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ISSUE 80  | Mar 10, 2017

Hi <<First Name>>,

Stitch Yourself Free.

We all need a break.  At times we even need to escape.  Modern life is fast, manic and unrelenting.  It is the antithesis of stitching.  

Stitching is calm, considered, creative, soothing and best of all productive.  At the end of this beautifully meditative process, we even have a finished project, something wonderful to show for it.

Healthy eating campaigns are increasing their fervour in promoting less processed foods and sugars and more fruits and vegetables.  If we’re honest, we already know that, but it seems not enough are doing it, so we must be reminded.

Too much stress, anxiety and pressure in our lives does not make for a healthy or happy us, and we all need to take time out to rejuvenate and recharge.  Again we already know that but are probably not doing it enough.

So we must simply find more time to stitch!

When re-arranging our weekly schedules to include buying more vegetables and getting more exercise, make sure you put Needlework high on the priority list and start stitching yourself free.

Share your needlework journey with us at



This week we heard from Joan Haines from Tewkesbury in the UK who has an incredibly powerful story about the benefits needlework has brought to her life. Be careful though - you might need to read with tissues in hand!

‘I eagerly await your newsletter every week and enjoy reading readers’ letters so I thought you may be interested in my story . . . I fell in love with embroidery when I was quite young while watching a friend’s mother stitching the lovely colours. Self-taught and learning as I went along, I used to embroider on any scrap of fabric I could find until I was able to buy my own.’

‘In 1959 I was married and expecting my first child and suffered greatly from insomnia and sickness. My friends urged me to see a doctor and get some relief as medication was freely available, but I had just bought a pair of cushion covers printed with a Crewel pattern that I was eager to try. So I spent those early hours stitching away. My two cushion covers completed, I was well pleased and eventually my baby was born. Unknown to me at the time, if I had gone to the doctors I would have been given Immunoprin and my beautiful daughter would most probably have been born a thalidomide child.’

‘Over the years I have always had projects in hand, many from Inspirations. Elephant and Ducks blankets for my granddaughter in Melbourne which she loves. My Stumpwork teapot from one of your earlier magazines holds pride of place on my wall together with many others but I will always treasure my crewel cushions, which have survived the test of time and remember how my embroidery raised me above the need for sleep. With best wishes, Joan.’

What incredible trophies of grace your crewel cushions and daughter are Joan, not to mention an ever-present reminder of the far-reaching benefits of needlework!


Last week’s selections of floral themed projects were so popular, we’ve included a couple more just for all the flower lovers out there, both from Inspirations #61:


Earth’s Bounty’ by Heather Scott from Inspirations #61 is a set of four white linen placemats showcasing an artfully portrayed pink coneflower, flax flower, chamomile and spotted geranium.

> Earth’s Bounty – Digital Download Pattern Available HERE
> Earth’s Bounty - Inspirations #61 Available In Print HERE


Stitched onto cream silk with vibrant silk threads in rich shades of sky blue, avocado and cream, ‘Royal Bluebells’ by Annette Rich is an amazing stumpwork picture of native bluebells.

> Royal Bluebells – Digital Download Pattern Available HERE
> Royal Bluebells - Inspirations #61 Available In Print HERE



Can you hear that?  It’s called a warble.  That’s the sound Australian magpies make as they merrily sing whilst hanging out in backyards, parklands, cities and country towns across Australia.  The sound is so famous, there is even a children’s book called ‘Waddle Giggle Gargle’ by Pamela Allen which does a great job mimicking the Magpie warble using the words ‘Waddle Giggle Gargle Paddle Poodle’. 

Photos courtesy Aperture-Man

Making the Magpie even more famous is Gary Clarke who has fashioned a collection of striking bird-themed stitched brooches, one of which features our fine black and white melodic friend.  Another bird Gary included in his brooch flock is best known for their piercing screeching squawks – the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, whose mischievous glance has been captured beautifully by Gary using his needle and thread.

For the third design Gary chose the far more diminutive and quiet bird the Silvereye, and all of these birds are relishing in their 15 minutes of fame thanks to Gary’s lively depiction of our wonderful  feathered friends.

Gary with his Brooch collection at Beating Around The Bush 2016

The ‘Bird Song’ brooch collection forms part of a class Gary teaches where he has a wide range of designs that are created using a combination of pre-printed fabric and embellishment with needle and thread.  Rather than create the entire design using stitches, you actually use the printed design as a base and then work in conjunction with the print to add texture and dimension to the pieces, eventually creating a 4cm (1 5/8 ”) round brooch.

Ideal project to create as gifts for others as, depending on the design, each brooch should take around 6 to 8 hours to stitch and are suitable for anyone with basic skills, however the more experience you have the better the finish you can achieve.

Bring the character and song of Australian birds into your life with Gary’s Birdsong brooches, and next time you see an Australian magpie, try saying ‘Waddle Giggle Gargle Paddle Poodle’ and see what she says back.


‘Bird Songby Gary Clarke from Inspirations #93 are a series of  three fabulous brooches featuring Australian birds.

Step 1 – Purchase Inspirations Issue #93

Issue #93 includes all the information you need, along with step-by-step instructions, requirements list and a link to download the three designs.

> Inspirations #93 - Available In Print HERE

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The ‘Birdsong’ Ready-To-Stitch Inspirations Kit includes everything you need to make your own brooches: fabric with pre-printed designs; self-cover buttons; brooch backs; embroidery threads and needles.

> Birdsong - Ready To Stitch Kit Available HERE

OPTIONAL Step 3 – Print Your Own Birdsong Fabric

For those who prefer to source your own materials rather than purchase a ready to stitch kit, as this project requires pre-printed fabric it’s a great opportunity to try printing on fabric at home.  All you need is an inkjet printer and printable fabric sheets that come in a range of different styles and fabrics and are available from craft and office supply stores. 

For Birdsong, we chose Jacquard brand cotton sheets and are very pleased with the results.  It really is as simple as printing on normal paper, you then peel off the backing and you’re all ready to hoop up.

A PDF file of the three Birdsong designs are available to download from our website for FREE, so why not give it a whirl and it may be the start of many more printing on fabric at home adventures!

> Download Birdsong Design To Print At Home For Free HERE



Gary has designed this delightful compact whitework zipped bag as featured in Inspirations issue #90.  Stitched with a single flower from a stunning repeating design finished in a gentle monochromatic colour scheme.

> Inspirations issue #90 – Available In Print HERE


Humming Bird from issue #83 is a unique organza embroidery of a dainty hummingbird.  Issue #83 also includes a fascinating ‘Meet Gary Clarke’ article.

> Inspirations issue #83 – Available In Print HERE


> Check out his website HERE.

‘A well-designed piece of work can survive poor workmanship but rarely is poor design saved by good craftsmanship.’   Gary Clarke.


Birdsong’ is a perfect project to use with a Dandelyne™ Mini Hoop we first reviewed back in Inspirations issue #91 and are available for purchase through our website.

Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, Mini Hoops can be used either as a wearable brooch or can hang from a chain so that you have a perfect, personalised piece of embroidered jewellery.

For ‘Birdsong’ we would recommend using either a 40mm or a 55mm circle hoop which you can purchase as a brooch or necklace.

> Browse our range of Dandelyne™ Mini Hoops HERE

> 40mm Hoop HERE       |      > 55mm Hoop HERE


This week we celebrate birds, our fine feathered friends in all their glory . . .

Last week we met Amina Paruk who had stitched up a floral storm. This week we share a sneak preview of her current project that’s well underway.

Amina, if your progress to date is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see the finished piece which will absolutely be worthy of you strutting around as proud as a peacock!

From a realistic work in progress, to an interpretive work completed…

This peacock in all its Stumpwork Glory is from someone who’s no stranger to What Are You Stitching! We first met Kathleen Klein from Michigan USA back in Issue #7 of Embroidery News and since then have shared many of her incredibly creative and innovative designs for which her peacock in no exception.

Kathleen, your growing body of work is certainly something to be exceptionally proud of and we can’t wait to see what’s next!

Now to someone we first met in the pages of Inspirations Magazine…

Jerome Speekman, who calls Bellingen in New South Wales, Australia home, was featured in Inspirations Issue #89 where photos of his big, bold stitching along with details of his needlework journey were shared in ‘The Art of Stitch’.

‘Hi Beautiful People! Just showing you a piece I recently finished. I found the picture on the net, and although it was really too small to use, I liked it a lot so I thought I give it a try. The finished piece measures 65cm x 43.5cm (25.5” x 17”) and is a house warming gift for my son. Just in case you wonder what that is on the water, it is the first work I ever signed as Dad. Love your work, Jerome.’

We can only imagine the number of hours and lengths of thread that has gone into yet another inspiring piece Jerome! I’m sure it holds pride of place in your son’s house and will be treasured for generations to come.

We close with the work of Mavis Brown from Ontario in Canada . . .

‘I have been a longtime fan of Inspirations Magazine and Embroidery News. I was an avid cross stitcher and when I retired 9 years ago, I joined Guelph Ontario Guild. It is a teaching guild and it has challenged and inspired me to try many styles of embroidery. I have developed an ongoing passion with thread painting and whitework particularly.

I never considered myself very creative but I found some tole paintings by Sherry C Nelson with which I have embroidered many birds. I like to put the birds in a setting - the woodpecker has padded tulips and the ducks are padded and I used stumpwork for the water hyacinths. I also discovered the effect of organza to create the water.  

My dream is to design a piece involving gum trees, it is my personal challenge. Meanwhile, I have many projects lined up to do! Thank you for inspiring me, Mavis.’

Your passion for threadpainting is clearly evident in the stitching of your birds Mavis, but it’s the creative inclusion of organza and Stumpwork that really bring your pieces to life and make them something to behold!
Don’t tell anyone in the bird kingdom, but after looking back through this week’s WAYS, I think it may just be possible that stitching creates finer and more glorious birds than Mother Nature herself!

Do you have a fine feathered friend you’d like to share? Email photos of your bird - or any other subject for that matter - along with some details about your stitching journey to



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Here is a collection of beautiful floral themed projects from last week you may have missed…


The project ‘Briar Rose’ by Julie Kniedl from Inspirations #87 has now been released as a Digital Download project.   

Why not preserve the splendour of the timeless briar rose forever by stitching this lifelike study?

> Briar Rose – Digital Download Pattern Available HERE
> Briar Rose - Inspirations #87 Available In Print HERE


‘Capucines’ by Catherine Laurençon from Inspirations #93 is a vibrant, threadpainted study of nasturtiums.  The Ready-To-Stitch Kit includes: fabric; embroidery threads and needle.

> Capucines - Ready To Stitch Kit Available HERE


The favourite flowers and fruit of Queen Elizabeth I and her subjects, are stitched superbly by Susan O’Connor in the elaborate fashion and beautiful colours that give the embroidery from this era such long lasting appeal.

> Flowers For Elizabeth – Available In Print HERE


Lavishly illustrated in colour, with detailed step-by-step instructions accompanied by explanatory diagrams, Shakespeare’s Flowers in Stumpwork by Jane Nicholas will delight anyone interested in textured and dimensional embroidery.

> Shakespeare’s Flowers in Stumpwork – Available In Print HERE


Needleworkers enjoy a timeless love affair with flowers. Inspirations issue 89 features an abundance of blossoms stitched in a range of techniques, from tumbling garden favourites to more formal designs.

> Inspirations issue #89 – Available In Print HERE


Sweet Violets’ by Susan Porter from Inspirations #82 is an exquisite spray of stumpwork violets.

> Sweet Violets – Digital Download Pattern Available HERE
> Sweet Violets - Inspirations #82 Available In Print HERE


The gentle blush and graceful tulip shape of ‘Magnolia x soulangeana’ is perfectly captured by Trish Burr in this beautiful thread painted piece ‘Magnolia’ from Inspirations #68.

> Magnolia – Digital Download Pattern Available HERE
> Magnolia - Inspirations #68 Available In Print HERE


So sweet


Cast your eye over this.


This is just amazing....


" If you want to fly,
give up everything that weighs you down.
~ Adaptation from Toni Morrison’s ‘Song of Solomon’ ~


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

What: London Calling – Quilts at the Library | An Exhibition by London Quilters
Where: Swiss Cottage Library | 88 Avenue Road London
When : to 15 Apr
Details: Click HERE

What: 2017 Scarf Festival | Galaxies – A Textile Journey to Infinity & Beyond
Where: The National Wool Museum | 26 Moorabool Street Geelong, Victoria
When: Entries Close 30 Apr
Details: Click HERE &

What: Jeanie Baker’s Circle Exhibition
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens | Domain House | Dallas Brooks Drive South Yarra Victoria
When: to 14 May

What: The Language of Flowers | The Embroiderers’ Guild of SA Museum Team Exhibition
Where: 16 Hughes Street Mile End, South Australia
When: to 30 Jun
Details: Click HERE

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

What: Fibres West 2017
Where: Cloverdale Exhibition Park Grounds | 6050 176th Street Surrey, British Columbia
When: 17 & 18 Mar
Details: Click HERE

What: Embroiderers Guild of Victoria - Castlemaine Branch | Colour Magic Exhibition
Where: The Mount Alexander Golf Club | Wimble Street Castlemaine, Victoria
When: 18 to 22 Mar
Details: Click HERE

What: Grampians Texture
Where: Grampians | Victoria, Australia
When: 18 to 23 Mar
Details: Click HERE

What: Hand & Lock | Haute Couture Tambour Beading Workshop - Sydney
Where: Carriageworks | 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh, New South Wales
When: 3 to 5 Apr
Details: Click HERE

What: Hand & Lock | Heritage, The Now & The Future of Embroidery Conference - Sydney
Where: Carriageworks | 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh, New South Wales
When: 6 Apr
Details: Click HERE

What: International Quilt Festival | Chicago
Where: Donald E Stephens Convention Center | 5555 N River Road Rosemont, Illinois
When: 6 to 8 Apr
Details: Click HERE

What: The Artisans of Geelong Inc Exhibition | The Fabric of our Community
Where: The Bostock Gallery | Corner Gordon Ave & Fenwick Street Geelong, Victoria
When: 8 to 9 Apr
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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