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ISSUE 90  | MAY 19, 2017

Hi <<First Name>>,

Needlework Hero’s.

This week in EN we share with you a story about how women in Zimbabwe champion their art of needlecraft despite adverse circumstances (see below).

It creates a beautiful image of the true spirit of a needleworker – tenacious, inventive, persistent and determined.  These qualities exist in all of us, although perhaps at times in varying degrees. 

There is a sense of conviction about what we do.  We stitch with passion and purpose.  For many of us we are driven, driven to complete the project at hand and start the next, driven to learn new skills, driven to perfect our craft.  In essence it far transcends the notion of a hobby or an activity to while away the hours and we baulk at such frivolous descriptors.  It’s a much more personal and intimate activity… perhaps something only a needleworker can understand.

In one way or another, we are all needlework heroes keeping our craft alive and well and shining a beacon of light for others to stitch by.  So keep on the keeping on, and let us not grow weary in supporting and encouraging those around us.

Share your needlework journey with us at



The following is an extract from an article published in Inspirations issue #93 written by Hazel Blomkamp.

‘Zimbabwe is a country in Southern Africa. It’s where you will find the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, thorn trees silhouetted against bright orange sunsets, endangered wild animals and warm friendly people.  In recent years, it has suffered political turmoil and economic upheaval with jaw dropping hyper-inflation requiring a wheelbarrow of cash to pay for a single loaf of bread.

I was invited by the Needlecraft Guild of Zimbabwe to judge their bi-annual embroidery competition which coincides with an exhibition which they open to the public. Guild members are invited and encouraged to work towards this event, entering work for judging and comment. In addition to their own work, they dig deep into their linen chests, offering exquisite pieces worked by their grandmothers or great-grand-mothers for the exhibition.

I’ve been to a lot of these events over the years–not only in my own country but in many different parts of the world. In addition to that, I keep my finger on the pulse of embroidery. Much of the work I discovered during my visit to Zimbabwe was world class, it is creative and innovative, it is varied and, more than anything, it shows that the ladies of Harare are not going to allow things like turmoil and hyper-inflation to get in their way. What I saw during my week there leaves many of the exhibitions that I have seen in developed, peaceful and economically stable countries in the shade.

If you live in Zimbabwe, you will not find shops that sell the kind of things you need to indulge your passion. You can forget the post office - it won’t get your parcel to you. It just won’t. Houses and businesses are equipped with generators to over-come power cuts, most properties have a borehole to ensure a constant clean water supply and where services require a community effort, they have made it happen. They band together, help each other out, share knowledge and, in the process, create a warmth that you won’t find anywhere else.

Having to work your way around problems that would seem insurmountable to many of us requires creative thought. When you have to spend much of your life thinking creatively it has a tendency to influence everything you do in life and this shows in the outstanding needlework that is being done by the ladies in Harare. From cross stitching to boutis work, bobbin lace to silk ribbon embroidery, quilting to cut work, and everything in between, these ladies are doing it and doing it well.

For those of us that live in parts of the world where everything is easily available, it is easy to take what we have for granted. Too many of us are quick to complain about, well, nothing much at all. It is when your way of life is under threat, when you face the prospect of not being able to live a clean, safe and orderly life - one in which you can pursue your hobbies and explore the rich heritage of your ancestors, to pass on to your children and grandchildren - that you have to make things happen, that you have to prove that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  The ladies of Zimbabwe are to be congratulated. They prove that, despite everything else, the art of needlework won’t die. Not if they can help it.’

Since this article appeared in Inspirations #93, numerous readers were so touched by Hazel’s experience, they contacted her and offered to donate needlework supplies to help their fellow stitchers in Zimbabwe. Hazel immediately sprang into action and coordinated the collation of the donated goods and is arranging for their safe delivery to the Zimbabwe guild members.

Hazel remarked – ‘I’ve always known that embroidery types are nice people but, gosh, this has gone beyond proving that!



It’s hard to know whether the gift of a hand stitched blanket brings more joy to the receiver or the giver!  Children’s blanket designs are among some of the most popular projects we have ever published, so to help bring some inspiration to your next blanket project, our book Blissful Beginnings is now available through our website.

Blissful Beginnings features seven blankets and three bonus gift projects by renowned artists including Susan O’Connor, Carolyn Pearce and Anna Scott.

Each project is presented with beautiful photography, clear and concise instructions for the embroidery and construction, and detailed diagrams. Plus there are clever tips for getting the best results from your embroidery and a fully illustrated stitch glossary, making Blissful Beginnings suitable for experienced and novice stitchers alike.

> Blissful Beginnings Book – Available In Print HERE


Getting Wet’ by Carol Hawkins and Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations #66 features two vibrant children’s blankets with creatures right at home in water. The powder blue blanket has three plump goldfish stitched onto wool and cashmere velour and soft pink doctor’s flannel forms a background for a cheeky little duckling, enjoying a refreshing shower of rain.

> Getting Wet In Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE


Playful Companions’ by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations #28 is a wonderful blanket designed to capture the heart of the true dog lover depicting a pair of Schnauzers and finished with a cord trimmed border, tartan bows and a tartan lining.

> Playful Companions In Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE



Replicating the beauty of nature as an artistic endeavour is never an easy task, and depending on the materials you’re working with, it can get either a little easier or a lot harder. 


Sculpture by Jeroen Stok from The Netherlands

Hats off to the metal workers of the world who can bend and mould steel into the most delicate of sculptures. Lucky for us stitchers we have a little thing called ribbon, which is far softer, more malleable and much easier to use than steel, especially when it comes to re-creating flowers!

Someone who knows a thing or two about creating flowers using ribbon is Helen Eriksson from Adelaide, Australia.  Helen has been a prolific contributor to Inspirations over the years with 10+ projects featured, the majority of which have been ribbon embroidered flowers.

Helen continues the tradition as our ‘Flower Lady’ in issue #94 with the project ‘Perfect Petals’ , a gorgeous still life ribbon embroidered portrait of silk roses.

Using gleaming silk ribbons in shades of cream, blush pink and lemon, Helen has brought these roses to life resting on a background of contrasting black velvet.  Each rose is surrounded with ribbon leaves and worked with a simple range of stitches, with the ribbon enhanced using small touches of stranded cotton thread.

Ribbon embroidery continues to be a very popular technique, in part due to the combination of straight forward stitches involved and the ‘instant gratification’ effect of covering a lot of ground in a relatively short period of time.

Thank you, Helen, for always brightening up our day with your wonderfully vivacious and lifelike flower projects.


Step 1 – Purchase Inspirations #94

Perfect Petals’ by Helen Eriksson features lush silk ribbon roses on a velvet ground.

> Inspirations issue #94 - Available In Print HERE

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for ‘Perfect Petals’ includes everything you need to re-create your own superb swag of roses: fabric, embroidery thread, silk ribbons and needles.

> Perfect Petals Ready-To-Stitch Kit Available HERE


Bring the beauty of flowers and more to your world with these  delightful designs by Helen:


Still Life with Flowers’ by Helen Eriksson is a sumptuous bowl of flowers worked with silk ribbon.

> Still Life with Flowers In Print – Issue #89 Available HERE

A selection of Helen’s projects are available to purchase as digital pattern downloads.

> Browse Digital Patterns by Helen Eriksson HERE


If you are interested in starting or mastering the technique of Ribbon Embroidery, we recommend the following How-To guides:


Learn the basics of Ribbon Embroidery with this step-by-step guide, perfect for beginners.  Featuring ‘Petites Fleurs’ by Monique Johnston, this is an excellent project for those new to ribbon embroidery.

> Learn Ribbon Embroidery – Digital Booklet Available HERE


A-Z of Ribbon Embroidery is widely accepted as one of the most comprehensive manuals available for beginners through to the advanced embroiderer when it comes to learning Ribbon Embroidery. Here you will find every stitch and technique fully explained with step by step photographs and clear instructions. Accomplished embroiderers have compiled advice on choosing ribbons, fabrics, needles and frames, as well as a host of other hints and tips.

> A-Z of Ribbon Embroidery – Book Available In Print HERE


This week we celebrate a favourite subject for needleworkers far and wide – flowers. Flowers, how do we love thee? Let me count the ways. For your rich and varied colours, your abundance of blooms, your endless varieties and your sweet scent are but a few.


‘Little Flowers’ by Di Van Niekerk

This week’s WAYS celebrates them all, well almost anyway, we might be missing the sweet scent, but with such lifelike stitching, we can almost recreate that ourselves! So take a moment to stop and smell the flowers . . .

Karen Fraser from Grass Valley in California has created her own garden of flowers thanks to Trish Burr.

‘I had the privilege of taking a class with Trish at Beating Around the Bush and fell in love with Thread Painting. To say that I am hooked on Trish is an understatement!

I have been teaching at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa, California for 13 years and try to encourage the students to do Thread Painting through teaching a lot of Trish’s designs.  I am a subscriber to Inspirations and have all your magazines. See you at BATB in 2018, Karen.’

Karen, you have done yourself and Trish proud with the incredible detail and subtle shading that is present in each of your flowers! Your students are fortunate to be learning from you and we look forward to seeing you at BATB 2018.

Peggy Kimble, our much-celebrated stitcher from Canada has interpreted the beauty of flowers through Stumpwork.

‘My latest venture in the embroidery world was using a design by Mary Corbet that I saw in her newsletter. I have made it into a cover for a storage box containing finished pieces of embroidery.  The petals were made with wire from my stash, which was all I could find in the past, and was rather heavy for the little petals. The leaves, however, were made with new thinner wires which were found for me by a good friend in the big city - so much better to stitch with! Peggy.’

Peggy, your continually growing body of work never ceases to amaze us - always a different technique, colour palette, subject matter and/or finishing method, but always the same level of precision and attention to detail!   

Kathy Hance from Essex in the UK has used flowers to embellish a bear that featured in the very first issue of Inspirations Magazine.

‘I made this bear in 1993 and am now making another one after all these years. I have joined a craft class and am enjoying all the lovely delicate embroidery. Kathy.’

Kathy, we bet your bear can’t wait for the companion you’re currently stitching and we’re sure it will be every bit as gorgeous as the original!

Sharon Gray from Winnipeg in Canada has used Crewel Embroidery to create a simple floral specimen.

‘When I was about nine or ten, I sprained my ankle and was out of school for a few weeks.  My mother was not sure what to do with me so she transferred some patterns to tea towels, gave me a needle, some thread and a pair of scissors.  I was hooked!  I tried to negotiate not returning to school so I could just stitch!  Well, that did not come about, but what I started then, I am still at.’ 

‘Some years later I saw some Crewel Embroidery and I was fascinated by it. For years I tried to find lessons for Crewel Embroidery and eventually found the Embroidery Guild of Canada.

I am currently working on Needle Painting and although I am not always successful, I love to try.  Over the years I have done many embroidery techniques, but Surface Embroidery is my favourite. Sharon’

Sharon, we love that you took the project from ‘Learn Crewel Embroidery’ and made it your own by using a unique colour palette.

Have you stitched something that would make us stop and smell your flowers? We’d love to see it! Please email us photos and some details about your stitching journey to



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CALL US - If you have any questions regarding an Inspirations subscription or just want to have a chat, we’d love to hear from you.  You can call us from anywhere in the world on +61 8 8293 8600 anytime and if we’re not in, leave a message and we’ll get back to you.  For anyone within Australia, call us on 08 8293 8600.

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Last week we featured the stunning project, Heart’s Delight which is sure to win your love and steal your needlework heart:


Step 1 – Purchase Inspirations #94

Heart’s Delight by Kim Beamish is a charming pulled thread mat with heart motifs, finished with a neat blanket stitch edge.

> Inspirations issue #94 - Available In Print HERE

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for ‘Heart’s Delight’ includes everything you need to re-create your mat: fabrics, embroidery threads and needles.

> Heart’s Delight Ready-To-Stitch Kit Available HERE


Kim Beamish has created some of the most elegant and refined whitework projects to appear in Inspirations, here is some more of her work:


Classic White’ by Kim Beamish is a traditional Hardanger doily with heart design.

> Classic White In Print – Issue #59 Available HERE


Enjoy counted work with this graceful Hardanger project ‘Resting Place’ by Kim Beamish.

> Resting Place In Print – Issue #90 Available HERE


Queen of Hearts’ by Kim Beamish is an elegant Hardanger mat which is ideal for beginners.

> Queen of Hearts In Print – Issue #86 Available HERE


For Love Of Country’ by Kathryn Trippett issue #17 and was famous for introducing the quillo. What is a quillo? It’s a combination of a quilt and a pillow!

> For Love Of Country In Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE


Double Delight’ by Jennifer Kennedy is a pair of pulled thread work Christmas stockings using contrasting lustrous perlé threads and satin ribbon with a hessian ground fabric.

> Double Delight In Print – Issue #92 Available HERE
> Double Delight Ready-To-Stitch Kit - Available HERE


By the RSN



Just gorgeous


By Svetlana


" With freedom, books (or needlework!), flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?"
~ Oscar Wilde ~


What: Out of Line Artists Exhibition | Pattern Play Exhibition
Where: Pepper Street Arts Centre | 558 Magill Road Magill, South Australia
When: to 26 May
Details: Click HERE

What: The Needles Excellency Exhibition
Where: Ashmolean Museum | Beaumont Street, Oxford 
When: to 4 Jun
Details: Click HERE

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: Inspired by Gardens & Landscapes of Tatton | Altrincham, Chelford, Manchester & Warrington Branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild
Where: Steward’s Room, Tatton Park| Knutsford, Cheshire UK
When: to 30 Jul
Details:  Click HERE

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

What: Stitch at Home Challenge | Summer of Love
Where: San Francisco School of Design & Needlework
When: Deadline | 15 Aug
Details: Click HERE

What: Quilters’ Guild of SA Exhibition | Dare to Differ 2017
Where: Galley M | 287 Diagonal Road Oaklands Park, South Australia
When: 1 to 25 Sep | Online Applications Available to 9 Jun
Details: Click HERE

What: Holy Stitches | Exhibition of Antique Embroidered Ecclesiastical Textile
Where: Embroidery House | 170 Wattletree Road Malvern, Victoria
When: 25 May to 8 Jun
Details: Click HERE

What: The Needles Excellency | Raised Work Embroidery
Where: Ashmolean Museum | Beaumont Street Oxford, UK
When: 27 May
Details: Click HERE

What: Jenny Adin-Christie | Fine Hand Embroidery Workshops
Where: Our Lady of Fatima Church Hall | 10 Foss Street Palmyra, Western Australia
When: 11 to 18 Jul | Registrations Close 30 May
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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