ISSUE 204, SEP 20 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
Hannah Brencher recently invited her community to join her in a different approach to studying the Bible throughout September.

Her invitation went onto declare that: ‘This month is not about speediness, it's about spending time doing something you love. It's not about a race, it's about recharging. You’re simply invited to read the stories of Jesus the same way you’d read a novel - for pleasure.’
After reading her invitation we realised that there are seasons when our time with needle and thread are calling out for exactly the same thing!
Sometimes we find ourselves stitching for a purpose, stitching to meet a deadline or stitching to stretch ourselves and whilst there’s nothing wrong with these, there are times we need to take a step back from such ‘pressures’ and simply stitch for the sheer pleasure it affords us.

It might mean taking on a simpler project than you’d usually complete or producing a sampler for the sole purpose of learning or perfecting a particular stitch. It might entail beginning a project without considering how long it will take to complete or revisiting some UFO’s that just need the final few stitches laid.

Whatever it is for you, we hope you’ll find the time to step back from the pressure you sometimes put on yourself to produce and simply stitch for the absolute pleasure of the meditative push and pull of needle and thread through fabric.
Have Your Say
In issue #199 of All Stitched Up! HERE we unpacked some ideas about organising and asked you to point us in the direction of where to begin the process of cataloguing our stash and if you’d found the ‘just right’ way to keep track of what you have and what you need when it comes to all things needle and thread. And point us you did! We hope you’ll find the following suggestions as helpful as we did…
Berit Eide
‘First, I have to thank you for being. You are my inspiration on Fridays. I know I have a life when I get that email because you show me that life is not only about work!
I have also tried to follow the notion of reducing my stash and the number of things around me. It works, but to me, it’s also important to remember that I live in a home for others to enjoy, not a house meant for exhibition.

I’m so lucky that I have my own room where I have a nice space designed and planned by me. To keep this organized, I always keep a list on my phone of the things I need for my hobby. The problem is normally not what you have but what you have run out of, or don’t have at all, that creates a problem when you want to start working on a project. So, I always keep a list on my phone of the things to buy.

Before starting on a new project, I always check the material list. The missing items then go on my shopping list on my phone. When I go on a trip, I always try to check in advance if there is a quilt shop or embroidery shop nearby. Then I can get my supplies - and of course I also end up buying new unplanned projects, notions or some nice supplies, but at least I also get what I need!’
Fred Sander
‘You asked how embroidery can be organized and I am pleased to show you my way although I am sure there will be many more methods! I take a thin piece of cardboard and made many holes along the edge. For each colour I use, I knot a sample in one hole and give it a description, where it was used and if known, I also add the colour number.’
‘So, when I run short of a certain colour or when I am seeking a colour which would best sit next to it, this cardboard becomes a helpful tool as when I am downtown to buy additional threads, it is always on hand as it is easy to take with me.’
‘I use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to catalogue my threads and beads mostly because of its filtering and searching capabilities. I have a different thread/bead brand on each tab, the colour numbers down the rows (in numerical order, for easy search) and the types of thread along the top.

So, for DMC I have a column for stranded, then one for perle 5, 8 and 12. The hardest part I've found is that I’d like to have all the threads listed, not just the ones I own and then I put the number of skeins/ balls in the relevant square. I didn't want to spend hours typing in all the numbers, so I went looking on the internet for inventory lists.

This was relatively easy for DMC but it was really hard to find lists of many other brands and it’s hard to know if those lists are complete and for some reason it's not possible to copy and paste some of them neatly into Excel. Once this is all set up, I plan to put the file into the Cloud where I can access it from my phone and other devices while I'm at a fair or shop.’

We’re not sure if this is the exact same link you used Leanne, but after reading your suggestion we found this LINK on Lord Libidan that was just what we were after!
‘I use the database ‘Tap Forms’. I currently keep a list of charts and kits plus a list of threads but need to start a list of linens too. It can be used for household inventory, recipes, in fact anything you would like to keep track of!

The owner of Tap Forms is VERY helpful and answers your questions quickly. He also has many videos to reference. It’s very simple to use and the program is wonderful!’
Thank you Lois – if anyone would like to learn more about Tap Forms you can visit their website HERE, just be aware however, this software is only available for Mac devices.
Lorraine Bruce
‘Another wonderful newsletter! Although I can no longer embroider due to failing eyesight, I enjoy the newsletter and love seeing what everyone else is doing. My way of organising my thread stash is a bit of a pain to set up but once that is done, is so easy to use! I have found that most thread manufacturers have colour charts available online. I print either the full colour chart or just the numerical listing then all I have to do is mark off the ones I have on these charts. It is so easy to see if I have the necessary threads or if I need to add them to my list of threads needed.’

‘I have always kept my threads in small Ziplock bags, filed in numerical order in a drawer - or many drawers in my case. Guess what - no tangles! I even punch two holes in the side of each bag so that when I am using them for a project I put them on two hinged rings so they are like a little book, easy to access and I don’t lose any in the bottom of my bag. I wind ribbons onto empty cotton reels and pop them into little bags so that the ribbons don’t crease and everything is organised. I haven’t given away my very organised stash yet as I keep telling myself my eyesight will improve, or a miracle of medicine will find a way to improve it. I won’t give up - I have so many projects that still need to be done! I am, however 80, so what are my chances?!’

With such a positive outlook and sense of determination Lorraine, we think your chances are erring on the side of success and hope you’ll find yourself stitching again in no time at all! Until then though, we love that you’re staying connected to your stitching tribe and are enjoying the fruits of other’s labours.

Pat Lerch
‘For a long time, I would come home from shopping trips with patterns, threads and/or fabric that I already had, but at least it meant I really liked them! Then I found an app - XStitch Plus.’
‘You can enter threads, patterns, fabric, beads and can even make notes about individual items. There is also a wish list feature to keep track of supplies you still need. You can enter pictures of your projects and indicate whether they are kitted, started or finished. I started with the first-generation app, which was free, but have since upgraded to their second- generation app which costs US$10 per year. The app programmers are very consumer friendly and you can contact them if you find a designer or thread they don’t have listed and they will update their database to include them. Your information is kept in the cloud so if you lose your device you don’t lose your information. I have saved much more than the $10 yearly cost in not buying multiple patterns and unnecessary fibers and linen which means more money to spend on other stitching necessities! Can you tell I love it?!’

As always, we love that the Inspirations Community is so willing to continue the conversation and appreciate each of the suggestions that were put forward. We’d love to keep chatting, but it’s off to organising our needlework stash for us!
Featured Project
Fruit of the Vine by Maria Rita Faleri
Tassels have a long history as embellishments in the world of textiles. Italy has a tradition of highly textured tassels for household decoration made from linen threads knotted into astonishing confections that appear intriguingly complex.
The dimensional nature and strong textures of these knotted tassels, such as Maria Rita Faleri’s onion, capuchin and Turk’s head knot tassels in Inspirations issue #103, evoke the variety of structures in a coral reef.
In a modern take on knotted tassels, Maria Rita has also created delightful clusters of grapes that hang just like the real fruit from the vine.
In her new project ‘Fruit of the Vine’ from our Handpicked series, the tassels feature Turk’s head knots, worked in red or yellow linen thread, assembled into clusters for the grapes. You might have seen larger versions of these knots made using larger cords, particularly with the revived popularity of macramé. A common practical use of this woven knot is as a woggle for a neck scarf such as for scouts.
It can take a little time to master the Turk’s head knot, so practise first with a thick, firm thread to get the hang of it. Included in our instructions are photos Maria supplied of a knot in progress as a guide, showing how to hold the dowel and the placement of the needle.
For some extra help, there are several videos on the internet showing how to make a Turk’s head knot, usually using paracord. The use of a 5mm (3/16”) dowel as a foundation for working the knots for the tassels means that a spherical shape is created, rather than a ring, perfect for the grapes.

If you don’t have a dowel readily available, try a pencil, pen or even a large knitting needle to create knots of a similar size.
For the tassel, the knots are worked in pairs and attached along a looped cord using Venetian double half-hitch knots, creating the realistic shape of a cluster of grapes.
Clusters of onion knots, made with green linen thread, are linked together to create the leaves at the top of each tassel. Onion knots are straight forward knots, consisting of a series of overhand knots tied into a ring. For the leaves, clusters of onion knots are worked in units, with the process shown step-by step.

Each tassel is finished with a loop formed with a half-hitch spiral cord. We show you how to make this type of cord, along with Venetian double half-hitch knots, with step-by-step instructions.
‘Fruit of the Vine’ is an ideal project to try for something a little different. Preparing the knots for assembly will become a rhythmic process and you will end up with fabulous knotted tassels that are enchanting decorations and a textural delight.
Make Your Own Fruit of the Vine
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Fruit of the Vine by Maria Rita Faleri is two bunches of luscious grapes, formed with clever knots, to create these fun tassels.
Fruit of the Vine
Fruit of the Vine
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for Fruit of the Vine include everything you need to re-create these charming tassels: Threads and needles.

Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step details to create this project, please refer to the digital/printed pattern.
Fruit of the Vine: White Grape Tassel
Fruit of the Vine: Red Grape Tassel
Looking for More Knots?
Tied in Knots
Tied in Knots by Maria Rita Faleri is three highly textured Italian tassels made with linen threads.
Inspirations Issue 103
Tied in Knots
Tied in Knots
Tied in Knots | Turk’s Head Knot Tassel
Needlework News
HUGE Kit Sale Continued
In case you missed the news, there is something HUGE happening on our website at the moment.
In preparation for our brand-new kit packaging coming soon and to help make the move to our new office easier, we’re having a HUGE kit sale.
A HUGE range of our Ready-To-Stitch kits are now on sale, saving you HUGE amounts of money.
This is a once in a 5-year event (approximately - unless we move office or change packaging again sooner!) so check out the sale today and stitch yourself a bargain.
New Digital Pattern | Christmas Bouquet
This week we’re granting an early Christmas wish for Susan Fleet who wrote to us requesting a digital pattern:
‘I came across a Facebook post about a project featured in Inspirations issue #88, Christmas Bouquet by Julie Kniedl. I wondered if it was on your list for future digital releases, as I'd like to stitch it ready for this year's Christmas table. Many thanks.’
Well Susan, our elves in the digital pattern department have been put to work and we’re pleased to announce, the project you requested is now available.
Christmas Bouquet by Julie Kniedl is a fabulous glass bauble adorned with winter rose, holly and ivy. A twig of holly, a stem of ivy and a sprig of winter rose adorn the top of this glorious iridescent glass bauble, creating the perfect seasonal decoration.
Christmas Bouquet
Revealing Humanity in the Back
So many of us are terribly concerned about the back of our work. Is it neat? Is it as good as the front? But artist Cayce Zavaglia has discovered that the messiness at the back of her exquisite embroidered portraits in fact says more about what it is to be human than the perfection of the front.
A portrait of Cayce Zavaglia’s son – front and back (source)
As a mother and an artist, Cayce is acutely aware that all of us have two sides, the one we show the world, and the messy one that we hide.
‘Yes, it’s messy and knotted, but it’s the source of strength.’
Front and back (source)
She hopes her work can encourage people to acknowledge and embrace both sides of themselves. But perhaps they may view the reverse of their embroidery in a new light as well.
You can read more about Cayce’s embroidery and art on the ABC News site HERE.
Featured Project
Reticella Sampler by Christine P. Bishop
An internet search for reticella, a form of needlelace that originated in Italy, reveals astonishingly beautiful and intricate geometric designs, particularly for ornate collars and cuffs of the 16th and 17th centuries as seen in painted portraits.

It’s amazing to think that this enchanting and detailed lace was created as much as 500 years ago by a person plying needle and thread using the same materials we have readily available to us today.
The knowledge of how to work such remarkable designs is, however, less accessible. Could we make anything like that today? Christine P. Bishop, a passionate researcher, embroiderer and teacher of whitework and needlelace, designed a sampler that is a master class in reticella, and we were thrilled to have featured it in our book A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII.
Reticella began as a form of cutwork in which threads were removed, horizontally and vertically, from the ground fabric, leaving a grid of ‘cells’ for working the needlelace patterns. The edges of the cut areas were reinforced, and diagonal threads were laid in across the cells to stabilise the open spaces.
As the cells became larger, additional threads were laid in to support the needlelace, and eventually reticella was worked without a ground fabric and was instead based on a braid or thread framework, ideal for the creation of lace collars and cuffs.
Christine’s sampler is fabric-based reticella. Working through the sampler, the designs build on the techniques used in previous rows, increasing complexity in a logical progression that mirrors the development of reticella through time.
We’ve included close-up photographs of the needlelace design in progress for each panel to help guide you along the way.
So, where to begin? The first step, after preparing the fabric with lines of tacking to mark out the panels, is to edge the panels with satin stitch and four-sided stitch. It’s important to work this edging as firmly as you can, as it will be holding all the thread tails as you work.
It can be embroidered with the fabric held in your hand, however you will need to work the needlelace with the fabric held in a frame to assist with maintaining even tension. If you prefer to work with a hoop rather than a frame, use a 15cm (6”) hoop, moving it as needed and removing the fabric from the hoop between stitching sessions to prevent permanent hoop marks on the fabric.
Next, take a deep breath and carefully begin to cut and remove the threads as needed for a panel. You want the fabric to remain as stable as possible for working the needlelace, so it’s best to only remove the threads from a few cells at a time for the row you are working on.

The needlelace begins with two panels based on reticella from the 14th century. Needlewoven bars form the grid of cells across the cutwork area which are stabilised with characteristic diagonal bars of wrapped laid threads and decorated with arches of detached blanket stitch. The arches in the second panel are further embellished with Venetian picots.
These were traditionally worked using a horsehair to form the tiny loop, however sewing thread is a perfect modern substitute and allows very fine picots to be formed. Venetian picots are worked throughout the sampler, so we included a step-by-step guide to help you master these dainty essentials.

The third panel is based on reticella from the 15th Century, when cells had become larger. The grid is defined by needlewoven bars as before, with two diagonal wrapped bars per cell, along with decorative picot arches. It’s important not to distort the wrapped bars by resting your fingers on them or lifting them up from beneath while working them.
This risks adding extra length to the bars, detracting from their neat structure. The beautiful ‘step-up’ for this panel is the addition of needlewoven lozenges, like large leaves, along alternating wrapped bars. A thread is laid around a wrapped bar in an oval shape, creating a foundation for the needleweaving.

The fourth panel is also based on 15th century reticella and is particularly captivating with a trio of small leaves at each corner of each cell. Additional wrapped bars are laid in at the corners to support these needlewoven leaves, which are small versions of the lozenges in the previous row.
A circle of thread is laid at the intersection of the wrapped bars and covered with detached blanket stitch embellished with Venetian picots. It is a more intricate design, however it is made using the same techniques seen in previous panels.

The widest panels, rows five and six, are based on reticella from the 16th and 17th centuries. The motif of the fifth row shows the use of additional horizontal and vertical supporting wrapped bars and extensive use of Venetian picot-embellished arches and circles. The sixth panel shows how different motifs can be combined to create an elaborate band of lace.
Finally, the ground fabric between the reticella panels is embroidered with satin stitch motifs, further enhancing the play of light and texture across the sampler.
You don’t have to be a reticella expert to begin this sampler; it has been designed to help you build up your skills and confidence as you go along.
If you’ve always wanted to try reticella, this is the perfect project to make a fabulous beginning! Remember, you can only work with one thread at a time, so by concentrating on one step at a time, it will all gradually come together with a beautiful result.
Make Your Own Reticella Sampler
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Reticella Sampler by Christine P. Bishop features Italian cutwork needlelace designs from the 14th and 15th centuries.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Reticella Sampler includes everything you need to re-create this elaborate sampler: Fabrics (unprinted), embroidery threads and needles.

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 book.
Reticella Sampler
Looking for More Samplers?
A Christmas Carol
Christmas Carol by Susan O'Connor from Inspirations issue #72 is a charming sampler that celebrates the songs of Christmas.
A Christmas Carol
Busy Fingers
Busy Fingers by Christine P. Bishop from Inspirations issue #50 is an intricate counted thread sampler.
Busy Fingers
What Are You Stitching?
Whilst the work of stitching and details usually go hand in hand, there are some pieces that take detail to a whole new level! This week, we’re sharing the work of needle and thread that are incredibly rich in detail…
Jacquie Harvey
‘During the quieter moments of the past year, I have kept my mind and my hands busy designing this hand quilted wall-hanging, which grew from just the small central square to the 42 square inches it is today. It is called ‘Bits and Pieces’ after the four traditional appliqué blocks in the middle and all the bits and pieces I have stored around my room, which needed using up.’
‘The wall-hanging is made of silk dupion with Liberty print fabric appliqué. The quilting is completely hand sewn, using running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch with Mettler and DMC embroidery threads.’
Jacquie, to think that each of those individual stitches have been laid by hand! What an incredible labour of love that grew from an original block and made amazing use of your existing stitching stash.
Natalia Frank
‘The design for this OOAK miniature petit point carpet is adopted from an antique Kirman Vase carpet, mid-17th century, that was woven in Kerman, Iran, a major weaving center in the south-eastern part of the country, and sold at Christie’s, London on April 15, 2010 for $9,599,535.’
‘The petit point carpet measures 11 1/4” x 13 1/4” (28.5cm x 33.5cm) and is stitched on 48 count silk gauze with Gloriana overdyed silk floss.
There are a total of 291,156 tiny stitches which took 771 hours to stitch!’
‘I had a lot of fun and enjoyed each minute of stitching this carpet!’
Natalia, what an incredible amount of detail you’ve stitched into such a small space! Each one of your 291,156 stitches have added a complexity to the result that has captured the essence of the original carpet picture-perfectly.
Sue Osborne
‘I first enjoyed embroidery when I was probably about 10 years old. We had one lesson a week at school doing embroidery and listening to a radio play. Then we had to go up one by one to say our times tables to the teacher. This was the best lesson of the week for me and I still have a tablecloth I stitched at that time. I knit, crochet and quilt but embroidery is still my favourite. I have just enrolled in a City and Guilds Embroidery Course.’
‘Last year I made Carolyn Peace’s Home Sweet Home Cottage and loved making it so much, plus I won the best exhibit in craft at our local flower show!’
‘So, this year I wanted to make her Embroidered Village Bag. I was lucky enough to win the cup again. I live in a small village in the Forest of Dean in the UK, and the cup is called Auntie Mabel’s Cup.’
‘I already plan to make Carolyn Pearce’s Embroidered Patchwork Bear for the show next year - I love all her embroidery!’
Sue, if there’s one thing Carolyn Pearce’s work is renowned for is detail! Your pieces were well deserving winners and we look to seeing your Embroidered Patchwork Bear when it’s complete.

Have your needles and threads stitched something rich in detail? We’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve stitched along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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You May Have Missed
The Starling
The Starling by Nicola Jarvis is a splendid starling from Nicola’s Couture Birds series.
Inspirations Issue 103
The Starling
The Starling
The Starling
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”)
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
This Week on Social
These look good enough to eat
Beautiful pattern by Blueberry Backroads
‘Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.’
~ Michael Jordan ~
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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