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ISSUE 92  | JUNE 2, 2017

Hi <<First Name>>,

Don’t Be Shy – Give It A Try!

The technique of crazy patchwork dates back to the UK in the late 1800’s when it first appeared as a demonstration of opulence and lavish design during the Victorian era.

Conversely, it also featured during times of great hardship such as both world wars and The Great Depression, where scarcity and necessity led to stitchers using scraps of whatever materials were available to create quilts for function and comfort.

Crazy patchwork would also, more often than not, feature marvellous stitched embellishments, either helping tell a story or acting as a bridge between the eclectic mix of shapes and fabric types.

This technique is an excellent way of converting all your left-over fabric scraps, threads, ribbons, buttons, beads and any and all type of notions, into a beautiful usable piece that is as unique as you are.

Don’t be put off by the term crazy, instead embrace it as an opportunity to throw off your inhibitions and give yourself permission to experiment and try something different – the results will most likely delight you!

Share your crazies with us at


Mini Hoops Competition – The Verdict

In Inspirations #91 we ‘discovered’ the ever so cute and adorable Dandelyne Mini Hoops and were so taken by them we announced a competition calling for the best stitched miniature design to fit inside one of the hoops.

The Inspirations editorial team led the way by putting their own needles on the line and stitched some beautiful designs to get you all inspired:

After receiving some wonderfully creative entries, the winners were finally announced in the current issue of Inspirations #94.  Drum roll please…

The first prize winner is Jane Page from the UK with her delightful Harvest Mouse design. There were also two runner-up prizes and these go to Gabrielle Henderson of Australia for her idyllic Jacaranda Tree…

and Debbi Gourley of the USA for her fun Bubble Gum design that involved two mini-hoops!

Many thanks to all who entered and a big thank you to Sonia Lyne from Dandelyne for her generous prizes.

If you would like to get in on the mini hoop craze, Dandelyne Mini Hoops are available through our website.

> Browse our range of Dandelyne Mini Hoops HERE




Paperchase’ by Susan O’Connor features four enchanting embroidered glass paperweights.

> Paperchase in Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE


Under the Sea’ by Jenny McWhinney is a unique and stylish evening bag featuring two beautiful sea horses stitched in silk and metallic threads.

> Under the Sea in Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE
> Under the Sea in Print – Inspirations #63 Available HERE


If you are enjoying the projects from the current issue of Inspirations #94, don’t forget to order your Ready-To-Stitch kits – before you know it, they’ll be all sold out!

> Browse Issue #94 Kits HERE



It is said there is a little bit of crazy in all of us, just more in some than others!  When it comes to adding some crazy to quilting and needlework, the right dosage can yield some spectacular results, and this week we’re taking some time out to look at the crazy patch evening purse ‘Ribbons and Rainbows’ by Jennifer Clouston from Inspirations #94.

Created using a rainbow of beautiful fabrics, ribbons, beads and threads, Jennifer has designed this stunning, colourful, crazy patch evening purse.

For the creative at heart, crazy patch projects are a playground of colour, improvisation and unstructured ‘stitch play’.  With no rules, no restraints and no set list of requirements, you simply gather up your favourite scraps of leftover fabrics and fashion them together with as much, or as little, stitching and embellishment as you like.

On the other hand, if you are an ardent instruction and rule follower, ‘Ribbons and Rainbows’ is a crazy patch project perfect for you as it incorporates symmetrical fabric strips and comes with a design template and step-by-steps instructions to follow.

Stitchers who immerse themselves in the world of crazy patch, pride themselves on amassing incredible stashes of sumptuous fabrics, unique threads and bespoke notions, all of which are called upon at the perfect appointed time to give their next project that certain je ne sais quoi. 

For some, it’s a life’s work hunting through craft shows, market stalls, quilt and needlework shops and even trash and treasure markets the world over, to ensure their collector’s stash is well stocked ready for any crazy patchwork opportunity or emergency, whichever the case may be.  There is as much joy in the collecting as there is in the stitching!

Jennifer Clouston describes crazy patchwork this way: ‘It combines all that I love; colour, embroidery, slow stitching, patchwork, beading and a whole lot of whimsy.

Ribbons and Rainbows’ is a beautiful emersion of fabric, threads and colours and after you’ve enjoyed all the fun and freedom of crazy patchwork, the best part is you end up with a charming purse and an ideal way to use up all those textile treasures you have secretly stashed away!


Purchase Inspirations #94

Ribbons and Rainbows’ by Jennifer Clouston is a crazy patch evening purse worked on a rainbow of silk fabrics.  Issue #94 includes requirement list, detailed step-by-step instructions, design template and construction information.

> Inspirations issue #94 - Available in Print HERE



If you’re a quilter who loves to stitch or a stitcher who loves to quilt, ‘Feeling Crazy’ by Jennifer Clouston from Inspirations #86 is sure to please.  The perfect marriage of fabric and thread, this fun little bag is a great way to let your crazy out!

> Feeling Crazy! in Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE
> Feeling Crazy! in Print – Inspirations #86 Available HERE


You can read more about Jennifer Clouston in Inspirations #81 where she talks about her experience producing her book ‘Foolproof Crazy Quilting’. 

Also, Inspirations #86 features an interview with Jennifer regarding her needlework journey to-date and how growing up in South Africa has influenced her designs.

> Inspirations issue #81 - Available in Print HERE
> Inspirations issue #86 - Available in Print HERE



If you are interested in taking your crazy patchwork to a whole new level, then Hazel Blomkamp’s book ‘Hand Stitched Crazy Patchwork’ is for you.  Hazel shows you how to turn ordinary patchwork into extraordinary patchwork through a fabulous mix of embroidery techniques and bead embellishments.

> Hand Stitched Crazy Patchwork - Book Available HERE


Crazy patchwork is often random, creatively embellished and colourful - just like the projects in this week’s WAYS!

We start with Joan Manning’s Crazy Patch Bag that she made for her granddaughter’s 16th Birthday.

‘I am now 80 years old and live in a retirement village in Bedfordview, South Africa. I had always sewn, but not embroidered until after my retirement twenty years ago when I started quilting classes. These led to embroidery and now I am totally hooked on both!

I enjoyed making the bag so much as I knew my granddaughter would appreciate the work that went into to making it even though she is still very young.  I’m thankful that my family always appreciate what I make. Joan Manning.’

Joan, your Crazy Patch Bag is stunning, featuring beautiful colours and embellishment, all sewn together with precision, care and love – no wonder your granddaughter appreciated it so much!

Now to Ann Martin from New Zealand who’s become a WAYS regular…

‘I stitched this album for myself. It is a design by Lesley McConnell of Faeries in my Garden. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching it.’

Ann, the patchwork on your album is beautifully embellished, carefully stitched and is certainly an album to treasure!

Another project that Ann’s embellished to truly make it her own is Jenny McWhinney’s The Early Bird’ from Issue #75 of Inspirations.

‘I've thoroughly enjoyed stitching and making The Early Bird. I've used fabrics from my stash and added a zip closure as I'm not using it as a peg bag. I've added pockets to store my ever-growing Cottage Garden thread collection.

This was a delightful project to stitch and I hope Jenny doesn't mind the changes I've made! Thank you for producing such a wonderful embroidery magazine.  Ann Martin.’ 

Ann, I know Jenny will love that you’ve added your own embellishments to her design! Again, you’ve made a piece that will not only be treasured, but also well used.

If you are interested in making your own ‘The Early Bird’ bag, the project is available as follows:

> The Early Bird in Print – Inspirations #75 Available HERE
> The Early Bird in Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE

From the beautifully embellished work of Joan and Ann to the vividly colourful flowers of Sue

‘Not long after completing my City and Guilds Diploma in Machine Embroidery my son left home for Singapore. Looking for something to distract and cheer me up, I found a beautiful aquilegia in my garden and decided to try and make one using some of the skills that I had developed. I so enjoyed the challenge that I went on to make many more free-machined stumpwork flowers.

My proudest claim to fame though must be making the bouquets and buttonholes for my daughter's wedding. I was surprised when she asked me since she's not a great lover of anything crafty, but since they're still on display in her living room three years later I think it's safe to assume that she was more than happy with them!

Inspired by the excellent A to Z series of books, I am working on my own A to Z of free machined flowers. These flowers have given me a lot of pleasure and been much admired over the last few years. Best wishes, Sue Oakham.’

Sue, you have indeed risen to the challenge of creating your own set of A to Z flowers! It’s easy to see why they are well admired - you have fashioned flowers that are colourful and realistic, yet still have a sense of whimsy about them. 

Have you got something embellished or colourful you’ve stitched? We’d love to see it! Email photos of your needlework and a few details about your stitching journey to



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Here are some projects and news from last week you may have missed…


Step 1 – Purchase Inspirations #94

First Mate’ by Julie Graue is a delightful baby romper with monogram and crown.

> Inspirations issue #94 - Available In Print HERE

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for ‘First Mate’ includes everything you need to re-create your own romper.

> First Mate Ready-To-Stitch Kit Available HERE



Prized Possessions by Julie Graue is an elegant jewellery roll featuring satin stitch and eyelets on natural linen.

> Prized Possessions In Digital – Pattern Download Available HERE
> Prized Possessions In Print – Inspirations #69 Available HERE


> Browse projects by Julie Graue available in digital HERE


Over the past few years, an ambitious project to re-fresh each title in the bestselling A-Z series has been taking place.  The final book to be refreshed in the 20-title series has just come off the printing press and now completes the set.

For the first time, ALL TWENTY refreshed titles are in stock and available for purchase though our website.

> Browse all 20 A-Z Titles - Available in Print HERE


Our warehouse recently discovered a carton of unopened brand-new copies of Inspirations #46, and a limited quantity is now available for purchase via our website.

> Inspirations #46 In Print – Available HERE


Chinese flower



Beautiful embroidery


By Tanja Berlin


" May all this day has to offer be embellished with the joy and splendour of all we are willing to offer it. "
~ SayQuotable ~


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

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

What: Quilters’ Guild of SA Exhibition | Dare to Differ 2017
Where: Galley M | 287 Diagonal Road Oaklands Park, South Australia
When: Online Applications Available to 9 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: Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award Exhibition
Where: Wangaratta Art Gallery | 56 Oven Street Wangaratta, Victoria
When: 3 Jun to 6 Aug
Details: Click HERE &

What: Hand & Lock | Haute Couture Tambour Beading Workshop - Chicago
Where: Chicago Fashion Incubator | 111 North State Street Chicago, Illinois
When: 5 to 7 Jun
Details: Click HERE

What: Fibre Yarns | An Exhibition by The Hardway Textile Group
Where: The Exchange | Old Market Hill, Sturminster Newton, UK
When: 5 to 24 Jun
Details: Click HERE

What: Hand & Lock | Heritage, The Now & The Future of Embroidery Conference - Chicago
Where: Claudia Cassidy Theatre – Chicago Cultural Centre | 78 E Washington Street Chicago, Illinois
When: 8 Jun
Details: Click HERE

What: 2017 Alice Springs Beanie Festival
Where: Araluen Arts Centre
When: 23 to 26 Jun
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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