Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 27: the unripe strawberry, leaf and caterpillar on the tape measure cover

I’m half way through stitching the front of the tape measure cover from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’. I got a bit carried away with stitching the unripe strawberry, and forgot to take any photos of it until it was finished! So here it is anyway:

Tape 9

It was done in three close pink/beige shades of Anchor stranded cotton, using French knots in one strand, to cover the shape completely. I stitched to outside edges first in French knots, to keep the shape nicely defined. The sepals are lazy daisy stitches. The catch stitch that holds down each sepal is then stitched over again in one strand of gold blending filament as a highlight.

The leaf beneath the unripe strawberry has an outline of split back stitch worked first, to define the shape.

Tape 10

Then I filled the shape with long and short stitch, starting from the outside edge with the palest shade, and working towards the central vein. I left a slight gap along the centre, to allow space for the vein highlight to be worked in stem stitch, in tan, once the long and short stitch had been competed.  Highlights in gold blending filament finished it off nicely.

To the right of the main stem is a little caterpillar. Carolyn, in her book, suggests making a very long bullion knot for the body (30 wraps!!), but I didn’t think I’d be able to do that neatly. So, instead, I made three long stitches in fine Medici wool, then couched over them in the same wool to make the body. The head is a French knot. The tiny legs are dark brown Anchor stranded cotton straight stitches, using one strand.

Tape 11

This is the front of the tape measure cover, once the embroidery is completed. I attached a lovely bee charm from Susan Clarke Originals to give it a special finish. This was suggested in Carolyn’s book, and although it was pricey once shipping had been added, as I had to send off for it from the USA, it is a lovely touch  🙂

Tape 13

Now for the reverse side of the tape measure cover…..

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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 26: the strawberry on the tape measure cover

The item I’ve decided to make next from the book by Carolyn Pearce, ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’, is the tape measure cover. I’ve bought a nice little retractable tape measure, that is about two inches in diameter. Now I’m making the little cover, which features strawberries on the front, and a strawberry flower on the reverse.

The strawberry is worked in satin stitch padding first. I worked a line of split stitch around the edge to define the shape, then worked two layers of satin stitch, at right angles to each other, inside the split stitched edge.

Tape 1

Then, using a variegated silk thread by Gloriana, I worked long and short stitch over the whole strawberry. In her book, Carolyn suggested Rococo stitch, but that needed waste canvas to be applied first, then the stitches to be worked through both layers, and then the waste canvas to be removed. To be honest, I couldn’t be bothered to do all of that once I read the instructions, even though I’d bothered to buy some waste canvas to do it with! And anyway, I like long and short stitch for strawberries, as it give a realistic look!

Tape 2

The sepals of the strawberry are worked using needlewoven picots. This is quite a fiddly stitch to do, but the results are good. I started by inserting a pin in the fabric, to the length that I wanted the first sepal to be when finished. I brought the needle up at the strawberry’s edge, and made a loop around the pin, then took a tiny stitch at the strawberry’s edge again and this time wound the thread round the pin, leaving the thread trailing to the right of it.

Tape 3

Using a tapestry needle (so that the threads to not get split so easily as you’re weaving), I started to weave the thread under and over the three threads, in a basketweave-style pattern, from right to left, starting at the tip of the sepal.

Tape 4

At the left hand side, I reversed the direction of the needle, weaving the thread back the other way.

Tape 5

I continued with these two steps, packing the weavings up towards the top of the sepal each time with the edge of the needle, until I could fit in no more lines of weaving. Then I took the needle to the back of the fabric and fastened off.

This is the first sepal, once completed:

Tape 6

The ones on each side were then stitched. I tacked the tips down with a tiny holding stitch in the same colour of thread, to stop them sticking straight up. Here are all three:

Tape 7

The stems of the strawberry plant were then stitched in chain stitch in olive green silk, and whipped with the same thread.

Tape 8

Finally, the little seeds on the body of the strawberry were indicated by attaching number 15 tiny gold seed beads.

Tape 12

The strawberry only measures about half an inch high, so this was quite slow to stitch to get a tidy finish (especially the sepals), but I’m pleased with how it came out.

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