Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 30: how to make a needlelace berry

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I am explaining how to make a needlelace berry to use as a closure on the etui. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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This is what we’re aiming for this week – this is the image from the Inspirations magazine number 95. It’s the little berry on a cord that is used to wrap around the Dorset button to keep the etui closed.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

It starts as a semi-circle of felt. You stitch a small seam up the straight sides to make a small cone of felt, and then run a gathering thread around the top curved edge.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

You’ll need to have a piece of twisted cord ready before you stuff the cone with a small piece of wadding and draw up the thread, because the cord needs to be stitched inside as you go. So, make the cord first with two x one metre long lengths of Perle 8 green. The instructions say to make a half hitch cord, but I found that too lumpy, so I made a simple twisted cord the same as for the thimble holder (see blog post number 25 for that). Thread on the gold bead cap before making a large double knot at the end that will be inside the berry, so that it won’t slip out, and make sure that the ‘neat’ end of the cord is the correct length (you won’t be able to trim this neatly later, it must be correct now!). I made mine 4 1/2 inches from the top of the actual berry to the neat end, so allow more to go inside the berry and be knotted. There’s a temporary knot near the neat end in the image below, but that’s only to stop the bead cap falling off! You’ll undo this later.

Place the knotted end of the cord inside the berry, draw up the gathering thread and stitch across the opening, making sure you stitch through the cord as well, several times. Squish the berry into a proper berry shape at this point. It’s very small – about half an inch long.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

Then comes the fun part – covering the felt berry shape with needlelace. To do this, first lay a base layer of vertical stitches down the outside of the berry from the top to halfway down the side, using one strand of a metre length of Silk ‘n’ Color 1055 Cherry Field (substitute) with a sharp needle. Then change to a tapestry needle and continue with the same thread, making detached buttonhole stitches under each of the vertical stitches, going round and round. After the first row, you’ll be stitching into the loops of the previous buttonhole stitches, not the vertical ones. Increase until you reach half way down, then start to decrease, until the whole berry is covered.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

The sepals are then worked in Lazy Daisy stitch in Anchor 268 (substitute) around the top (I found the needlewoven picots that the instructions suggested just impossible at this scale!).

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

Push the bead cap down tight to the berry top, then knot the cord just above it, holding it in place. The neat end of the cord will be stitched to the V of the back heart later (not now!!).

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

Put it aside somewhere safe, as you won’t need this for a while, and it’s very small…..

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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!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to  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.


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