Pandora’s Box – An Embroidery Journey


My love of embroidery keeps growing and it has really stood me in good stead over the last month, providing a useful relaxation at the end of a long day at work.  The simple act of pushing the needle and thread through the material in a fairly regular fashion really helps my mind empty of other things and to create something pretty, or if I am lucky beautiful, as a result is an added bonus.  I blogged a few weeks ago about the cross stitch my sons gave me for Christmas which  I have really been enjoying and which is coming along nicely.   However, I follow a number of embroiders on Facebook and Twitter and a week or so ago one of them posted about Pandora’s Box , an on-line sew along which she had just started.

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A few questions were asked and links followed and I found myself on the Blackwork Journey website downloading the first set of instructions.

The project is essentially a sew along in nine parts which a new part being released each month.  I think it started in November so you can see I am somewhat behind but then so is Chris and others are joining all the time.  It doesn’t matter.  The project allows you to explore some new embroidery techniques which you might not have tried before, in this case Assisi, Blackwork and Pulled Thread Work.  I haven’t tried any of these before so was immediately interested but what really drew me in was the owl motif in the first row.


Sorry the photo is a little blurry.

I was quite nervous at first due about the framework which you can see in the top picture is a series of blocks and squares worked in four-sided stitch.  This stitch creates a sort  of ladder effect and you are meant to pull the threads tight to create the small holes at the corner of each square – I suspect I could be a little more robust.

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I have got one more square to complete on the first block and then I have two more rows (or blocks) to do before I am up to date. Saying that the fourth block comes out in February so I will be behind again.  However, all I have to do is go onto the Facebook group and see what others are up to and realise that lots of people are at the same stage as me and as I said it doesn’t matter.

I am completely loving Pandora’s Box.  The framework stitch is far easier than I expected and so satisfying and I love each little square, they are like little masterpieces in their own right.  In the next block I get to do a butterfly with a spider instead of the owl, which I am sure will be fun.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Art and craft projects are so therapeutic and to have something that is beautiful as a result seems to be such a plus; hard to find anything else in life that is such a win-win.

  2. Celia says:

    I can see how this would be addictive!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      I love it celia, each square is a little different and some can be done in an evening so very satisfying

  3. Yes, the four-sided stitch could be pulled tighter, but it requires a lot of nerve to do that to begin with, and leaving it as it is is perfectly acceptable. The effect is different, that’s all. You might want to find a bit of fabric to play with and see whether you like the effect when you’ve pulled the threads tighter, but I like it as it is, too!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Rachel, I quite lime the effect as is but will be a little. Ore assertive with other pulled thread stitches in the project

  4. Renee says:

    How cute! I like the owl, and the simple color palette so far.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Renee
      That is the colour pallet, there are only 3 threads plus the white for the surround.

  5. nanacathy2 says:

    Really lovely and very therapeutic. I have never mastered drawn thread work.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      I have to be more assertive I think, this is more pulled threads rather than drawn, you don’t actually remove any threads

  6. These are so simple and beautiful. Thank you for sharing I find this inspiring even though I don’t embroider these days.

  7. Cathy says:

    What a good way of getting to try different techniques – I have a few pieces of vintage embroidery where the embroiderer has been learning new techniques, as all well brought up young ladies were expected to do of course! Must be reassuring to know that many others are at the same stage as you – it would reduce the pleasure if you felt pressurised to finish each bit sooner

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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