ISSUE 195, JULY 19 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
Once upon a time the idea of being sent to time out was anything but a welcome addition to our lives!

The thought of having to sit quietly in one spot contemplating what we’d done wrong was more than we could stand. As time marched on and we got the hang of doing what we were told, we found a new appreciation for a little time out. After all, it was a moment when we could catch our breath from the hustle and bustle of the world around us.

For many of us, our time with needle and thread has become our time out.
As we lose ourselves in the push and pull of needle and thread through fabric, it’s perhaps one of the few times we truly disconnect from the world around us and reconnect with ourselves.
Some days we’re able to enjoy the luxury of an extended time out, whilst other days the moment is but fleeting. There are occasions when we’d consider our time out to be productive, whilst at others we’d describe it as being more idle than industrious.

It’s important to hit pause occasionally and put yourself in time out because chances are these days, no one else is going to do it for you!
World of Needlework
A Rabbit Named Peter...
Almost 120 years ago, a talented and ambitious Victorian woman published a little book about a rabbit. Since then, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter has never been out of print and Peter, along with all the other creatures dreamt up by Ms Potter, have delighted generations of children. But children aren’t the only people to adore Beatrix Potter’s stories and illustrations. Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and Mrs Tiggywinkle have been the subject of more stitching and embroidery projects than you could imagine. What is it about this particular group of characters that we love so much?
Beatrix Potter and her dog, Kip (source)
Like most Victorian women, Helen Beatrix Potter’s life was confined of her gender. Despite high intelligence, interest and skill in the natural sciences and obvious talents at illustration, Beatrix was unable to pursue any kind of career as we understand it today. However, she didn’t let her talents waste. She’d often make up stories about the animals she loved from the British countryside in which she thrived. Succumbing to pressure from friends and family, she finally self-published her first little story about Peter Rabbit.

It seems that Peter remains loved for his cheekiness, his bravery and his sweet little features. Despite his mischievous ways, children and adults alike are drawn to him and indeed all of the other characters from Beatrix Potter’s imagination.
An original illustration of Peter Rabbit (source)
Perhaps it’s the mix of perfectly accurate animal bodies dressed in tiny little human clothes? Maybe it’s the gentle colouration or the expressions arising from the simple line and watercolour drawings? Whatever it is, the attraction is so great, we’ve been re-creating Peter and his friends using our needles and threads for decades.
An online search for Beatrix Potter and needlework brings up thousands and thousands of results.
We found threadpainting, cross stitch, quilting, appliqué, needlepoint, stumpwork, machine embroidery and even crewelwork. All this doesn’t even touch on the volume of knitting and crochet patterns as well. Whatever type of embroidery or needlecraft you do, you can almost be guaranteed to find a pattern, kit or project of Peter Rabbit or his friends worked in that technique.
Stitching with Beatrix Potter by Michele Hill (source)
There are not many things in the world that are immune to the whims of fashion. Some things we are sad to see go, others we’re relieved. And as much as we wish otherwise, even embroidery is driven by fashion. Remember those large orange and brown appliqued pictures that seemed to be all the rage in the ‘70s? (We’ve still got books on our shelves giving instructions on how to stitch them!).

But Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, Tom Kitten and Squirrel Nutkin are above all that, they never seem to go out of fashion. When Beatrix Potter placed that sweet little blue coat on the shoulders of her naughty little bunny, little did she know that she would be creating joy for needleworkers more than a century later.
Needlework News
Inspirations #103 Out Now!
Art is a beautiful pursuit. Even the definition of the word itself is beautiful:
Art {noun}\\: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
The new issue of Inspirations Magazine provides a taste of what’s possible when we approach needlework in its truest form of expression – stitched works of art.
Themed ‘The Artful Needle’, issue #103 features a chorus of different artistic expressions using needle and thread including a threadpainted book cover by Carolyn Pearce, an intricate sparkling brooch by first time contributor Natalie Dupuis and a splendid starling from Nicola Jarvis’s couture bird series.
The expressions of art continue with the introduction of a new way of using knot techniques to create highly textured Italian tassels by Maria Rita Faleri, three-dimensional embroidery is used to create an irresistibly life-like, red apple pin cushion by Julie Kniedl, and Maria Elide Melani from Italy gives us a master class in the Deruta Sfilato embroidery with her mesmerizing cushion, Tuscan Lace.
To complete a trifecta of ‘Marias’ featured in one issue, Betsy Morgan’s project titled Maria Katarin’s Reticule is a work of art perfect for storing a variety of needlework tools in style, and Chloe Redfern makes her return to the magazine with Little Bird, a delightful, easy to stitch fairy wren to frame in a hoop.
In case all of that wasn’t enough to bring forth your inner artisan, issue #103 includes an amazing interview with Hollywood costume designer Ruth Carter who shares her recent experience working on the blockbuster movie ‘Black Panther’ and the remarkable work of Laura Gaskin is on show in an article discovering how she stitches her wonderful still life embroideries.
With all these incredibly inspiring expressions of stitched art, Inspirations Magazine issue #103 is a work of art in its own right! Single copies now available to purchase online.
#103 Kits Out Now
Itching to get stitching? Don’t run around trying to collect everything you need to re-create the projects from issue #103 yourself, satisfy your itch today with our range of new Ready-to-Stitch kits now available.
Browse Kits from issue #103
#103 Patterns | Print & Digital
For the first time you can now buy individual projects from Inspirations as printed patterns, including those from issue #103, to have shipped direct to your door.
Taken straight from the pages of the magazine itself, printed patterns are an ideal way of keeping your magazine in pristine condition, make a terrific gift for a friend or family member, or are simply a much lighter and portable way of carrying around the instructions for a project you’re working on. Digital patterns for issue #103 are also out now.
Browse Printed Patterns from issue #103
Browse Digital Patterns from issue #103
#103 Collector's Pin
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and as this gorgeous bright red apple enamel pin from Inspirations #103 goes really well with any outfit, wearing it every day should be no problem at all!
An Apple a Day is the latest Inspirations Collector's Pin to be released and the final one in the series, so get in quick before the apples are all gone!
Stop Press! New Betsy Morgan Book Coming…
Some of you may have heard a rumour that here at Inspirations we’ve been working on a very special book featuring some very special projects by a very special designer.
We’re thrilled to officially announce that the rumours are in fact true! For the very first time, a wonderful selection of Betsy Morgan’s gorgeous designs has been brought together in one stunning publication.
Willing Hands features a collection of eight enchanting etuis, each with matching needlework accessories, all created using a variety of counted thread embroidery techniques.
With an official release date of 24th October, pre-order your copy today and be among the first to discover the wonders that await inside each etui.
Please Note: Any products purchased in the same transaction as Willing Hands will not be despatched until the book is released.
Featured Project
Jacobean Hunt by Phillipa Turnbull
Jacobean crewel embroidery is the embodiment of liveliness and fun in stitching. A traditional design framework is combined with an overt disregard for proportion and a joyful excursion into fantastical and exotic motifs of flora and fauna. This style of embroidery, using wool threads on strong linen twill, was ideal for soft furnishings and was increasingly desirable during the 1600s for adorning great houses.
Developments in dyes and influences of imported textiles, especially from India, contributed to the lavish, densely embroidered designs with pops of brilliant colour that were in demand during the second half of the 17th century.
Phillipa Turnbull’s ‘Jacobean Hunt’ from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII, a replica of a design from the 1660s in her private collection, is a striking example of this style of Jacobean crewel work.
The original Jacobean crewel design adorning a pillow was worked in the 1660s and is in Phillipa’s private collection. Photograph courtesy of Phillipa Turnbull.
The design features the traditional framework of a tree of life, with a main stem rising from hillocks ranged across the lower edge. This mighty tree, with lofty heights beyond the bounds of the upper edge of the design, bears an abundance of oak leaves and acorns on one side, and grape leaves and fruits on the other.
Two giant flowers tower above a stag and hounds racing across the hillocks, and a fanciful bird with exotic plumage is perched on the tree stem, distracted from its acorn meal by the animals below.
The strong blues, greens and rose pinks of the design are still evident on the original pillow. Owning the piece meant that Phillipa could go a step further and examine the unfaded colours on the reverse side of the linen, ensuring that the colours she used to work her replica, including the softer olive, yellow and brown shades, match the original design.
You wouldn’t expect anything less from someone who is as passionate about historical crewel embroidery as Phillipa, whose family business, The Crewel Work Company, revolves around sharing the fruits of research by providing guided tours of embroidery collections in museums, castles and country houses in and around the UK.
It follows that the eleven stitches Phillipa uses in ‘Jacobean Hunt’ were also in use at the time of the original design, most of which are familiar, old friends to embroiderers today. These include fly stitch, long and short stitch, French knots, padded satin stitch and trellis couching. Some of these can be seen on the historical pillow, including the brick stitch that imparts an interesting change in texture and colour across the main stem, setting it apart from the other elements.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII includes step-by-step instructions for working the interlocking satin stitch blocks that form brick stitch. Phillipa recommends turning your work 90 degrees so that the edge of the stem is oriented to the top, and then, beginning along the upper edge, working the stitches from the lower to upper edge of each colour block.
The finished embroidery is quite large, measuring 42cm x 48cm wide (16 ½” x 19”). While the finished design could be framed, why not follow the example of the original pillow and make up your piece into a generously sized cushion? It would be a magnificent display piece and would certainly be in keeping with historical accuracy.
Make Your Own Jacobean Hunt
Jacobean Hunt by Phillipa Turnbull from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII is a superb crewelwork study of a stag and hounds in a fantastic forest.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII
Looking for More Crewel Embroidery?
Garden of Earthly Delights
Garden of Earthly Delights by Margaret Light from Inspirations issue #62 is a wonderful design of colourful parrots amidst stems of exotic foliage, flowers and berries, echoing the lavish style of the Jacobean period.
Garden of Earthly Delights
Inspirations Issue 62
Jacobean Stag
Jacobean Stag by Phillipa Turnbull from Inspirations issue #101 is an elegant crewel panel featuring a splendid stag overlooking leafy hillocks.
Jacobean Stag
Inspirations Issue 101
Jacobean Stag
Summer Garden
Summer Garden by Barbara Jackson from Inspirations issue #40 is a gorgeous crewelwork sewing purse featuring bright blue flowers and luscious pink berries.
Summer Garden
Jacobean Leaves
Jacobean Leaves by Anna Scott from Inspirations issue #41 is a richly coloured crewelwork cushion which explores a vast variety of stitches.
Jacobean Leaves
Inspirations Issue 41
What Are You Stitching?
If you’re familiar with the work of Phillipa Turnbull, you’ll know that she is passionate about historical embroidery and has built a successful business and career sharing the fruits of her researching labour. This week it’s the projects in our What Are You Stitching? files that have an historical bent to them that have caught our eye…
Christine McCarthy
‘I am a long-term reader and advocate of Inspirations Magazine and have learnt a great deal from your pages. Beginning in 2010 and involving more than two and a half thousand hours of work, I coordinated the stitching of 23 tapestry kneelers for the sanctuary of St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Sydney. The project was inspired by tapestry kneelers in Anglican Cathedrals in England. The designs were based on stained glass windows in St Mary's Cathedral - fourteen vertical images of angels playing musical instruments. Sydney artist, Benjamin Pollock, redesigned these images, painting horizontal designs suitable for kneelers. These images were then transferred to tapestry canvases.’
Benjamin Pollock & Some of the Project’s Volunteers
‘There were twenty people, some as young as 7, 9 and 11 who stitched the kneelers. The participants were mainly women, though there was a fourteen-year-old young man who worked one of the needlepoints. His whole family became interested and not only his sister, but his father and mother worked three more of the kneelers.’
Christina English & Colleen Davoren – the Project’s Youngest & Oldest Volunteers
‘The whole project took several years, delayed by my being out of the country, in Rome with my husband, for three and a half years just after we began recruiting volunteers. For months on end I was unable to personally oversee the project although I returned briefly a number of times during our lengthy stay in Italy and resumed our initial tutorials at my home or at the Cathedral House. From my experience with Inspirations Magazine I know how important it is to give detailed instructions, so our kits provided instruction sheets, a picture of the relevant painting, painted canvases and all wools, silk and gold threads needed to complete each kneeler. Most of the participants worked at their own pace without much further assistance.’
‘Each kneeler has embroidered on the reverse side the name of the stitcher, the year the tapestry was worked and the age if the volunteer was a child. Many people dedicated their work to a deceased loved one. This stitching project, which we named Angels in the Sanctuary, marked the 200th Anniversary of the establishment of the Cathedral choir from 1818 to 2018. I know readers will appreciate how much joy these kneelers have given not only to those who contributed their time and skill but to members of the congregation and visitors to St Mary's Cathedral.’
Christine, what an incredibly fruitful way to ply not only your talent, but the talent of all involved! The tapestry kneelers speak of history, tradition and community. Thank you for sharing the project with us and thank you to Giovanni Portelli Photography for capturing the project’s participants.
Nancy Duncan
‘I recently wrote a novella titled ‘Imagination Prymm of Ipswich: A Year and a Day’ which details the final year and day of a 70-year-old midwife and healer living in 1678 Ipswich, Massachusetts, who finds her life coming full circle through the apprenticeship of a 14-year-old girl. Rich in history and herbal lore, it is full of the Colonial arts of spinning, sampler embroidery, black work, and bobbin lace.’
‘While trying to get my book published, I decided to embroider the book, which begins in Lancashire, England, and ends with the old woman’s last breaths. The motifs begin at the great yew tree at the bottom and work counterclockwise through the seasons and various important events from the book. Goody Prymm’s house and gardens are at the center of it all and I have only the autumn leaves, the snow and spring rains to complete it.’
‘The piece is stitched on hand-dyed linen, 30 count, in hand-dyed threads and measures 18 x 27” (45 x 68 cm). Both works have been labors of love although I am still trying to get my book published in the traditional way.’
Nancy, they say a picture speaks a thousand words, but in this instance, it would seem your words have inspired a thousand stitches! Both your writing and stitching have been an incredible labour of love and we wish you much success with the publishing of your novella.
Mary Alice Sinton
First published in Inspirations issue #52, Susan O’Connor’s Elizabethan Botanicals captured 16th Century Elizabethan England and its opulent use of magnificent floral embroidery at its finest. Susan taught one of designs from the silk embroideries, Poppies and Peas, at the needlework convention Beating Around the Bush last year, where she guided one of her students, Mary Alice, through stitching her own piece of Elizabethan history.
‘I am happy to say I have been stitching non-stop on my Poppies and Peas thanks to the Easter Holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed my class with Susan and love that piece. It was such a great project to use on the Beating Around the Bush logo!’
Mary Alice, it was such a pleasure to meet and host you at Beating Around the Bush in 2018! Poppies and Peas is a stunning project that you’re making spectacular progress with and we look forward to seeing the finished result.

Have your needles and threads stitched something that’s been shaped by history? We’d love to see it and hear the story behind the stitching. Email photos of your stitching along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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‘Taking time out each day to relax and renew is essential to living well.’
~ Judith Hanson Lasater ~
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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