ISSUE 256, OCTOBER 16, 2020
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Hi <<First Name>>,
The team at Inspirations HQ has recently undertaken a new project.

Now without giving too much away before the book’s official release, we’re working through the process of updating and republishing a particularly popular project from years gone by.

Whilst we’d become intimately acquainted with the project on the pages of its original publication and through seeing the many iterations produced by your needles and threads, for some of us it was the first time we’d seen the piece firsthand.

After spending the day at photography, pouring over and capturing the details of the piece once again, we realised there’s some truth in the saying that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Whilst contempt is far too strong a word for how we felt, we realised that our close association with the project over many years had indeed led to a loss of awe. Perhaps a better way to phrase it, would be to use William Hazlitt’s words:
‘Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes the edge off admiration.’
From its imaginative conception, whimsical design, flawless attention to detail and immaculate construction, we absolutely finished the day with a fresh admiration for the piece and viewed it once again with the respect and wonder it so deserves.

And that made us consider whether familiarity has also taken the edge off our admiration for what we’ve created with needle and thread from years past, and we think it just might have!

We could all do with lifting that all too familiar framed piece off the wall, or pausing to notice afresh the much-used fob hanging from our favourite pair of scissors and appreciate again all that went into the design, stitching and finishing and delight anew in what was created from the work of our hands.
Have Your Say
Samples of Samplers
Antique samplers provide a source of endless fascination for most stitchers. For some, they are the connection with a distant past, personal or otherwise. For others, they represent the excitement of discovery and the pleasure that comes from uncovering a mystery or a long-forgotten story.
After featuring the story of Kathleen Weston’s discovery of Sarah Howell’s Antique Sampler in All Stitched Up! issue #251, we received some terrific emails in response. Adrienne Forsyth shared with us her incredible story of a sampler that came into her possession. Adrienne is from a town called Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, Canada. She was gifted a historic sampler by a friend who had discovered it at a church jumble sale. Adrienne had the piece framed and then she had begun her ‘sleuthing’.
Adrienne’s Sampler, stitched by Martha Ann Coutts in 1881
It turned out that the sampler had been stitched by Martha Ann Coutts in 1881, when she was just 9 years old. Adrienne soon discovered that a child of that very name had been born in Loreburn in 1872, some 130km from Moose Jaw. Historically, the two towns had lain upon the same rail line, which could have provided an explanation as to how the sampler came to be in the church in Adrienne’s hometown.
Martha, it seemed, had never married. And then, purely by coincidence, Adrienne was visited by an acquaintance who had not only known the Coutts family, but whose sister-in-law had apparently known Martha herself. The adult Martha had been a midwife, but the sister-in-law claimed that she was unaware of Martha ever being an embroiderer.
If this was the same person then, Adrienne speculates, the sampler might represent the only stitched output of an individual who had lived, worked and died in the nearby community. As Adrienne says,
‘I enjoy having this touchstone to the past… I feel a connection with that 9-year-old and to the people who found [her sampler] precious enough to be kept throughout the years.’
Helen Bertram was lucky enough to win an auction for an amazing sampler, filled with unusual animals worked in stumpwork, some with fine metal threads.
Helen Bertram’s amazing sampler, c. 1630-1650
This incredible acquisition now has pride of place in her home. Helen states that she doesn’t know much about it save that it was probably stitched circa. 1630-1650, although she loves looking at it and wondering. Perhaps one of our readers might have more information on it?
A love of samplers and historic needlework doesn’t just lead to collecting, but also to the pleasure of re-creation, as Leanne Atkins attests. Like many of us, she constantly collects patterns ensuring that her project basket is always overflowing. But Leanne also took part in a historic project in her home state of Tasmania, namely the Convict Bonnets project.
Her involvement helped her gain a deeper understanding of the skill and contributions made by local convict women whose stories, if it weren’t for their needlework, would undoubtedly have been forgotten.
We’re sure that many readers have experiences and advice to share when it comes to historical needlework. Jackie Williams is just at the beginning of her journey after becoming aware that her local primary school has discovered an old sampler in the school loft.

Unfortunately, the sampler itself is quite stained due to poor framing, so she has requested we put the word out asking whether anyone has advice on how to go about trying to restore it. Email your suggestions to and we’ll pass them on to Jackie.
While not all of us will be fortunate enough to secure a historic sampler, like Helen, or discover a little hidden gem, like Adrienne or Jackie, that doesn’t mean we won’t continue to get excited when we hear these stories. And maybe, just maybe, in a forgotten attic of a distant relative or much-loved neighbour, we too might be lucky enough to discover a piece of stitched history with a fascinating story just waiting to be told.
Needlework News
Inspirations #108 Out Now!
With all that 2020 has thrown at each and every one of us, here at Inspirations we want to do our part to help end the year on a high.
As we get ready for the countdown to Christmas, we’ve produced what arguably may be the very best festive issue of Inspirations magazine yet, aptly themed Merry and Bright.
With a brilliant blend of festive designs and soulful artistic projects for any level of stitcher, Inspirations issue #108 is a standout.
Bringing you all the joy and cheer one expects to find in a Christmas issue of the world’s most beautiful needlework magazine, whatever it is that you love about Christmas, we’ve got it covered.
If it’s the gold, the glitter or the sparkle, then Natalie Dupuis’ Bright Baubles, worked in Or Nué is the perfect place to start.
Karen Newbrook is making her Inspirations magazine debut by sharing with us her glittering goldwork Dasher, leaping joyously from the fabric, while Cynthia Jackson’s beautiful Christmas decoration Peace Dove will bring peace, love, style and elegance to any Christmas tree fortunate enough to be adorned with this stunning piece.
For those who adore the symbols of Christmas, you’ll be itching to stitch Trish Burr’s O, Tannenbaum, worked in her characteristic whitework with colour style. And capturing the very essence of the joy of the season is Nicola Jarvis’s Christmas Robin resplendent with holly leaves, berries and a regal golden crown.
If Christmas to you means taking time to appreciate and enjoy the world around us, you’ll love Anna Scott’s Persian Bounty in this captivating study of a pomegranate plant and dragonfly. Or enjoy the fine detail of Victoria Laine’s Castle Keep worked in an array of canvas stitches.
Finally, we finish our collection of fabulousness from this issue with the perfect project to settle back and luxuriate in ourselves - Deborah Love’s eye pillow, worked in Deerfield and appropriately entitled Relax!.
With so much in this issue to enjoy, so many projects to stitch and with only 10 weeks until Christmas, do yourself a favour and let the Merry and Bright from Inspirations issue #108 shine into your life today.
#108 Kits Out Now
Receiving Inspirations issue #108 is just the beginning of your next stitching wonderland… once it arrives, you’ll be enticed to stitch everything inside!
In anticipation of such urges, each project featured in this issue has a Ready-to-Stitch kit just waiting for us to put your name on it, pop it in the mail and send it out to you.

So… click on the link below, order up a storm and let the Christmas stitch-fest begin!
Browse Kits from Issue #108
#108 Digital Patterns
For the impatient among us, we are fully aware that waiting for something to arrive via snail mail is painful. Having been enticed with all these new projects, you just want to start stitching them… right now in fact!

Well if that’s you, we have a solution! All the projects from Inspirations issue #108 are now available to purchase as digital downloads.
Patience? Who wants patience when I CAN start stitching right now!
Browse Digital Patterns from Issue #108
Christmas Postal Delays
During 2020, postal services all over the world have been significantly disrupted and are taking a lot longer than usual. We’ve managed OK so far, but suddenly, the lights, sounds and joys of Christmas are on the horizon.
To help navigate through the postal delays we’re anticipating in the coming months, we all need to be super organised this year, which means getting our shopping done nice and early.
As a guide, for any orders required before Christmas we highly recommend finalising your shopping no later than Friday 6th November.
This will give us all the best chance possible to have everything arrive at your doorstep on time, rather than get to you after the Christmas decorations have all been packed away!
So remember the earlier your shop, the more likely you are to have a Merry Stitch-mas!
New Inspirations Gift Packs for Christmas
It can be hard to know exactly what gifts to buy for your fellow needlework friends. There are so many wonderful patterns, accessories and trinkets available, where do you begin?
As always, we’re here to help with a brand-new series of stunning gift packs perfect for that friend or family member who loves embroidery as much as you do.
The first in our new series is the Fabulous Fruit Gift Pack.
Put together with lovers of 3D-embroidery in general (and Julie Kniedl in particular) in mind, the gift pack contains:

1 x Ready-To-Stitch Kit for the project ‘An Apple a Day’ by Julie Kniedl
1 x Printed Pattern with instructions to complete the kit
1 x Ready-To-Stitch Kit for the project ‘Grapes’ by Julie Kniedl
1 x Book ‘Botanica’ with instructions to complete the kit
1 x Enamel Pin of the project ‘An Apple a Day’
Just imagine the look on the face of the lucky recipient of this pack. We suspect they’ll soon be missing from the dinner table, as they will have curled themselves up in a corner, needle threaded, ready to start on Julie’s fabulous designs.

The Fabulous Fruit Gift Pack is filled with goodies that normally retail for a combined value of almost AU$270. But we have a limited number of packs available for just AU$150.
Don’t delay – think of the joy of the lucky recipient (especially if it is yourself!) and order your pack today.
And don’t tell anyone, but you can also get a sneak peak of the other gift packs we have available that we’ll be talking about more in the coming weeks here:
Sustainable Fashion
If you have an interest in sustainable fashion, and have ever looked for resources to help provide practical tips and great ideas, then you’ll enjoy checking out the website We The Makers Create.
This isn’t just a website with a few how-to videos, all of the resources introduce you to brand new ideas, delivered by artists, makers and ‘custodians of cultural arts’.

There are also courses and the chance to check out the amazing ‘We The Makers Design Festival’ online. Plus, there are plenty of ideas for the kids as well.
With sustainability on many people’s minds, keeping an eye on this site could become a valuable and unique resource for us all. You can view some of the videos HERE and resources for the kids HERE.
Featured Project
Keeping Cosy by Deborah Love
While the thought of sitting down to ‘High Tea’ on a regular basis sounds delightful, in the 21st Century the tradition of high tea is one we seem to only practice on very special occasions.
Not only would it seem unrealistic to luxuriate over cups of tea and tasty treats for several hours each afternoon, but just imagine all of the calories in the profiteroles, clotted cream and other sweet and delicious delicacies!

High tea, however, wasn’t always such a luxury. In fact, historically, the term ‘high tea’ used to refer to the early evening meal eaten by the working classes and consisting of a hot dish – meat or fish, followed by cakes and jam and bread. The elegant high tea as we now know it was referred to as ‘Afternoon Tea’ and was introduced by Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford in the 1840s.
Anna Maria was tired of feeling that mid-afternoon slump. We all know the feeling – it’s been a while since the last meal but still a long way to go to the next and what we need is a pick-me-up.
For Anna Maria it was worse. During the 1840s, women in particular really only had two meals – breakfast and then dinner, taken quite late, around 8.00-9.00pm. The enormous gap had arisen partly because the men were engaged in business meetings generally conducted over ‘lunch’, which could drag on for hours.
All the while, the women were sitting at home getting hungrier and hungrier!
As such, Anna Maria began having tea and small cakes and sandwiches in the afternoon. She soon started inviting friends over to join her, and before long it became an event where women also could discuss whatever topics they wished which weren’t appropriate for ‘mixed company’.

Tea, at that stage, was very much a luxury item. Because it was still primarily imported from China (tea growing in India didn’t start in earnest until after the Opium Wars in 1839), it was an expensive and valuable commodity. As such, tea drinking was very much a symbol of status.
Thanks to the passage of time and our adaptation of history, we now usually refer to that delightful afternoon meal of Anna Maria Russell’s as High Tea. Not many of us practice the full ceremony, but you don’t need the full range of cakes, sandwiches and scones. You can still enjoy the spirit of high tea with a couple of your favourite biscuits or a slice of cake and a warm pot of tea, kept at just the right temperature by a beautiful, handmade tea cosy.
We can imagine that Anna Maria would have been delighted had her teapot been kept nice and warm covered by Deborah Love’s ‘Keeping Cosy’.
This elegant project has been designed with the purveyor of high tea in mind. The subtle, muted blues which characterise the Deerfield embroidery technique are accentuated by the row of whimsical pom poms which line the seam.
Keeping Cosy, our latest Handpicked project, is ideal for keeping your chosen teapot beautifully covered, with instructions available in both print and digital and as a Ready-to-Stitch kit.

Whether it sits proudly covering your teapot on your kitchen bench or used to keep your pot filled with that wonderful drink for you and a treasured guest to enjoy at just the right temperature, having a beautiful hand stitched Deerfield tea cosy will be quite the talking point.
It does seem a shame that the elegant traditions of the past have been lost so effectively beneath the realities of day to day life in the 21st Century. So many people quickly make a cup of tea in a chipped mug with a teabag tossed in, forgetting that tea is filled with subtle flavours and scents and can be so varied depending on how it is made, how long it has sat in the pot, and what particular type of tea leaves have been used.
Perhaps, once you’ve worked Deborah’s fabulous cosy, you might be encouraged to dust off the old teapot, whether for breakfast or for a special high tea, and, using it to ensure that your favourite beverage is just right, take the time to appreciate the pleasures and flavours involved in a cup of tea.
Make Your Own | Keeping Cosy
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Keeping Cosy by Deborah Love from our Handpicked Range is a charming tea cosy embellished with Deerfield embroidery and bobble trim.
Keeping Cosy
Keeping Cosy
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Keeping Cosy includes everything* you need to re-create this delightful tea cosy: Fabrics (unprinted), trim, batting, embroidery threads and needles.
Keeping Cosy
*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the printed/digital pattern.
Looking for More Tea Cosies?
Time for Tea
Time for Tea by Kelly Fletcher from Inspirations issue #74 is a contemporary tea cosy with simple appliqué in an exciting variety of stitches.
Time for Tea
Inspirations Issue 74
Wood Rose
Wood Rose by Helen Eriksson from Inspirations issue #33 is a delightful tea cosy with old world roses and forget-me-nots.
Wood Rose
Tea Time
Tea Time by Beth Allen from Inspirations issue #64 is a charming little bear tea cosy, resplendent in an ornate pink gown and matching bonnet.
Tea Time
Inspirations Issue 64
What Are You Stitching?
When it comes to choosing subject matter to stitch, animals are not only extremely popular, they are also fascinating to study and can be rather tricky to capture in needle and thread. Some of us are so committed to the cause, we take as much love and care over an animal portrait as the Renaissance painters took over a portrait in oils! In celebration of such pursuits, here are some gorgeous animal portraits for you to enjoy.
Lisa Gibbs
‘I am new to threadpainting but have fallen in love with the technique. I had stitched a few pre-bought patterns but I wanted to try doing something of my own so I rather optimistically chose a portrait of my Border Terrier, Sorrel.’
‘I traced my guide lines from a photograph of her and then got out every shade of brown and gold thread I had in my stash.’
‘It took me three weeks, stitching a few hours every day to finish it but I am really pleased with the end results. Maybe in a few years I will re-stitch this to see how I have improved my technique!’

Wow Lisa, that is amazing… it looks fabulous! You’ve done a magnificent job and created a really striking portrait.
Sharon Gray
‘Boswell is a piece of threadpainting I have just finished. This is a design by Tanja Berlin. I enjoyed working this very much as the instructions are excellent and very easy to follow. Tanja has several wild animal and bird designs and I would love to do them all.’
‘The Burrowing Owl is found in North and South America. Not sure if there are any in Australia but we have it here, in Canada, on the prairies.’

Firstly, Sharon this fellow you have stitched is very striking and your needlework skills have done him proud. Secondly, while we don’t have the Burrowing Owl in Australia, if ever we wanted to find one abroad, thanks to your piece we know exactly what we’re looking for.
Ruth Simons
‘I love being able to make something small for my grandchildren’s birthdays. One of my granddaughters has a great love of lions. She always enjoys the lion enclosure at the zoo, she’s studied the Serengeti at school, she was a lion cub in the school production and then there was the movie ‘The Lion King’.’
‘I took some time on Pinterest to find an idea to work from. I found a photo of a mature male with a ‘kind’ face, so here he is.’

This beautifully stitched portrait is absolutely perfect for a granddaughter who is so passionate about lions Ruth, well done. No doubt your lovely piece will take ‘pride’ of place in her bedroom!

Do you love stitching animal portraits? Or perhaps portraits of people are more your thing? Or do you avoid portraiture altogether, directing your passions towards the abstract? No matter what your style, we’d love to see it. Send a picture of your work and a bit of information about the project and your stitching journey to
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‘Admiration and familiarity are strangers.’
~ George Sand ~
What's On
Stay informed of upcoming needlework events taking place all around the world in our new What’s On page on the Inspirations Studios Website HERE.
If you’re holding an event or would like to suggest one to be added, we’d love to hear about it. Email us the details at
© 2020 Inspirations Studios

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