I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in! This is what I am working on:
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A QUICK NOTE ABOUT HOURS OF STITCHING
I just want to make it clear that some weeks I get a lot done, and some weeks hardly anything! Some people were concerned last week when I said I’d done 15 hours….don’t worry, I don’t expect to do anything like that much per week! Some weeks, I hardly get the time to pick up my needle 🙂 So, do what you can, and I’ll be doing what I can, and eventually we should all get this thing stitched, one way or another!
STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – DIAMOND STITCH
This is the main pink flower on the front left of the heart etui. I’ve never done Diamond stitch before – this pretty stitch is used as a filling stitch for the petals of the carnation flower. There are instructions in Inspirations no. 95 showing you how to do it. There’s also this Video tutorial on the Needle ‘N Thread website showing you how to do Diamond stitch, which I found better, as it’s a complicated stitch!
I used a betweens needle no. 9 and two strands of Anchor 1028 substitute to stitch this one. It helps to place the tip of your needle in the loop as you’re pulling the thread tight to make the knots, to help place them exactly where you want them to be. I’d been planning to use no. 11 seed beads for the highlights in the centre of each petal, but when I placed them on the fabric, I though they looked a bit chunky, so I used Petite Glass Beads by Mill Hill no. 42012 instead – a deep pinky red, very similar to the thread colour. Start with the smallest petals at the sides, and work the diamond stitch on each petal, doing the centre petal last, when you’ve really got the hang of this stitch, as it will notice more! On the smallest petals, I managed to fit in two beaded repeats. On the next two petals on each side, I got three beaded repeats, and on the centre petal I got four beaded repeats. You might be able to do it a bit ‘tighter’ and get a few more, but I couldn’t manage it.
STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – OUTLINES
I used Anchor 55 – a bright pink – to stitch the outlines of the petals in stem stitch once the Diamond stitch was completed. This only needs one strand, and a betweens needle. Start with the centre petal, and define how much of a point you want at the base of the petal, as the other petals will follow the curve set by this main one, around the top of the calyx.
On the magazine’s stitched model, the petals ‘grow’ directly out of the calyx, touching it. On the pullout sheet’s pattern, the carnation is much more stylised, and the petals are definitely separate. This annoys me!! The pattern has several differences like this. The drawn pattern seems to almost be an afterthought sometimes, once the article for the magazine had been completed, and yet people like me are going to spend weeks, if not months, recreating the heart etui, and need an accurate pattern. The carnation itself has been drawn on the pattern too close to the right hand thick stem, whereas the stitched model’s one is placed much better. Too late now, though – I wish I’d noticed it sooner….
The Anchor 55 stem stitching is then outlined again very closely with Anchor 62 substitute, in one strand. I didn’t realise, until I was doing this part, that the diamond stitch filling on the centre petal should have started higher up, filling more of the centre area up to the points, so I decided I will have to fill in the gaps with more French knots than the instructions suggest, using Anchor 1028 substitute.
STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – FRENCH KNOT FILLING
The petals look a lot better once they have been filled with French knots in the gaps, and with the second row of stem stitch outlining. At the base of the petals, I worked extra dark pink in long and short stitch, to make it look more solid, as I don’t like the ‘floating’ look of the petals otherwise.
STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – CALYX
The calyx is first outlined with one strand of Anchor 267 substitute – if the drawn shape is a bit uneven, now is the time to even it up as you do the split stitch and define the shape. I then worked two layers (rather than the one suggested in the instructions), first vertically, then horizontally, inside the lines of the split stitch, using two strands. Then I did the top layer, also with two strands vertically, going just outside the split stitch outline. I stitched my lattice with the copper metallic thread diagonally, so that the couching threads didn’t sink into the vertical green padding, and then couched down the threads with one strand of Anchor 55, using tiny stitches.
The side sepals are worked in two strands of Anchor 265 substitute in Fishbone stitch (the left one came out far better than the right – don’t really know why!). The video tutorial on Needle ‘N Thread explains the stitch very well.
Then the centre lattice area is outlined last of all with the copper metallic thread.
The carnation has turned out really nicely, and I am pleased with it….except it will always be stitched too far to the right in the available space, for my liking!!
If you’re stitching this along with me, how is your carnation turning out?
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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.
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!).
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