seam allowance, but as I used felt, I didn’t need to, but I think my strawberry is therefore a bit bigger than it should be. Should have trimmed it!
While the cord still has the bead and cap loose, as in the image above, I stitched some Lazy Daisy stitches around the top of the strawberry, for leaves. The instructions said to do needle woven picots for leaves instead, but I was losing the will to live by now.
Finally, the gold bead cap and cloisonne bead are pushed down tightly until they touch the top of the strawberry, and the cord is knotted just above the cloisonne bead, holding them both in place. The sewing cotton can now be removed from the other end of the cord, and the strawberry emery is complete!
Ta-dah!!! It’s very pretty, but so fiddly to make!
The next thing I need to assemble is the Dorset button closure for the front heart, which should be easy, by comparison…….
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The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95. The 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!).
I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to firstname.lastname@example.org Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.
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.