Five-sided box 4: acorn and gillyflower motif

I’ve been looking forward to making the little acorns for my five-sided box. They first need a split back stitch outline, then satin stitch padding, and then satin stitch worked across the padding, to give a rounded effect.

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A tiny straight stitch is worked at the end of each acorn.

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The acorn cups are first made in the same way as the acorns.

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Then, tiny French knots are made using just one strand of DMC thread, and one wrap round the needle. They are stitched all over the satin stitched base, covering it completely, to give a textured look.

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This is the panel, once completed:

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Nice, isn’t it?


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Five-sided box 3: acorn and gillyflower motif

The second panel of my five-sided box is to have the Acorn and Gillyflower motif on it, taken from the book ‘Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth’, by Susan O’Connor. After working the stems in stem stitch, and filling in the gillyflower leaves with rows of split back stitch, I then started on the flowers themselves. These needed outlining with split back stitch first, being careful to keep the stitches very small, so that the outline of each petal kept its ‘jagged’ look.

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After filling in the petals with rows of long and short stitch, I completed the sepals by working satin stitch padding, and then satin stitch over the top. Each sepal was then outlined with a couched line of very dark olive green using just one strand of Anchor cotton.

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The acorn leaves were done in satin stitch padding (one strand of Anchor, worked straight across the leaf) , and then satin stitch was worked along the vein, up around the top of the leaf and down the other side. Design-wise, this worked, but I think the shade I chose was too dark. This picture also shows the full-face gillyflower completed, which I am happier with.

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Now, I’m ready to start on the tiny acorns……


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Five-sided box 2: primrose and thistle motif

The first motif I want to stitch for my five-sided box is the Primrose and Thistle motif, adapted from the book ‘Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth’ by Susan O’Connor. I made a  scan of the design outline from the book, shrunk it down to the size that I wanted, then taped that onto my light box. The horizontal and vertical guidelines you can see in the image below are on the paper design outline, not the fabric. The fabric I am using is a pale cream linen from my stash – no idea where I got it from, but it’s old! Using a very sharp pencil, I traced over the design lines, and got a really clear version of the design onto my fabric.

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Each design motif is quite simple, and doesn’t use many colours – this one uses ten. I wonder if this may be a problem, as the shading looks like it might be a bit too coarse at times, but I’ll have to see if it needs ‘tweaking’ later.

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The stems are worked first in stem stitch, and then the leaves are outlined in split back stitch. The lower bright green leaf has satin stitch worked over the split back stitch edging.

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I did a lot more on this before remembering to take any more photos, sorry! The thistle flowers were fun to do – just straight stitches, worked in a fan pattern until the flower head ‘looked right’. With hindsight, I think I should have used more than just the one shade suggested in the instructions, as it looks a little bit too dense, in only the one colour. Also, the primroses have come out a bit too ‘green’ – the colour looked more yellow when I picked it.

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This picture shows one of the full-face flowers completed, and one in progress.

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I like working trellis stitch, so I was pleased with how the stitch came out on the thistles

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Five-sided box 1: my new embroidery project

Now that I’ve finished the Alison Cole stumpwork box, the next project I want to do is a blend of a set of designs from a published book, incorporated into an interestingly shaped five-sided box design that I found online. Unfortunately, in the way of these things, I found the image of the box years ago, and now I don’t know where I found it. But it was a crazy quilting project of some kind, and the box had five curved sides, and a pentagonal lid with a tassel on it.

The motifs that I want to use on the box are from the book ‘Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth’, by Susan O’Connor, who writes and designs for Inspirations embroidery magazine (published in Australia).

Flowers for Elizabeth book cover
Flowers for Elizabeth book cover

The book features a set of gorgeous designs, put together in panels, to make a blanket embroidered in wools. Although I do love the design of the blanket, I don’t have space in my house for such a large thing, and I want to make something using silks next, not wools. I also want my box to be quite delicate in appearance, and I felt that the bold black and gold of the blanket sort of swamps the flowers, so I won’t be incorporating any of the black and gold elements.

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To help me choose which threads to use, the book has a page listing DMC equivalents for each of the shades used for the blanket (as well as Paternayan wool, and Au Ver a Soie silk, too). So, using that as a basis, I chose some DMC and some Anchor threads to do my box in, along with some overdyed threads from Silk ‘n’ Colors from my stash.

It was difficult to choose which five motifs to use, out of all the ones on the original blacket – I had to be very selective! This motif below got rejected, although it was close-run thing  🙂

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Here are the threads I eventually chose for all five sides, sorted onto card threadsorters.

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I miniaturised the motifs from the book down to the size I needed for my box (about four inches high), and used small versions of the ‘triangular side motifs’ from the blanket for the lid.

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This is the shape that the box will be – I’d give a link to the original web page if I could  🙂

[EDIT 14th September 2013: One of the followers of my blog, Carol S, has found where the original image comes from – the page gives instructions for making the box using crazy quilting techniques. She says:

“It’s from CQ Magazine, 2004. Here’s the URL:  ” ]



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