ISSUE 186, MAY 17 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
Have you ever noticed that when something piques your interest, suddenly you notice it everywhere? You seem to be surrounded by it when beforehand it’d barely seemed noticeable. We’re just wondering… does this phenomenon have a name?!

Whatever it may be called, we’re sure you’ve all experienced it – you buy a new car and suddenly it seems as if every second car on the road is the same make and model.

Do you know what we’ve also noticed? The same phenomenon exists with stitching!
It would seem that once the stitching bug has bitten, it’s often the stitched details we notice rather than the larger ‘story’ surrounding them.
For instance, when we toured the National Wine Centre in Adelaide to ensure it was a suitable venue for the Beating Around the Bush Home Town Tour last year, instead of taking in the amazing surrounds of the Barrel Room, we found ourselves absorbed with the tapestry fabric that’s been used to cover two seats; rich in design, colour and detail.

We watched the movie Brooklyn and instead of concentrating on the dialogue, we found ourselves focused on a subtle, but beautifully stitched needlepoint cushion placed ever so thoughtfully on a bed in the scene. Or, we walk into a fashion retailer and find it’s the embroidered pieces that capture our attention, whilst the rest of their collection pales into insignificance.

Are we the only ones who do this or do you find yourself doing the same thing?! Email us at with the details forged from needle and thread that stand out to you above all else. Oh, and if you happen to know if there’s a name for this phenomenon, we’d love to hear from you too!
Have Your Say
In All Stitched Up! issue #183 HERE we talked about debuts and asked you to recall your stitching debut - the moment when you shared your stitching with the world for the very first time. This week we share some of the responses we received and hope they’ll bring back fond memories of your own debut with needle and thread.
Karen Pancoast | USA
‘Mine is a bittersweet story. One summer when I was 11, I spent the summer with my grandmother. She had a box with lots of tangled floss in many colors and a packet of iron on patterns. She sat next to me on the porch at her Minnesota farmhouse and taught me three or four basic stitches and let me stitch a pillowcase that we had ironed a floral pattern on.
She patiently guided me when I got the thread tangled and when I pulled my stitches too tight. She even taught me French Knots and I was so tickled I embroidered all that summer.
When I went home to my Mom in the fall I wanted to keep on embroidering. So, with my own money I went to JC Penney's in Minneapolis and bought two Christmas pot holders - one was a candy cane and the other was a cookie in a star shape. I kept the stitching hidden in my room so I could work on it as a surprise for Christmas for her. Finally, they were done, and I wrapped them for Christmas.

My Mom opened them on Christmas morning and looked at the front of them and then turned them over to look at the back. Then she said, 'I could never use these, look at all the tangled threads on the back. And here, on the front look how long your stitches are. I can fix them for you by wrapping more thread around your too long stitches, but nothing can fix the back.
I didn't know what to say. I was heartbroken and never stitched again until after I was married.
I tried cross stitch but didn't like it and it is only in the past three years that I have returned to floss embroidery, often choosing Crewelwork as my preferred technique. Like I said, bittersweet.’

Karen, your bittersweet journey of needlework reminds us of the wisdom Proverbs 18:21 instills - ‘Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.’ We’re just so pleased to hear that you’ve been able to rekindle the love of needle and thread that your grandmother instilled in you at the tender age of 11 and hope the hours you spend stitching take you back to the time you shared with her on the porch of her Minnesota farmhouse.
Lana Lipsett
‘I started stitching at about eight. I was camping with my Gran and we were stuck in our little camping hut because it was raining. She gave me an apron with the Three Little Pigs on it and I attacked it with boundless energy!
Gran warned me to put it aside for fear I’d get bored with it, but needless to say, I carried on and eventually did get bored and never finished it.
In my twenties I did Crewel Embroidery and then in my thirties Counted Cross Stitch. Now I have two Goldwork kits and a lovely Jacobean Crewelwork kit to work on. I am also going to do Surface Embroidery because I have many a DMC thread left over from Cross Stitching. I am nearly 72 so I hope my eyes hold out long enough to complete them all.’

Lana, we love that your embroidery journey began in a camping hut with the Three Little Pigs! It’s a reminder that we should never despise the days of small beginnings because we never know where they may lead.
Mary Moore
‘My first stitching project was when I was in the fifth grade, and 10 years old, and we were studying Early American History. Our teacher advised the class we were going to do an exhibit of colonial times for our parents' meeting.
I chose to make a sampler which consisted of the alphabet in Cross Stitch and a poem that said, ’Here You See What Care My Mother Took of Me’.
This was stitched in Backstitch as well as the numbers 1-10 which were stitched below the poem. My mother was a great stitcher as was her mother.

Today, I carry the tradition on with Embroidery and Needlepoint. Thank goodness I still have my first stitching project framed and hanging on the wall! I look forward to receiving the Inspirations newsletter every Friday and look forward to the arrival of each Inspirations Magazine.’

Mary, I think if all our school projects were able to be stitched, we may have enjoyed school just a little bit more! We love that you still have your first stitching project and that you’re carrying on the tradition of needle and thread that’s been passed through the generations of your family.
Featured Project
Twitter by Sue Spargo
If you’ve ever had the privilege of teaching children to embroider, you’ll understand the joy they gain from creating their own designs. Typically, their work is bold, incorporates unique shapes, is strikingly simple and features colour choices that are usually intuitive and unfettered. Their stitched art is gorgeous to look at, but perhaps most importantly, as they rarely feel constrained by rules or formal process, you can see their joy emanating from the needlework.
For those of us who have been embroidering for most of our lives, we often judge ourselves on our abilities (or inabilities) to master difficult stitches and complex patterns. Whether we consciously want to or not, the rules of embroidery shape what we create. We can become so involved in producing the perfect bullion knot or ensuring we’ve got the exact shade of blue in the pattern that we may lose sight of the joy that brought us to needlework in the first place.
Twitter from Inspirations issue #102 by Sue Spargo is a project which reintroduces that joy.
Sue Spargo’s name is synonymous with brilliant colours and bold designs. In this project, she has combined colour, simplicity and humour in a way that forces us to think about our own standards and expectations.
Her simple bird shapes remind us of childhood, and her riotous collection of colours brings back memories of paint boxes, coloured pencils and crayons.
Sue’s design influences stem from the variety of countries and cultures in which she has lived, including South Africa, the UK and the USA. But it is her fascination with folk art from different cultures that has informed much of her work.
By its very nature folk art is decorative, communicative and expressive in its own symbolic way. It’s sharing one’s culture through joy and creative expression more so than a demonstration in technical expertise.
The project Twitter demonstrates how both complexity and simplicity can co-exist with perfect harmony.
Sue has cleverly intertwined both the organic nature of folk art and a masterclass in needlework techniques by adorning her simple shapes with a wide variety of stitches, some of which may be challenging for the novice stitcher. But the lesson this piece can teach is that perfect stitches aren’t always the goal.
Try them out, see what happens. Experience the freedom of experimenting with stitches and colours around the cute, appliqué shapes, just as you would have when you were a child. Step away from self-judgement, let yourself go and create a project that is fun, colourful and leads us to a place where we radiate with joy. After all that’s what stitching is supposed to be all about!
We’ve rounded up all the Tweets for the Twitter…
One of the reasons we love the project Twitter is all the vivid threads and textured fabrics Sue incorporated into her design. This vast selection can create some challenges when sourcing your own materials, however.
Thanks to both Sue Spargo and our kit manager Sue Forrest, the power of the two Sue’s combined has enabled us to round up everything you need to re-create your very own Twitter cushion, almost exactly as it appears in the magazine.
With over 20 different fabric designs and colours, 11 spools of cotton including Eleganza perlé and variegated threads, 8 spools of wool/acrylics, 4 needles, buttons and elastic for a button loop, this is one Ready-To-Stitch kit that is going to save you a LOT of running around! Thank you Sue…
Make Your Own Twitter
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Twitter by Sue Spargo is a cheerful cushion with bright, appliquéd birds embellished with a great range of embroidery stitches.
Inspirations Issue 102
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Twitter includes everything you need to re-create this delightful cushion: Fabrics (unprinted), buttons, embroidery threads and needles.
Looking for More Appliqué?
William Morris in Appliqué
Michele Hill’s best-selling book ‘William Morris In Appliqué’ features six magnificent projects including quilts, wall hangings, a cushion, and more than 40 individual appliqué designs.
William Morris in Appliqué
Bright Bouquet
Bright Bouquet by Sue Spargo from Inspirations #94 is a vibrant appliqué sewing roll with fun embroidered embellishment.
Bright Bouquet
Needlework News
New Digital Pattern | Elephant Walk
This week our new digital pattern takes us for an exotic walk to a faraway land where elephants are adorned in beautiful bright rugs and flamboyant head dress…
Elephant Walk by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations #58 is a blanket and pillowcase featuring a fantastic family of elephants.

Using the technique of threadpainting, the elephants wander across a soft blue wool and cashmere blanket and matching white pillowcase.
Elephant Walk
Issue #101 Kits – Final Call
You’ve seen the projects, admired their beauty and even dreamed of stitching some of them yourself… well now is the time! Our Ready-To-Stitch kits for Inspirations issue #101 are nearly sold out, so jump in and grab a kit while there’s still time.
Browse Kits from issue #101
Flower Pots Kits Back in Stock
There’s always a favourite. A project that everyone just has to have. Flower Pots by Ana Mallah, from the book A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII, is definitely a contender to take out top spot.
The Inspirations kit department has been working hard to try and keep up with demand, and they wanted us to let everyone know that more Flower Pots kits are now back in stock!
Flower Pots | Hydrangea Pot
Flower Pots | Rose Pot
Knitted Lifesize Friends
Just sewn up that latest sweater and are looking for the next project to knit? How about casting on a neighbour? Liisa Hietanen, a Finnish textile artist, proves that there are no limits to what you can produce with needles, hook and yarn, as her knitted and crocheted sculptures demonstrate.
Tapio by Liisa Hietanen – (source)
Liisa is creating a series of yarn sculptures of real people from her village in Finland. During the slow process of creation, she is also getting to know her model and thus becoming closer to her neighbours in a way that modern life often disallows.
Anna by Liisa Hietanen (source)
“The slow handcraft techniques work as a counterforce to the accelerating pace in different areas of life.”
Just further evidence that handcrafts can bring people closer. To learn more about Liisa’s fascinating journey and her extraordinary knitted sculptures, check out her website HERE.
Weijo by Liisa Hietanen (source)
Featured Project
Pear by Julie Kniedl
A lot of people know that Granny Smith apples originated in Australia, but do you know about the green pear that was also developed in the land down under? The Packham Pear, or to give the full name, Packham’s Triumph, originated in the late 1800’s in Molong, a small country town in the state of New South Wales.
Charles Packham grafted two pear trees together, an Uvedale St Germain and a Williams (Williams Bartlett or Williams bon Chrétien). The resulting pear was well-named Packham Triumph, with this variety now one of the most widely grown in Australia. Ripening in autumn and winter, with cool storage seeing the eating season last well into summer, this variety is available in more months of the year than any other.
Pears are widely loved for their simple yet beautiful form and have been replicated in mediums ranging from glass and wood to textiles.
Julie Kniedl’s irresistible project simply named ‘Pear’ from the book Botanica, is so life-like in appearance it’s as if it was freshly picked from a backyard tree just this morning.
As with all of Julie’s designs, details bring the piece to life, with the varied blush of the ripening green threadpainted across the body of the fruit, the sturdy stem with two leaves still attached and the dark star indicating the remnant of the calyx at the base. This is a perfect project to start with, if you’re unsure where to begin your Botanica journey.
If you’ve been following our Botanica series in All Stitched Up! you will probably have already realised that the actual body of the fruit is a filled felt shape. Four felt shapes are hand-stitched together to create the pear, and the process of preparing the felt shape is shown in step-by-step instructions. This process is easy to master and is a key technique in forming the shapes of the various objects used throughout Julie Kniedl’s three-dimensional designs. Once you’ve made one or two of these pieces, you quickly begin planning how to create felt shapes for all kinds of fruits and vegetables, it’s that addictive!
The wiring of shapes, such as leaves and petals, is also a key technique, and one you may already be familiar with from its extensive use in stumpwork and raised embroidery. For anyone new to wired leaves or petals, we’ve included a step-by-step sequence for stitching a pear leaf.
As with the felt body, the process is infinitely adaptable to any shape and size required and is used for at least one element in every project in Botanica.
The wrapped stem that helps to give the pear such a natural look is a thick wire wrapped with wool thread. The wrapped wire tails of the leaves are incorporated into the stem, helping to create the thickening of the stem towards the tip. Easily overlooked, the change in thickness of the stem is an ingenious detail in Julie’s pieces that contributes to their life-like appearance. The detailed instructions for making the stem are illustrated with clear, hand-coloured diagrams.
Pears really are quite a beautiful fruit, and now you can make your own gorgeous stitched version for display all year round. Now, with pears on our mind, we’re off to enjoy a lunch of pear and walnut salad. Or maybe afternoon tea with a pear and ginger cake? Whichever it may be, pear is definitely on the menu!
Make Your Own Pear
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

A plump, juicy pear worked in shades of olive green and chestnut by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.
Botanica | The three-dimensional embroidery of Julie Kniedl
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Pear includes everything you need to recreate this delicious looking pear: Fabric (unprinted), wool felt, wires, embroidery threads and needles.
Looking to Stitch More Pears?
Portraits of Fruit
Portraits of Fruit by Trish Burr from Inspirations #47 is two amazing botanical studies capturing the lush richness of ripe pears and a nectarine.
Portraits of Fruit
Inspirations Issue 47
True Love
True Love by Susan O'Connor from Inspirations #68 celebrates the first day of Christmas with this stunning ornament, stitched with lustrous stranded silk threads onto silk satin.
True Love
Inspirations Issue 68
What Are You Stitching?
We’ve often espoused the popularity of flowers when it comes to favorite stitching subjects, but a close second would have to be birds! This week we seek out the fine feathered friends that have been stitched with the needles and threads of the Inspirations Community…
Judith Peckham
‘This is my first attempt at threadpainting - an Eastern Bluebird designed by Tanja Berlin. I took a class with Tanja when I attended my very first EAC seminar in Ottawa in 2015. I find threadpainting a very relaxing technique and have several patterns from Inspirations Magazine earmarked for future projects. Thank you for publishing such a nice magazine.’
Judith, we appreciate your kind words about Inspirations and look forward to seeing the completed projects you’ve earmarked for completion! We love that you find threadpainting relaxing and hope you find many more hours of stitching joy with needle and thread.
Julie Reid
‘I have recently finished Catherine Laurençon’s La Fauvette from Inspirations issue #97.’
Julie, we love Catherine’s gorgeous designs and are so happy to see that you have gained enjoyment from them as well!
Linda Jackson
‘After reading a recent Inspirations newsletter (which is always most interesting!) to help answer your call for more feathered friends, I thought I’d share with you this miniature owl from Trish Burr’s Whitework with Colour. I have embroidered it for my brother who is an amateur wildlife photographer and has just finished photographing all of Australia’s indigenous owls. Quite fitting I thought!’
Linda, very fitting indeed! What a thoughtful way to celebrate the work of your brother.
Marsha Cannon
‘I am currently working toward a solo exhibition of my artwork that will be held in late 2019. I work in many different media and embroidery will definitely be included!’
‘The exhibition features bird species of my home province of Saskatchewan, Canada. I’ve also included my self-portrait in stitch! Happy stitching to all.’
Marsha, we love that embroidery will feature in your solo exhibition and think your self-portrait is simply divine! We wish you every success with your work leading up to the exhibition and with the exhibition itself.

With only a few birds left in our What Are You Stitching? files after this week’s segment, if you’ve stitched a fine feathered friend, we’d love to see it! 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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Crewel Whimsy
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Inspirations Issue 102
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Crewel Whimsy | Purple Flower
In Writing
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Inspirations Issue 78
Snow on the Mountain
Snow on the Mountain by Carol Hawkins from Inspirations #57 is a stylish embroidered book cover.
Inspirations Issue 57
Strawberry Fields Forever
Strawberry Fields Forever by Kay Stanis from Inspirations #28 is an amazing goldwork book cover – the perfect design for a stunning framed piece or a cover for a favourite book.
Strawberry Fields Forever
This Week on Social
I am in awe of this creation
Gold Label by Jane Nicholas
‘The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.’
~ William Morris ~
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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