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ISSUE 69  | November 18, 2016

Hi <<First Name>>,

This week’s issue of Embroidery News is a bit like that trick where a magician starts pulling silk scarves from the inside of their sleeve and one after another, after another the scarves just keep going on and on…

That’s how much needlework we’ve packed into this week for you!

With so much to get through we’re just going to jump straight into it and get started right after our town crier Christmas update:

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  Citizens of Inspirations Town there are 5 weeks till Christmas and what do you have to show for it?  Show me your stitching!  And be quick while you’re at it.

Do you have something to share?  We’d love to hear from you!  Email us at:


The town crier reminded us that with only 5 weeks till Christmas, we have to double up on the projects from Inspirations issue #92 this week to get through them all before the end of the year.  So it’s a bumper Inspirations Magazine Update, with the project ‘Circa 1756’ up first and then scroll down to check out ‘Santa’s Helpers

CIRCA 1756

Crewelwork is an extremely popular needlework technique these days and often associated with modern-day designers such as Hazel Blomkamp, Susan Porter, Anna Scott, Margaret Light etc.

However, Crewel Embroidery hasn’t always been as fashionable as it is today, and in many ways it is thanks to the passion and vision of one very patient and persistent lady, Barbara Jackson, that we enjoy so much crewelwork in today’s needlework landscape.

We are honoured to feature yet another Barbara Jackson design in Inspirations, and this week we take a look at ‘Circa 1756’ from issue #92.

Circa 1756’ is a dainty wall pocket incorporating a traditional crewel design worked in a range of beautiful wool threads to echo the style and colours that were so popular in the mid 1700’s.

To read the full story of Barbara Jackson’s fascinating Crewelwork journey and how she played a key role in bringing Crewelwork to prominence in the 1990’s, check out her contributor profile in issue #92.  Suffice to say she was so determined to bring the technique back into vogue that she partnered with an experienced thread dyer to create her own range of threads we now know today as ‘Heathway Crewel’.  These premium merino wool threads reflect a unique colour range to match the traditional designs of the 17th and 18th centuries.  Each colour family has nine shades making it a Crewel embroiderer's dream.

Circa 1756’ was chosen as the name by Barbara as a date when fabrics for the bedroom were decorated with crewel embroidery. She thought about how a fragment left over from a large project that would have been typically undertaken at that time, such as a bed valance, curtains, bed heads etc. could be used.  And so this gorgeous hanging pocket was created complete with rolling hills, flowers, berries, a peacefully resting lamb and the trademark hillocks.

Fun Fact: Crewel vs Jacobean

Although technically crewel embroidery refers to a specific type of wool thread, there is a historical connection to Jacobean crewel embroidery of the 17th century that is based on flora and fauna and Tree of Life designs. These styles of designs are instantly recognisable through the use of hillocks with a ‘tree’ bearing different flowers and leaves on arching boughs.


Step 1/. – Purchase Inspirations Issue #92

Circa 1756’ by Barbara Jackson is featured in Inspirations issue #92.  Complete with a comprehensive project requirements list, detailed instructions and illustrations on block shading and needlewoven bars, all the steps are covered off.

> Printed copies of issue #92 are now available to order HERE.

Step 2/. – Purchase Circa 1756 Kit

Kit contains everything you need to re-create this superb wall pocket which when finished measures 25cm x 16cm wide (10" x 6 ¼”).

Ready To Stitch Kit contains: fabrics, wadding, interfacing, mother of pearl ring, embroidery threads and needles. With the inclusion of some of the finest threads available on the market today including Au ver a Soie, Gloriana and Heathway, this kit is a needleworker’s delight.

> Purchase ‘Circa 1756’ Kit HERE.


Barbara has created some of our all-time most popular projects featured in Inspirations Magazine over the years, including:

‘Summer Garden’ - issue #40

Summer Garden’ by Barbara Jackson is a beautiful traditional crewelwork sewing purse.

> Purchase printed copies of Inspirations issue #40 HERE.

‘Woodland Berries’ – issue #67

Woodland Berries’ by Barbara Jackson is a collection of charming crewel needlework accessories.

> Purchase Digital Download of ‘Woodland BerriesHERE.

‘Needle Nook’ – issue #70

Needle Nook’ by Barbara Jackson is a stylish cream linen needlebook, embroidered with wool threads.

> Purchase printed copies of Inspirations issue #70 HERE.
> Purchase Digital Download of ‘Needle NookHERE.

'Little Bits' – issue #78

‘Little Bits’ by Barbara Jackson helps you keep stitching supplies close at hand with these dainty crewel embroidered accessories.

> Purchase printed copies of Inspirations issue #78 HERE.
> Purchase Digital Download of ‘Little BitsHERE.

Barbara Jackson Website

You can also visit Barbara’s website ‘Tristan Brooks’ and check out more of her projects plus kits she has available and the full range of Heathway threads HERE.


We’ve often shared how the act of being involved in one’s own needlework has life altering benefits, but we recently heard from Shirley Luttrell who found life altering benefits in the needlework of others . . .

‘I wish to voice my thanks for the ‘What’s On’ segment in Embroidery News, as four months ago I was affected by complications of Shingles which required a lot of specialized exercises - even stitching to retrain my eyes to focus!  A couple of weeks ago in Embroidery News, I read of three events that were on in Melbourne and my husband and I decided to challenge me - we booked our plane fares and accommodation in Melbourne and away we went for five days.

map courtesy of

We walked to Federation Square and ‘The Making of the Australian Quilt’ exhibition at the Art Gallery of Victoria.  I’m not a quilter but these quilts, especially the Rajah quilt made by convict women during their voyage on board the Rajah told so many stories. 

The Rajah Quilt made by Unknown Convict Women

The next day we ventured into the suburbs and went to ‘The Secret Garden’ exhibition by The Embroiderers’ Guild of Victoria - great imagination and skills! 

Then off to Brighton and the machine embroidery display from the works of Annemieke Mien, ‘Habitat’.  I have admired her work through pictures and articles for many years, but to actually see her magnificent work and the planning processes involved was thrilling.  When I realised that Mrs Mien was present at the gallery, I couldn’t resist speaking to her and thanking her for the pleasure that her designs and works of art had provided.  She was as gracious as her work is beautiful.

Splash! By Anniemieke Mein

What a weekend of delights!  Thank you to Embroidery News for providing the information that has given both my husband and I a badly needed boost so that we arrived home much more confident about the future.’

Amazingly that is not where the story finishes…. not only did Shirley return home with a new outlook on her future, but she was able to share the photos she had taken at the quilt exhibition over a lovely morning tea with friends and ‘one lady was delighted to see them as her daughter was about to make a special trip down from Canberra to the exhibition and now she feels she has shared something of what her daughter will see and be able to comment.’

Shirley, we’re humbled that Embroidery News was able to play a small part in your new found confidence and we love that the sharing of your needlework adventure was able to connect a mother to her daughter – your story absolutely shows that the benefits of needlework will touch our lives and the lives of others in ways we’d never imagined!


New Digital Pattern Added This Week

The Work Basket by Carolyn Pearce from Inspirations issue #21 is now available as a digital download.  This beautiful project is all about taking a humble cane basket and transforming it into a work of art, designed to store your own works of art in progress!

> To purchase click HERE



We all need a little help from time to time and these little guys might just be what you need to help you make it through the festive season.

Santa’s Helpers by Jenny McWhinney are six cheeky elves, dressed in their finest clothes, and bringing all the things you need to make a perfect celebration; a delicious pudding, a Christmas tree and a sparkling decoration, a lamp, a sweetly singing robin and a warmly glowing candle.

It’s always a special treat when the Inspirations editorial team meet with Jenny and her husband Ron to discuss upcoming projects for the magazine.

Jenny creates the most amazing drawings of her gorgeous characters ranging from dancing mice, to chatting birds, to the cutest of elephants and this time around to mischievous Elves!

Each ornament hangs from a twisted cord loop and is backed with a cotton print and finished with a beaded edge and jingling bell.  But, these are no ordinary run of the mill elves, rather they are adorned in the finest silk and cotton threads and for the perfect finishing touch, trimmed with glistening Swarovski crystals.

So why not add some fun and adventure into your Christmas and decorate your tree with these hopefully helpful, most likely trouble with a capital T, Elves.


Step 1/. – Purchase Inspirations Issue #92

Santa’s Helpers’ by Jenny McWhinney is featured in Inspirations issue #92.  Complete with a comprehensive project requirements list, detailed instructions and special tips on creating different faces and detached ears, all the steps are covered.

> Printed copies of issue #92 are now available to order HERE.

Step 2/. – Purchase ‘Santa’s Helper’s’ Kit

Jenny is selling kits for this project direct via her website.  Click HERE to visit her site and browse her range of kits.


We have a bit of an ode to Inspirations contributors this week in ‘What Are You Stitching', with three projects coming from three very popular designers, Jenny McWhinney, Susan Porter and Elisabetta Sforza. 

Liz Shanks from Bowral in New South Wales, Australia gets us started by bringing to life some of Jenny McWhinney’s adorable characters

‘Hello, I Thought I would send a pic of a completed baby rug for our new grandson William Stanford Shanks. William is our 8th grandson and all get an embroidered blanket that is much used and loved.  Many thanks to Jenny McWhinney for so much inspiration (and fun).... Best regards, Liz.’

Judging by the gorgeous blanket you have created for William Liz, it sounds like there is a long line of very spoilt Grandchildren in the Shank family indeed!  Jenny McWhinney will be so pleased to see the amazing job you have done using her cute mice Liz, in fact she’ll be taking a short break to read EN this week as she and Ron put the finishing touches on their new store opening next week.

Now to Debbie Blewitt from Pukekohe in New Zealand who has done Susan Porter very proud….

Kiaora Inspirations, I’ve just completed ‘Modern Crewel’ from Issue #90, which my daughter bought as a kit for my birthday (after I told her to!).  Most of the techniques/stitches were new to me as I’ve only been stitching for a few years, but it has been immensely satisfying and addictive. I found it challenging, especially trying to stitch the top layer of the pomegranate through four layers of chain stitch. However, despite sore, pierced fingers I got there and am really pleased with the finished work. Thanks for the education and the beauty.  Kind regards Debbie.

We love hearing stories like yours Debbie, where brave stitchers tackle new techniques for the first time - and just look at the results… stunning!  You have mastered ‘Modern Crewel’ in your first attempt, so well done and Susan Porter will be so excited to see your achievements.

Modern Crewel ‘Ready To Stitch Kits’ from Inspirations issue #90 are still available.  To purchase click HERE.

Trini Folliot from Naples in Florida USA is up next:

‘Hello there, I would like to share with you my Elisabetta embroidered "F" as instructed in your Inspiration magazine from issue #89.  I love it !!!  My plan is to cover the lid of a box.  The instructions are easy to follow and a joy to embroider.  Thank you for featuring these talented artists.

I also would like to share with you my Whitework project.  I took a class with Veronique Ernoul, voted Best Artisan of France in Broderie Blanche in 2011.  It was a week of utter pleasure, I learned quite a lot and now on to practice, practice and practice. Regards, Trini Folliot

Trini you are a very talented stitcher indeed.  Your floral monogrammed ‘f’ is exceptional, we can hardly tell the difference form the original featured in the magazine.  Elisabetta will be over the moon when she sees it.  Then there is your exquisite Whitework piece – it’s just divine.  If all this is before your practice, practise, practise, we can only imagine what you’ll be showing us next!

Our final piece for this week is an original design by María del Valle from France:

‘I would like to share with you my finished Angel piece which was like a present to myself as I completed it on my birthday! It’s embroidered using the technique black work.  I hope you like it.’

Ah Maria, what a treat you have given us and yet it is you who had the Birthday!  Your Angel is an incredible piece of needlework, the shading you have incorporated into the design is remarkable, so subtle yet striking all at once.  Your choice of threads, combination of tones and use of different stitches have all combined to create a true masterpiece.  Well done and thank you for sharing it with us.

What Are YOU Stitching?  We’d love to see it… send your photos, a description of the project and a little about yourself including where you live, to


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Otherwise email us anytime at



Looking for a fabulous Christmas gift to razzle and dazzle a fellow needlework lover this year?  We have compiled a list of the best-selling Inspirations / Stitch.ology items for 2016 and the great news is they are all still available for purchase. 

                                 2016 BEST SELLERS


‘Monograms - The Art Of Embroidered Letters’ by Susan O’Connor

A hand stitched monogram has a timeless appeal and provides a source of infinite fascination for the embroiderer.  Book includes eight beautiful projects ranging from tiny cross stitch sachets, to an exquisite handbag and sumptuous wool and cashmere blanket.  Alphabets and pattern sheets are also provided.

Terrific gift for anyone who has an interest in stitching letters or creating personalised items.

> To Purchase Monograms click HERE.

‘Inspirations – A Passion For Needlework’

Showcases exquisite and innovative hand stitched pieces presented like never before.  Twelve brand new masterpieces with each project revealing its own story through galleries of lush photography, evocative imagery and meticulous how-to instructions, all for your stitching pleasure.

The perfect book for anyone who uses a needle and thread or has an appreciation for needlework.

> To Purchase A Passion For Needlework click HERE.

Home Sweet Home – An Embroidered Workbox’ by Carolyn Pearce

Discover the hidden secrets of this exquisite embroidered workbox.  This charming English cottage, beautifully decorated with a garden of stitches, opens to reveal 9 gorgeous accessories and includes storage for all your notions.

Great gift for anyone who already has it all.

> To Purchase ‘Home Sweet Home’ click HERE.


Chatelaine’ by Susan O’Connor is one of the most exquisite and popular set of needlework accessories ever published by Inspirations.  Kit includes fabrics, mother of pearl rings, glass head pins, bead, ribbon, paillettes Au ver au soie threads and needles.  For instructions please purchase a copy of Inspirations issue #89.

> To Purchase ‘Chatelaine’ kit click HERE.
> To Purchase Inspirations issue 89 click HERE.

‘Modern Crewel’ by Susan Porter is a unique combination of a traditional design stitched with contemporary colours.

Kit includes: fabrics (unprinted), felt, beads, embroidery threads (excludes sewing thread) and needles.  For instructions please purchase a copy of Inspirations issue #90.

> To Purchase ‘Modern Crewel’ kit click HERE.
> To Purchase Inspirations issue 90 click HERE.


The World’s Most Beautiful Needlework Calendar.

Be inspired all year round with this stunning 16 month wall calendar featuring exquisite projects from Inspirations Magazine. 

> To Purchase Inspirations 2016/17 Calendar click HERE.

‘Dandelyne™ Mini Hoops’ are tiny replicas of the real thing and are available as either a wearable brooch or can hang from a chain so that you have a perfect, personalised piece of embroidered jewellery.

> Browse our range of Mini Hoops HERE.

MORE THAN OVER 175 Digital Patterns Now Available

The liberation of the Inspirations Magazine library is underway!  Each week new projects from previous issues of Inspirations are added as Digital Downloads for your stitching pleasure.  We even take requests!  If there is a particular project you would like to purchase as a Digital Download, email us at and we’ll add it to the list.

> Browse recently added Digital Patterns HERE.


Wow, just gorgeous.



So very talented.....


Love this!


" Sew cloth together patiently and with care for your industry will be rewarded beyond all measure."
~ Unknown ~


What: Opus Anglicanum | Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery
Where: Room 38 | Victoria & Albert Museum
When: to 5 Feb
Details: Click HERE

What: Undressed | A Brief History of Underwear
Where: Room 40 | Victoria & Albert Museum
When: to 12 Mar
Details: Click HERE

What: RSN | Stories in Stitch Exhibition
Where: Hampton Court Palace
When: to 31 Mar
Details: Click HERE

What: The Bobbin Tree Opens | Jenny McWhinney’s Embroidery Boutique | NEW DATE
Where: 31 Payneham Road College Park , South Australia
When: 22 Nov @ 10:00

What: Albury Wodonga Doll, Bear & Hobby Show
Where: Mirambeena Community Centre | Martha Mews Lavington, New South Wales
When: 26 & 27 Nov
Details: Click HERE

What: Bungendore Quilt Exhibition
Where: Bungendore War Memorial Hall | Molonglo Street Bungendore, Australian Capital Territory
When: 26 & 27 Nov
Details: Click HERE

What: The Embroiderers’ Guild Queensland | Christmas Fair
Where: 149 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley, Queensland
When: 27 Nov
Details: Click HERE

Send us details about events, exhibitions and celebrations happening in your place of stitch and we’ll include them in Embroidery News. Contact us at

Happy Stitching
The Embroidery News Team

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