All Stitched Up! | Issue 134

20th April 2018

Hi There,

There’s a certain comfort to be found in familiarity.

Like navigating our way around a well-known space with our eyes closed, there’s an ease with which we’re able to operate in the familiar.

It might be the typical place we sit to stitch where the light is just right and there’s something close at hand to house our instructions and stitching supplies. Possibly it’s our favourite brand of fabric, thread or needle that we choose over the ones our current project recommends. Or maybe it’s that one stitch we return to time and time again.

There’s something to be cherished in the familiar, it creates a safe place that feels like an escape.

If you find that to be true, this week’s issue of All Stitched Up! will feel like a safe place to fall as we tiptoe around the familiar. In this newsletter we feature a project from a book that will be known to many of you and that was authored by one of Inspirations’ more familiar designers, and we catch up with some of our regular ‘What Are You Stitching?’ contributors to find out what they’ve been up to with needle and thread.

I think we all crave the familiar on some level, so why not cosy up in the usual place you’ve set aside to peruse All Stitched Up! and read on? We think you’ll find a certain comfort in the familiar that is to follow.

World of Needlework
During the early stages of WWII, the Declaration of Saint James’ Palace marked a turning point in global history. As bombs dropped on London, supply ships headed to allied locations sunk in the Atlantic, and most of Europe was under Axis rule, the question was posed;.
“Would we win only to live in dread of yet another war? Should we not define some purpose more creative than military victory? Is it not possible to shape a better life for all countries and peoples and cut the causes of war at their roots?”
The desire to create a lasting peace through diplomatic rather than military channels, lead to the creation of the United Nations. Immediately after the war, as the scale of Nazi war crimes became evident, the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ (UDHR) was drafted and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. This document, consisting of 30 articles of declaration, was intended to define basic human rights, to guide governments as nations moved toward true, universal suffrage.

‘Article 13’ by Michelle Duxbury, UK. Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Dunlap and Tal Fitzpatrick
The UDHR Quilt Project has been launched by Stephanie Dunlap from Phoenix in the USA and Tal Fitzpatrick from Melbourne, Australia to celebrate and reflect on the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.
The aim is to acknowledge the success of the document on human rights for the last 70 years and highlight areas of human rights abuse.
The call went out on social media with Stephanie and Tal hoping to find 30 stitchers, one for each article of the document. The overwhelming response meant instead of the intended single textile, four are now planned.
Stephanie and Tal have coordinated more than 120 artists worldwide who will each contribute a textile block, decorated as they wish with embroidered embellishments. Each block will highlight a different article from the UDHR; and each artist is encouraged to use their mother tongue for text.

‘Article 18’ by Janine Heschl, Austria. Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Dunlap and Tal Fitzpatrick
Once complete these blocks will be sewn together at quilting bee events in Melbourne, Australia. Tal will oversee the completion of the quilts and prepare them for their world tour. The aim is to exhibit the textiles in as many public places as possible. In Phoenix, Stephanie will collate a four-part book that showcases the individual artists, the blocks they made and the stories they tell.

‘Article 7’ by Bolivia Vega, Venezuela. Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Dunlap and Tal Fitzpatrick

As the textiles travel, proceeds from sales of prints, post cards, books and posters will be collected and donated in the names of the contributing artists, to UNHCR.

Special thanks to Stephanie’s mum, Laurel Durham, for contacting us to let us know about this wonderful initiative. You can keep up to date and read more about the UDHR craftivism project HERE.

Needlework News
Let There Be Portable Light!
With advancements in rechargeable battery and lighting technology, portable lights now burn brighter and longer than ever before.

The Triumph folding lamp features 30 brilliant LED’s and provides hours of cable free lighting, plus the added convenience of recharging and/or powering the lamp via a USB cable. Suitable for use in any country, simply use your mobile phone charger/laptop or any USB socket and shine your light everywhere you go! Available in red and white.

Lost Treasure | Inspirations #94 Back in Stock
Inspirations #94 was very popular – so much so printed copies quickly sold out and it has been out of stock for several months… until now!

Thanks to the keen eye of one of our wonderful warehouse team, a box of issue #94 was discovered incorrectly filed away. So, if you are missing this issue from your collection, get in quick – with less than 20 available, they are sure to sell out again fast!

Next Generation Stitchers
Many of us seasoned stitchers will testify that it was our exposure to needle and thread at an early age that planted the seed for what is now our life’s passion. While the world has changed significantly since we were young, it’s great to see the same seeds are still yielding fruit.

Courtney Stedman with her winning entries | Photo credit Michelle Smith
High School student Courtney Stedman recently won the People’s Choice award for her stunning embroidery designs at the Next Gen competition held by the Art Gallery of Ballarat in Australia.

‘Roots at a Tender Depth’ by Courtney Stedman

While Courtney has a stitching lineage, this is the first time she had ever taken up her needle and thread, so clearly there is talent in her DNA! Even though none of Courtney’s family currently stitch, her exposure to needlework when she was younger was enough to take seed.

You can read more about Courtney’s work and the competition HERE and in the meantime, let us never underestimate the impact we can have on someone’s life by introducing them to the joys of stitching at an early age.

Featured Project
Magenta Star – Bead Embroidery Japanese-Style
For anyone who enjoys bead embroidery, there’s a terrific range of how-to books available to educate and further your skills in this very popular technique.

There is however, something unique about the approach Margaret Lee takes when teaching bead embroidery.
It’s not focused solely on technique, but rather a holistic approach to stitching.
This week we take a look at the project ‘Magenta Star’ from Margaret’s book ‘The Art of Bead Embroidery Japanese-Style’ and learn a little about the secret behind creating stunning bead work, Japanese-style.

Magenta Star is a spectacular floral motif inspired by the Florentine II range of quilting fabrics Margaret came across by Peggy O’Toole. It reminded her of the ‘Magenta Star’ dahlia flower and she realised that would be a perfect name for this project.

LEFT: Fabric design by Peggy O’Toole RIGHT: Magenta Star dahlia
Set against a ground fabric of red silk taffeta, the Magenta Star flower is brought to life with vibrant hues of dark raspberry and rose gold beads, punctuated with bright green leaves peering from the behind the petals.
The colours and textures work together in symphony and you find yourself mesmerised by the alluring beauty of this piece.
When you break it down, it’s not the colour selection, choice of beads or the techniques alone that make this project a stand out, it’s the discipline of approach that Margaret teaches. Here is an extract from her book to help explain:

‘The central circle of the flower deserves top priority as it is a shape that must be preserved. If completed first it will not be obstructed by any other stitches. There are eight petals. The petals overlap one another so choices need to be made to ensure that the finished embroidery is harmoniously balanced. To this end, I have elected to assign one petal as the dominant petal. In Japanese embroidery, this petal is usually larger than the others and aligned towards the top of the overall design.

Begin with this petal and make alternate full petals and the rest as overlapped petals. The tips of the sepals which are behind the petals are worked last. In prioritising the embroidery order, we preserve the integrity for all the shapes which make up the design. The infilling parts of these shapes can be completed at any time, but the priority sequence of the parts must not be compromised.’

As with so many things in the Japanese culture, the thought process, planning and approach to creating something is of equal importance to that of the craftsmanship itself. You can be highly skilled in the art of bead embroidery, but by learning these Japanese design techniques your finished work can reach a new level of refinement.

While Margaret has created a wonderfully practical mirror compact and matching padded case using the Magenta Star pattern (for which there is now a ready-to-stitch kit available), you can use the design on anything that takes your fancy. Below is a great example of this with the Magenta Star set against the contrast of a black background decorating the top of a small trinket box.

In learning the principles of bead embroidery Japanese-style, you’ll appreciate many of the finer nuances associated with great design and discover the secrets of how to take a bead project from good to spectacular!
Make Your Own Magenta Star

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Magenta Star by Margaret Lee is a single flower with eight overlapping petals arranged around a circle. This simple yet stunning flower design is used to decorate a mirror case as well as the back of an accompanying mirror compact.

The Art of Bead Embroidery - Japanese-Style

Step 2– Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Magenta Star includes everything you need to re-create this beautiful flower: Fabrics (unprinted), wadding, sewing thread, beads and mirror compact kit.

Magenta Star

Looking for More Margaret Lee?

Circles by Margaret Lee from The Art of Bead Embroidery – Japanese-Style is an elegant project featuring two different circle motifs in alternate sequence and rows of simple, five-petal flowers.


The Art of Bead Embroidery - Japanese-Style


Hanabatake by Margaret Lee from Inspirations #95 is a superb accessories case with Japanese-style bead embroidery.


Inspirations Issue 95


The Art of Chinese Embroidery

The Art of Chinese Embroidery – Foundation Level by Margaret Lee is an immaculate ‘how to’ study and introduction into this unique embroidery style.

The Art of Chinese Embroidery – Foundation Level

Classes with Margaret
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn the exquisite art of Japanese-Style bead embroidery and Japanese silk embroidery from Margaret Lee in person at Beating Around the Bush 2018. Her wealth of knowledge and easy going teaching style is the perfect way to introduce yourself to these wonderful techniques, or for the more accomplished, continue your journey of mastery.

While Margaret’s one-day class has already sold out, there are still places available in her two and three-day classes, so register today to avoid disappointment.

Beating Around the Bush 2018


Have Your Say

To Do Lists
For many of us, a To Do List has become an integral part of how we manage the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. In All Stitched Up! #124 (HERE) we gave rise to the fact that our Stitching To Do Lists should be of equal, if not greater, importance than the lists we make to remind us to pick up the dry cleaning and collect some milk on the way home!
We encouraged you to think about what is on, or will find its way onto, your Stitching To Do List.

Below are some of the lists our Inspirations Community are using to keep their stitching on track…
Darcy Walker | USA

  1. Finish Alison Cole class piece
  2. Finish the 24 white Stumpwork petals for Jane Nichols wreath
  3. Finish Eccentric Chelsea Garden Needlepoint by Elizabeth Bradley
  4. Sort and label large collection of linen fabric
  5. Work daily on Glasgow Bedspread from Crewel Works
  6. Resist sales to add to stash
  7. Sort DMC floss
  8. Organize storage for frames
  9. Complete Christmas ornament for 2018
  10. Set up work space to prep for RSN Courses
  11. Work on a table runner featuring Mary Corbet’s Christmas Trees
  12. Edit stash of projects I will never complete

Georgia Jacobs | USA
1. To finish a quilt I started several years ago
2. Start making Christmas presents

Kathleen Weston | USA

"Thank you for asking about our stitching plans for the next year. I know that we all approach putting together our list differently, but I’d love to share my method. I try and spend a day at the beginning of the new year picking my projects for the coming year.

I spread a lot of my stash out on the floor in the stitching room, pour myself a glass of wine and spend a most enjoyable day selecting a large pile of projects in contention to make the cut.
Then, I simply cut the pile to a semi reasonable stack of wonderful projects to concentrate on. This year, my list includes:
1. A class by Kay Stanis
2. A beaded mermaid by the talented Leah Ready
3. Several Just Nan mice and houses
4. Betsy Morgan's Sweet Treats
5. My Jane Nicholas Stumpwork project from BATB 2016

‘Sweet Treats’ by Betsy Morgan | Inspirations issue #92

Trust me, there are at least 20 other projects on the list, but these are a good sampling! I never finish my entire list, but I figure that anything that gets done is in the plus column. Other projects pop up that I end up swerving to stitch, but I find that having the list keeps me on track and I love it when I can cross finished projects off my list.’
First Steps

In All Stitched Up! #130 (HERE) we unpacked the idea that without taking that all-important first step, or first stitch, none of the others will happen. We asked what first steps you needed to take to complete the next project on your stitching list and here’s what some of you are doing to ensure this happens…

Jo Tucker | USA

‘Taking that first step very often has nothing to do with needle and thread but has everything to do with not getting caught up in daily routines of housework and the many outside commitments that seem to never go away! My intentions are good and then before I know it, another day has come and gone without one stitch being taken. I know that this dilemma centers around time management, so that needs to be my first step.

Inspirations Magazine gives me hope with every page I turn, along with the Friday email, that needle and thread will become part of my daily life.’

Lesley Purcell | Australia

‘You talk about the next step needed. Well, for a lot of folks this can be just looking at a book with diagrams and instructions which can be enough to forge ahead one step at a time. This is a wonderful pursuit and will build confidence. If, however, you are left handed it can be a little more complicated - if only authors would put instructions for both left and right-handed folks in their books, the embroidery world would double in no time! Hopefully someone will do this one day. To stitch well is an asset for life.’

Linda Pettigrew | UK

‘What a timely newsletter! My first step is to trace my chosen design on to wool blanketing before commencing embroidery .

This has seemed a most daunting challenge for some time now, but if I want to produce a beautiful embroidered blanket, I will have to take that first step.’
We love that we’re able to start conversations in our weekly newsletter and then have them continue in a manner which often challenges how we see things and points us in a new direction in our own stitching. Thank you, Darcy, Georgia, Kathleen, Jo, Lesley and Linda for being part of the conversation and having your say!

What Are You Stitching?
If you’ve been part of the Inspirations ‘family’ for some time now, you’ll recognise this week’s What Are You Stitching? contributors as we’ve shared what they’ve created with needle and thread on a regular basis. This week we check in with these familiar contributors and see what they’ve been up to…
Jane Page | UK
‘I received a special Christmas card with a hare design which inspired me to get stitching over Christmas as I had a wooden box which was crying out for an embroidered top. It was one of those designs which worked out really well and is one of my favourite things I have produced. I usually gift my embroideries but can't bring myself to part with this one at the moment. I just could not put it down until it was complete!’

‘Thought you might also like to see my latest creation - wildlife seems to be my latest theme!’

As always, Jane, your stitching captures the beauty of nature in creative, yet realistic settings. We always love seeing what’s next from your needle and thread.
Kathleen Klein | USA
‘Elephant crazy quilt / steampunk style block finished! As it measures 11” x 14” (28cm x 35cm) it has been mounted on artist canvas because of its weight. The piece includes batik fabrics, couched yarns, brown cork fabric, Delica beads, Brazilian Embroidery, leaf stitch, turkey stitch, cast-on flowers with crystal centers, purple bullions, woven picots, drizzle stitches with metallic beads and glass mushrooms. The elephant is all metal pieces, sewn on with 6lb fireline and a wrapped crystal for an eye, with the parrot in the tree being a brooch.’

Your diversity of subject and stitching techniques never ceases to amaze us Kathleen! Your portfolio of work is as varied as they come and is always such a joy.
Peggy Kimble | Canada

‘This is a bag I made many years ago that is in constant use. I designed this for a Crewel class using Appleton’s Crewel Wool.

Part of the assignment was for each person to design their own initial.
I used the pieces to make a bag, using rods at the openings with the handles and knobs being crocheted. I lined the inside with a flowered print, making pockets to hold tools and threads.’

‘This bag was a useful, but rather plain bag given to us at an EAC Seminar in Winnipeg. It was filled with goodies. We were asked to make it look pretty and return with it to the next seminar.

I embroidered it with Appleton’s Crewel Wool, lined it with a colourful striped fabric and returned with it to the seminar in Victoria the following year. It has been in use constantly ever since.’

‘I made this bag to contain the books I bought for a Christmas gift for my son. I used the design from Inspirations, embroidered in stem stitch with Perle 5. The moire fabric is from my stash and the bag made entirely by hand.

‘I made another bag to add to my collection! I borrowed the design from Inspirations #71 and enlarged it to 11” x 11” (28cm x 28cm). I used Perle 5 and stranded cotton. The stitches include stem, chain, French knot, trellis and Palestrina. The bag is all hand stitched, lined with moire taffeta, edged with heavy purple crochet cotton and has a twisted cord to pull closed.
I have just celebrated my 95th birthday with my three stitching friends and my family - lucky me!

Thank you as always for All Stitched Up!, it’s a special joy for me.’

Peggy, we love that at 95 you’re not only still stitching but are sharing it with us via email! You have dedicated a lifetime to needle and thread and your ever-growing collection speaks to your creativity and stitching prowess.

Susan Hahn | USA
‘I recently put away my crewel threads and decided to go for a change. I started with Ribbon Embroidery, then finally moved into Goldwork. I have included my attempts at both and have discovered how addictive gold work is! Stumpwork and Goldwork are techniques that have long been on my 'to do' list of embroidery. It was easier than I thought and I don't think I would have attempted it without seeing all the lovely examples of it in Inspirations. It encouraged me to take the next step and go for it and I'm glad I did!’

‘I'm now presently on a Jacobean kick regarding my stitching. I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer last year and stitched my way through treatment.
When stitching, your mind can process many things and creating something beautiful during the difficult times is truly rewarding.
I am cancer free now and will have to take specific medication for the next ten years to keep it from returning, but no worries, I can do lots of stitching in that time! To all your readers – make sure you get your mammogram as it is the only way some breast cancers can be found!’

‘I really enjoyed stitching these miniature landscapes. They are from a vintage Jan-Lynn Embroidery Kit which was probably from the early 1980's. Originally designed for embroidery floss (which I avoid using whenever I can!) I've substituted punch needle wool thread instead.

This type of thread is finer and perfect for smaller projects such as these as each landscape is only two to three inches (5 to 7cm) in size.’

‘This still life is a 1970's vintage Lee Ward Kit, designed to fit in a 5 x 7” (12 x 18cm) frame. I always add my own touch when I stitch anything, so I have changed the colors somewhat and have been creative with the stitches.’

Susan, we’re so pleased to hear that needle and thread became a much-needed companion throughout your journey with cancer. We’re looking forward to seeing what your next season of life and stitching has in store for you.

Have we already shared something you’ve created with needle and thread? If it’s been a while since we heard from you, it must be time for an update! Email us photos of where your stitching journey has taken you recently along with a few details about you’ve created to We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

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A Passion for Needlework

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Stitch with Susan
Susan’s gorgeous needlework has been filling the pages of Inspirations Magazine since the very first issue, and now one of her all time, bestselling projects is making a comeback at Beating Around the Bush 2018.

‘Versailles Chatelaine’ is the latest design in Susan’s collection of this magnificent project. Stripes and florals are a match made in heaven with each piece featuring delightful tiny rose bouquets on a background of stitched pale blue and cream stripes. Finished off with a personalised monogram on the needle book, this stunning project along with two others, are being taught by Susan at BATB 2018. Book your classes now to avoid disappointment.

Beating Around the Bush 2018

This Week on Facebook

Just look and admire, this amazing Stumpwork by Lemon Pepper Studio

 Cute, birdy on a fence by Rachel Winters Sewing

‘Nothing beats the essence of familiarity.’
~ #SayQuotable ~
What's On
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
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
28 & 29 APR
Shoreline Stitchers’ Showcase

Shoreline Stitchers’ Showcase | A Judged Needlework Exhibit & Boutique

South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd Palos Verdes, California

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