ISSUE 193, JULY 5 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
When we recently received Hannah Brencher’s weekly email titled ‘The Halfway Mark | Hunker Down + Make it Happen’ we almost fell off our chairs!

Where had the first half of 2019 gone? It’s almost as if we blinked and missed it!

Hannah’s email went on to encourage us to rededicate ourselves to the momentum and productivity that would help us achieve the goals we’d set at the onset of 2019 and reminded us that ‘I don’t have time’ is not a great excuse for a lack of progress on our behalf.

We have to confess that ‘I don’t have time’ is an oft used phrase by many of us at Inspirations and we regularly find ourselves searching for a few more hours in each day in order to achieve everything we’ve set before ourselves. But the truth is, time needs to be made rather than found.
What if we were to put aside just 15 minutes a day to focus on something that would help move us forward towards our goals?
Marla Cilley, known to most as Flylady, believes that ‘Anyone can do anything for only 15 minutes, even if they have to break it down into five-minute segments.’

And we think this might just be the secret to reigniting the momentum and productivity that’s been lacking in some areas of our lives!

Is there something you could do for just 15 minutes a day that would move you towards achieving the goals you’d set for yourself this year?

Join us as we ‘find’ the extra hours we’re looking for each day one 15-minute segment at a time…
Stitch It Forward
Stitching for Peace
In All Stitched Up! issue #155 HERE, we shared a ‘Stitch It Forward’ opportunity that Baerbel from The House of Textile Arts in Germany brought to our attention – a project known as ‘Stitching for Peace’. We were encouraged to Stitch a Peace Angel in 2018 and this year the project’s organiser, Ingrid Eggimann-Jonsson, is hoping we’ll join in and Stitch a Peace House - as we all need a house that can be our retreat from the, sometimes not-so-peaceful, world that surrounds us.
Ingrid has once again designed outlines for this years’ theme, consisting of a choice between three different houses. The designs can be enlarged or copied to a smaller size but should not exceed 36 x 33 cm (14 x 13”). The design can be worked as is or adjusted to your own liking then stitched using any technique you can think of.
For more information, you can contact the participating guilds using the links below:

Peace House 2019 | Germany
Peace House 2019 | Switzerland
Needlework News
2020 Calendar
Fill your life with the beauty and joy of the world’s most beautiful needlework each and every day, with the Inspirations 2020 Calendar.
Featuring 12 gorgeous projects to admire and inspire, this calendar is sure to make the beginning of every month an occasion to celebrate as you turn each page.

Inspirations 2020 Calendar - available now from our website.
Books About Stitching
There are tens of thousands of different books in the world, but there can be no doubt that the very best books are the ones about stitching.

It just so happens we have a few books about stitching on our website that you may be interested in checking out.
To get started, we have the world-famous A-Z series with all 20 titles from the collection now available.
The A-Z Series
You can also check out the range of other books we’ve published along with some titles we’ve recently brought back into print.
By Inspirations Studios
Then there’s a selection of books we stock produced by other talented needlework artisans from the world over.
By Talented Designers
And finally, we even have a few books that are on sale… so there really is something for everyone!
On Sale...
Finding Yourself with Cross Stitch
I’m sure we’ve all had those moments when we doubt ourselves or fear what other people will think of us. This happens even with our stitching. But in this predominantly feminine pursuit, for a man to overcome those difficulties is so much harder. As part of his new year’s resolution, Mike Reynolds decided to take up cross stitch despite its non-masculine stereotype, and during the process he ended up learning not just a new skill, but a lot about himself and masculinity in general.
Mike Reynolds with his cross stitching (source)
The pleasure Mike received from learning cross stitch increased even further when he realised how much it helped reduce his own anxiety levels. Not to mention his surprise at discovering how many of his male friends were not only accepting of his artistic expression but were even willing to give it go themselves! Upon reflection of his own experience, Mike says:
“Imagine getting to a place where men don’t evaluate an activity based on how much strength it requires but on how much happiness it brings to one’s mind?”
Image by Anita Smith from Pixabay
Isn’t it amazing how powerful those little crosses can be?! You can read more about Mike’s journey and the positive impact stitching has had on his life and that of his family, on the HuffPost website HERE.
Featured Project
Bee-eaters by Renette Kumm
Renette Kumm’s favourite subject to stitch is birds, from small songbirds to powerful raptors. She delights in the variety of colours and shapes that can be found in birds, along with the challenge of capturing the sense of movement in the feathers.
When Renette is preparing to work on a threadpainted piece, she studies a variety of images of her planned subject, considering colour, clarity, composition and the story of her subject. When it came to creating a piece to be included in our book A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII, Renette stitched a magnificent pair of bee-catching specialists, the European bee-eater.
These colourful, sociable birds are skilled at catching bees and other winged insects, requiring aerial feats of speed and control as they dart after their prey mid-air.
Renette has told this story masterfully, with her bee-eaters depicted on a branch, watching with great alertness for any bees, hornets, wasps or dragonflies that might buzz past.
After choosing a subject and composition, Renette’s next step is to select her colours. When building a colour palette in threads, Renette turns to DMC stranded cotton due to the range of colours available. She is guided by her chosen image however she is not restrained by it. ‘Sometimes I will enhance the colour to what I see in my mind’s eye. I love colour and live by Kaffe Fassett’s mantra: if in doubt, add more colour!’
The vivid colours of Renette’s bee-eaters leap off the page, from strong shades of copper blending through to light gold on the head and wings, contrasting with the teals of the body and tail, and flashes of brilliant turquoise and white around the distinctive, black eye-stripe. After choosing a range of colours, Renette’s next step is to consider the threads to use.
Working with a variety of threads in her stitching is something Renette loves to do. It adds an important dimension to her work as she loves exploring the effects she can achieve with different qualities such as lustre, twist and thickness.
For her bee-eaters, Renette combined the plump, gleaming threads of Au ver à Soie stranded silk with stranded cotton. A beautiful addition are shades of gleaming, flat silk floss from Piper’s Silks, perfect for feather tips and highlights.
Having determined her subject, colours and threads, Renette chooses her background fabric. A colour that allows the subject to ‘sing’ is the aim. Renette thinks outside the usual box of embroidery fabrics and is happy to select pieces from a sheet or pillowcase – the main thing is to use a backing fabric and ensure the fabrics are held drum tight in a hoop or frame.
When it comes to the stitching, Renette likes to gather her threads into colour groups according to the areas of stitching, such as tail feathers, wing feathers, breast feathers and head feathers. She finds it adds to her stitching inspiration and helps her to familiarize herself with the colours and shading for the embroidery, allowing for a greater sense of flow in the stitching process.
She prefers to begin in the lower part of the design, usually beginning with the branch and feet before continuing with the natural layering of the feathers. You can almost sense the anticipation of reaching the eye that, once embroidered, brings the whole bird to life.
Threadpainting can be such an immersive style of embroidery. We recommend queueing up your favourite music and settling in with your fabric and threads to enjoy stitching this stunning pair of bee-eaters. Even if you can only devote a little time to stitching each day, follow Renette’s suggestion of grouping your threads to help you get right back into the groove each time.
Make Your Own Bee-eaters
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Bee-eaters by Renette Kumm from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII is a superb threadpainted study of European bee-eaters.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Bee-eaters includes everything you need to re-create this beautiful pair of birds: Fabric (unprinted), 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.
Looking for More Bird Kits to Stitch?
The Linnet
The Linnet by Nicola Jarvis from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII is an enchanting silk and goldwork bird, adorned with a sparkling crown.
The Linnet
Sunbird by Renette Kumm from Inspirations issue #99 is a fabulous threadpainted orange-breasted sunbird.
Twitter by Sue Spargo from Inspirations issue #102 is a cheerful cushion with bright, appliquéd birds embellished with a great range of embroidery stitches.
Fine Feathers
Fine Feathers by Anna Scott from Inspirations issue #101 is an enchanting stumpwork scene from an Australian rainforest, featuring a lyrebird displaying his fabulous tail.
Fine Feathers
What Are You Stitching?
Birds, always an ever-popular theme for those inspired by the love of needle and thread! This week we share the current flock of birds we have in our What Are You Stitching? files…
Claude A Lecerf
‘This time I am sending you a little tit, embroidered with needle painting. It is a pattern that was published on the Canevas Folies website. I had a lot of fun embroidering it and I keep this precious bird on display as we no longer see many tits in our garden unfortunately.’
Claude, we love that you’ve been able to capture a tiny blue tit in needle and thread and will now be able to enjoy it year-round!
Lea Peacock
‘I live in South Texas along the gulf coast very near the Mexican border. I discovered needlework in college when a roommate taught me to knit. I seldom miss an opportunity to take classes and dearly love attending national and regional seminars. I have met wonderful stitchers attending seminars and have made several lifetime friendships. I have an interest in raised needlework and goldwork. This piece was a wonderful introduction into a variety of goldwork techniques and has sparked my interest to learn more.’
Lea, your rendition of Nicola Jarvis’ Linnet from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII is so close to her original, it’s hard to believe this piece was your introduction to the technique! It looks like you have a bright goldwork future ahead of you and we can’t wait to see what’s next from your needles and threads.
Ruth Thean
‘I’ve just finished my Nicola Jarvis Peonies and Pear Tree that I did with her at Beating Around the Bush last year, I’ve just taken it off the frame and am about to take it to the framer. I really enjoyed Nicola’s class and have thoroughly enjoyed working on her piece, I haven’t done much in the way of beading before, so this threw me in the deep end, but it was such fun. I am looking forward to Nicola’s return in 2020 and can’t wait to see what she has in store for us!’
Ruth, you may have felt as if this piece threw you in the deep end, but you definitely swam whilst there! Your stitching and beading have created a rich, textured piece. Don’t tell anyone we told you, but we’ve just seen Nicola’s submissions for Beating Around the Bush 2020 and think you’ll be more than pleased with what she has in store!
Sandra Lobo
‘I feel lucky to be able to indulge in my love for embroidery since my retirement a few years ago. Here is a piece I have just completed, inspired by my love for Australian native flora and birds.’
‘In this piece, I adapted Trish Burr's design for the gum blossoms from the book A Passion for Needlework. It has given me so much joy to stitch this little fellow as well as the flowering gum. As the work progressed, I found myself studying leaves from gum trees and researching photos and information on the blue wren. It has been a work of love.’
Sandra, a work of love indeed! We admire that your time with needle and thread inspired you to learn more about what you were stitching - not only have you created something lasting with needle and thread, but also have some new-found knowledge to go with it.

Now that our current flock of birds have flown the coop, we’re hoping you’ve stitched a fine feathered friend you can share with us! Email photos of the bird you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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Mandala Musings
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This Week on Social
Wow, just beautiful
#hydrangeas #flowerpot #flower #anamallah
‘You only need 15 minutes to make a little progress, to advance a little farther than the day before.’
~ Hannah Brencher ~
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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