ISSUE 181, APRIL 12 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
One of the ways horizon is defined is ‘the limit of a person's knowledge, experience, or interest’.

In order to expand our horizons, we usually have to learn or experience something new or open ourselves up to fresh ideas and opinions. Whilst there are countless ways to expand our horizons, travel definitely ranks as one of the quickest ways to immerse yourself in a horizon expanding experience.

Some of us from Inspirations have been fortunate enough to vacation in Bali this year and expand our horizons it did indeed! Whilst Bali is just a short five-hour flight from our home city of Adelaide, it feels a whole world away when you arrive.
One of the many horizons that was expanded during our time in Bali, was our stitching horizon.
By chance we stumbled across Uluwatu Handmade Balinese Lace which is known in English as cutwork and called Krawang in Balinese. Uluwatu Krawang is still made in the traditional way where lace is stretched on bamboo hoops and sewn by hand on foot-powered machines identical to the old Singer machines now seen only as antiques in many parts of the world. The thread is carefully built up layer upon layer as the hoop moves back and forth. The empty areas of the lace are delicately cut away with sharp little scissors while the loose edges are caught and bound by the whirring needle. A single item may take five days or more to complete.
Uluwatu Handmade Lace – image courtesy
When we found ourselves in the slightly more remote or residential areas of Bali, it was impossible to miss the elaborate traditional dress of the Balinese women, now worn mostly on ceremonial occasions. The women wear Kebaya which are intricate lace tops, often white, that are paired with heavily patterned and colourful Batik Kambens which are similar to a sarong, a sash tied around their waist and flowers in their hair.
Traditional Balinese Dress - image courtesy
From the simplicity of Uluwatu right through to the ornate Kebayas and Kambens, both expanded what we thought possible with needle and thread and provided us a broader horizon to stitch from upon our return home.

What expands your horizon with needle and thread? We’d love to know! Email us at
World of Needlework
The Artists of Hand & Lock
The Royal Adelaide Show is an annual event held in the Inspirations home town of Adelaide and has been part of the city’s history for over 175 years. Akin to an oversized country fair, this is where both city and country folk gather to exhibit everything from live stock to fine cuisine, baked goods to handmade crafts, including embroidery.
Inspirations is a proud sponsor of numerous needlework-based categories at the show, and it’s always a great privilege for us to provide prizes for the winning entries submitted by both the young and the young at heart. It’s also a terrific opportunity for us to scout for up and coming talent.

On the global stage and at the highest level, another competition also celebrates hand-based needlework – the world-famous Hand & Lock annual competition. This prestigious atelier doesn’t just curate one of the most important embroidery prizes in the world, they also support and promote emerging textile artists in a bid to ensure the art form maintains equal footing with other artistic mediums such as painting or sculpture.

Hand & Lock are a company who create hand embroidered pieces for clients such as the British Royal Family and world class European Fashion Houses. They’ve been in business since the eighteenth century, setting up at a time when all embroidered work was completed by hand.
Nowadays, as textiles are churned out cheaply by machine, Hand & Lock maintain their quality by adhering to traditional techniques.
In pursuit of their mission to maintain a position of prominence for hand embroidery, the company takes the time to seek out embroiderers who are pushing the boundaries of the art. The famous annual prize is one way they do it, but even outside of the competition, they actively highlight other artists and their ground-breaking work by featuring them on their website.
Embroidered hands emerging out of an X-Ray film by Matthew Cox (source)
The creativity on display in some of the work they highlight is stunning, for example when was the last time you picked up your needle and considered embroidering on X-Rays, like Matthew Cox? The melding of modern medical technology with needle and thread is just astounding.
Racket Art by Danielle Clough
How about using an old tennis racket for your canvas, like Danielle Clough? Or would you even dream of creating three dimensional sculptures using cotton and pins which blur the lines between drawing, sculpture and textile art? Debbie Smyth has done just that, with amazing results.
It’s a Small World by Debbie Smyth (source)
Textile art comes in all forms and regardless of how far along we are in our stitching journey, whether our work is enjoying recognition and praise from Hand & Lock, or we’re entering our projects in a local county, state or annual show, all of us play an equally important role in evangelising needlework.

Our collective passion for needle and thread helps ensure our beloved artform will continue to thrive for generations to come as we all make the world more beautiful one stitch at a time.
Stop Press: Hand & Lock Classes Now Available
Take your needlework to the next level in May this year by attending a class with Hand & Lock, the world’s oldest embroidery atelier and official embroidery house to the British Royal Family.

Week-long embroidery classes suitable for beginners and experts alike are coming to the USA with students able to choose from monogramming, tambour beading and goldwork.
Classes will be held in Williamsburg, Virginia and San Francisco, California with all materials provided.

Don’t miss this once in a life time opportunity, book your place today. Visit and use code USA19 for a special 20% discount!
Needlework News
New Digital Pattern | For Love of Roses
This week we have a released another new digital pattern from our Golden Oldies collection - For Love of Roses by Kris Richards from Inspirations issue #38

For Love of Roses is a superb cushion with lush embroidery on rich damask. Magnificent bullion roses and elegant gilded scrolls decorate the cushion that is finished with a beautiful embroidered tassel.
For Love of Roses
Bare Cupboards…
When we were putting the ‘What Are You Stitching?’ segment together this week to showcase all the wonderous needlework our readers have been working on, guess what we found?
Not much! That’s because our cupboard is starting to look very bare. So, we’re calling on all the stitchers out there to take some photos of your work and send them in.

Whether it’s in progress, recently finished, or completed a long time ago, take some happy snaps and email them to us - the needlework community would LOVE to see it!
After all, your project might just be the spark someone needs to ignite their stitching mojo.
Email your photos and a few details about your stitching journey to
Colour Secrets
We see colour around us every day, and as stitchers we work with it, admire it and think about it constantly. But have you ever considered the history of colours? A new book by Kassia St. Clair called The Secret Lives of Color does just that and the website '99% Invisible' has written a fabulous review on the book that also includes an audio interview with the author which you can check out HERE.
Colours – Image by Chris Martin from Pixabay (source)
Just reading the article and listening to the interview with Kassia is incredibly enlightening as we learned so many interesting facts about colour that most of us have probably never considered.
For example, did you know that sports teams tend to play better when wearing red?!
Coloured threads - Image by Adrian Malec from Pixabay
Or that green wallpaper originally had so much arsenic in it, it is rumoured to have killed Napoleon? Or that people were whipped in Roman times if they were caught wearing purple – a colour reserved for royalty?

So, next time you thread up with DMC 909 you might take a moment and pause in remembrance of Napoleon, or if stitching with DMC 333 be glad Nero is not around to catch you using his royal colour. Like many things in life, colour is something we all take for granted yet behind each hue there is a fascinating back story to be told.
Featured Project
More Beautiful Embroidered Blankets
While those of us within the Inspirations Community pledge allegiance to the marvellous sport of needlework overall, each of us have our own individual teams we support, based on the different techniques and project types we engage in.
Summer Symphony by Helen Eriksson
For example, some of us cheer for the more free-flowing forms of needlework such as threadpainting and crazy patch, while others root loudly for the formal and structured techniques like Hardanger or Schwalm. Then there are those who prefer to create only functional projects with a specific/practical use, versus the team who are happy to stitch anything and everything in sight, just as long as it looks beautiful.
All of these differences are yet another reason why needlework is so magnificent - there is literally something for everyone regardless of what you fancy or which team you barrack for.
Embroidered blankets have their own strong fan base within the needlework fraternity and we often receive emails asking when the next blanket will be appearing in the magazine. It was interesting to note in our recent survey, there were also a few readers who do not feel the need for more blankets and would like to see more modern and less traditional projects to be featured. Again, it’s great to celebrate our diverse likes and dislikes.

Just like any sport however, not every team can win every game and this week it’s the blanket lovers who have something to shout about as we review the book ‘More Beautiful Embroidered Blankets’.

With such wide appeal and an array of uses on offer, blankets are one of those projects that perfectly combine both form and function. As ‘More Beautiful Embroidered Blankets’ has only just come back in print after being unavailable for many years, we thought we’d re-introduce you to some of its players…

Fruits of the Hedgerow by Carolyn Pearce
Upon receiving notice that a newborn is on the way, the first thing a needleworker does is search for that perfect project they can stitch to aptly celebrate the occasion.
Princess by Julie Graue
To help welcome a baby girl, ‘Princess’ by Julie Graue is a dainty blanket decorated with a charming vintage baby carriage. Tiny dragonflies flit around both the carriage and the monogramed lettering, all within a fine white border in stem stitch highlighted with sprays of bullion roses.
Down to the Woods by Barbara Dowling
‘Down to the Woods’ by Barbara Dowling is a trio of adorable plush teddy bears set in a garden of pastel flowers, complete with tiny insects. The finished blanket measures 116cm x 83cm wide (45 5/8” x 32 5/8”) and is backed with cotton fabric and edged with satin blanket binding.
My Toybox by Kris Richards
Keeping with the theme of bears, ‘My Toybox’ by Kris Richards is a fun design featuring two cuddly teddies sitting alongside some classic favourite toys such as a sail boat, spinning top, drum, wooden blocks and more. One of our favourite aspects of this design has to be the cute-as-pie girl bear sitting in her little sun dress eating an ice-cream – too cute!
Showtime by Louise Spriggs
To round out the selection of children’s blankets on offer in the book is ‘Showtime’ by Louise Spriggs. Roll up, roll up and join in on all the fun of the circus with a cheeky elephant carefully balancing a ball on his long trunk under a line of colourful bunting.
Scheherazade by Anna Scott
Moving on now to some fun for the adults, ‘Scheherazade’ by Anna Scott is a blanket that may be hard to pronounce but very easy to fall in love with. This dramatic French navy blanket incorporates exotic blooms stitched in rich tones of gold, coral, violet and red. Bordered on four sides with bright blanket stitch pin wheels, the finished blanket measures 150 cm (59”) square.
Berry Delight by Jan Kerton
One of our favourites from the book is ‘Berry Delight’ by Jan Kerton. The bright golden wings of a resting butterfly immediately grab your attention, as it nestles on a wreath of beaded blackberries and delicate stumpwork flowers.

With a total of 9 stunning blankets included in the book, we’ve run out of time to look at all of them today, but if you are a fan of embroidered blankets, this is a must have publication.
Did You Know…
Since the first issue of Inspirations Magazine was released, we have featured a total of 72 blankets. In fact, if you include the blanket projects we’ve published in our books such as ‘More Beautiful Embroidered Blankets’, it’s more like 100 different blanket designs that are now part of the Inspirations library. So, if you’re looking for a blanket to embroider, we’ve got you covered!
Make Your Own Beautiful Blanket
Copies of ‘More Beautiful Embroidered Blankets’ can now be ordered from our website and shipped directly to your door anywhere in the world.
As for the other 72 blankets within the Inspirations Magazine library, to help you find which issues they’re in, the recently updated Index covering issues 1-100 will be your new best friend.
Looking for More Blankets?
Blue Ribbon
Blue Ribbon by Carolyn Pearce from Inspirations #100 is a gorgeous blanket adorned with enchanting blossoms and an elegant bow.
Blue Ribbon
Blue Ribbon
Warm Welcome | The Blanket
Warm Welcome | The Blanket by Susan O'Connor from Inspirations #91 features soft fabrics and a tone-on-tone colour scheme, creating the perfect complement for this elegant, highly padded monogram design.
Inspirations Issue 91
Warm Welcome | The Blanket
Warm Welcome | The Blanket
Arabian Nights
Arabian Nights by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations #33 is an exotic rug for lovers of adventure.
Arabian Nights
The Great Escape
The Great Escape by Erica Frame from Inspirations #19 is an award-winning rug, featuring the silken blossoms of Australia's native eucalypts...
The Great Escape
What Are You Stitching?
After talking about travel in the opening paragraphs of this week’s newsletter, we came across some stitching that has been inspired by, or stitched, during the travels of our Inspirations Community...
Ann Bernard
‘My stitching is a collage of the incredible city of San Diego in California which has got to be one of my favourite cities! This was stitched in 1984 from a design on a black and white poster we found while visiting. It is still looking as fresh as when it was first stitched. I live in Ontario, Canada and am a friend of Peggy Kimble.’
Ann, what a fabulous reminder of a fabulous city - and to think it all began with the inspiration from a black and white poster. Oh, and make sure you give Peggy a hug from us next time you’re with her!
Dianne Fishel
‘I’m from Boulder, Colorado in the USA and stayed in St. Kilda, near Melbourne in Australia for several months while my husband was getting surgery on his knees. I made this embroidery as a gift to the owners of a local café and restaurant - Paul and Marco of Fitzrovia. It’s a wedding present to them as well as a thank you for the amazing food, great service and friendship that they give everyone!’
Dianne, your stitching is a lovely gift for Paul and Marco! We hope your husband is well on his way to a full recovery after his surgery.
Kelvin Martin
‘As I’m emailing you, I’m on a Norwegian Fjords cruise and thought I would get a lot of stitching done, but I’ve been too busy enjoying what Norway has to offer, not to mention the ship! As a result, I’ve only done three leaves so far!’
Kelvin, we’d rarely suggest that anything get in the way of our time with needle and thread, but we think cruising the Norwegian Fjords may just be the exception! We look forward to seeing your progress when you return to dry land.

Have your travels inspired you to create something with needle and thread? We’d love to see it! Email us photos of your stitching along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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You May Have Missed
Fine Feathers
Fine Feathers by Anna Scott is an enchanting stumpwork scene from an Australian rainforest featuring a lyrebird displaying his magnificent tail.
Inspirations Issue 101
Fine Feathers
Fine Feathers
Far Horizons
Far Horizons by Glenda Semple from Inspirations #47 is two beautiful galahs perched on a blackbutt tree.
Inspirations Issue 47
Birdsong by Gary Clarke from Inspirations #93 is three fabulous brooches featuring Australian birds.
Inspirations Issue 93
Two ripening figs, resting on a fig leaf platter by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.
Botanica | The three-dimensional embroidery of Julie Kniedl
This Week on Social
Something special from Catherine Barley
Crewel Whimsy by Ana Mallah
‘A mind that is stretched by new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.’
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~
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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