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Friday, October 12, 2012

Getting organised for Toy Chest Etui

Betsy Morgan's Toy Chest Etui project has a number of pieces. The chest holds a scissor keep (in the form of a doll outline), a thimble keep (the ball-cup of previous blog), a needle case (magic wallet), a waxer box (in form of a drum), a button box and a pin cushion (in the form of a primer). The kit for the BATB class contained materials for all these pieces.

Betsy has since added a hobby horse laying tool cover, a jack-in-the box emery and a paint box needle threader case, all of which were available during her class. I gave in to the temptation to buy them at the time - much easier than deciding later and buying by mail.

So altogether, a very large project, albeit a very small one in terms of dimensions.

The linen for the project - 32 count Prairie Grain - comes as one piece with a suggested layout. My first decision was whether to cut the pieces individually, which would enable me to complete one piece at a time, or to lay out and stitch the whole piece, meaning that all the embroidery would have to be finished for the base set before any construction could be done.

In the end I went for the latter. Stitching such fine work on tiny pieces of fabric means either a tiny hand hoop - really bad for my left hand - or no hoop, which may or may not work for so many pieces. So I decided to outline the individual shapes on the fabric, mount it in a scroll-frame, and do all the embroidery first. However, I couldn't get my scroll-frame to sit firmly in my floor stand, so I ordered the Doodler Frame that I have had my eye on for a while and waited for it to arrive from Nordic Needle.

So several months later, I was set to begin!

Using the layout suggested in the kit, I outlined all the pieces in backstitch, using the perle thread in the kit. I couldn't tell from the ambiguous notes I had made in class whether this was the recommended first or last step, but it was the easiest way to get my layout. The whole piece takes up three 'screens' of the Doodler Frame.

It does mean that some pieces are sideways on the frame, but I find lap-frames pretty flexible. Luckily I had other stitching projects to get on with while all this preparation was going on.

I have actually done some stitching on the Toy Chest Etui - evidence is coming!


margaret said...

I see what you mean a very major project but well worth all the effort. Now you can start to stitch as the boring part is done. Like you I think it is better to tackle your project this way, far less fiddly, looking to seeing it emerge, please regular features on it .

Jillian said...

Thanks, Margaret. I promise to post updates. Should be one soon.

katherine macwin said...

i am looking forward to watching the progress on this one. i think you have made the right decision with completing the embroidery first and then doing the construction. when i did home sweet home earlier this year i did the embroidery first and then all the construction.

Jillian said...

Yes, so far I'm glad I decided on all the stitching first. It's a bit of an exercise in delayed gratification, isn't it? I suspect it would take me a lot longer if I did it piece by piece. This way there's an incentive o keep on task!

Monica said...

The only problem that I could see with doing all the outlines first is that it may be hard to exactly centre each motif. Count carefully!

Otherwise, it is a great project, and like the others, I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!

Jillian said...

You're right, Monica. Each of the outlining back stitches is 4 threads long, except in a few places where there's an arch. I need to check each piece when I begin stitching it, to make sure I didn't make an error. Otherwise, the 4 stitch units make it easier to position the design. So far, so good!