ISSUE 203, SEP 13 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying that change is the only constant in life.

How true that is, and it would seem the rate of change swirling around us grows more rapid with each passing day!
Here at Inspirations Studios, one of the mottos we believe in is that the world’s most beautiful never rests, it’s always on the move and to that end, we often find ourselves thinking about where beautiful is off to next and what changes it will usher in.
Sometimes these changes simmer in the background until they’re ‘suddenly’ ready to be shared with the Inspirations Community and so it is with our latest changes…

Not only are we working through the mammoth task of moving office (who knew we’d accumulated so many things and that boxes of books and magazines could weigh so much?!) but after much thought, numerous internal discussions and assessment of countless options, we’re excited to announce that starting from Inspirations issue #104 our Ready-To-Stitch kits will be packaged more beautifully than ever before!

You’ll have to read on to find out more and take advantage of a huge kit sale we’re having in the lead up to the transition, but as we processed our own feelings towards the changes we’ve just been through, we wondered how you feel about change. Do you embrace the process of change with excitement and anticipation or do you try to hold on to what’s familiar?

For us it’s been a little of each – we’re excited to be settling into our new office and think our kits absolutely look more beautiful than ever before, but we’re also working through the process of letting go of what’s been familiar to each of us over the last few years.

But as we said, beautiful is always on the move and so we’re on the move with it!
World of Needlework
Weaving Silk in Laos
Most of us are aware of the wars and oppression which occurred in countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, the tiny country of Laos, however, is often forgotten. Yet in a similar way to its neighbours, it too has suffered from French colonialism, Japanese occupation and American bombing, leaving it impoverished and much of its infrastructure destroyed.

This history makes Carol Cassidy’s determination and success in reviving the ancient art of silk weaving in Laos so important. The hard work of her weavers has resulted in a highly successful enterprise which sells to some of the most famous luxury brands across Europe and the United States.

Jane Perlez recently wrote an article for the New York times about her visit to Laos and her time with Carol Cassidy, some of which we’ve summarised for you below.
Spinning and dyeing (source)
When Carol Cassidy arrived in Laos in 1989 as a passionate weaver and textile expert, she could see that their tradition of weaving was dying. Although many women had saved their portable looms from bombing and destruction, there was no market for their wares and little incentive to create them beyond the domestic need for traditional clothing.
Woven scarves (source)
Armed with her passion and business acumen, Carol, with the help of her husband, negotiated the tricky task of setting up a business in a strictly Communist country and sought to commercialise a dying art.
Carol’s goal was always to protect the local skillset, so she employed local women to produce the unique Laotian textiles by hand.
When samples of their finished work was exhibited at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for the first time in the mid-1990’s, the beauty and quality of the fabric was very quickly recognised by the likes of Peter Marino, architect for high end-stores including Chanel and Dior. From there, Laos Weaving established a strong, solid customer base and began to produce curtains, soft furnishings and fabric specifically tailored to the customer’s needs.
Weaving silk fabric (Adam Dean for the New York Times source)
You can read more about Carol’s remarkable story and the sights and sounds Jane Perlez experienced during her interview in full on the New York Times website HERE.

We’re just grateful there are people like Carol out there who are fighting the good fight of keeping these beautiful, unique traditions such as silk weaving going and, in the process, providing gainful employment for 40 local artisans. Now that’s how you make the world more beautiful one stitch, or one thread, at a time!
Featured Project
The Starling by Nicola Jarvis
Starlings are found in many parts of the world and are known for their cheekiness and their mimicry, including their uncanny ability to learn words and speak. Apparently, if you adopt a starling when very young, it will bond to you to such an extent that it won’t wish to escape and, over time, will learn to communicate with you.
In fact, while people have known how wondrous these little birds are for centuries, were you aware that Mozart had a starling that he adored and that allegedly helped him with some of his composing? Because of his bird’s ability to mimic, he taught it to sing a stanza or riff from his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G. However, his starling sang it slightly differently and Mozart, pleased with what he heard, noted the change in his notebook.
Mozart was so fond of his starling that when it died three years after he had purchased it, he had it buried with great ceremony, even going so far as to erect a small headstone and write it an elegy.
It is also speculated that he wrote a highly unusual piece of music, known as Musical Joke, which sounds similar to the starling’s natural call. This piece was written very soon after his pet’s demise, so perhaps it was the great composer’s way of immortalising his trusted friend.
Although Mozart’s little starling was much loved, we’re sure it didn’t look as grand as Nicola Jarvis’s regal starling, adorned with a crown and proudly sporting a golden trellis on his breast.
Nicola frequently crowns her birds, acknowledging their elegance and regal appearance as well as their importance in nature. Her starling’s crown is studded with pearls and would not look out of place with the crown jewels themselves.
‘The Starling’ from Inspirations issue #103 is worked primarily in wools which takes some of the challenge out of the ground stitching. In particular, the shaded satin stitch which forms the base of the trellis will fluff slightly as you stitch it. This simply enhances the blending and helps ensure you achieve a good result.
But it is the addition of beads, sequins and gold thread which elevate this starling above your average garden variety bird. Adding the bling and finally fixing his large, bright eye will bring this little fellow to glorious life.

Nicola loves bringing together threads, stitches, colours and textures in her magnificent designs and The Starling does not disappoint. Especially if you choose to mount him like Nicola has in the centre of a magnificent red cushion, framed with rich braid.
No doubt you too will become fondly attached to your stitched feathered friend just as Mozart was to his, with the added benefit however of hopefully getting far more than 3 years to enjoy it!
Make Your Own | The Starling
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

The Starling by Nicola Jarvis is a splendid starling from Nicola’s Couture Birds series.
Inspirations Issue 103
The Starling
The Starling
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for The Starling includes everything you need to re-create this delightful bird: Fabric for the embroidery panel only (unprinted), embroidery threads, beads, sequins and needles.

Please Note: To cater for flexibility in purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step details on how to create this project, please refer to our magazine or printed/digital patterns.
The Starling
Step 3 – How About A Hoop?
If you are planning on stitching the project ‘The Starling’ you’ll need a 25cm (10”) hoop and if you don’t already have one, we’ve got premium quality hoops available to purchase from our website.
Nurge Embroidery Hoop | Size 6 (10”)
Looking for More Nicola Jarvis?
Wild Strawberry
Wild Strawberry by Nicola Jarvis from Inspirations issue #84 is a luxurious cushion worked onto sumptuous fabrics with surface embroidery and metal threads.
Inspirations Issue 84
Forbidden Fruit
Forbidden Fruit by Nicola Jarvis from Inspirations issue #93 is a vibrant bird with colourful plumage using crewel techniques.
Forbidden Fruit
Inspirations Issue 93
Needlework News
HUGE Kit Sale
It’s been said you should try and move to a new house every 5 to 7 years to help keep your clutter to a minimum, as the more often you move, the less stuff you hold onto.

Well, as we’ve run out of space at our old office, Inspirations Studios is relocating so it’s time for us to have our own clear out! Plus, starting with Inspirations issue #104, all our kits will feature brand new packaging, so sorry kits… you have to GO!
Ready-to-Stitch Kits Now on Sale! Save up to 45% on a HUGE Range of Inspirations Kits.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a kit, now is the time. Purchase a kit for yourself, for a friend, or for anyone who likes to save money!

Whatever you do just be quick, once the sale is over, you’ll have to wait until we move office again to buy this many cheap kits – which hopefully for us is not for another 5 to 7 years!
The Fine Print – Please note, subscriber discounts do not apply to kits that are on sale, if we sold them any cheaper, we’d be paying you to take them! Also please remember that instructions are not included with our kits, for step-by-step directions on how to create each project, please refer to the relevant magazine, book or printed/digital pattern.
The Car of the Future is Hand Stitched…
London based atelier to the Royals has added another fancy feather to their cap.
The supreme skills of Hand & Lock were called upon by none other than the world’s most prestigious automotive brand, Bentley, to assist them in creating a car of the future.

To celebrate 100 years to the day they were founded, Bentley revealed their new concept car with an interior that features hand stitched elements created using the traditional embroidery techniques of ‘Trapunto’, dating back to the 14th Century.
The raised quilting adds depth and comfort to the interior, an innovative fusion of materials, where traditional craftsmen collaborated to experiment with techniques to create a modern look.

Yet again we are delighted to see our beloved artform of needlework on the world stage in such an exciting application. You can read more about this amazing project by Hand & Lock on their website HERE.
Learn to Stitch from the World’s Best
The talented Hand & Lock embroiderers are not only using traditional techniques to create interiors for the cars of the future, they’re also touring the USA in October this year and holding classes to share their skills, stories and talent with all of us!
Take up this amazing opportunity to learn from some of the best of the best, with a Tambour class in Williamsburg, Virginia. To discover more click HERE.
What Are You Stitching?
After enjoying Nicola Jarvis’ project ‘The Starling’ in this week’s issue of All Stitched Up, it was birds we had on our minds! Enjoy the latest flock we uncovered in our What Are You Stitching? files…
Carolyn Fewtrell
‘I thought I would share ‘Falling Leaves’ which is Jenny McWhinney’s hoop bag from A Passion for Needlework.’
‘I was lucky enough to buy the book at Beating Around the Bush 2016 when it was first released, although it has taken me some time to get to it as I had just a few other projects in the way!’
‘The leaves around the side of the bag were done over a few camping trips and one visit to my brother in Germany.’
‘One of the amazing things Jenny puts into her designs is the small details that bring the stitching to life - the owl was lovely to do but when I put in the claws around the branch it really made it complete!
I enjoy the friendship that stitching brings to my life, and the sad, but accomplished feeling when a project is finished, a small sigh, then on to the next project.’
Carolyn, what a picture-perfect version of Jenny’s Falling Leaves! We love that the completed project will not only be well used but is also a lovely reminder of the times you spent stitching whilst camping and visiting your brother in Germany.
Julie Harvey
‘I love any kind of stitching accessories, from boxes, to etuis, to needlecases and scissors pockets. My latest finishes are of this stumpwork needlebook and scissors pocket set. The project was an online class from Marsha Papay Gomola. I also love birds, so these pieces were perfect!’
‘Marsha's instructions were detailed and easy to follow, so I had no problem creating this addition to my smalls collection. I so love receiving your All Stitched Up! newsletter every Friday, along with your wonderful magazine every quarter. Always so much eye candy to look at and inspire me! I'm hoping to maybe even make it to the Beating Around the Bush needlework convention next year. Thanks for all the wonderful work you do.’
Julie, your pieces are absolutely the perfect addition to your smalls collection - the design, colours and carefully laid stitches are simply gorgeous! It would be our pleasure to host you at Beating Around the Bush next year, so we do hope you make it.
Pat Armour
‘I thought you might like to see my latest bit of stitching. I was asked to stitch something for my friend Paula's significant birthday. Her favourite bird is the sparrow and as she is a quilter, I made a pillow to sit by her sewing machine that hold pins, scissors, and a pencil.’
‘Her husband had asked for the piece to help with the celebrations. I enjoyed melding a fantasy tree in the Jacobean style with realistic wee birds. I spread out many skeins of floss like a palette, picking the colours as I went along. This was certainly a messy way to work but it was the easiest way to have all the colours at hand.’
‘The first bird was the hardest as I was making it up as I went. By the time I got the third one completed, it was much less intimidating. I did enjoy the project and hope to try some other animals with a similar technique.’
Pat, we loved that you answered the call to contribute to your friend’s significant celebration in such a personal way! The time and talent you poured into the design and stitching proved most fruitful as the finished result will be well used and treasured for years to come.

As our current flock of birds have now flown the coop, if you’ve stitched a fine feathered friend, we’d love to see it! Email photos of the birds you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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This Week on Social
A must see page on Facebook of Textile Wildlife Art by Janine Heschl
So many threads in the kit room today
‘Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.’
~ Jim Rohn ~
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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