ISSUE 254, OCTOBER 2, 2020
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Hi <<First Name>>,
For many of us, our time with needle and thread is what we use to distract ourselves from the world around us. As we concentrate on each stitch before us and the meditative push and pull of needle and thread through fabric, it’s perhaps one of the few places we’re able to quiet our minds, silence our inner voice and forget the ever-growing To Do List that exists in our ‘real’ lives.
But have you ever found yourself looking for a distraction from your needlework?!
Whilst many would gasp at such a thought, there’s no doubt been a time when each of us have looked to a load of laundry, a sink of dirty dishes or an unmade bed to call us away from the stitching before us. Whilst it sounds counterintuitive that we’d look for a distraction from the very thing that’s meant to be distracting us, we recently came across an article by Nir Eyal that made us realise that this does indeed happen, and for a very good reason.

Nir embarked on a five-year journey to understand distraction, along the way discovering that ‘distraction often begins from within, not without’ and found the way to cope with these interruptions comes from ‘identifying and managing the psychological discomfort that leads us off track’.

The prompt of distracting ourselves often comes from our brains trying to avoid challenges, therefore searching for comfort in distraction. It’s our body’s way of protecting us. However, if we’re able to recognise these internal promptings that we know lead us astray and respond by refocusing on what’s before us, we’ll find them the best tool we have for pushing ourselves further and advancing our development.

So next time you find yourself facing a new stitch, a difficult technique or simply the fatigue of a lengthy project and feel the call of the laundry, the dishes or the yet to be made bed that threatens to distract your time, lean into the discomfort and face the challenge before you knowing that on the other side, the satisfaction of what you’ve learned and how far your ability with needle and thread has come will make the temporary unease more than worthwhile.
Have Your Say
On Planning, Learning and Getting Lost
Anyone who stitches understands how deeply the process becomes embedded in our lives. For many of us, a day without picking up needle, thread, yarn or fabric is one which is incomplete. Our craft drives us, provides us with purpose and joy and can even help define who we are and our place in the world.
We’ve been ruminating about topics such as these in our newsletter over the past weeks, and from some of the responses we’ve received from you, it seems that our discussions have resonated. Needlework in all its forms provides rhythm in our lives, from the planning through to the execution and completion, with all of the ups and downs along the way.
In terms of planning, Sharon Palermo shared with us her process. Every December, she decides what projects she wants to do and what techniques she wants to learn the following year. She then spends several wonderful weeks gathering materials, putting together kits, framing up fabric and getting herself ready for the new year. The results of this planning process are transformative for Sharon. She says:
‘I never cease to be amazed by the magic that happens when a picture or design transforms a plain piece of fabric.’
That magic often arises when you least expect it, during those moments when you are so lost in your stitching that the world around you has all but melted away. Bette Kelley describes the delightful meandering of her mind as she stitches her quilts – from locations, to people, to memories. Like many stitchers, she listens to audiobooks as she works, so she frequently needs to pull her mind back to the book, but then, deliciously and inexorably, it wanders off again.

Ruth Rayment also reminisces as she stitches, especially about her friends and the fun they used to get up to. With many of them hitting the milestone of 50 years of age, she has found these memories even more pleasant as she works on birthday gifts for each one of them.
One of Ruth Rayment’s portraits for her friend’s birthday
But stitching doesn’t only bring up memories – it can also lead us to philosophical thoughts, such as Brenda Banfield’s musings on whether the shape of frame we use affects how we view our project. ‘When we use a round frame,’ she wonders ‘does our mind think ‘round’, so are our designs based on circles, curves and flowing tendrils?’ Or alternatively, when we ‘use a slate frame,’ do we think in ‘squares, oblongs and geometric designs?’ Although we don’t know the answer, we love the direction that Brenda’s mind has taken.
When we emerge from our reverie, we find not only a beautiful piece of work, but, like jewels dotted between the stitches, we discover important lessons. Janet Casey has learned how much patience comes from stitching, as it can really only be achieved one stitch at a time. Suzanna Moor Sandoval has learned that not everyone appreciates the work, effort and love that goes into stitching; thus, a careful selection of recipient is vital. However, she’s also realised, through bitter experience, that nothing is permanent. Fire, according to Suzanna is a hard teacher, bringing humility and the necessity of letting go to even the proudest of stitcher.
Finally, the lesson of persistence is one which Ann has learned. Impressed on her as a child, as time went on, she realised that persistence did not require the approval of others. Now, she is happy to say she has succeeded, through persistence, in becoming what a true embroiderer should be –a master unpicker, thanks to the many hours of practise - Ann, we completely relate!

In stitching as in life, there is so much to gain from planning, learning and allowing ourselves the luxury of getting lost in what we’re working on. Thank goodness we are lucky enough to have a passion that encourages us to do that. We are, without a doubt, all better people for it.
Needlework News
BATB | 2021 Catalogue Out Now
We hope the kettle has boiled, as the Beating Around the Bush 2021 Catalogue is out now! Time to make the tea and get planning!
If you can’t wait to see all the fabulous tutors and classes on offer, you can download the digital version of the catalogue for free right now.
To download the catalogue, click on the link above and add the digital PDF file to your shopping cart on our website and after completing the checkout process (no payment required) you will receive a link on your screen under the word DOWNLOAD which you can click to access the file.
Alternatively, after you’ve checked out, you can log into your account anytime by visiting ‘My Account’ on our website HERE then go to ‘Downloads’ on the left hand side to access the file at anytime.

However, if you’d prefer to be able to leaf through your catalogue, marking your favourite tutors with post-it notes, then you can also order a printed copy of the catalogue today.
Registration for the convention opens 8th February 2021 and with so many fantastic tutors and projects to choose from, you’ll probably want to start planning today.

Stay tuned to All Stitched Up! for further updates closer to time.
World’s Most Beautiful Bunting – A Free Gift
It isn’t every day you get hundreds of talented stitchers together in one place to celebrate a special occasion. In October 2018 we were fortunate enough to hold the 10th Beating Around the Bush needlework convention, and oh! what a magnificent time we had.
To commemorate this significant milestone, which was 29 years in the making, we asked everyone attending to stitch a panel of bunting to send in ahead of time, so we could assemble and display it at the convention.

With no specific brief and working only from a template and piece of fabric that we sent, each recipient was encouraged to simply stitch away.
The results were nothing short of spectacular and created the most magnificent art installation.
When measured end-to-end the finished bunting stretched over 27 meters (88 feet) in length and consisted of 122 exquisitely hand stitched works of art.
It was such a talking point at the convention and represented so much skill, talent and diverse creativity all in one project, we’ve been thinking of ways to share it with our broader needlework community ever since.
In 2020, as many of us have been affected by the cancellation of numerous needlework events the world over, including the postponement of BATB 2020, we thought now would be the perfect time to add a little bunting joy to all our lives.
So, with special thanks to the class of BATB 2018 who contributed the amazing designs and to the Inspirations online team for putting this together, you can now download a PDF file featuring photographs of all 122 panels to enjoy, and the best news is, it’s FREE!
Click on the link and add the digital PDF file to your shopping cart on our website then, after completing the checkout process (no payment required), you will receive a link on your screen under the word DOWNLOAD which you can click to access the file.
Alternatively, after you’ve checked out, you can log into your account anytime by visiting ‘My Account’ on our website HERE then go to ‘Downloads’ on the left hand side to access the file at anytime.

Happy bunting!
Hummingbird Needle Threaders
Threading needles – the one thing every single stitcher has to do over and over (and over). Although some of us seem to have mastered the process, for the majority, the sheer frustration of the task means a needle threader is an essential item in our kit.
However, as almost all of you will know, there are needle threaders and there are needle threaders.
We’ve all used the ones which seem to pull apart on first use, meaning the only place they belong is the bin. Or the ones which are so big that you couldn’t even dream of getting it through the eye of your needle, let alone pulling a thread through after it. That is why we’re bringing you ‘Le Needle Bird’.
These adorable needle threaders are small enough that you’ll be able to use them even on the finest of needles, robust enough that they’ll last the distance, and gorgeous enough that one will simply not be enough.
Designed to look like a delicate hummingbird, the metal ‘beak’ works to thread the needle. Then, close the plastic cover and there is a handy thread cutter inside – two essential tools in one.
The hummingbird needle threaders come in blue, pink and teal and have a hole in the wing so they can be hung on a chatelaine, keyring or attached to a handmade fob so you’ll always have one to hand. Thanks to these cute little birds, you’ll never need to waste precious stitching time trying (and failing) to thread that pesky needle again.
Embroidered Brain Imagery
Embroidery is as much a mental process as it is a physical process. Utilising hand, body and brain, it can only be perfected when all elements are engaged. Artist Lada Dedić took this understanding a step further, creating gorgeous embroidered versions of scans of her own brain.
A brain scan worked in cross stitch, taking over 211 hours (source)
Worked in various techniques, Dedić used the slow, repetitive and meditative quality of her work to contemplate her own mind. The result was a series of beautiful, anatomically accurate images which convert the coldly scientific into the exquisitely artistic.
Each work took between 30 and 212 hours to complete – opening space for contemplation and reflection on the passage of time, and the mysterious void between the brain and the mind.
You can see more of Lada Dedić’s work at her website or follow her on Instagram @studiolada
Featured Project
Jewel of the Sea by Georgina Bellamy
When we consider the precarious nature of the world around us, one of the images which often comes to mind is of the sea turtle. These ancient creatures, which have swum in the oceans since Tyrannosaurus Rex walked the earth, are now firmly on the endangered list.
Of the seven species of sea turtle, three are vulnerable, three are critically endangered and one, the Green Sea Turtle, is currently teetering on the edge of the critical list as its habitat and lifestyle is progressively being destroyed.
Georgina Bellamy’s beautiful Green Sea Turtle from our new book ‘A Passion for Needlework | Blakiston Creamery’ is a design which pays homage to these precious ocean creatures. Georgina is famous for creating what she calls ‘Sculptural Goldwork’ – a melding of three-dimensional embroidery with exquisite metal thread techniques. This tiny Green Sea Turtle, aptly titled ‘Jewel of the Sea’ is a perfect example of the technique.
Sea turtles are well known for the mammoth journeys they frequently make, from breeding grounds to feeding grounds and back again. Some species, such as the Leatherback turtle can travel over 3,000 miles each way in order to lay their eggs in just the right location as to increase the chance of the tiny babies’ survival.
The female will lay around 100 eggs and when they hatch, the fragile infants face a momentous struggle to reach the ocean and then find their way to the distant feeding area whilst remaining alive.
Georgina’s little turtle is the perfect image of one of these babies, newly hatched from his egg.
Despite his diminutive size, his eyes reflect intelligence, strength and a level of wisdom well beyond his age
Although a real baby turtle has a delicate, pre-formed shell, Georgina’s turtle is strengthened by the chips of metal purl in various colours which adorn his carapace, his flippers and his beautiful little face.
‘Jewel of the Sea’ is worked in Georgina’s characteristic style. The base of the turtle is constructed with felt which provides the structure for the completed piece. The shell and the body are constructed in two separate pieces, which are only sewn together once all of the chipping and couching of the metallic thread is complete.

There is a lot of conservation work going on around the world as people realise that they have to do something in order to save these majestic creatures.
While hunting, net fishing, pollution and climate change continue to have a devastating impact, there are dedicated people who devote their lives to monitoring, tagging and helping the turtles, including moving clutches of eggs away from oil spills and overseeing the migration of the new hatchlings to their ocean home.
In a tiny way, just by spending the time to create Jewel of the Sea, you are helping by contemplating the lives of these amazing creatures.
The time and care it takes for you to make your own, glittering, gorgeous turtle baby provides you with the moments to contemplate his real-life counterparts.
Each time you glance over and see the wise and beautiful eyes of Jewel of the Sea gazing at you, you’ll get a glimpse of one small part of nature which makes our world such a beautiful place.
Make Your Own Jewel of the Sea
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Jewel of the Sea by Georgina Bellamy from the book A Passion for Needlework | Blakiston Creamery is a stunning three-dimensional goldwork turtle.
A Passion for Needlework | Blakiston Creamery
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Jewel of the Sea includes everything* you need to re-create this delightful scene: Fabric (unprinted), wool felts, sewing threads, embroidery threads, beads and needles.
Jewel of the Sea
*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.
Looking for More Sea Creatures?
Under the Sea
Under the Sea by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations issue #63 is a unique and stylish evening bag featuring two seahorses.
Under the Sea
Inspirations Issue 63
Flowers of the Sea
Flowers of the Sea by Helen M. Stevens from Inspirations issue #89 is a vibrant underwater scene portrayed in filament silk and metallic threads.
Flowers of the Sea
The Tooth Fairy
The Tooth Fairy by Betsy Morgan from Inspirations issue #99 is two adorable counted work boxes for special tooth fairy deliveries – one adorned with a seaside theme and all manner of sea creatures.
The Tooth Fairy
Inspirations Issue 99
What Are You Stitching?
Birds and land animals are perennial favourites when it comes to finding subjects of inspiration for our stitching. However, with so many beautiful sea creatures living in the vast expanses of our oceans, it’s safe to say that we will never want for inspiration. This week we are bringing you a showcase of embroidered ocean creatures for your stitching enjoyment.
Courtney Cox
‘Native to the southern coast of Australia, the weedy sea dragon is a beautiful and unusual creature. Before I began stitching this, I applied a watercolour wash to the fabric and then sketched the outline. The main stitches used were back stitch and satin stitch, with colonial knots added in the end to make the spots.’
Such a fascinating sea creature to choose for inspiration Courtney, you’ve definitely done it justice and we love all the different combinations of techniques you’ve used to achieve a wonderfully realistic likeness.
Karen Matze
‘Here is a piece I designed and completed using free form embroidery and Hazel Blomkamp’s style as inspiration. This has certainly taken hold of me!’
It has indeed, Karen. If one stands too close, your octopus looks like it might reach out and grab hold of us as well! This piece must be stunning hanging on your wall.
Carolyn Standing Webb
‘I have created these designs featuring copper metallic threads and lots of found materials in shades of copper on a really interesting fabric that has a layer of cork bonded to it.’
‘I have used watch parts to add a steampunk flair to the fun fantasy animals. Regular embroidery stitches can take on an unusual look when stitched in unique threads.’
‘These works, along with four others in a similar style, hang together in a room with other copper accents.’

These are fabulous, Carolyn. Your clever use of found materials make these pieces so unique. You must be very proud of how they have turned out.
Tawney Carter
‘In October last year, I found out that I was going to need open heart surgery to fix a defect I was born with. The stress of preparing for such a major surgery completely sucked all inspiration out of me and the recovery has been difficult to say the least.’
‘In February I was able to take a short class with Alison Cole and she inspired me to not only work on technique but to experiment with my own style.

This seahorse is an original and I am very happy with how he turned out.’

Thank you for sharing your story Tawney, it is wonderful to hear how your stitching helped you get through your recovery and your gorgeous seahorse is a special reminder of what you’re capable of, even in hard times.

Are you inspired by the oceans? Does your needle and thread tend towards the aquatic? Or are creatures of the land more your passion? No matter which geographic location inspires you, we’d love to see your work. Send us a picture of your stitching as well as a few words about the project and your stitching journey to
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Petit Bouquet
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This Week on Social
It always amazes us when someone has the patience and eyesight to create such tiny pieces! These crocheted animal figures by NansyOops are no exception.
Sarah Godfrey has it all fig-ured out in this cute hoop design. @thelakeofspring
‘What distracts us will begin to define us. We don’t need to swing at every pitch.’
~ Bob Goff ~
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
© 2020 Inspirations Studios

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