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.
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!