ISSUE 245, JULY 31 2020
No images? View online
Click to enable images
Hi <<First Name>>,
Hannah Brencher opened a recent email by describing the qualities of what she calls ‘secret blog keepers’ - ‘These are people who want to write, love to write, and actually *do* write on a regular basis but they keep their words stuffed away in the notes section of their iPhone or in a folder on their computer. They’ve tapped out a countless number of words, but they just can’t seem to press that dreaded button. You know the one… the ‘PUBLISH’ button.’
And that made us wonder, are there stitchers reading this email who could be considered ‘secret design keepers’?!
Whilst not every stitcher who picks up needle and thread aspires to design, we think there are many of you who have tried your hand at a design or two, designs that are yet to see the light of day.

Whilst there may be many a practical reason these designs are still relegated to the page on which they began, Hannah spoke of fear as being one of the main factors in why we don’t move forward with such endeavours. Whilst not minimising its effect, Hannah encouraged us to feel the fear and proceed anyway because on the other side of fear is fruitfulness.

Not only will the fruitfulness we see from our own efforts encourage us to step out of our comfort zone more often, the story behind our newfound fruitfulness may just be what someone else needs to step outside their own comfort zone.

So go on, what are you waiting for? If you’re not quite ready to hit ‘publish’ on that design still languishing on the page on which it began, why not at least take the next step? Share it with someone other than yourself, take it from sketch to fabric or simply lay that first stitch as you move from secret design keeper to designer!

We can’t wait to see what comes of your moving forward…
Have Your Say
An Inspirational Response to ASU# 241
In our intro to All Stitched Up! issue #241 we talked about acknowledging those who inspired us to take up our needle and threads. In response, we received lots of inspirational emails from all of you doing just that – telling us who they are grateful for.

The article helped remind us all of the importance to take time and reflect on the inspirational people we’ve come across in our lives and express our gratitude, even if it’s just quietly to ourselves while we meditate with our needles. Here are a few of the emails we received…
Janet Granger
‘We very rarely tell the people who have inspired us. There's one person who I actually had the opportunity to tell, and I didn't do it. I regret that now as the person has since died.

When I was 4 years old, I started embroidery. In my late twenties, I started a business, which I still run, selling dollhouse needlepoint embroidery kits. Embroidery has always been a big part of my life.’
Dollhouse Needlepoint Sampler by Janet Granger (source)
‘In the 1970s when I was in my early teens, there was a TV programme featuring Erica Wilson. At the time, she was famous for her crewel wool embroidery style.
Imagine, an embroidery programme on the TV! Not likely these days, especially here in the UK.
Erica really inspired me, and I made several of her designs from kits. She was so enthusiastic and made embroidery sound like such a fun thing to do.’
Erica Wilson starred in the needlework TV show ‘Erica’ (source)
‘Years later, at a trade show, I was stunned to see Erica Wilson herself walk up to my stand and start talking to my husband about placing an order for her shop. I was so gobsmacked I could hardly speak! I was also so pleased that she thought my kits were worth her stocking in her store.

After she'd gone, I said to my husband, 'Do you know who THAT was?', and when I explained, he said I should go after her and tell her how she had enthused me with her embroidery. However, I didn't want to as I was afraid she would think I was daft! I do regret that now.’
Erica Wilson 1928 – 2011 (source)
Janet your story is a perfect example of how often we’re prevented from thanking someone by our own fears of what they might think.

We know exactly that feeling of being ‘starstruck’ and worrying about seeming silly. It is tough at times to remember that even those who are so inspiring to us are still human, and for them to learn that they’ve been the inspiration for someone else can be a precious gift indeed.
Karen Olson
‘In response to who has been our own inspiration, for me it has to be Mary Corbet. Her frequent emails with her brilliant ideas on stitching have changed my creative life.

She has taught me to use colours and new stitches in so many wonderful ways. Her ideas are endless, and her website has tutorials for every kind of stitching imaginable.’

That’s wonderful to hear Karen, all of us here at Inspirations are also huge fans of Mary and her website Needle ‘n Thread. There is no doubt she’s an amazing source of inspiration for many people.
Louise Post
‘I would like to share with you a saying that inspires me to reach out for more difficult challenges in embroidery:
‘Do not go where the path may lead…go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

I read this on my wall every day and think of those who have been my teachers, those who have gone down a new path and left a trail for me and others to follow.’

They are powerful words Louise, thank you for sharing them with us. Living life with that mantra will no-doubt result in you becoming a positive influence on those around you.
Leanne Atkins
‘I have long held a love of all things unique and fine throughout my life, in particular beautiful needlework.’
‘However, until I attended my first class on stumpwork with Jane Nicholas I never truly understood how inspirational one person can be, transforming a pleasure into a lifelong passion.
Jane’s intimate knowledge and gentle manner in imparting her skill and love of her craft has remained with me all of my life.
Life happens and everyone’s wheel turns at different speeds, so a return to my own needlework has taken a longer time than I had hoped. But I can honestly say that her gentleness and patience in teaching me my first stitches has stayed with me throughout my own journey.’
Jane Nicholas at Beating Around the Bush
We agree with you completely Leanne, Jane is indeed a wonderful embroiderer, marvellous teacher and a source of inspiration for many. As a regular reader of this newsletter, we know she will be both thrilled and humbled to see your note.

Isn’t it lovely to read all these stories of gratitude and inspiration? If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take a moment and reflect on those who have touched your life and love of needle and thread and maybe even be brave enough to send them a note of thanks.
Just before we wrap up ‘Have Your Say’ for this week, on a different note, we received a very interesting email from Roberta Kenney who was intrigued by Kirsty Fulton’s charity shop discoveries which were featured in our What Are You Stitching? segment in All Stitched Up! issue #241:
Roberta Kenney
‘What a treasure trove! The three cross stitch roses at the bottom of the photo remind me of Gerda Bengston's Danish designs from the 70s.’
‘Some of the early members of our EGA group stitched them and I have done the pink rose which is buried among my finished pieces to be framed. This may result in a clue to finding who did the beautiful work.’

Thank you to everyone who wrote in this week. We love to hear from our readers in response to any of our articles, so please drop us a line if anything has inspired you, reminded you of something or given you reason to ‘Have Your Say’! You can email us at
Needlework News
Inspirations Calendar | August Project
For many people, August means lazy afternoons in the back garden enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. What could be more perfect than listening to the bees buzzing, while sipping a cool drink or partaking in a fresh afternoon tea whilst you enjoy the height of the summer?
How about laying out the outdoor table or tea tray with a stunning drawn thread mat which you’ve worked yourself?
The August project from the Inspirations calendar is ideal for such pleasurable pastimes and has been one of our most popular counted thread pieces from the magazine. Barbara Kershaw’s ‘Saving Grace’ appeared in Inspirations issue #99 and has proudly adorned many a table setting ever since.
Worked on fine white linen, and using a gorgeous array of drawn thread techniques, this cloth is guaranteed to draw comments. However, the ease of creating this heirloom piece is belied by the resulting intricacy of the wide, lacy border. This is especially the case with the striking highlight – a band of beautiful knotted work looking for all the world like delicate spider’s webs.
So, if you’re lucky enough to associate August with sunshine, Saving Grace is a must. We’ll be thinking of you back at Inspirations HQ as we cup our hands around a warm hot chocolate and dream of being able to lay this beautiful mat on a sunny garden table again soon.

Saving Grace is available to purchase as a digital pattern and in print, with copies of Inspirations issue #99 still available.
Saving Grace
Inspirations Issue 99
Coming Soon – A Passion for Needlework 3
Compelled by our belief that every stitched piece is a story waiting to be told, here at Inspirations Studios we’re creating a series of books called ‘A Passion for Needlework’ that tell these stories in the most magnificent way we know how.
Photo shoot for ‘A Passion for Needlework 3’ on location at Blakiston Creamery
‘A Passion for Needlework’ is a bit like our own Bayeux tapestry. With a volume released every two years containing 12 new stories, each book acts as a panel in a tapestry of needlework stories.
‘A Passion for Needlework | Blakiston Creamery’ is our third book in the series which we’re excited to announce has just been completed and sent off to print. While we’re all eagerly awaiting its release this September, over the coming months we’ll be sharing with you, our Inspirations family, some sneak peaks as to what you can expect.
For the Inspirations team, these books are a labour of love. They represent the pinnacle of our collective efforts to publish the world’s most beautiful needlework.
It is our hope that when you open any volume of ‘A Passion for Needlework’ you get a real sense of genuine passion from both the artist who designed and stitched each piece and our team’s artistic endeavours to showcase needlework in all its splendour.
Photo shoot for ‘A Passion for Needlework 3’ on location at Blakiston Creamery
If you are yet to discover ‘A Passion for Needlework’ you can purchase Volume 1 and Volume 2 below and don’t forget to stay tuned to All Stitched Up! for updates on the release of Volume 3.
‘A Passion for Needlework 1 & 2’
A Passion for Needlework 1
A Passion for Needlework 2 | Factoria VII
New from Japan | Cohana Tape Measure & Scissors
Everyone deserves a little bit of luxury, especially when that luxury equates to finely crafted accessories sure to last you a lifetime. And luxury is not only about durability and quality, it’s also about that feeling you get when you use something truly special. Something like the range of Japanese hand-crafted Cohana accessories.
Made from the finest materials to absolute perfection, Cohana products come from the makers of Nuno Deco, Kawaguchi. They have sourced skilled artisans to craft their sewing accessories, which make ideal gifts or a special treat, just for you.

Tape Measure
The Cohana tape measure is more like 90% art and 10% tape measure. Sure, it measures everything you want in exacting increments to the millimetre (both sides are metric), but it’s the hand-crafted leather cover and the tiniest details that have been engineered into its creation, that make it a textural and visceral pleasure to use.
It may be priced at a premium, as are all handmade designer tools. However, in this instance it’s also as much a fashion accessory as anything else. While its compact design will fit in the smallest of sewing baskets, you will be very tempted to carry this beautiful art piece with you everywhere. And before long you may even find yourself measuring all manner of random objects just to hear people around you say, ‘where did you that exquisite tape measure from?’. It really is that good!

Miniature Scissors

Who could imagine that something so diminutive could be so perfectly made?
These little scissors are absolutely adorable and their size makes them perfect to pop into your project box or sewing bag, knowing you’ll always have a quality pair of scissors at hand.
Enjoy exquisite Japanese craftsmanship and elegant Japanese styling with these gorgeous accessories. Scissors come in a choice of three different coloured tassels with tape measures available in yellow or blue (please note tape measures are metric only).
Celebrity Crush Dolls
Starting to run out of stitching ideas? Maybe you’re tired of all those flowers and bunnies and are keen to try something else? What about stitching up a miniature celebrity crush doll?!
Who’s your crush? (source)
We’ve all got our guilty crushes – you know the movie you have to watch, not because it’s any good (it usually isn’t) but because you can’t get enough of the leading man or woman. Or the surreptitious flick through the celebrity magazines at the doctor’s office to see if you can spot an unguarded photo.
It’s time to be proud, and to turn that crush into something stitchable.
All of the instructions to make one of these charmers are available in the eBook for sale on the House of Lars website. Hang them in your car, pop them in your purse or hang them on the Christmas tree. Or just tuck them in your breast pocket, right near your heart…
Featured Project
Sunbeams by Taetia McEwen
For children, there is mystery in the darkness. Often it is a mystery which can be frightening, scaring little imaginations into believing in monsters under the bed and shadows in the wardrobe.
A night light is the perfect defence to chase away monsters and scary shadows, helping even the most unsettled child go to sleep.
Those of us who are parents and grandparents know that night lights which give children something else to think about are the ones that work the best.
Some night lights project rotating stars onto the ceiling, others play soft music, and still others are decorated with the child’s favourite characters. But all of them offer the chance to direct their imagination toward something they love and provide inspiration for a bedtime story or an invitation to fall into a wonderful dream.
‘Sunbeams’ by Taetia McEwen from Inspirations issue #107 is absolutely perfect for this task. This beautifully embroidered lampshade is covered in cute and quirky characters, guaranteed to capture the imagination of even the most fretful child.
There are stories on every part of the lampshade just waiting to be told, from the tiny ladybird walking with the stroller and the cheeky grasshopper catching a ride on the back of a snail, to the dancing bees and the fairy blowing a tune on her golden trumpet.
As you stitch this enchanting piece, you’ll be delighted by the intricate details tucked into every element. Taetia has utilised a host of different techniques including appliqué, stumpwork, surface embroidery and ribbon embroidery to create this magical fairyland scene.
Circling the bottom of the design is a charming verse, turning the original ‘Starlight, Starbright’ nursery rhyme on its head to remind the reader that the dark night will pass and the sunshine will come again.
Sunbeams fits perfectly with our article from last week’s newsletter HERE on discovering new and unusual ways to mount your embroidery. Taetia’s lamp throws beautiful soft light when on and highlights the embroidery in a way you could never achieve were it simply mounted on the wall.
This is not to say this project couldn’t be worked as a flat piece and framed, as the dimensions are perfect to do just that. However, as a gift for a treasured child, we couldn’t think of a better use for your completed embroidery.
Perhaps you were wondering what to make for that new grandchild. Or maybe you wanted to do something really special for a child’s upcoming birthday. Two children? Look out for our upcoming Handpicked project ‘Starlight’ which is a companion lamp to this one, bringing you more of Taetia’s wonderful stitching and imagination.
‘Sunbeams’ (Left) and Handpicked Project ‘Starlight’ (Right)
But it doesn’t just have to be for a child. We know that, as children at heart, there is often a little corner hidden away in each of us which believes in fairies and would love to settle down of an evening accompanied by a miniature world of magical creatures. ‘Sunbeams’ is perfect, no matter the reason.

Every now and then, we could all do with something special to chase the dark away and bathe the world in gentle light.
Make Your Own Sunbeams
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Sunbeams by Taetia McEwen is a captivating fairy-tale garden adorning a lampshade, created using raised and surface embroidery.
Inspirations Issue 107
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Sunbeams includes everything* you need to re-create this magical lampshade: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felts, fusible webbing, wire, entomology pins, fibre-fill, charms, buttons, feather, goat hair, embroidery threads, ribbons, beads, sequins and needle.
*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 magazine/digital pattern.
Looking for More Projects for Children?
The Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy by Betsy Morgan from Inspirations issue #99 is two adorable counted work boxes for special tooth fairy deliveries.
The Tooth Fairy
Inspirations Issue 99
Clowning Around
Clowning Around by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations issue #73 is a delightful cushion featuring a cheeky clown.
Clowning Around
Inspirations Issue 73
Friends by Anna Scott from Inspirations issue #69 is the perfect project for a novice stitcher, featuring an adorable bunny and duck.
Inspirations Issue 69
Monet, Hugo et les Poissons d'Or
Monet, Hugo et les Poissons d'Or (Monet, Hugo and the Golden Fish) by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations issue #100 is a charming stitched storybook featuring a new adventure for Monet Mouse.
Monet, Hugo et les Poissons d'Or
Monet, Hugo et les Poissons d'Or
What Are You Stitching?
We can’t be the only ones who have collected far too many old kits which are sitting at home in our stash and which we’d just love to get out and finish. If that sounds familiar, we’re pleased to share with you the stories of some of our readers who have done just that. We hope you’re now feeling inspired!
Sheila McCoy | Elsa Williams Bellpull
‘I finally finished my Elsa Williams crewel bellpull from a very old kit.’
‘This isolation stuff is great for those UFOs!’
Its great you’ve put your time to such good use, Sheila. The bellpull looks fantastic.
Ann Reed | Sunflowers
‘This project started as a kit which I bought in the late 1980s. It then sat in my cupboard for many years until I had the time to tackle it. I did not like the original stitching instructions or the choice of colours and threads, so ditched them and decided to do my own thing.’
‘It is still not finished as I have so many projects I am working on. I am quite happy so far with how it is developing.’
It’s just as good to see works-in-progress as it is to see finished pieces. Here’s yet another older design which has stood the test of time. Your interpretation is fabulous, Ann, and we can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.
Penny Wilton | Margaret Preston Bouquets
‘I bought these pieces over 20 years ago but had not stitched them - I think I was a bit daunted by them. Now that they are finished, I'm really pleased with them. They are based on two Margaret Preston paintings from 1925 which hang in the National Gallery of Australia.’
More wonderful old kits! You’ve done a great job with them, Penny. They make a perfect pair.

Old kits and thrift shop buys are like discovering hidden treasure. Have you recently dug out any old kits which you’ve finally completed? Have you discovered a priceless gem tucked away in the bargain bin at your local charity shop? Or have you resurrected some old stitching which was first put away years ago?

In any case, we’d love to see your work. Send us pictures and a little bit of information about your stitching life to
Subscribe to Inspirations Magazine
Not a Subscriber? Join Today!
Become part of the Inspirations family by subscribing to the magazine... we'd love to have you join us!
You May Have Missed
In My Garden
In My Garden by Catherine Laurençon is a pretty scene of sweet garden blooms in a soft palette of pinks and greens.
Inspirations Issue 107
In My Garden
In My Garden
Le Magnolia
Le Magnolia by Catherine Laurençon from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII is a stunning threadpainted magnolia worked in vibrant colours on linen.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII
Snow Blossom
Snow Blossom by Catherine Laurençon from Inspirations issue #104 features the dainty, white edelweiss flower in gently-shaded threadpainting.
Snow Blossom
Inspirations Issue 104
Les Amaryllis
Les Amaryllis by Catherine Laurençon from Inspirations issue #101 is a beautiful threadpainted study of a stately amaryllis.
Les Amaryllis
Inspirations Issue 101
La Fauvette
La Fauvette by Catherine Laurençon from Inspirations issue #97 is a gorgeous threadpainting of a European warbler amongst reeds and grasses.
La Fauvette
Inspirations Issue 97
This Week on Social
Linda Di Martino crocheted aquarium. Beautiful hassle free pets! @lindadi_creations
Harmonious designs by Pippa Haynes. ⁠⠀ @lemonpepperstudio⁠⠀
‘If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality. ’
~ Dr Roopleen ~
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
© 2020 Inspirations Studios

/ Forward to a Friend / Shop Online

You are receiving this email because you signed up online, at a craft show, subscribed to our magazine, or purchased something from our online store. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, we'll be sorry to see you go, but click HERE and we'll remove your email address from this list. Thank you.