Chester Box Instructions

Please read through all the instructions before starting to stitch.


Cut the 10 pieces for the box, as shown in the cutting diagram, from the sheet of plastic canvas. (If you are not making both boxes, only cut out the sections marked ‘CHESTER’)

Begin by identifying the different pieces of plastic canvas:
1 Lower Base piece, 26 x 26 threads.
4 Base Side pieces, each 26 x 15 threads
1 Lid Top piece, 30 x 30 threads
4 Lid Side pieces, each 30 x 10 threads.

Identify your four yarn colours:
Chose which colour of yarn will be used for the seams and edges, this will become colour ‘B’ on the chart (shown marked with small circles).
Choose which colour of yarn will be used for the main part of the base, this will be colour ‘C’ (shown striped).
The two remaining colours will be colour ‘A’ (shown white on the chart) and colour ‘D’ (shown as black).

I suggest you cut your yarn to a working length of approximately 65-70cm (25-28 inches). Longer lengths are difficult to manage until you have more experience. (I regularly work with yarn lengths of over a metre, but don’t copy me yet!) If you use shorter lengths than 65cm, you will need too many joins and spoil the look of the box.

Cut the following number of 65cm lengths of each colour:
A: 18 lengths
B: 33 lengths
C: 26 lengths
D: 13 lengths
(This includes a reasonable margin for error, but if you make too many mistakes, you may need to cut more.)


The box is not lined, so it is important to make the ‘wrong’ side of the work as neat as possible. Secure each new length of yarn by holding down a ‘tail’ of about 1.5cm (half inch) on the back of the canvas and working the first few stitches over it. Alternatively, run the tail into the back of an adjacent area that is already stitched. Finish off each section by running the yarn into the back of the last few stitches and cutting it close to the surface. Avoid stranding yarn across the back of the work between sections, it will spoil the appearance of your box: finish off the yarn and restart.

Because the back is so neat, it is not always easy to tell which side is which. A quick check before you stitch each new area will save a lot of unpicking!

Work the pieces in the order given, referring to the charts which show the colour, length and direction of every stitch. Take special notice of the number of threads left blank for making up.

Lower Base
This is stitched entirely in colour C. The Diagonal Stitch blocks slope in alternate directions, as shown on the chart. Each length of yarn will work two adjacent blocks — you will need eight lengths for the whole piece. Start in any corner and work in horizontal rows. The outer thread of canvas is left unworked on all four sides. This is used later for seaming the base pieces together.

Base Sides (All 4 Base Side pieces are identical)
The lower part of the piece is worked in blocks in colour C, like the Lower Base. Work the triangular shapes in colour D, following the chart, then work the areas of colour A. Important: 2 threads of canvas are left unworked along the top edge, just 1 thread along the other three sides.

Lid Top
All areas are worked in Diagonal Stitch except where stated. The chart shows the direction and colour of each stitch. The outer thread of canvas is left unworked on all four sides. The areas of colour C are worked first, then the areas of colour D. Work the areas of colour B, making a single straight stitch over two threads at each corner of the central motif. The remaining areas are all worked in colour A. Work Padded Cross Stitches over the four squares of 2 x 2 canvas threads, following the diagram. The straight stitches at the points of the other four central areas are worked over three threads of the canvas.

Lid Sides (All 4 Lid Side pieces are identical)
The areas of Colour C must be worked before filling in the space between them with Colour A. The straight stitch at the point is worked over 3 threads of canvas. Important: 2 threads of canvas are left unworked at the lower edge, 1 thread along the other three sides.


All seams and edges are worked in colour B. Try to keep an even tension on seams and edges, don’t pull the yarn too tight.

Seaming and edging the Base
Align the lower edge of a Base Side to an edge of the Lower Base, with both pieces right side uppermost. Join the two pieces with seam stitch, which is worked in two journeys. (The two edges will try to pull out of line during the first journey. Grip them firmly to prevent this. After the second journey they will lie parallel again.) Join the remaining 3 Base Side pieces to the Lower Base in the same way. Fold the Base Side pieces up until the side edges meet. Starting from the upper edge, work Seam Stitch along each side seam.

Edging Stitch is worked along the upper edges of the Base Sides. The stitch has two movements. In the first the needle is brought through the canvas ‘2 steps forward’ and in the second movement it is brought through ‘1 step back’. This gives a double layer of thread over the open edge, which looks neat and tidy. When you reach a corner, continue across the top of the side seam (treating it as just another thread) to the next side. Make any joins as neat as possible. After stitching all around the edge, run the end of the yarn into the first few stitches to secure it.

Seaming and edging the Lid.
The lid is assembled in exactly the same way as the Base.

Congratulations! Your box is now complete.

Never put the box on a hot surface. To reduce fading, don’t leave it in bright sunshine. An occasional shake to remove dust is all it will usually need, but if it becomes very soiled, it can be washed. Stir a few drops of mild detergent, such as Fairy Liquid, into a bowl of luke-warm water. Separate the base and lid and swish them vigorously through the suds, but don’t rub them. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, shake off excess, easy gently into shape and allow to dry naturally.

Design and instructions (C) SUE JONES 1995 & 2005

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