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Rachel's Box

Created for The Caron Collection by Too Sisters Designs
Model Stitched by Carolyn Hotchkiss & Tisha Kuntz

Click here to learn about Too Sisters Designs

Part I of this project is to create the box top. Part II will be featured next month

Top of Rachel's Box

Materials needed:
10-weave ("10 Mesh") plastic canvas
3 skeins 012 "Wildberries" Watercolours by Caron Collection
2 skeins B7 "Rachel" by Caron Collection
2 skeins DMC #5 Perle Cotton ­ 000 Natural Watercolours by Caron Collection
#20 tapestry needle
Pre-adhesive felt, or felt and fabric glue

Click Here for Rachel's Box Charts

Step 1: Preparing the Plastic Canvas
Cut out the piece of plastic canvas needed for the design. Cutting the piece to size before stitching makes it easier to handle. Then you won't need to worry about cutting the wrong places later, accidentally unraveling your work.

The size of the piece is ­ 41 holes x 28 holes

Step 2: Stitching with Watercolours:
All stitches are done with Continental (or Tent) stitch.
This is what the Continental (or Tent) stitch looks like:

Continental or Tent Stitch

You will be using Watercolours. It comes in a three-ply length. You will need all three strands for optimal coverage. Separate each strand, and then carefully put them back together so the color patterns match again. You may knot the end, or you may leave a length (or "tail") free to be worked back under completed stitches with the needle. Subsequent lengths may be started by running under a few completed stitches.

The colors change as you stitch with an overdyed thread. This gives you the chance to make a kind of pattern with your stitching. If you stitch straight across, row-by-row, you will get long bands of colors. If you stitch up and down in columns you will get blocks of colors. We have chosen to stitch our model with a diagonal pattern. We started with one stitch, and then worked the stitch above, then to the left, as shown in the diagram below. You may stitch however you are comfortable, because there is no right or wrong way.

Step 3: Stitching with Rachel
Rachel is a nylon ribbon. It can ravel if care is not taken. It is best to work with relatively short lengths, and to cut pieces on a diagonal (as you would cut ribbon for a package). If you have FrayCheck, put a dab on the ends to help avoid raveling. For optimal coverage, two lengths of Rachel are needed. We found it easiest to take a length twice as long as we wanted to work with, fold it in half, and use it doubled. You will be using the Continental (or Tent) stitch for all stitches.

You may want to use the "loop method" of securing each fresh length for stitching. To use the "loop method" do this: Thread the two loose ends of the doubled-over ribbon through the eye of the needle. This will leave you the doubled loop at the other end. Bring your needle up through the canvas as if normally stitching, but do not pull it all the way through. Bring your needle back through the canvas to complete your first stitch. Bring the needle and fiber through the little loop still on the underside of your stitching, and carefully draw it tight. The loop will hold the fiber gently secure. You may then continue stitching normally.

Step 4: Stitching with DMC Perle
For optimal coverage, it is suggested that you use two lengths of perle cotton in the needle. Again, you will be using the Continental (or Tent) stitch, as you stitch with DMC Perle.

When completed, you should have a piece of stitched plastic canvas looking like the illustration below:

Stitched Piece of Rachel's Box Top

Finishing Instructions:
1.Edging is done with three strands (one length) of Watercolours, using the buttonhole (or blanket) stitch.

This is what the blanket stitch looks like:

Blanket or Buttonhole Stitch

On the reverse side, secure your length of Watercolours; from the reverse come up with the needle through the outermost hole along the edge of the piece. Bring the threads all the way through. Come up, again from the reverse, through the hole next to the one you just used. This time, make sure the loose thread is below (the side away from the edge of the canvas) the needle. Continue in this manner, using every hole along the edge of the canvas. You may wish to do two stitches in each corner hole, one facing each direction.
To end a length, run through some stitches on the back. Beginning a second length, you may want to carefully work your needle through the crossing fiber of the final stitch of the last length. While this isn't necessary, it does give a nicer 'finished' look to the piece. To end the entire piece, do one last stitch in the original starting hole and secure the excess by running through stitches on the back.

Here is what the blanket stitch looks like, as you progress:

Rachel's Box Top is Edged with the Blanket Stitch.
This Gives it a Lovely Finished Look.

Next, fit the felt (leaving the adhesive backing on) in place, to the bottom of your stitched piece. Use the felt oversized and trim any excess, if needed. Remove adhesive backing (or apply fabric glue lightly, if not using a pre-adhesive product), then carefully apply to underside of stitched piece. Make sure to snugly fit the felt along all edges.

Note: To reinforce the design and make it a bit stiffer, you can cut a thin piece of cardboard about one quarter to one half inch smaller along the edges than the design. Then cut a piece of felt the same size as the design. Sandwich the cardboard between the plastic canvas and the felt, then secure together with adhesive. The cardboard will add weight and stiffness to the design.

The Completed Rachel's Box Top

Be Sure to Come Back for Part II for the rest of the Rachel's Box Project Next Month!


We used the colors specified in the chart for our model. You may use any color of Watercolours, however, because we'd like you to use your favorite colors. Choose the color you like the best, then pick complementary colors for the Rachel and the Perle Cotton. Your heart will then become your very own, featuring the colors you enjoy most!

When done, your Rachel's Box Top can also be hung on its own as a picture without a frame since the edges are all nicely finished with stitching. Simply attach a self-adhesive hanger, or glue a regular hanger to the back of the stitched piece. You can also attach an easel back (available in various cardboard sizes that can be cut to fit your design) to display it as a freestanding decoration on a shelf, dresser, etc.

A Fast Five Minutes with Too Sisters Designs:

Carolyn and Tisha, the Too Sisters, have been very busy since we last spoke with them!

Although they've been unusually quiet for the past several months, due to their father's battle with esophageal cancer and subsequent passing on March 20th, many new designs have been in development. By the end of the year, their current product line of 21 charts will almost double as they plan to add another 14 designs to the Too Sisters array.

"It's been a challenge to keep the design process in full-swing during a huge remodeling project, as well as throughout Daddy's illness," Carolyn said. "But now we have a beautiful new living space that doubles as a needlework studio. Good thing, since we basically had 50% of the house demolished and rebuilt over the past few months!" The renovated house signifies much more than added space for the designing duo. It was also discovered that Tisha has a hidden talent for interior design. Her new company, Verdugo Hills Interiors, launched a business association with Dan McCluskey's Crest Construction, catapulting Too Sisters Designs into part of a full-fledged interiors and home accessories company.

"Hey, who knew? Well, okay, the General Contractor knew," Tisha admitted, laughing. "You just never know what's around the corner, which is why the needlework industry so fulfilling. All of a sudden, the needlework design path has taken us in a very exciting direction. Wouldn't it be fun if we ended up like Mary Engelbreit or Lynette Jennings?" In addition to high-end interiors with very creative touches, the future holds promise of both custom-painted furniture and accessories lines. "We're looking forward to taking our love of bright, bold colors into the home accessories market. It might take a while for that to catch on, but good things will happen."

"We're not sure the world is ready for us yet," Carolyn said, giggling, "but they will be soon. Lois Caron will be able to take credit for it all, too, because she gave us our start!"

If you would like to explore how Too Sisters Designs uses overdyed fibers in their work, here is a list of current (and forthcoming) charts featuring products from The Caron Collection:

"North by Loch Ness" - winner of the Nautical Themed contest by The Caron Collection at:


"Friendship Hearts"

"Barb's Batik"

"Ho Ho Ho"

"Happy Hearts"

Too Sisters' Online Classes and Designs Featured on The Caron Collection website include:

"Tulip Trio" at http://www.caron-net.com/mar99files/mar99cla.html

"Winged Wonder" at http://www.caron-net.com/july00files/jul00dch1.html

"Rachel's Box"

For a special Designer Spotlight featuring Tisha and Carolyn and Too Sisters Designs go to:


To learn more, contact the ladies at:

Too Sisters Designs
Post Office Box 10843
Burbank, CA 91510
(818) 559-6567


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of these instructions/project nor the included diagrams/illustrations can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. One-time reproduction privileges provided to our web site visitors for and limited to personal use only.

© 1999 The Caron Collection /Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com