ISSUE 192, JUNE 28 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
This morning we received an email from Grit and Virtue that encouraged us to pursue growth without the anxiety that’s often associated with getting us from where we are, to where we want to be, and that got us thinking…

Are we intentionally pursuing growth and making steady progress when it comes to our needles and threads, or have we settled into what’s easy and comfortable, perhaps without even noticing?!
If we want to set ourselves up for success, we need to remember to let go of the pressure of thinking we’re not doing it right or falling into the trap of comparison, because the journey we’re on is uniquely our own.
Whilst it’s important to remember that success is a journey and not a destination, we think that by taking the time to remember how far we’ve come, celebrating the accomplishments we’ve made along the way and then refocusing on where we’re hoping our needlework journey will take us, is a sure way to let go of any growth anxiety we may be experiencing and start becoming all that we are destined to be.

For now though, embrace your pace and make sure you’re enjoying where you are on the way to where you’re going…
Have Your Say
In All Stitched Up! issue #186 HERE we wondered if, like us, you’d ever noticed that when something piques your interest, suddenly you notice it everywhere. We also questioned whether this phenomenon has a name and it turns out that not only does it have name – or two – but we are not the only ones who’ve noticed this phenomenon, especially when it comes to all things needle and thread related!
Annie Webster
‘The answer to the question posed in the welcome in your recent newsletter ‘Details’ is The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon or, probably more accurately, Frequency Illusion. Very interesting and a happenstance I’ve observed often over many years. Who’d have thought a newsletter on embroidery would have sparked such intellectual interest? Well done!’
Bonnie Stenstrom
‘The reticular formation of the brain is responsible for this phenomenon with an example of this being exactly what you described - an owner of a new car noticing similar cars on the road. This useful aspect of our brain gives us the ability to screen out competing stimuli and focus on what is important to us at that time. I enjoy the beautiful creations of your readers and am heartily impressed by the skill and devotion it takes to fashion, stitch and create these items. Thank you for a wonderful newsletter!’
Elizabeth Fewer
‘I absolutely suffer from this phenomenon!
For instance, while eating breakfast in a Mexican cantina in Las Vegas, I spotted an old surface embroidery from 50 feet away in semi darkness.
Also, when I was at the hospital at the time my first grandson was on his way, I left family behind to check out a large embroidery of tiny people down the hall. On a related note, I walked an extra mile in Cuba because a vendor told me there was a woman down the street who sold her own embroidery, and while travelling in Las Vegas when people asked me what shows I had tickets for, I was honest and replied, ‘I don’t know who’s performing, but I did look up the bus route to a local embroidery store!’
Lesley-Anne Read
‘I find that during historical dramas on TV all I notice are the samplers on the walls, or the way that the ladies who are supposedly stitching have obviously never held an embroidery hoop, needle or thread in their hands prior!’
Roberta Ellis
‘I always manage to find the interesting needlework pieces in print ads, movies, TV shows and commercials as well as in Art Galleries and have even watched several bad movies more than once just to see the quilts and costumes again! My family teases me about this talent all the time, especially when we travel.’
Vivien Thornton
‘Several friends and I watch programmes on TV, like ‘Place in the Country’ and ‘Your New Home Abroad’ and get excited when any of the homes featured have quilts on the beds, embroidered wall hangings or stitched cushions. In fact, one of the BBC channels had an opening sequence of layered fabrics, so the content or adverts became irrelevant as we were focused only on the textiles!’

We also heard from Heather Cawte, Sandra Forsythe and Sz who referred to this phenomenon as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon as well. Whilst Diane Tompkins suggested it is known as Reticular Activating System and Sheila McCoy suggested it could be referred to as serendipity. We thank everyone who joined in on the conversation, and like Annie, we too were somewhat surprised by the interest we sparked with a simple observation!
Needlework News
Inspirations Calendar | July Project
The featured project from the Inspirations Calendar for the month of July, creates a great opportunity to expand your needlework horizons. Why not do something new to start off the second half of 2019 and learn a delightful Italian embroidery technique with ‘Stitches from the Heart’ by Maria Elide Melani from Inspirations issue #97?
This charming little sachet, in shades of blue and white, is the perfect introduction to the technique of Deruta Sfilato, drawn thread work from the heart of Italy.

Working on very low-count linen, threads are clipped and withdrawn, leaving an open grid that is embellished with stitches using two weights of crochet cotton. Digital pattern now available.
Stitches from the Heart
Men Who Stitch…
When we think of embroidery, most of us think of women. If we do think of men embroidering, it is unlikely the first image of the male embroiderer we’d form would be that of New Zealand farmer, Neville Simons.
Neville Simons with his work (source)
After a serious accident where Neville was trampled by a herd of cows, he reassessed his life and his capabilities. Although still passionate about restoring cars, he has found that
…embroidery provides a meditative and effective form of rehabilitation.
Some of Neville’s embroidery (source)
Not all men would be comfortable walking into a room full of women at their local embroiderer’s guild, but it doesn’t faze this gentleman. We can only imagine they love him for it as well. It just goes to show that the benefits of needlework know no boundaries at all.

You can read more about Neville’s inspiring story on the Stuff website HERE.
Coming Up…
It’s hard to believe that in a few days 2019 will be half over, and for some of us that means we’ve got a LOT of stitching to get done in the next six months to accomplish all we set out to achieve this year.

But don’t worry, if you think you’re busy now, wait until you see what we’ve got planned for the second half of the year - there’s a WHOLE LOT MORE stitching coming up for you in 2019, so GET READY!
#103 On its Way
Subscriber copies of Inspirations #103 are being dispatched globally this week. Titled ‘The Artful Needle’ this issue blends the new with the familiar with a perfect mix of projects to inspire the inner artist within us all.
New Printed Patterns
In our recent survey, many of you asked for individual projects to be sold in print, not just digital. Well you spoke and we listened - starting with Inspirations issue #103, every project will be available as an individual printed pattern. Oh, and projects from past issues are coming soon too ... in fact you can check out which patterns are already available in print HERE.
New Collection of Designs
Handpicked is a collection of brand-new projects by Inspirations we’re releasing that will only be available as individual patterns in print and digital. The first project will be officially launched on 26th July, until then you can read more about Handpicked in Inspirations issue #103 or click HERE for more information.
New Book | Betsy Morgan
Fans of Betsy Morgan rejoice - for the first time ever, we’re producing an entire book dedicated to Betsy’s incredible counted thread embroidery designs. Featuring 8 amazing etuis, each with matching needlework accessories, this gorgeous book will be available late October.
BATB 2020 | Catalogue
Be where you belong and join your tribe in 2020 as we make the biennial pilgrimage to Adelaide, South Australia for Beating Around the Bush. The eagerly anticipated catalogue showcasing the spectacular projects on offer at the convention will be released 4th October.
Featured Project
Winter Sunset by Hazel Blomkamp
If a picture says a thousand words, Winter Sunset by Hazel Blomkamp from the book A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII speaks volumes about the sheer pleasure of stitching.
This fabulous design harmoniously combines beautiful, soft colours with bountiful stems of Jacobean flowers and fruit worked in an abundance of patterns and textures.
Approaching the working of this piece is like setting out on a journey with an amiable companion who has done all the planning, leaving you to enjoy the sights and experiences.
It was while travelling that Hazel was inspired to create the gorgeous colour palette for this project – along with the name.

‘We were travelling home from Durban, South Africa in the late afternoon, heading into the sunset. It was winter, a dusty time in our part of the world and sunsets are always more colourful when there is a lot of dust, these were the colours I saw in the sunset.’
Hazel is often inspired by the colourful African landscape. ‘I can’t tell you how often I have got back from a long driving trip and started something the next day using the colours that I looked at for hours and hours during my drive.’

Hazel works her gorgeous selection of colours with interesting combinations of stitches to create a layer of intriguing patterns and shading within the design. A broad outline might be rendered in smooth satin stitch, methodical rows of chain stitch, shaded layers of blanket stitch or ladder stitch filled in with another thread woven across the rungs.
Subtle textures are added with low ridges of chain stitches whipped together, raised chain stitch with threads woven across the rows, curlicues in coral stitch and irresistible tufts of plush Ghiordes knots.

An integral aspect of many of Hazel’s designs that is beautifully showcased in Winter Sunset is her love of needleweaving. She uses it to create patterns to fill motifs, creating snippets of bespoke ‘fabric’.
‘Needleweaving is such fun. It starts off as just a whole lot of straight warp (vertical) stitches but once you get onto the weft (horizontal) stitches, you watch a pattern develop and that is very satisfying. Having modified a lot of these stitches from loom weaving and Fair Isle knitting patterns, I find that, depending on the colours you use and whether you use dark in the warp and light in the weft or the other way around, the same pattern can be done over and over again, but look different each time.’
Four needleweaving patterns are worked in Winter Sunset, each set out in a diagram with notes on how to lay out the colours for the warp and weft threads. As with any stitch that is new to you, it’s a good idea to practise the pattern on a sample piece of fabric to get the feel for even tension and spacing, and to become familiar with the weaving sequence.
The warp threads are laid first and then weaving with weft threads begins at the widest point of the shape. Rows of weaving are added in sequence, with partial rows worked around the edges, and the effect is of a larger piece of woven fabric that has been cut to shape. If this is the first time you are exploring needleweaving, prepare to be hooked - you’ll be looking for more opportunities to use it in your embroidery!
Whether you choose to work methodically around the design or move from one element to another on a whim, dive on in and enjoy every stitching moment. Whether you make a footstool, cushion or wall art from the finished piece, let it speak to your love of needle and thread.
Make Your Own Winter Sunset
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Winter Sunset by Hazel Blomkamp from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII features a magical palette of gentle pastels and intricate stitch techniques to create the fascinating surface on this square footstool.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for Winter Sunset includes everything you need to re-create this fabulous footstool: Fabrics (unprinted), braid, embroidery threads and needles.

Special Note: Instructions are not included with this kit. Please refer to the book for detailed information on how to create the project.
Winter Sunset
Looking for More Hazel Blomkamp?
Fantasia by Hazel Blomkamp from Inspirations issue #98 is a stunning cushion adorned with ornate Jacobean embroidery.
Inspirations Issue 98
Jacobus Rex
Jacobus Rex by Hazel Blomkamp from Inspirations issue #87 is an elegant tablet cover utilising beautiful weaving techniques.
Inspirations Issue 87
Mandala Musings
Mandala Musings by Hazel Blomkamp from Inspirations issue #93 is an opulent, beaded Jacobean design with needleweaving and needlelace.
Inspirations Issue 93
Mandala Musings
Masterpiece by Hazel Blomkamp from Inspirations issue #70 is a superb footstool richly decorated with ornate, traditional Jacobean motifs.
What Are You Stitching?
As a tribe passionate about all things needle and thread, we find our lives are all the richer when we’re able to surround ourselves with everyday items that have been embellished with the work of our own hands. This week we’re sharing the bedding and soft furnishings that are making the lives of those who use them all the richer for their inclusion…
Hendrika Tibbits
‘I really enjoy All Stitched Up! every week – it is my ‘go to’ on Saturday morning with a cup of coffee – thanks Inspirations! I have just completed two more baby blankets. The African blanket has already gone to my granddaughter, Kathleen, and our great grandson, Phoenix. Kathleen wanted something with African animals, and I chose this design from Jan Kerton of Windflower Embroidery.’
‘I changed the design as I thought it needed an Acacia tree for the Giraffe. I looked at images of Acacia trees online and of Giraffes near the trees, then sketched the rough outline of the tree in the size I thought would be appropriate. I used wools from the Appleton’s range as the colours and the thickness appealed to me and would give me the effect I was after’.
‘The second blanket is a delightful design from Jenny McWhinney - her designs are just so full of life! I saw this design at Beating Around the Bush and just fell in love with it. This blanket is going to the Netherlands for my niece Natascha’s first-born baby boy, Quin, who was conceived via IVF.’
‘I have five sisters who all have a few children and I must have made at least 10 blankets; add to those the blankets I have made for my grand and great grandchildren and the tally is at least 15! I have told all my family, ‘from now on only the first born will get a blanket’. I’ll still stitch for the other children, but now it is time to do some other stitching!’

Hendrika, we love the time and talent you’ve poured into so many blankets over the years! Each child’s nursery will have benefitted from the work of your hands and they will become treasured keepsakes for years to come.
Janet Burgess
‘I just finished stitching this cushion with a beautiful Margaret Light design called ‘Nigella and Honesty’. I am ever grateful to the amazing embroidery designers who produce such wonderful pieces for us to stitch. My next project is the beautiful Camellia by Julie Kniedl, a gift for a beloved friend. Where would some of us be without these fabulously talented designers?!’
Janet, Nigella and Honesty is not only a beautiful design that you’ve stitched to perfection but is an exact match for the style and colour of its surrounds! We hope that Julie’s Camellia provides many hours of stitching joy and we look forward to seeing it once its complete. And you’re right, we would be absolutely lost without the fabulously talented designers who so generously share their craft with us!
Melany Port
‘I learnt basic embroidery stitches from my darling Granny Doris and then went on to make my daughter's and my own clothes, but then put handwork aside for many years. In 2010 I decided to start tapestry work again and then started learning creative embroidery with my late teacher, the talented Sharon Fritelli. I now have classes with the lovely Bridget Price. My favourite style of embroidery is single thread fine work, Jacobean or other classic styles. This cushion took me 11 months to embroider with most stitches being single thread floss.’
Melany, it’s a true labour of love to complete such an elaborate piece with just a single strand of floss! We love the intricate detail and gentle shading you’ve been able to attain with your needle and thread.
Norma Mulligan
‘I have just completed this crazy patchwork cushion. It is such a great embroidery project as there are no rules and you can exercise your creativity, which is totally therapeutic! I made this cushion cover from scraps left over from quilts made in the past.’
Therapy with needle and thread, is there anything better?! Norma not only did your cushion provide a creative outlet and some therapy along the way, but the resulting cushion will be a colourful and whimsical addition to any room.
Ute Donaldson
‘I started this quilt in February 2016 because of my love of threadpainting and native flora, and it was backed and finished by November 2018. The embroidery was all done with single stranded DMC thread on 10-inch (25cm) squares of Twill.’
‘A lot of the embroidery was done while caravanning around Australia. I collected quite a few flora books on our travels and before setting out on our trips I would trace flowers onto fabric, choose my threads and get started. The design is my own with the majority of the flowers coming from the book, Key Guide to Australian Wild Flowers.’

Ute, what an incredible labour of love! The quilt is not only gorgeous but serves as a fabulous reminder of your time spent crisscrossing Australia.

Has your life been made all the richer by surrounding yourself with items that have been embellished with the work of your own hands? We’d love to see them! Email photos of what you’ve created along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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‘Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.’
~ Arthur Ashe ~
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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