All Stitched Up! | Issue 129

16th March 2018

Hi There,

Have you ever pondered the thought that stitching is like ice cream?!

Just like ice cream, there's a stitching flavour - or technique - to suit everyone's taste!

From simple vanilla right through to exotic ginger and rosewater, there's an ice cream to suit every palate. It's the same with stitching - there's a technique to quench everyone's appetite for all things needle and thread related.

We know of a young boy, who was yet to learn to read, who would walk into Baskin Robbins Ice Cream and have his parents read aloud each of the 31 flavours available only to settle on ordering French Vanilla EVERY single time!

Where does your stitching sit on the spectrum of flavours?

Are you like the young boy in our story who consistently browses a vast array of stitching techniques only to return to your ‘vanilla’ or do you willingly try the latest ‘ginger and rosewater’ that’s on offer for your needle and thread?

The good news is that there really is a stitching flavour for everyone and sometimes, just like ice cream, the best results are achieved when we mix and match, coming up with a unique flavour combination that’s just right for our stitching palate!

Do you have a favourite flavour? Ice cream or stitching technique, we’d love to hear what it is! Email us at

Benefits of Needlework
Tiny Hands, Big Minds

The ‘Loose Threads’ column in Inspirations #96 introduced us to Mrs M’s Year 3 class. Mrs M is a firm believer in the calming, energized focus that embroidery offers, and uses this to advantage in her class room.

At the beginning of the school year, the children of Room 12 are taught embroidery basics and encouraged to try their hand at surface decoration. Imagine a tranquil classroom of eight-year-old children, working patiently on their latest textile project turning out cushion covers, juggling balls, book bags and soft toys.

Mistakes are made, and corrected, tiny hands gain confidence and pride replaces uncertainty as new skills are slowly mastered. Wise Mrs M is also a canny motivator and the promise of entering their finished work in the Royal Adelaide Show, proved to be a great incentive for these little stitchers.

Now, Ansie van der Walt continues the story with an exciting update:

The Royal Adelaide Show finally rolled around and the children from Room 12 at Grange Primary School could not be more excited. Their cushions, library bags, juggling balls, and teddy bears were all ready for submission.

The class took a daytrip by train to the showgrounds to see their work. It was probably the first time in their lives that they were more excited to see the handwork section of the show than the games and carnival rides! And they were not disappointed.
Their hard work throughout the year was finally on display for everyone to see.
Their distinctive blue cushions were hard to miss. The excitement of hunting for and finding their own cushion was almost too much for some of them. Finding your own handiwork with a prize ribbon attached was even better.

Their teacher, Mrs M, is very proud. The sense of achievement they get from finishing a project they did not believe they were capable of at the beginning of the year, and to then see it on public display, is fantastic for their self-confidence. It carries over into their school work and helps them tackle challenges in the future.

Mrs M’s philosophy of teaching eight-year-olds to embroider as part of their broader education, has been refined over many years of teaching. She is happy to share her tips and guidelines with other teachers who want to incorporate handcraft into their classroom routine. She can be contacted at

Needlework News
Download a Jane Nicholas Masterpiece
Jane Nicholas is the undisputed Queen of stumpwork nature studies. She has an incredible ability to re-create some of the most intricate species of insects and plants into a needlework masterpiece. But it doesn’t stop there, as a highly accomplished teacher, she then goes on to break down each of the processes she uses in easy to follow step-by-steps, which enable you to create your own beautiful piece.

‘Lacewing & Dogwood’ – Inspirations #88
Inspirations is now releasing, for the first time, a selection of Jane’s projects from the magazine as digital download patterns. The first three are available below, with more coming in the following weeks.

‘Namesake’ – Inspirations #36

Lacewing & Dogwood

The Dragonfly


My name is Violet, Ultra Violet…

If you like your needlework to be on trend but currently have a hate, hate relationship with the colour purple, it might be time for a re-think!

Have you heard about the Pantone® Colour of the Year?

Pantone is an American company who have been specializing in commercial print since the 1950’s. The founder of Pantone developed a system of colour matching that allows designers, printers and manufacturers to speak the same colour language.

Since 2000, Pantone has announced a Colour of the Year. Chosen at a secret think tank, the Colour of the Year is a predictive insight, designed to help product designers, manufacturers, fashion designers and other creatives navigate the zeitgeist and make informed decisions about colour.

And for 2018, the colour of the year is (drum roll please)…

Ultra Violet, Pantone 18-3838!

Image courtesy of
“A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us towards the future.”
So there you go, to add some originality and ingenuity into your next stitching project, why not colour match some threads to Ultra Violet, Pantone 18-3838 and see what comes. You might become the next needlework visionary!

To learn more about Pantone Colour of the Year, you can check out their website HERE.
Have Your Say

Angel Gowns ~ Your Response
After featuring Angel Gowns Australia in Inspirations All Stitched Up #127 (HERE) we heard from a couple of members in our needlework community who are also Stitching It Forward by creating smocked baby gowns for their local hospital…
Paula Kelso | Canada
‘For many years now, a group of us have been making smocked baby gowns for the NICU unit of the Hospital for Sick Children here in Toronto, Canada. I had never smocked before, so the ladies instructed me in the smocking craft. Within our little group, Janet who has mastered the pleater, cuts out the gowns and pleats them, then distributes them to us for smocking and assembly.

Parents of the premature or sick babies, at a time of great stress, are very glad to have a little gown in which to christen their baby. Paula Kelso.’
Jenny Boothby | Australia
‘The Angel Gowns article in the recent Inspirations newsletter, has motivated me to re-visit the smocked dress patterns from issue #48 of Australian Smocking and Embroidery Magazine. The project ‘Wee Care’ showed us how to make neo-natal sized dresses for premature babies or for a child who passes away at birth.
By making little gowns for the ‘Wee Care’ groups around the world to use in their local hospitals, we’re able to give the parents courage and hope.

Knowing where they will be used makes them a joy to make. Jenny Boothby.’

Paula and Jenny, we love that you’ve found a way to invest your time and talent to Stitch It Forward for such a worthy cause. What a touching gift for the parents to receive in their time of need.

If you are interested in the ‘Wee Care’ project, the Digital Pattern is available for purchase from our website.

Featured Project
Marguerite by Irina Rudneva

Bead embroidery is a beautiful expression of the needle and thread. Since time began we have been experimenting with different materials to incorporate into beading. Seeds, beans, berries, sea shells, stones, bones, pottery, tin, ceramic, plastic, glass, crystal – there is hardly a material on earth that has not at some point, been utilised in a bead embroidery design.

Yet the inventiveness and innovation continue even in the modern era, and today we’re looking at a project that introduces a whole new way of creating shapes and forms upon which to bead.

‘Marguerite’ by Russian designer Irina Rudneva from Inspirations #97 is a captivating three-dimensional beaded daisy brooch. This contemporary design features a bright yellow crystal centre, encircled by a border of matching seed and drop beads and surrounded by gleaming white petals worked with seed beads.

The bead types and stitching techniques used to create ‘Marguerite’ are for the most part standard fare, the magic is understanding how the 3D element is created, so let’s have a closer look…

Nylon power mesh heavyweight Spandex
In 1962 a little invention was introduced to fabric which would radically change the textiles world. It was called Spandex or Lycra and the many and varied applications of this super flexible material are still being discovered, as is demonstrated by Irina with its clever use in bead embroidery.

To give ‘Marguerite’ its 3D appearance, you tack some 4-way stretch nylon spandex onto a piece of linen backed with stabiliser and, using tissue paper with the daisy design pencilled on it as a guide, stitch along the edges and create secure outlines for each of the petals and the flower centre. After removing the tissue paper, you then make small incisions into the back of each petal and fill the pockets with wadding.

The linen remains firm and flat while the spandex stretches as the wadding is added, creating beautiful raised curves and bringing the daisy petals to life. Spandex really does an amazing job adding wow factor to an already wow technique.

Once the beading is all done, you remove the hoop, cut out the design, add a leather backing and you have yourself a spectacular brooch or home décor item.

This is not Irina’s first three-dimensional beaded embroidery piece, she has an entire gallery of them, all of which are equally as stunning. We love having Irina as a part of the Inspirations family, her work is always truly amazing as she continues to innovate the bead embroidery space.


Daisy is a nickname for Margaret, used because Marguerite, the French version of that name, is also a French name for the oxeye daisy.

It came into popular use in the late Victorian era along with other flower names. Special thanks to Sue Forrest for her research and giving the project its name, Marguerite!
Make Your Own Marguerite

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Marguerite by Irina Rudneva is a fantastic three-dimensional, beaded white daisy with a sparkling crystal centre.

Inspirations Issue 97


Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Marguerite includes everything you need to re-create this charming beaded daisy: White linen (unprinted), 4-way stretch gold nylon spandex, stabiliser, wadding, leather, brooch finding, beads, embroidery threads and needles.

Marguerite – i97 Kit

Looking for More Irina Rudneva & Bead Embroidery?
Mother of Pearl

‘Mother of Pearl’ by Irina Rudneva from Inspirations #74 is a panel of majestic Russian pearl embroidery to decorate a wooden box, with a bonus pearl pouch project.

Mother of Pearl

Inspirations Issue 74


‘Precious’ by Irina Rudneva from Inspirations #85 is a magnificent beaded cuff with gemstones and pearls.


Antique Gold

‘Antique Gold’ by Liz Vickery from Inspirations #31 is a lavishly beaded evening bag.

Inspirations Issue 31

A-Z of Bead Embroidery

This comprehensive guide to bead embroidery features more than 30 stunning and versatile projects. Find out how to work tambour beading, beadpoint, padded beading, how to handle sequins and bugle beads, and so much more. Discover the best tools for the task and learn to identify different beads by their size, shape and finish.

A-Z of Bead Embroidery

What Are You Stitching?
This week’s What Are You Stitching? celebrates the many flavours of stitching our needlework community have put their needles and threads to.
Bullion Knot | Anne Bollen
‘Some time ago your newsletter mentioned that bullion roses first appeared in the 80’s, but below are some bullion stitches that my mother and I stitched long before then!

There were flowers on a baby dress that my mother stitched in the early 40's, a very fine rose on a petticoat my mother made for my trousseau in the 60's as well as roses I stitched on the shoulders of a pair of baby doll pajamas intended for my trousseau as well.
Thank you for all the information and inspiration in your magazine and newsletter, I just love receiving them!

Happy stitching, Anne Bollen.’

On its own, the bullion knot could be considered a little ‘vanilla’, but it quickly takes on an exotic flavour as it’s stitched into almost any form imaginable - the flower is by far one of its more popular varieties and Anne, you and your mother have created bullion roses that are both dainty and true to form.

Cross Stitch | Pat Armour
‘My husband has a degree in Latin from university, so it seemed only appropriate to make a Latin sampler for our home. The saying ‘veni, vidi, sui’ (a take on ‘veni, vidi, vici’) translates roughly as ‘I came, I saw, I stitched’. I added a threaded needle, Minerva the Roman goddess of crafts people and borders based on Roman mosaics.

When I was struck down with sciatica this fall, I had a hard time concentrating, so it was nice to have some repetitive cross stitch to fill in the time. Best regards from wintery Canada, Pat.’
We’ve all come, seen and stitched in one form or another and we love that you’ve captured it so beautifully Pat!
Needlepoint | Joan Cairns
‘I have recently been on a month-long cruise from Cape Town, up the coast of east Africa, across the Indian Ocean and then onto Singapore. On board I attended a needlepoint class which they held regularly throughout the cruise. The cruise line, Oceania, even supplied the kits at no additional charge.

‘We were asked to start with a small kit before embarking on a larger one. Some ladies had never done this type of work before and many others hadn’t embroidered since they were children. Encouraged by our leader Annabel, and some of the more experienced stitchers, they were soon hooked.
It was a wonderful environment to see women from countries all around the world enjoy embroidery and a chat.
Well done Oceania!’

A lot of times travelling introduces us to new flavours of food, some of which are completely unfamiliar to our palates, but Joan we love that time spent on the ocean has introduced - or reacquainted - the ladies with a new flavour of stitching technique and by the results it looks like needlepoint is well suited to each of your palates!
Smocking | Alexis Parkinson
‘I taught myself to smock about 21 years ago and due to the fact I was living in a remote mining town at that time there weren’t any smocking teachers available, so I learnt most of it by reading magazines and booklets that I purchase from Australian Smocking & Embroidery.’

‘I made the yellow dress for my great niece, Seana, and the blue dress and bonnet won Grand Champion Exhibit at the Brisbane Exhibition in 2011. Smocking gives me so much pleasure and I am so addicted that I can’t give the idea of smocking away!’

Alexis, it sounds like you’ve the perfect flavour of stitching for your palate. The good news is that being addicted to smocking is so much better for your health than ice cream, you won’t have to give it up anytime soon!
Tatting | Donna Wolfe Kelly
‘When I was a young girl, just beginning my career as a teacher, I was invited into Tillie's home. On a side table in her living room lay three handkerchiefs with tatting around each one.
I had never seen such beautiful needlework around handkerchiefs in all my life!
Tillie told me that the needlework was tatting and that you had to use a shuttle to hold the thread. I ask her to teach me how to tat. Quite by accident, I learned the trick to making a double stitch that is required in tatting - Tillie was amazed as she’d tried to teach others with little success!

Since then, I have been invited to demonstrate tatting and sell my needlework at New Salem (a pioneer village in Illinois where Abraham Lincoln lived in the 1840’s) and since moving to Florida, have again demonstrated the technique and sold many of the pieces I have created. My journey of tatting has brought the joy of accomplishment along with a little pin money (a small sum of money for spending on non-essentials) into my life.’

Donna, your tatting has served you well – opening up new experiences and a little spending money along the way – what a fabulous ‘friend’ it has been to travel through life with!

Have you got something you’ve created with needle and thread you can share with us? Whether it be vanilla or ginger and rosewater, we’d love to see it! Email us photos of your stitching along with a few details about what started your love of needle and thread to

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Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

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Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

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Falling Leaves by Jenny McWhinney is a beautiful hoop bag featuring a splendid brown owl surrounded by autumn leaves on one side, and a superb deciduous tree losing its leaves on the other.

A Passion for Needlework

This Week on Facebook

Look at what 2018 is shaping up to be with Trish Burr.

Look what Irina Embroidery is stitching, how beautiful, a true classic.

"The only problem with ice cream and stitching – so many flavours, so little time!"
~ Adapted from @havmoricecreams ~
What's On
RSN Exhibition

The Royal School of Needlework’s Embellishment in Fashion

Royal School of Needlework
Hampton Court Palace Surrey, UK

Follow the Thread

Blue Mountain Embroiderers’ Exhibition

Braemar House and Gallery
104 Macquarie Road Springwood, New South Wales

Needlework Show & Sale

2018 Woodlawn Needlework Show & Sale

Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House
9000 Richmond Highway Alexandria, Virginia USA

Breaking Traditions
The Embroiderers’ Guild, Victoria Geelong Branch | Breaking Traditions: A decade of adventure

The Shearer’s Arms Gallery

202 Aberdeen Street Geelong West, Victoria
Hanging Thread: Featuring Laura Tandesky
San Francisco School of Needlework & Design
Suite 604/360 Post Street, San Francisco
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries
Art Gallery of NSW | Upper Asian Gallery
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Shoreline Stitchers’ Showcase

Shoreline Stitchers’ Showcase | A Judged Needlework Exhibit & Boutique

South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd Palos Verdes, California

17 TO 22 MAR
Grampians Texture 18
Halls Gap, Victoria
Quilt Convention & Expo

The Australasian Quilt Convention & Expo

Royal Exhibition Building
9 Nicholson Street Carlton, Victoria

14 TO 21 APR | 10:00 TO 4:00
Unchartered | Textile & Mixed Media Works from Collective Notions

Steps Gallery

62 Lygon Street Carlton South, Victoria

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