Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 15: assembling the emery block

Today I have been assembling the little emery block from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’. Amazingly, here is the amount of equipment I gathered together, in order to do that:

Block 4

I didn’t actually use *everything* in the picture, but I did need most of it!! Here is the embroidery ready to be assembled (the piece with the bee on is upside down – only just noticed that!). Also, for those who read my last post about this project, I decided to take some advice and added a few yellow stitches to the bee, to stop him looking more like a vine weevil than a bee  🙂  I’m happier with him now. The rectangles at the bottom of the picture are of thick plastic cut from a ring binder, and quilting wadding.

Block 5

I stuck the wadding to the plastic with pieces of double sided tape, and then laced each embroidered piece over the plastic, using Perle cotton number 12, as it is really strong.

Block 6

Here are the pieces finished, with one showing the lacing across the back.

Block 7

Now the two pieces are ready to be made into the block. Isn’t the bee looking better, now?

Block 8

The cotton fabric I’ve chosen to line the house box, and some of the ‘smalls’ with, is this pretty green floral quilting fabric. Carolyn’s instructions suggested using green ribbon for the gusset of the emery block, but I couldn’t find any that I liked, so I decided to make a kind of bias binding strip from the green floral fabric (only it is cut straight, to follow the pattern).

Block 9

Starting at one corner, with 3/8 inch turned under first, I attached the ribbon piece to the front panel (with the bee on it), using glove stitch. It’s sort of like an overcast stitch, but has an  upright stitch and then a slanting stitch in the same position, making it very secure.

Block 10

This is how it looked when I had attached it all the way round, and slipstitched the short ends together where they overlapped.

Block 11

Then I attached the back panel in the same way. If you plan to make one of these, I’d suggest attaching the front panel first and then the back one, as I did, as it was much more  difficult to make the stitching on the back panel neat, as the block became rather stiff the more complete it became! I left a small opening on the fourth side, to add the emery powder. It would have been easier if I’d have left a rather larger gap, actually. As you can see from the picture, I left the thread attached at this stage.

Block 12

As I didn’t quite trust the emery powder to stay inside the block and not work its way out of the seams, I poked in a little bit of quilting wadding first, in tiny pieces, to line the cavity. I pushed it in using an empty biro case (note the EMPTY bit – you don’t want to inadvertantly draw on the embroidered panel by mistake!).

Then comes the messy bit – I made a funnel from paper, and taped it together. Then I poked the tip onto the opening, and tipped the emery powder in, a small bit at a time, and tapped the block on the table to make it go into the cavity. Then I stitched the opening closed, with more glove stitch.

Block 13

This is the block completed, next to my 3 inch stork scissors, to show how tiny this is when it’s finished.

Block 14

I’m very pleased with how this has turned out. The emery powder seems to be behaving itself and staying inside the block, even though I have tested it by squeezing it, throwing it and generally asking for trouble! And it really does work to help keep my needles clean and free of burrs, when I poke them in and out of the ribbon gusset.

Block 15

Now on to the scissor keeper……


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 14: stitching the emery block

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to spend some time on the ‘smalls’ from the Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox, which I am making from her book. The piece I am working on at the moment is the tiny little emery block.

Emery powder has been used for centuries to clean tarnished needles. If your needle is starting to feel ‘sticky’, it could probably do with being cleaned using emery powder. The traditional shape for a holder of the powder is that of a strawberry. I used to have one of those even when I was very small – I’m not sure I even knew what it was for, but I liked poking my needles in and out of the strawberry anyway!

Block 1

This emery block takes very little time to embroider, as it measures just over an inch by an inch and a half, by 3/8 inches deep. This is the reverse side:

Block 2

I was quite happy with how the flowers turned out, but I think that my bee looks more like a vine weevil with wings, to me! I think the metallic thread that I chose, in a gunmetal grey, wasn’t quite right. But I do like the way that the stitches are quite raised when completed, so it’s an interesting piece to look at. You can see this clearly if you look at the embroidery sideways on:

Block 3


Now I need to work out how to assemble the emery block. I don’t really like the suggested assembly instructions in the book, so I need to work out my own way of doing it.


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