My Embroidery Journey

My name is Jo…….I love to make things.

I began my journey to make the Home Sweet Home embroidered workbox in March 2014.

My darling husband, Grant had given me this wonderful book by Carolyn Pearce, for Christmas in 2011. I had intended to commence making the workbox after I had actually learned to embroider. Oh, I knew some basic stitches… satin stitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, but I had not actually completed any pieces. My dear friend Maureen Christie offered to guide me and I was invited to her home for my first embroidery lesson. She taught me a few more basic stitches, which, I proudly took home and filed into my “Oh this is nice, and I love it, but it seems too hard” drawer.

A few years later, during a visit with my dearest friend Christine, I took the book to show her. To my surprise, she had purchased Carolyn’s book as well. Christine put a challenge to me……”Let’s do the workbox together, we’ll do each section together?” I thought …”why not, this might be good, Christine is an embroiderer, she can help me along the way.

And so the challenge was on…..

The Book

The book is a concise instruction of how to complete the little workbox house.  Written by Carolyn Pearce and published by INSPIRATIONS BOOKS. Copyright: Country Bumpkin Publications Australia. This beautiful book contains embroidery techniques and construction methods for how to complete the house, plus full detailed instructions to complete all the accessories, which add a special touch. It is a truly amazing book, with full colour photos as well as full instructions for most stitches. I love the Inspirations magazines and books, their attention to detail is second to none. I own quite a few of them. This book has been my “inspiration” to learn to embroider as well as learn to embroider well! Carolyn Pearce must be an exceptional embroiderer, she also is my “inspiration” I would love to meet her some day. I honestly didn’t know embroidery could be so enjoyable, but, I am learning so much on my quest to complete my little workbox.cropped-images1.jpg

The Challenge Begins

My dear friend Christine, who I have known since we were babies, lives in Albury NSW and I live in Newcastle NSW.  We met one weekend at Mittagong to take ourselves to Victoria House to buy our supplies, then onto Berrima Patchwork to source our lining fabric.

I then started on a mission to find all the supplies, charms, beads and equipment needed to complete our task. We purchased most of the threads together and halved each lot. I sourced out charms and beads from Etsy, and Ebay. Some charms were just plain brass, so I hand painted them and sealed them with nail polish shellac and then cured them. Crazy…. I know!

The Autumn Orange, back wall……..

I commenced the first wall…The Autumn Orange Wall in January 2014. I was out of my depth……I had to google how to do stem stitch and outline stitch. (BTW…. Mary Corbett’s site has full tutorials for the stitches) I started the trunk of the tree, it took me 1/2 an hour to do 2 inches of stitches, my thoughts were….”this is going to take forever”. But I pushed on…… the needle was precisely placed into the fabric, each stitch was exact. And if it wasn’t…..I unpicked it! Some of the sections were unpicked 3 or 4 times before I was satisfied that it was as perfect as it was going to be! I know I’m my own worst enemy! The long cross stitch for the oranges was hard, I couldn’t find a tutorial for it…, on the phone to Christine, she was unsure as well, so I just did a few practices, and the long cross stitch is exactly as it says, the cross is wide over to the other side of the ring of the orange. I enjoyed doing the bee, I only unpicked him about 3 times before I was happy. The leaves on the tree were tedious, there are so many of them.

The Autumn Orange wall took me about 3 months to complete. I’m happy with how it turned out.IMG_0940

Next……The Summer Strawberry Wall , side wall.

I commenced this next wall April 2015. The knotted Pearl stitch for the main stem was hard as you needed to increase the width of the stitches as you went along to the bottom of the stem.

The next section I started was the unripe strawberry. To me an unripe strawberry is white at the top near the leaves and starting to ripen from the bottom, I could not get the colours to look right with the variegated thread. I unpicked those colonial knots 4 times, finally I said to Grant… “I have to do it right this time, I can’t unpick it again because I’ll ruin the fabric!” So I did it, and I’m happy with it!IMG_0961


I liked stitching the strawberries with the Rococo stitch and waste canvas. The canvas made it easy to place the stitches. I used a combination of 2 DMC threads 1 strand of each 816 & 347 for my strawberries. I took photos of my stitches with the IPad as I went,  that way I could zoom the pic out to check my stitches close up, I found a few errors this way, so, of course any errors were unpicked! The caterpillar was fun to do, he wasn’t as complicated as he looks. The resin flowers which I had bought, just didn’t look right to me, so I embroidered 3 small flowers instead. All in all, I am happy with how my Strawberry Wall turned out. I am learning so much!