I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. At last, after nine months, it’s finished!!!
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Wow, this has been an amazing project to tackle. I had planned this one for several months before actually starting to stitch it, and decided to do it as a kind of shared stitchalong on this blog, starting at the end of January 2018. So, it’s taken over nine months to stitch (and write the 41 blog posts to go with that!). But I’m so pleased with it! Here’s the inside:
And here’s the outside:
It has this ingenious way of holding the four panels together, so that they fold in on themselves to make a little heap of hearts that reminds me of pancakes!
It’s a very clever design, by Carolyn Pearce, of Australia.
The design appeared in Inspirations magazine, issue 95. I wanted to make it the first time I saw it, on Pinterest, a few years back. Pockets like these, to hold stitching tools, are just so sweet.
And this little mother of pearl ruler, that used to be made by Kelmscott Designs, but is now like hen’s teeth to get hold of, is so cute and I love it now that I’ve got one!
The etui closes with a needlelace berry on a cord. The edges of the hearts have beading around the tops.
What I call ‘the three dangleys’ hang from the bottom tip – a thimble holder, a strawberry emery, and a pinwheel.
The needlelace berry attaches to a Dorset button by a cord. The button was really difficult to make! My centre isn’t very central……
This is my favourite piece – the heart shaped pincushion.
I also love the beaded chains that hold the scissors and ruler in their pockets. I nearly didn’t bother to make these, but I’m glad now that I did.
The second heart shaped pocket holds an antique button hook with a mother of pearl handle.
Three heart shaped mother of pearl thread rings, from Kelmscott Designs, hold some thread used in the project.
I learned several new stitches whilst making this – Glove Stitch is one of them. It’s a really useful joining stitch.
This image shows the doctor flannel used to make the heart shaped needle pages, held together with a flower button.
There was lots of beading in this project, making it look really special!
The thimble holder was fiddly to make, but holds a little silver thimble perfectly.
Although my pinwheel came out too big, I still really like it!
This project needed quite a few bits and pieces to complete it. Although a materials pack was available from the publishers of Inspirations magazine, I felt it was pricey, so I raided my stash for most things, which kept the cost down a lot. The whole thing cost me less than £60, including the elusive mother of pearl ruler, which I had sent to me from the USA to the UK.
Rather than put a tape measure in one pocket, I chose to put a bodkin and a ribbon-puller.
I bought an old mother of pearl gaming chip on Ebay to use as a thread winder, which fits neatly into the smallest pocket.
This is the antique button hook, which fits in the second heart pocket.
HINTS AND TIPS
Although this has been a great project to complete, there are quite a few things that need pointing out, if you’re going to tackle making this.
For instance, the project in the magazine runs to 18 pages – the longest article they have ever had in almost 20 years of the magazine. Then the construction text is on a separate pullout sheet, and that’s detailed too. So, you need to read through all of that to familiarise yourself with what you need to do, and the order to do it in. Hopefully, if you follow these blog posts, you’ll be fine! I have changed quite a few things though.
Despite the length of the article, it’s still a lot shorter than the ‘Home Sweet Home workbox’ instructions by Carolyn Pearce – as that was published as a book, with over a hundred pages. so there was more space to go into detail. So, some details have been glossed over with this etui, which is a shame. After spending hours and hours on a project like this, you need to trust the instructions.
You also need to trust that the materials pack will have enough materials in, and I have heard from several stitchers that they bought the pack (I didn’t though) and they ran out of some items. Not good, especially when the pack costs over £140!!
I think it would help, if you’re new to some of the stitches, particularly, to spend some time practicing them on spare fabric before attempting them on the project itself. There are several YouTube videos that explain things, that really help if reading text doesn’t ‘do it’ for you.
As I’ve said before, it helps to get together everything you’re going to need, and cut out all the pieces from all the materials, etc., before you start to stitch. It’s so much quicker in the long run than stopping and starting to cut one more piece of wadding, or to find the beads you need, when you’re in the middle of the project. Boring, I know!
I really enjoyed making most of this etui – I wasn’t so keen on making the Dorset button, as I needed too many hands to do it successfully, but that’s just me! I’d have preferred to have photographs of the stages, rather than line drawings in the magazine to follow, but I suspect that this project was written up a long time after the etui was actually made, so process photos weren’t available. Also, I think some of the instructions are just plain wrong – things are suggested that are impossible to do, such as threading a half hitch knotted cord through beads with tiny holes! You really do need some experience of assembling needlework items to tackle this one with confidence.
This is probably the most ambitious needlework project that I’ve ever made. But I’m so pleased with it – I can see me actually using this as I stitch future things, which is a good sign 🙂
Compared to the Home Sweet Home workbox, also designed by Carolyn Pearce (my version of that is shown below), this project, I feel, is quite a lot harder to make. There are more unusual stitches to learn, and more stages to it. But there is also more repetition – I found I was getting a bit bored halfway through, when doing the four inner panels …. all the same, and the rectangular pockets …. all the same. With the Home workbox, all the smalls were different, so it kept my interest going.
But look at this now! A very different type of project, and one to take pride of place in my display cabinet 🙂
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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.