ISSUE 183, APRIL 26 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
A debut is defined as a first appearance, a launch or a public introduction.

Can you recall your stitching debut, the moment when you shared your stitching with the world for the very first time?

For some of us this moment will have been significant and will be forever etched in our minds, whilst for others our stitching debut was more a gradual coming of age than a singular moment in time.

Whichever the case may be, your stitching debut was significant as it was the start of your journey with needle and thread that’s brought you to where you are today. And, if you’re anything like us, we’re incredibly grateful for that one moment or gradual becoming, as we’re now reaping the many benefits of what stitching brings to our lives each time we engage in this magnificent pursuit.
This week Inspirations has a debut of its own as we start unpacking the projects from our latest issue, Inspirations #102.
Whilst perhaps not as significant as our initial debut when the very first issue of Inspirations was released, the debut of every issue, we believe, is still noteworthy and worth celebrating!

In fact, this week we have a double debut as not only are we debuting the first project from Inspirations #102 - Going Nuts - but it’s also a debut for the project’s designer, Rose Nordenberg, as this is the first time her stitching has graced the pages of Inspirations Magazine.

As you enjoy our double debut, we hope it brings back fond memories of your own stitching debut. In fact, we’d love to hear how you shared your stitching with the world for the very first time! Email us about that single moment or your gradual becoming that started you on your journey with needle and thread to
World of Needlework
Taking Tent Stitch Beyond Boundaries
Tapestry wool. Tent stitch. I’m sure many of us envision traditional brown Penelope canvas, printed with reproductions of fine art or flowers, flowers and more flowers. What we may not think of is bright colour, experiment and abstraction and the modern beauty of pixel art. But that is precisely what artist Zoe Gilbertson thinks of when she picks up her needle at the start of her day.
Disintegrated Triangle, Tapestry canvas, wool, spray paint (source)
Zoe Gilberston, a textile artist based in Cambridge in the UK, has chosen wool and canvas as her preferred artistic medium. Initially trained as a fashion designer, Zoe started needlepoint when her children were young and over the years has pushed the boundaries of this traditional technique in exquisite and unimaginable directions.

Unlike freer styles of embroidery, Zoe is limited by the fact she’s essentially working with squares. But when you think about it, so much of our modern visual media does just that, breaking the world down into pixels. Some artists might baulk at how restrictive the canvas is, but Zoe relishes the challenge.
“I find restrictions often help you create better work and force you down avenues you wouldn’t normally consider.”
What we found most striking with Zoe’s work was her use of colour. Sometimes the colour is found in the wool and sometimes she paints the ground canvas as well, resulting in fascinating textures, shapes and voids.
Colour Three, Tapestry canvas, wool, spray paint (source)
Zoe’s working method changes depending on the project and her inspiration. Sometimes she plans out her piece on the computer, making full use of the geometric division of light and colour rendered on a screen. Other times she just picks up a needle and canvas and goes where her mood takes her.

Zoe predominantly uses tent stitch, preferring to achieve her expression with colour and shape, although she is just as comfortable exploring the multitude of canvas stitches available. But her works show how endless the possibilities are with a single, simple stitch.
Leonora Carrington, Tapestry wool, canvas (source)
We might believe textile art requires complete freedom in the method to be truly innovative, but traditional needlework methods are equally as effective in the creation of a personal form of artistic expression. Whether you’re a cross stitcher, canvas stitcher or freestyle embroiderer, it is hard not be inspired by Zoe Gilbertson’s artistic achievement.
100 Days, Tapestry wool, canvas (source)
To see more of Zoe’s work, you can take a look at her website or follow her on Instagram @zoegilberston.
Have Your Say
As promised in last week’s issue of All Stitched Up #182 HERE, this week we’re sharing more of your responses as we continue the much-debated needlework topic of whether to knot or not to knot…
Christine Harris
‘I will never forget being told by an RSN tutor that Americans worry too much about the back of their work! Since then, I have used knots anytime I can back my work with a thin batting before finishing. One less thing to excruciate over.’
‘You are correct that each embroiderer, piece and circumstance is individual, but I always feel neater and more in control with a waste knot. I started my embroidery exploration with gross point in wool and cotton and, to control the tension, I have found that the waste knot was a great help. When I add hand stitches to quilting or appliqué, a buried knot helps ensure that my stitches will not unravel. So far, so good!’
Lani Smith
‘While I do approve of perfection, it is not always easy to achieve! As long as the back looks neat, whatever method you prefer will work. For myself, I have learned to make super tiny knots that are practically invisible but just add that little bit extra bit of security to my stitching.’
Susan Cheyney
‘Great article! You are highly respected in the needlework community and it’s so nice to have a sensible article written about whether to knot or not. Thank you.’
‘One other consideration has to be the purpose of the project. Clothing that will be laundered needs knots to survive the washing process!’

Again, we thank everyone for joining in on the conversation and hope we’ve helped you resolve the age-old dilemma of whether to knot or not to knot once and for all!
Needlework News
New Digital Pattern | Rosalina & Manfred
Over the past several weeks we’ve been unlocking the Inspirations archives and releasing projects as digital patterns from the very early issues. This week we’ve got a special surprise for you…
Rosalina & Manfred are a pair of cute pin cushion mice by Alla Akselrod from Inspirations issue #38, but what you may not realise is they are in fact part of a fabulous collection of creatures made by Alla that appear right throughout the early issues of the magazine.
From the debut of the adorable bear Little Kisses in issue #9, right through to Rosalina & Manfred from issue #38, there were nine projects by Alla during the Golden Oldie issues.

Then another four projects were added in later issues bringing the total to 13, and together they are affectionately known as Alla’s Menagerie.

We’ll be working on releasing the complete menagerie of 13 projects over the coming months, but in the meantime, you can begin your collection today with the adorable Rosalina & Manfred.
Rosalind & Manfred
Embroidered Treasures Revealed
In Inspirations issue #102 we review the first in a series of new books that, for the first time, showcase projects from the collection of works held by the UK Embroiderers’ Guild.
Usually accessible only to Guild members, now thanks to Dr Annette Collinge, a selection of these rare and historically significant pieces has been published for us all to enjoy.
Embroidered Treasures | Flowers includes a range of styles and techniques from pieces that are all floral-inspired embroideries dating from the 16th Century through to modern day. All of the 100+ projects featured in the book include the technique used, date and place of origin, size, maker if known and a little about how it came to be in the Guild’s collection. Check out page 12 in Inspirations issue #102 for more information, or you can purchase the book from our website below.
Also available is Embroidered Treasures | Birds which as the name suggests, is another collection of pieces from the Guild curated by Dr Annette Collinge, this time with a range of stunning projects featuring birds.
Embroidered Treasures | Flowers
Embroidered Treasures | Birds
Assembling a Double Hoop
If you’ve ever admired those embroidery pieces which are worked in a double hoop, but not been sure how to construct one, Namaste Embroidery has written a detailed tutorial on how to do it which you can check out HERE.
Spring Wreath embroidery by Namaste Embroidery (source)
Don’t be tempted to transfer your design before you have hooped up the fabric.
Unlike the normal order of work where you transfer the design onto the fabric before you hoop up, in this instance you construct a donut shaped frame with the fabric in place and then trace your design. This way you ensure the placement of your design sits nicely within the shape of your double hoop construction.

While the written tutorial directs you to use glue to secure your fabric, many embroiderers avoid the dreaded g-word, so there is an excellent video also provided on lacing your work instead.
The back of the hoop (source)
So now you can feel justified for keeping all of those various sized wooden hoops after all - their moment of usefulness has arrived! If you’ve created anything using a double hoop frame, we’d love to see it. Send in your photos to
Featured Project
Going Nuts by Rose Nordenberg
For those of us who live in Australia, we’re sure you’ll agree how fortunate we are to have so much gorgeous and unusual native fauna. Koalas, kangaroos, wombats, possums – all of them make their homes on the outskirts of (and sometimes even in amongst) our cities and towns. We have to admit, it’s easy to get a little blasé when spotting another koala in a backyard tree.
In a similar way, chipmunks are equally as ubiquitous in many parts of North America and for those who live with them day in, day out, you too can no doubt take them for granted.

One chipmunk that seeks to change all that is the cute little guy featured in Rose Nordenberg’s project ‘Going Nuts’ from Inspirations issue #102. His shining eyes and chubby cheeks are just so adorable, he quickly steals your heart.
For those of us who have only experienced chipmunks via the endlessly chatty Chip and Dale from Disney Studios or, more recently, the famous crooner Alvin and the chipmunks, it’s nice to see one in a more natural habitat!

In Going Nuts we find our hero chipmunk nibbling on acorns and nuts, holding his quarry in his little claws. You can almost see him assessing the peanut he’s holding tightly for freshness.
What you may not know about Chipmunks is they carry food to their burrows in their perfectly developed cheek pouches.
Rose has captured this characteristic perfectly with his plump, round cheeks which already have several other nuts squirrelled away inside, ready to deposit into his winter larder.
Unlike many other long and short stitch projects, this little fellow is brought to life by thinking of each stitch as a strand of fur. Rather than carefully blending your colours to achieve a painterly effect, this project requires you to vary the distance between your different colours in order to build up the fur-like texture.
There is less concern with piercing previous threads than there is with positioning the thread to indicate the contours of the body.
When creating a creature, some people fear working the eyes first. There is no doubt that the eyes make or break the character, and we’ve spoken to people who leave them right to the last minute, just so they know they’re right. However, it is important in this project for you to work the eyes first so that you can then position the fur around them. Try it. It is worth it, because with a few stitches, your chipmunk will come to life. Perhaps he’ll even watch you as you carefully create his furry head and fluffy tummy, encouraging you with each stitch.
There should never be any debate about whether embroidery is an art form, as anyone who has ever threaded a needle will agree that it is. But for those of us who haven’t got the skills to paint, it is a joy to create a lifelike image with needle and thread. Rose’s chipmunk seems to have paused, mid-nibble, to look straight out at you and we’ve no doubt that yours will too.
Make Your Own Going Nuts
Going Nuts by Rose Nordenberg is a delightful threadpainted chipmunk with food for the winter store.

Step 1
– Purchase Project Instructions
Inspirations Issue 102
Going Nuts
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Going Nuts includes everything you need to recreate this delightful critter: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felt, embroidery threads and needles.
Going Nuts
Looking for More Woodland Creatures?
Rustle of Winter
Rustle of Winter by June Goodwin from Inspirations #37 features a tiny field mouse sitting amongst ragged winter leaves.
Rustle of Winter
The Flower Fairy
The Flower Fairy by Catherine Ronan from Inspirations #57 is a gorgeous threadpainted fairy bag.
Inspirations Issue 57
Falling Leaves
Falling Leaves by Jenny McWhinney from A Passion for Needlework is a handy carrier for all your needlework hoops, featuring a curious owl perched amongst autumn leaves.
A Passion for Needlework | Deluxe
Warm Embrace
Warm Embrace by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations #52 is a delightful cream wool cashmere blanket with a rosy-cheeked rabbit and his busy friends.
Warm Embrace
What Are You Stitching?
As we unpacked the idea of debuts in the opening paragraphs of this week’s All Stitched Up!, we thought we’d take the opportunity to debut the work of some stitchers who are yet to be featured in ‘What Are You Stitching?’. We just hope our memories have served us correctly and this is indeed their debut, but either way, we know you’ll enjoy the work from their needles and threads none the less!
Fred Sander
‘Engraved copperplates and woodcuts show scenes of the past in one colour only. This led to my idea to remake these templates in colour.’
‘The slowness of the embroidery has the advantage that the focus often finds details which were overseen for a very long time.’
‘This is an engraving from Hendrick Goltzius - At the Matchmaker – from about 1600 AD. I found the line of sight of the three people remarkable and my colored implementation highlights this.’
‘The finished size of the piece measures 60cm x 80cm (23.5” x 31.5”). The project took me 5 years to complete, using two embroidery threads in split style stitch.’
Fred, your use of colour has truly brought the engraving ‘At the Matchmaker’ to life! Five years is a long time to invest in a single piece, but the results you’ve achieved have made the time and talent you poured into it well worth it.
Kathryn Leonard
‘With very sore fingers from stitching the spine, I am very excited to have just finished the book ‘Monet, Hugo et les Poissons d’or’ from Inspirations #100! I had always loved Jenny McWhinney’s Monet stories I had seen in my mother’s magazines but had been quite daunted by the work in them especially as I had done very little embroidery. Over the last few years though, I have made quite a few embroidered items and feel I have learned a great deal since those early days. When I saw Monet and Hugo I fell in love and was so pleased to find that Jenny had a kit for the book.’
‘My husband talked me into buying it, but when the kit arrived, I was a little daunted! There was such a lot to think about and I admit that I put it in the cupboard for a while, but in the New Year I took it out and got started.’
‘I was so pleased with the first page that I just kept going! It has also been a great stress reliever from the worry of my sister undergoing a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. A few days ago, I went back to look at the original Monet stories and thought that maybe I could make them after all!’
Kathryn, you could absolutely make them all - your pages are picture perfect rendition of Jenny’s originals! We love that stitching became your stress reliver through a difficult season and are pleased to hear that your sister is now doing so well. We look forward to seeing the next installment of Monet from the work of your needles and threads.
Val Reece
‘I was very excited to see the cover of Inspirations issue #101 as it reminded me of an event in 2011, when my local Embroiderers' Guild of America chapter, El Segundo Blue, taught Sollerösöm at our annual fundraiser. We stitched the project from Phyllis Maurer's book ‘Sollerösöm Pin and Needle Box’. The stitchers chose their overdyed threads on the day of the event from a selection that was available, and the kit included a round, unfinished wooden box on which to mount the needlework. As you can see, I painted my box blue to go with my choice of thread. We had great fun with this project, so thank you for a trip down Memory Lane!’
Val, we love that Christine P Bishop’s Sollerösöm was able to take you on a trip down Memory Lane and it was a pleasure to see another piece created using this technique, we appreciate you sharing it with us.

If you’re yet to make your debut in our newsletter, surely now must be your time?! We’d love you to email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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This Week on Social
Imagine creating something so beautiful
Bellissimo - by Paola Matteucci in issue 102
‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.’
~ Zig Ziglar ~
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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