Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 13: adding the base, and finishing the spoolholder

This is the base of the spoolholder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’. Having assembled it over the plastic and interlining in the same way that I did for the lid (see the previous blog post), I now needed to attach it to the base of the embroidered wall, as a kind of upside-down lid!

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The hinge for the lid is a piece of ribbon, stitched across the edge of the wall base at the centre.

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The ribbon is folded in half, and slip stitched to the edge of the embroidered base.

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Then the lining for the lid is attached with tiny slip stitches, covering the ribbon except for a small piece left exposed to allow the lid to close neatly and not too tightly.

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I then stitched Knotted Pearl Stitch all around the edges of both the lid, and the top with the eyelet in the centre. I found it easier to work the stitch around the top by turning the spoolholder upside-down, so that the needle could be pushed towards me as I tightened each stitch to make the knots.

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The spoolholder is held closed by a cloisonne bead which is attached to the front of the wall, with a buttonhole stitch loop closure on the lid.

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This is the spoolholder now it is completed:

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A spool of Number 12 Perle thread from DMC sits neatly inside.

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The end of the Perle thread is fed through the eyelet, so that lengths can be pulled off the ball of thread with the spoolholder still closed.

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Isn’t it pretty?! I’m really pleased with this. I thought, as I was assembling it, that it was too fiddly to make it neatly, but in the end it has come out really well (except for a couple of wrinkles in the lining, but you can’t see those!!).


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 12: adding the lid of the spoolholder

This is how I made the top of the spoolholder for the Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home Workbox, from her book. I cut a piece of plastic, and a piece of interlining, with a hole cut in the centre of each.

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Then I cut another piece of thicker interlining, with a slightly larger diameter, which went just a bit over the edge of the plastic.

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The top of the spoolholder has an eyelet stitched in the centre, for the thread from the spool to emerge, so as I attached the fabric to the sandwich of plastic and interlining, I had to make sure that the eyelet matched up with the hole behind it. I made running stitches around the edge of the embroidered piece with quilting thread, and gathered it up tightly over the plastic, padded side against the reverse of the embroidery.

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Then I laced across the back of the fabric to hold the seam allowance down, making sure that I avoided the eyelet area.

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I did the same process on a piece of the lining fabric, having stitched an eyelet in the centre first. Then I slip stitched the two circles together, back to back.

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To attach the round top to the embroidered wall piece, I placed pins in the very edge of the circular top – placing them at the quarter points first, then adding more pins equally until the top was securely held. This was quite tricky, as the top kept twisting sideways!

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Then I slip stitched the top to the tube, removing the pins as I did so.

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Using a thread of a similar colour to the fabric, this was a very neat join, which will later be covered with Knotted Pearl Stitch.

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I finished this part late in the evening, so this photo is rubbish, but it is supposed to show the lining of the spoolholder at this point!

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All I need to do next is to attach the base, and it will be finished.


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 11: assembling the spoolholder wall and lining it

The instructions for assembling the spoolholder in Carolyn Pearce’s Home Sweet Home Workbox book are very detailed. This is how many layers of various materials are needed in the construction of the spoolholder:

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Both thick and thin interfacing are required, as well as acetate, some stuff which I think is similar to Bondaweb, and ‘template plastic’. Some of the brands listed in Carolyn’s book aren’t available in the UK (she’s from Australia), so I had to improvise. I found that a cheap ring binder made of a flexible plastic was ideal to use as material for the plastic liner for the side wall, top and base!

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Here are the embroidered pieces,  cut out to the seam allowance markings and ready to be assembled:

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The embroidered wall is placed right sides facing with the lining fabric, with interfacing backing the embroidered side. Then a small seam is made along the long side at the bottom edge of the wall.

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I trimmed the seam allowances, layering them to reduce bulk.

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Then I turned down the long edge of the lining by half an inch, tacking it in place, and stitched a seam along the short sides of both the lining and wall, making a tube.

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The instructions then go into a very complicated way to make the cylinder out of the plastic, and then to fix the wall and lining around it. I found it easier to roll up the plastic very tightly, insert it behind the embroidered wall part, then let go until it had unrolled to fill the space, then fold the lining up into the centre of the tube and smooth it out. I poked a bit of sticky tape along the join of the plastic to hold it in place, but I didn’t feel that was really necessary – the plastic couldn’t move at all, due to the tension as it pressed against the embroidered wall.

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I folded the seam allowance of the embroidered wall into the tube, then smoothed the lining against it, and oversewed the two fabrics together, then removed the tacking stitches. This oversewing was tricky, as I didn’t have a curved needle, and the diameter of the tube is less than two inches. The lining is a bit bumpy and twisted in places, but when it’s finished, that won’t be seen, as the spool placed inside will cover it up, hopefully!

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That’s the fiddliest part of the project completed, now, so I just need to add the lid and base….


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 10: finishing the side panels and practicing Knotted Pearl Stitch

Now that the Gingerbread Stitching House is finished, I’m back to working on the spoolholder again.

Here is the side wall of the spoolholder from Carolyn Pearce’s Home Sweet Home Workbox book, with my embroidery completed. I found some tiny brass bee charms on Ebay (12 for £1.99), which were smaller than the ones suggested in the book, but more in scale for such a small item, I think, so I am very pleased with those.

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Having finished the side wall, and having previously stitched the top and base, I now needed to assemble the whole thing. The instructions Carolyn Pearce gives in her book call for a decorative edging stitch around the top and bottom of the cylindrical spoolholder, called Knotted Pearl Stitch. I hadn’t come across this stitch before, so I practiced it first.

I worked the stitch much larger than I would use it on the spoolholder itself, to get the rhythm correct, and the spacing – then it would be easy to just ‘close up’ the distances between the stitches when I did it ‘for real’.

Coming up in the middle between two pencilled lines, I took a stitch from the top line to the bottom one, vertically.


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Then, without piercing the fabric, I slipped the needle under the first small stitch, from right to left, making sure the end of the thread was under the needle.

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Then I made that movement again, still making sure that the thread was under the needle.

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When the thread was pulled snugly taut, it made a knot in the centre between the two pencilled lines. I then moved an eighth of an inch to the left, and took a stitch from the top pencilled line to the bottom one.

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The small stitch just made became the starting point for the two wrapped loops to be made around it, constructing the second knot. Here is the first loop stitch:

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And here is the second one:

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Once you get a rhythm going, it is quite simple to do, and makes a nice raised band of knotted stitches.

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On the spoolholder itself, I won’t need to draw two pencilled lines – I will just make sure that the top end of the vertical stitch is on one panel (e.g. the top round part) and the bottom end of the stitch is on the side wall each time, covering the seam. The ‘legs’ of the stitches will be made much shorter, so that really it will just look like a row of knots, more like Palestrina stitch.


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