ISSUE 190, JUNE 14 2019
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Hi <<First Name>>,
Some of us are better at farewells than others.

There are those of us who manage our farewells with a stoic ‘until we meet again’, while others of us are left a blubbering mess at the mere thought of having to say goodbye!
This week we have a little farewell of our own…we’re saying goodbye to Inspirations issue #102 as we feature the last of this issue’s projects, ‘Bellissimo’.
Farewelling any issue of the magazine is a little bittersweet for us, sometimes we can’t believe the time and talent we’ve poured into it is now behind us, but then there’s always the expectation of the next issue of Inspirations we’re awaiting with bated breath!

For now we’re trying to hold onto the ‘sweet’ part of our farewell by focusing on the positive, embracing the present, sharing our sadness with you and exiting with grace, but if you have any tips for dealing with the ‘bitter’ part of our goodbye or would like to share how you cope with saying farewell, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at
Have Your Say
In issues #184 and #185 of our newsletter we spoke about diversity and nature vs nurture. This week we share some of the conversations these topics sparked with the Inspirations Community…
Joyce McKee
‘I have been an embroidery lover all my life. My mother stitched Fancy Work and I still have some of her pieces. Her father did not approve of this activity so most of this was done in her bedroom with a pillow at the door to stop him from seeing the light still on into the wee small hours of the morning! When it came to my turn, it was thought the material and threads were too precious to be wasted on a child and so I was denied this stitching experience until well into my later life when my own children were no longer babies.’

‘I started with many classes and eventually settled into surface stitchery, with Mountmellick and crewel becoming my favorites. Many pieces were stitched, and a learning process began, eventually leading into needlepainting where I was free to use any colour and any stitch I liked thus breaking many of the rules I had previously learnt. This really became my passion for many a year. Then a friend asked if I’d like to try something new and so began my next journey - that of Nuido Japanese Silk Embroidery with its strict needles, frames, threads, rules, methods and disciplines - no makeup, no hand cream, no teaching aids (unless Japanese) and no talking in class. How different from needlepainting!’

‘Diversity or the lack of it was to the fore and I have had many discussions on how these forms of embroidery from the East and the West could ever meet.
But, as I have learnt more and more about both forms, I can see that they have more similarities between them than I could ever have imagined.
The methods of stitching in one could improve the other and what seems like division is not really division but rather misunderstanding.’
Shirley McCallum
‘I am a social worker in schools helping primary school children whose learning is challenged in some way. At one of my schools we have started MAC day Friday where children get to choose something different to do. I do embroidery with a group of six girls. For most this is their first experience with needle and thread. It has been, and continues to be, a total joy for me. Several of my girls are back for more this term and one girl just finished her first project. She is very proud of her beautiful work and is inspired to continue.
I just love how good my girls feel about their stitching as it is a love I have had for a long time.
I will keep nurturing my charges as long as they want me and I will stitch to the end of my days, God willing!’
Dorothy Pascher
‘It’s so fitting that I would be writing about my love of embroidery at the start of Mother’s Day weekend. My mother nurtured me into my love of all things needle and thread. She began teaching me when I was five years young on a stamped embroidery potholder. My mother died when she was 43 and I was just 13. In my later years I joined the EGA in Dallas, Texas and was privileged to be able to take classes from some of the most talented teachers from the USA and beyond. My mother’s love and her love of embroidery that she shared with me are the most precious gifts that I will always treasure as it always keeps her closer to my heart.’
Deanna Kerr
‘One way I nurture my love of embroidery is through my subscription to your beautiful magazine Inspirations, my purchase of some of your beautiful books and the purchase of several of your gorgeous kits! I also enjoy your weekly emails and I always love to see what others are doing on your Facebook page.

I embroidered as a child and young adult and am gradually getting back to stitching through several surface design workshops I have taken in my area with a local group I belong to. I have acquired all the tools I need to set up a studio or workroom and am looking forward to retirement within the next year so I can immerse myself in handwork and fiber arts. I enjoy the meditative aspect of stitching, appreciate the expertise and skill involved in producing handwork and want to do my part to keep fiber arts alive, including passing on an interest, appreciation and skills to the next generation.’
Pat Armour
‘This past weekend I was honoured to teach a class at the Sudbury District Quilting and Stitchery Guild in beautiful Sudbury, Ontario. 14 lovely women joined me over two days, some to try crewel embroidery for the first time and some to revisit the technique. We shared tips, laughs and an appreciation of stitching. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group. The piece, Peggie’s Floral Fantasy, is named for my mother who got me started some 55+ years ago in embroidery.
So, did I inherit the love of the threaded needle from my mother and grandmother or was it just that I picked up needle and thread as we were always encouraged to keep busy?
It feels so natural to me I’m leaning to the nature side, but nurturing is certainly just as important. Thank you for your thought-provoking article. As always, the debate will no doubt continue!’
Pat’s Crewel Embroidery Class | Sudbury District Quilting and Stitchery Guild
Joan Clark
‘My mother, who died two years ago at the age of 90, was a sewer by nature. She was the third of four sisters and the only one who could sew, knit, embroider and draw.
I’m an embroiderer and sewer by nurture, particularly sewing. I would sit for hours watching my mother make dresses for herself and for me.
I would ask all the ‘why and how are you doing that’ questions. While she did some embroidery and of course smocking, I learnt to do that mainly through my paternal grandmother. My paternal aunt was also a sewer and embroiderer and taught domestic science and sewing as a career. So, I’m lucky as I inherited that talent from both parents! Now, because of computers and fabulous sewing/embroidery machines, I digitise designs to sew onto clothes and priests’ vestments. I have two daughters, but only one can sew. I just wish I could sew more hours into the day!’
Featured Project
Bellissimo by Paola Matteucci
Is it lace or is it embroidery? This is the question that can spring to mind when you first see the exquisite cushion topper designed by Paola Matteucci, entitled Bellissimo from Inspirations issue #102.
Worked in a technique known as Umbrian tulle embroidery, the gossamer like design is as redolent of handmade lace as it is of embroidery itself.
There is, of course, very good reason for this. This particular style of embroidery was adopted in the region to complement the hand worked ‘Tombolo’ (pillow) and ‘Fuselli’ (bobbin) laces which had been produced by women for centuries.
Tulle embroidery had become widespread across Europe after the English firm Heathcoat and Lurley developed a method of manufacturing strong yet delicately fine tulle in 1809. In Umbria, the nuns of the Collegio delle Vergini di Panicale taught the technique to the girls in their charge all the way up to 1872 when the college closed. So, by this time, the style had become a regional characteristic, which Paola has perpetuated and shared in Bellissimo.
Paola’s ethereal piece, worked on cotton tulle in No. 25 crochet thread is characteristic of the style, which had been revived after the 1872 lull by Anita Belleschi Grifoni. This indomitable lady recognised that Umbrian tulle embroidery could be improved and simplified, then taught to women in order to gain some measure of economic independence. This is not an unusual story, but that makes it no less impressive.
We are all grateful for women such as Anita who valued tradition and embroidery, but more importantly had the strength to champion members of her sex and the skills they possessed.

Paola has designed her piece using stitches such as punto uno (single darning stitch) and stelline medie (star stitch filling) as an introduction to the style.
Paola provides clear instructions on how to work this beautiful cushion front, appearing for all the world as if it had been created a hundred years ago as a family heirloom.
If you have always felt intimidated by the thought of working bobbin lace, Umbrian tulle embroidery is a wonderful way to cross the border between two historic art forms.
Working on tulle is very different to working on a solid ground fabric, as it has no structure beyond the ‘bobbinets’ or little hexagons which are produced during the manufacture. But if you back the tulle with paper to reinforce it, and watch your tension very carefully, you will be producing lace in no time.

When we saw it here at Inspirations, we thought immediately of honeycomb and bees. Like the bees, you step lightly on the comb, working carefully and methodically to achieve a most beautiful outcome.
There is something intensely satisfying about following in the footsteps of women of previous generations and other countries and cultures. Embroidery is one of the few things in the world which knows no boundaries, either temporal or geographical. Your stitches and those of the nuns of Panicale are the same stitches worked with the same love and care. If only there were more things in the world like that. Embroiderers have much to teach.
Make Your Own Bellissimo
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Bellissimo by Paola Matteucci is a beautiful cushion topper in Italian tulle embroidery with a flowing design of roses and leaves.
Inspirations Issue 102
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Bellissimo includes everything you need to re-create this stunning cushion topper: Fabric (unprinted), embroidery thread and needle.
Looking for More Italian Embroidery?
Flowers of Panicale
Flowers of Panicale by Paola Matteucci from Inspirations issue #86 is a beautiful evening bag showcasing the traditional embroidery of an Italian hilltop town.
Inspirations Issue 86
Victorian Lace
Victorian Lace by Lorraine McMillan Jones from Inspirations issue #58 is a delightful pincushion with a delicate, lacy design embroidered in ecru thread onto matching linen.
Inspirations Issue 58
Needlework News
New Digital Pattern | Eidelweiss
After reading issue #184 of our newsletter, Roberta Kenney fell in love with one of the projects we referenced, but it was only available in print and she preferred to purchase a digital download.
Enter the Inspirations Studios website team, who came in and saved the day! This week, Roberta’s new favourite project Eidelweiss by Deborah Love from Inspirations issue #86, has just been released as a digital pattern.

Stylish in the simplicity of its monochromatic palette, Eidelweiss features graceful flowers and leaves, bordered with a combination of chain and coral stitch, then filled with a variety of pulled and drawn thread techniques to create a richly ornamented surface.
What Will You Stitch Next?
Suffering from a bit of next project anxiety? Looking for something fabulous to stitch but not entirely sure what? Don’t have time to source the materials you need? We're here to help with some Ready-To-Stitch kit suggestions for you:
If you enjoy three-dimensional needlework, check out the range of ready-to-stitch kits from the book Botanica.
Three-Dimensional Embroidery
Perhaps Bead Embroidery Japanese-Style is more your thing, or it might be calling your name to try something new.
Bead Embroidery Japanese-Style
You might want to join in on our caravan of love and pick a project of passion from what is surely the world’s most beautiful needlework book.
A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII
If all else fails, browse through over 45 ready-to-stitch kits from various issues of Inspirations Magazine that will inspire, entice and delight.
From Inspirations Magazine
So, what will you stitch next? We can’t wait to see!
Love, Crochet and Giving Back
You’ve probably all seen this amazing young man before, due to the recent publication of his book entitled Hello, Crochet Friends! Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy. This large title pretty much sums up the 11-year-old boy from Wisconsin USA who learned to crochet at 5 years old and hasn’t stopped since.
Jonah with one of his blankets (source)
Jonah enjoys nothing more than crocheting after school with the love of his life – his Mum.
The fact he’s now a crochet social media star barely registers with this stitching dynamo, who donates some of his earnings to charity, and uses the rest to buy wool and build a future for himself.
Some of his more challenging pieces (source)
You can’t help but love his grin, and all this without an iPad or TV in sight. Well done Jonah! You can read more about Jonah’s inspiring story on the NPR website HERE.
Featured Project
Cauliflower by Julie Kniedl
With all the appeal of a perfectly formed miniature, Julie Kniedl’s Cauliflower from the book Botanica, has been one of the most popular three-dimensional projects we’ve ever published.
There’s something about cauliflowers and other members of the Brassicaceae family for items around the home, have you noticed? Kaffe Fassett needlepoint cushions come immediately to mind, as do Majolica tureens and teapots modelled on these rotund, cruciferous vegetables.
Left: Kaffe Fassett cushion Right: Majolica cauliflower tureen from Ruby Lane
Julie’s fabulous little cauliflower replicates the overlapping leaves and dense florets of a freshly harvested cauliflower, and it has a little secret hidden in plain sight.
This cauliflower is not only for enjoying as a delightful art object in your home. Just like those Majolica pieces, it was designed to have a practical purpose, only not for serving soup or tea. It’s a pincushion!
In keeping with Julie’s approach to stitching, this project doesn’t use any unusual techniques or complicated stitching. There are only four embroidery stitches and four wool threads used, two whites and two shaded greens. The florets are worked with French knots on circular slips that are cut out and stitched to a firmly padded shape, creating the distinctive flowerhead. This is the pincushion part of the cauliflower.
The smooth, wired leaves are worked with long and short stitch and stem stitch, with the wire covered with close blanket stitch. The leaves are wrapped around the flowerhead, curving over the florets and concealing the unstitched portion of the padded shape, and its construction, on the underside. An ingenious design, from start to finish!
For those of you who have been with Inspirations for a number of years, you may remember seeing the cauliflower published in Inspirations issue #75. This marked the beginning of our journey with Julie, when we fell in love with her three-dimensional embroidery.
Cauliflower as it appears in Inspirations #75 titled ‘Nature’s Bounty’
The cauliflower was Julie’s winning entry in a fun, little competition we announced in issue #72 called ‘Home for my Needle’. It was inspired by an article in issue #71 about a Japanese festival held each year called Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles. On this day, needleworkers pay tribute to their worn and broken needles by taking them to a shrine, where the needles are given a soft resting place after their stitching labours in a block of tofu. The needles are blessed, and the needleworkers offer their thanks and request improved skill in the coming year.
Our needles, the smallest of items in our sewing box, really are important. Actually, they’re essential. How wonderful that there is a ceremony to honour them! Outside of Japan, we may not have a ceremony like this, but we do like to make special pincushions. The Cauliflower is one of the most special we’ve encountered and a worthy choice for your hard-working pins and needles.
Make Your Own Cauliflower
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

A cute little cauliflower, stitched with wool threads to create a perfect pincushion, 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 Cauliflower includes everything you need to recreate this delightful pincushion: Fabrics (unprinted), wadding, wires, embroidery threads and needles.
Looking for More Pincushions?
Nero Fiore
Nero Fiore by Carol J. Young from Inspirations issue #76 is a beautiful pin cushion embroidered with classic blackwork motifs.
Nero Fiore
Inspirations Issue 76
Sweet Treats
Sweet Treats by Betsy Morgan from Inspirations issue #92 is a set of cute little pincushions showcasing a variety of counted thread designs.
Sweet Treats
Inspirations Issue 92
What Are You Stitching?
This week we’re celebrating the projects from Inspirations Magazine that have been recreated with the needles and threads of the Inspirations Community.
Arabian Nights | Issue #33
‘I have finally embroidered Arabian Nights from 2002! As I have dozens of hanks of embroidery floss, including all the threads I inherited from my late mother in law about 10 years ago, I decided to reduce the pattern and embroider a picture to hang on the wall. I am really thrilled with the end result.’
‘Just today I visited an embroidery group not far from where I live and one of the women is in the midst of making the same design, but as a blanket as it was initially intended. It was great to see the two versions side by side. Judy McMahon.’

Judy, we love that you’ve just finished a piece that was published in Inspirations issue #33! It proves just how timeless embroidery is and the fact you’ve adapted it into a framed piece also shows how versatile the art can be.
Monet, Hugo et les Poissons d’Or | Issue #100
‘When I saw this pattern in your 100th issue, I just had to try it!’
‘I first learned to embroider when I was about 13. It was mandatory for all the middle school girls back then and I really hated it! After 40 some years, I tried embroidery again when I saw Trish Burr’s embroidered birds and flowers. I was hooked - it was slow, but fun and relaxing.’
‘I used to shop at Joann Fabric and Michael’s Craft Store almost weekly, but since moving from the USA to Italy last year, I haven’t been able to find a good craft/hobby store yet. I have a full set of DMC Embroidery Threads I purchased years ago so I thought, why not use those?!’
‘After about two months of working every night, I finally finished it in time for Easter. It was a part of an Easter basket for my friend’s daughter. It was fun to stitch and even though I had to substitute many of the threads to DMC, I still love the end result! Kyung Pastino.’
Kyung, we love the time and talent you’ve poured into this very special gift – it’s simply picture-perfect! No doubt your friend’s daughter will enjoy reading the adventures of Monet over and over again.
Redoute’s Tulips | Issue #100
‘I used DMC floss instead of the silk threads Trish Burr used. Although they are more affordable, the colors are a little different. A very challenging but satisfying project! Amalia Cunha.’
Amalia, we love that you adapted the requirements of Redoute’s Tulips to suit your budget! You’ve done a fabulous job of matching the colours with Trish’s and your piece is a gorgeous representation of her original.

If you’ve recreated something from the pages of Inspirations Magazine, we’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve put your needles and threads to along with a few details about your stitching journey to
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You May Have Missed
Flights of Fancy
Flights of Fancy by Nina Burnsides is two exquisite designs of stumpwork butterflies delicately resting on head and hands in contrasting line embroidery.
Inspirations Issue 102
Flights of Fancy
Flights of Fancy | Soft Landing
Flights of Fancy | Transcendent Touch
Flutter by Yvette Stanton from Inspirations issue #70 is a sheer curtain with delicate shadow work butterflies.
Serenade by Gisèle Carrières and Kathryn Borel from Inspirations issue #62 is an elegant study of flowers and a butterfly.
Inspirations Issue 62
Butterfly by Catherine Laurençon from Inspirations issue #85 is a splendid threadpainted study of a butterfly with shimmering wings of turquoise, blue-violet, tangerine and garnet.
This Week on Social
How beautiful is this latest design by Alison Cole?
I have a helper tonight while packing kits for issue #103
‘Every ending is a new beginning.’
~ Marianne Williamson ~
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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