ISSUE 197, AUG 2 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
Have you ever heard someone use the words, ‘Oh, she’s just creative’ to describe your temperament and skillset?

These words were most likely spoken without the intent to criticize or wound, but there’s a certain dismissiveness about them that can make us question the value of our creativity.

The Three Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic were most likely the primary focus of each of our educations, with creative subjects such as art relegated to a single lesson each week - if we were lucky!

Whilst creativity is used to solve problems in school, business and everyday life, somehow the creativity we employ when it comes to our love of needle and thread isn’t always valued as highly, hence the phrase, ‘Oh, she’s just creative’.
Yet our creativity not only allows us a meditative escape from our everyday that refreshes and renews our souls, it means that we can label ourselves makers, producers and contributors!
In a world that so often focuses on consumption rather production, our time with needle and thread allows us to be creative contributors to the world around us and the value this adds to the people and spaces that surround us should never be diminished.

We’d love to hear how you celebrate your creative tendencies and how your love of needle and thread allows you to contribute to the world around you. Email us at
World of Needlework
Game of Threads
Whether the world-renowned TV program ‘Game of Thrones’ was your cup of tea or not, we can all agree the incredible work that went into the costume design for this visually rich series, and that of any fantasy/period project for that matter, is both a credit to the ateliers involved and an inspiration to us all.
After all, it’s a wonderful feeling to see the same skills and techniques we use in our own needlework, showcased on the world stage for all to see.
This week we’re bringing you some highlights from our interview with Game of Throne costume embroiderer and designer Michele Carragher as featured in Inspirations Magazine issues #85 and #86.
Michele Carragher in her London studio
With a background in art and fashion design, Michele draws inspiration from nature, architecture, jewellery and historical textiles. The first inkling of interest in costume design came in her teens when she took a lead role in making costumes for the amateur theatrical productions of her Girl Guide group. From there she began working on short film projects and television productions in which Michele gravitated toward the decoration, embellishment and illustration areas of costume design. Working as the Principal Costume Embroiderer for HBO's Elizabeth I in 2005, most recently Michele has unleashed her creative talents in embroidery on Game of Thrones.

To what extent are the embroidery designs inspired by and interwoven with the back story of the characters?

‘Whether you are working on a contemporary, period or fantasy TV or film production a costume is always a fundamental device to present a character’s personality to an audience. Each costume with its cut, colour, style, and small details, is a very important narrative tool that can express much to a viewer. One of the smaller details of a costume can be that of embroidery. My work as an embroiderer entails visualising and capturing what the Costume Designer wants for a specific character’s costume.’
LEFT: Detail from Sansa's wedding dress MIDDLE & RIGHT: Cersei Lannister's blue bird dress
‘To give you an idea of how long I spend on some of the embroideries, Cersei's lion emblems for Sansa's wedding took me around 8 days, Cersei's blue bird kimono around 14 days, Sansa's wedding dress band around 10 days and Danaerys’s dragonscale costumes, depending on the amount of embellishment, between 3-10 days on each.’

Can you give us some idea of the stitch techniques that you use, plus the types and variety of threads and other embellishments?

‘After many years employed in textile conservation, working on many different textiles from around the world and different periods in time, I have had to use different stitches, techniques and materials. This has been invaluable training for my work in costume embroidery, not only for inspiration, technique and execution but to build up speed in my stitching and I have gained the skill and knowledge estimating how long the work may take me to do. I will use many different threads and materials to suit each particular character. For the design on Catelyn Stark's collars, Michele Clapton, the costume designer, had shown me a couple of old textile images from The V&A Museum. These were details from the Butler-Bowden cope c 1330-1350 which she liked the style of.’
‘I love poetry and relate to it, not by quoting lines in my work, but through the inspiration that is offered by the free spirit of poets.’
Dragonscale Dress

‘In Season 4, I developed the dragonscale embroidered texture for the character of Daenerys. I wanted to achieve a stronger, more regal feel to her costumes, so I added more jewels and beads to this cross over strap dress to enhance the scale effect which featured predominantly on the shoulder area.’
Daenerys Dragonscale Dress
‘I added various metal beads along with small Miyuki Delica and seed beads. Some sat in antique silver jump rings stitched around the jewelled smocked pieces. I also used feather stitch in places to blend the mesh wire sections into the blue silk, mixing a grey, a blue and a silver thread.’

‘At the shoulder edge, I stacked beads on a base of mesh wire to give an armour-like feel, echoed on the under layers of the shoulder pieces.’
Qarth beetles, moths and grasshoppers
Do you ever grow tired all the long hours and hard work meeting deadlines?

‘No, I don’t get tired of working on Game of Thrones as the style of the show has given me the freedom to push the boundaries within my own work. It is a great project to work on as because it’s a fantasy there are no restrictions regarding period, place, style, or materials.’

To read Michele’s interview in full, you’ll find part one in Inspirations magazine issue #85 and part two in issue #86.
Needlework News
Inspirations Calendar | August Project
One of the things we love about the Inspirations calendar hanging in our office, is seeing the featured projects in large format print. As the dimensions of the calendar are larger than any of our magazines or books, the designs adorning each page come alive in a way not seen in any of our other publications – you can really immerse yourself in every stitch and every minute detail.

When you turn the page on your calendar to reveal the month of August, you’ll see ‘Cornus’ by Julie Kniedl from our book A Passion for Needlework in all its glory.
This beautiful, lifelike spray of soft pink dogwood magically fashioned from fabric, silk thread and slender wires, is perfect to the last botanical detail.

For the very first time, the project Cornus is now available to purchase as a digital pattern, so now you can bring your Inspirations calendar to life and stitch your very own Cornus flower.
Inspirations 2020 Calendar | Big, Bold & Beautiful
For anyone who appreciates the fine art of stitching, there is no bigger, bolder and more beautiful way to celebrate needlework than with the Inspirations 2020 wall calendar.
12 of the world’s most beautiful needlework projects reproduced in high definition print, so large and so real it will take your breath away.

Buy a copy for yourself, your friends, your family, your pets… we’re confident anyone and everyone who sees this calendar will appreciate needlework in a whole new way.
Inspirations Calendar 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen, Printed Patterns Now Available
What was once old is new again. Vinyl records, Apricot Chicken, 1980’s fashion - there are a lot of things the world is re-discovering, and print is one of them. The age of the digital revolution is a wonder to behold, but for some of us, that tactile experience of physically holding something can never be replaced. And so it is with Inspirations Patterns!
We get it – it’s not always practical to follow instructions off a digital device and printing large pattern sheets at home can be tricky. So, as of today, we’re bringing back Printed Patterns!

Inspirations Printed Patterns are premium quality booklets with a laminated cover, pull-out pattern sheet and comprehensive step-by-step instructions for the featured design, exactly as they appear in Inspirations Magazine.

Starting with Inspirations issue #103, every project will be available individually in both digital and print.
Plus, we’ve just released projects from Inspirations Magazine issue #100 as printed patterns as well – which is handy seeing this issue is now out of print!

Then, there is our huge back catalogue of over 1,000 designs we’re looking to make available in the future, so if you have a specific project you’d like to purchase as a Printed Pattern, email us HERE and we’ll try and add it to our line-up for you.
Printed Patterns are an ideal way of keeping your magazine in pristine condition, make a terrific gift for a friend or family member or are simply a much lighter and portable way of carrying around the instructions for a project you’re working on.

Browse our new range of Printed Patterns today.
Game of Thrones Tapestry
Although the conclusion of the television series ‘Game of Thrones’ may have left some fans devastated, a tapestry in Ireland’s Ulster Museum depicting events from the series will provide fans the craving they need.
Image: Ann McManus (source)
After being garnered from The Embroiders Guild and Northern Island Patchwork guild, volunteers set to work creating a tapestry clocking in at 77 metres long!
Image: Ann McManus (source)
The remarkable art piece heavily utilises the genius of the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, both in style and concept. They both characterise intense battles, illustrated through the elegant art form of embroidery.
Image: Ann McManus (source)
Six volunteers worked in tight, cramped conditions around an 11-metre-long panel at any one time.

Learn more about this astonishing piece in this article from The Irish News HERE
Blackwell Roundel Kits – More Coming…
After featuring Jenny Adin-Christie’s project ‘Blackwell Roundel’ in issue #194 of our newsletter, so many people fell in love with it that we received numerous enquiries asking if we’re planning on creating any more Ready-To-Stitch kits.
So we spoke to a gal, who knows a gal and she spoke to her gals and the good news is we have arranged for more stock to arrive soon.

To ensure you don’t miss out on this new allocation, pre-order your Blackwell Roundel kit today.
Blackwell Roundel
Featured Project
An Apple a Day by Julie Kniedl
Down here in the south of Australia where the Inspirations offices are, it is well and truly winter! The weather has got colder, the nights have got darker and all our winter coats have come out. Unlike many parts of the world which enjoy fruit from all over regardless of the weather, we tend to be at the mercy of the seasons.
At this time of year our fruit choices diminish significantly to predominantly apples and pears. But what an array of apples we have! Just walk through the fruit and vegetable aisle of any supermarket and you’re spoilt for choice. In every shade from rich ruby red through to shiny green, yellow and pink, there are so many types of apples available we never feel as if we’re missing out during the colder months.
And what could be jollier than a bowl of ripe, crisp apples on the table?
You can just imagine them being plucked from the tree on a frosty morning, still speckled with drops from the rain shower which fell on them overnight. You reach for one, your mouth watering slightly as you anticipate the sweet, tart flavour and the satisfying crunch as your teeth sink into the fruit.
So, when nature already gives us such flawless little pieces of beauty, why, I hear you ask, would you want to recreate it with needle and thread? Well, it is because they are flawless little pieces of beauty that it feels right to preserve them. Julie Kneidl was, without a doubt, a master of three-dimensional embroidery. Her ability to observe the intricacies within nature and then translate them into embroidery was second to none. Each kernel of corn, each flower of a cauliflower or, in this case, each splash of colour on the surface of this delicate apple was simply perfect.
This particular piece has been worked using wools rather than the regular stranded cotton or silk. As such, it makes use of the wonderfully forgiving nature of the fibre to produce the dappled effect on the side of the apple in long and short stitch.
The stitches are worked over the top of a stuffed, felt base and requires the embroiderer to use their own creativity.
No two apples are ever alike in nature and it is important to remember that no two embroidered apples will ever be alike either.
Although you should use the example in the magazine as a guide as to where to blend your colours, your apple will ultimately have its own look, unlike any other.
Many of us are glad to see the back of winter and look forward to longer days, warmer temperatures and all the summer fruits arriving in the shops that go along with it. However, by working Julie’s apple, or better still working two, three or even a whole bowlful, you can enjoy the colours and delights of autumn in your house all year around.
Make Your Own | An Apple a Day
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

An Apple a Day by Julie Kniedl is an irresistible red apple in three-dimensional embroidery.
Inspirations Issue 103
An Apple a Day
An Apple a Day
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for An Apple a Day includes everything you need to re-create this luscious apple: Fabric (unprinted), wool felt, wires, embroidery threads and needles.

Special Note: Instructions are not included in our kits. Please refer to the magazine for detailed information on how to create the project.
An Apple a Day
Step 3 – How About A Hoop?
If you are planning on stitching ‘An Apple a Day’ (well maybe not one every day, although it’s probably just as healthy to stitch them as it is to eat them!) you’ll need a 4” hoop and we’ve got some of the best quality hoops around now available to purchase from our website for your stitching pleasure.
Nurge Embroidery Hoop | Size 1 (4”)
Looking for More Fruit?
Festive Fruit
Festive Fruit by Denise Forsyth from Inspirations issue #96 is a selection of fabulous strawberries made from linen textured with pulled thread embroidery.
Festive Fruit
Inspirations Issue 96
Natural Beauty
Natural Beauty by Fiona Hibbett from Inspirations issue #87 is an 18th century naturalist's study interpreted in stitch.
Inspirations Issue 87
Plums and Honeysuckle
Plums and Honeysuckle by Susan O'Connor from Inspirations issue #57 features plump purple plums and sweet golden honeysuckle.
Plums and Honeysuckle
Inspirations Issue 57
The Golden Pomegranate
The Golden Pomegranate by Margaret Cobleigh from Inspirations issue #61 is a stunning pomegranate, beautifully represented in this richly ornamented goldwork study.
The Golden Pomegranate
Inspirations Issue 61
What Are You Stitching?
The back cover of the book ‘Botanica | The Three-Dimensional Embroidery of Julie Kniedl’ explains her work by stating that ‘Drawing subject matter from the natural world, simple materials and techniques are combined with ingenuity and a meticulous approach to create stunning flowers, intriguing succulents, graceful foliage and much more.’

This week we’re sharing the work of the Inspirations Community who have also taken their inspiration from nature, combined it with simple materials and techniques that have allowed them to produce simply stunning results!
Cynthia Long
‘I began learning embroidery from my grandmother at the very young age of four. I still have my first piece ever, a kitten, and it reminds me of where I came from.
As a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, most of my work was composed of embroidering my jeans with flowers.
While playing in the Society for Creative Anachronism, my attention was caught one day by a 15th Century German alms pouch and everything changed! I began embroidering and embellishing in earnest. My focus was clothing and accessories from 14th Century England, the Central Asian Steppes and Norse cultures.’
‘I create all my own designs; I love pencil and paper. My favorite needlework techniques include applique, crewel, Medieval and Elizabethan techniques.
That said, give me the basics; chain, stem and blanket stitch, and I'm in heaven! It's amazing what those three stitches can accomplish.
I swoon over natural fibers, especially wool, wool felt and cotton velveteens and prefer threads of silk/wool blends, wool, pearl cotton and linen. I dream of going to England and taking classes at the Royal School of Needlework or reproducing clothing in Colonial Williamsburg. It could happen, right?!’
Cynthia, your pouch speaks to your love of natural fibres. Combined with your inspiration from nature, your stitching has created a pouch that is warm, textured and somehow invites us to hold it so we too can enjoy its warmth and texture!
Elaine Rodgers
‘I bought this kit for the project ‘Graceful Butterfly’ when Inspirations Magazine issue #52 arrived but had not had time to get stitching until recently. A few more years of experience have probably improved the finished piece, especially a couple of goldwork classes from Anna Scott and Nicola Jarvis.’
‘My grandmother taught me lazy daisy, satin and stem stitch when I was eight years old and I have always had something on the go, but career and children meant it took a very long time to complete anything. I am still working but now have an empty nest - even my granddaughter has started school, so time is finally available!’
Elaine, your version of Tanja Berlin’s Graceful Butterfly is as every bit as graceful as her original! We love that inspiration from nature combined with the eye-catching technique of blackwork can produce such simple, but incredible results.
Kathleen Klein
‘I designed a wool fish quilt with lots of embellishments!’
As always Kathleen, you work is interpretive, colourful and has a certain whimsy about it. We love that nature can inspire such joy!

Has nature inspired you to create something with your needles and threads? We’d love to see what it inspired! Email photos of what you’ve created along with a few details about the inspiration nature provided to
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A Fine Tradition
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This Week on Social
This is amazing...
Prism by Natalie Dupuis in issue #103
‘Creativity is intelligence having fun.’
~ Albert Einstein ~
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
© 2019 Inspirations Studios

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