All Stitched Up! | Issue 143

22nd June 2018

Hi There,
Have you ever found yourself in between?

You may have been in between houses, jobs or seasons in life and depending upon your temperament, you will have either relished or loathed the space in between creates. You’re not where you were and yet you’re not where you’re going either. You’re kind of nowhere.

This week we find ourselves in-between. In between Inspirations #98 and Inspirations #99. Last week, All Stitched Up! featured the last of the projects from issue #98 and with issue #99 still in transit from the printers, we’re a few weeks away from sharing the ‘Stitching Bliss’ contained within this new issue.

But like we said, you can either relish or loathe the time this transition affords and we’re making the most of our ‘in between’ over the next couple of weeks as we share the excitement of a past favourite that is now back in print, launch a must have for 2019 and unpack some new projects contained within our current publications.

Join us as we relish our in between…

World of Needlework
Embroidery as rehabilitation after WWI
2018 marks 100 years since the end of one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. Of all the people around the world who became militarily involved in World War I, between 9 and 11 million were killed and over 20 million were wounded. For those wounded, being shipped out from the Front was not an end to the trials. Long months or even years in hospitals followed, with arduous rehabilitation during a time when medical practice was still primitive, and PTSD was unheard of.

For many returned soldiers, learning a new skill whilst convalescing provided a lifeline. Embroidery was a perfect craft for many as it offered a quiet, portable and intimate activity which did not require standing or much movement and could be undertaken in a group.

Rehabilitation Embroidery by Lance Corporal Alfred Briggs (Albert Biggs), 20 Battalion, AIF courtesy the Australian War Memorial Collection (source)
For some, such as Albert Biggs, it also provided the opportunity to develop fine motor skills after serious injury. Biggs lost almost all use of his right hand, so all of his embroidery was done with his left.

A number of surviving rehabilitation embroideries exist in museums around the world, including the Australian War Memorial and the Te Papa Museum in New Zealand. The pieces are often heraldic and patriotic in nature and many show amazingly delicate artistic and creative skills.

Rehabilitation embroidery by Private J. Hartnett, 13 Battalion, AIF from the Australian War Memorial Collection (source)
Imagine how difficult it must have been for many of these men, not only were they coming to terms with their experiences and injuries, they also found themselves incapacitated or heavily reliant on others for basic needs.

Embroidery or ‘fancy work’ was usually women’s work, and despite the societal chaos created by the conflict, this was yet another thing that had to be overcome. But the men who embraced this fine art were rewarded with several gifts.

A way of calming the mind; a way of producing something which was valuable and sought after; and an activity to help them forget they had any disability at all.
Since the First World War, embroidery has frequently been employed as an activity for those returned servicemen who find themselves in extended convalescence.

Hinge, Leslie 1868-1942: World War I returned servicemen embroidering. Image courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
We may all curse and lament the fact that wars continue to rage. We may wonder at the futility and grieve for those that have lost their lives in the past and continue to do so to this day. But at least needlework can provide therapy and calm amidst it all, small solace though it may be.
Needlework News
More Yazzii Bags
A few months ago we added some of the world famous Yazzii Bags to our website. This week we now have new models and new colours for your organisational pleasure.

These super versatile, quality bags are all about creating a place for everything, so you can easily keep everything in its place!

New Pattern: Bush Friends
Calling all fans of Australian flora and fauna, this one is for you! Bush Friends by Jenny McWhinney from Inspirations #28 has just been released as a digital pattern.

This gorgeous threadpainted cushion features the Australian feathertailed glider, perched on a branch of blossoming gum.

Bush Friends

Quilting with Wood & Tin
To most of us, a quilt is a nice soft warm covering to snuggle into at night.
There are some quilts however that are most certainly not suitable for cuddling – think quilts made from wood or tin!
What they lack in their use of soft materials, they make up for in spades with wow factor and cleverness by taking the same principles used in creating fabric quilts but applying them to hard materials.

Images courtesy Kim Fox | Worker Bird
Kim Fox is one such designer whose work resembles that of a classic patchwork American quilt, yet it is made of carefully cut tin shapes nailed onto rustic timber. You can check out her work on her website Worker Bird HERE.

Nesting by Laura Petrovich Cheney | 40" x 40" Salvaged Wood
Laura Petrovich-Cheney is another designer, also in America, this time using salvaged wood to reimagine the classic quilt. You can see more of her work and a list of her upcoming exhibits HERE.
Have Your Say

As we relish the current in between we find ourselves in, we’re making the most of the time these few weeks afford, so we thought it was a great time to start unpacking some of the conversations we’re yet to share!
Deruta Sfilato | Carolyn Githens
'I thought I would share this photo of the corner of embroidery on a supper cloth given to me as a wedding present in 1966 by a very dear relative who died twelve months ago, aged 101.

While she didn't do the embroidery herself, it is a very treasured possession and I was thrilled to see another example of this type of work, Deruta Sfilato, in issue #97 of Inspirations Magazine. Until now, I had never known what to call this style of embroidery, although I was aware that it was Italian in origin as my cloth & accompanying serviettes indicate that they were made in Italy exclusively for David Jones.
Thank you for your wonderful magazine - I look forward to its arrival, and spend many happy hours browsing through the contents.’
Etuis | Julia Broughan
'I have been collecting sewing etuis for years and store them in an old typeset drawer.

Recently I covered it with acrylic to keep the dust off, but unfortunately the acrylic slid into the track and it is now close to stuck!

Thankfully I started this collection long ago as the cost of these is now well above my price range.’
Oslo | Lesley-Anne Read
'I am going to be in Oslo for a few days in June / July and hope some of your readers can recommend some specialist embroidery shops.’

If you have a conversation you’d like to start, or if you’re able to point Lesley-Anne in the right direction for her upcoming trip to Oslo, we’d love to hear from you! Email

Featured Project
Lovable Bears
Getting away from it all is something we dream about, talk about and procrastinate about, but not often we do something about. Which is such a shame because when we get away from it all, the ‘all’ gets replaced with perspective, creative thoughts and blue skies for our imaginations to run free.

It was during one such trip, the very talented Jenny McWhinney was on a family holiday in Australia getting away from it all, when her ‘all’ was replaced with the inspiration to design and stitch 12 very cute, very lovable bears. Originally published in Inspirations issues #26 and #27 the bears became so popular, they ended up with their very own book ‘Lovable Bears’ which has just now come back in print. Here is an extract from the book of Jenny’s story about how some of the ‘lovable bears’, came to be:

‘We were off on a family holiday from Adelaide to Melbourne, across to Tasmania on the ferry. I knew we were going to spend a lot of time in the car and needed something to do, so I took 12 squares of blanketing, my wool box with my needles, a sketch pad and pencils, which would spend the next two weeks on my knees while my husband Ron was driving.
I had no great plans about what I wanted to do - I just felt I wanted to embroider a little bear.
During the drive to Melbourne it rained non-stop. The window wipers were working overtime. As it was pouring I sketched and stitched a little bear wearing a yellow raincoat and one of my favourite hats, a sou'wester, and gumboots. He later became ‘Splash’.

As we sailed from Melbourne to Tasmania I looked out to the ocean in front of us and decided I should do another little bear this time in a sailor suit. He would become ‘Ship Ahoy’.

When we docked in Devonport, my daughter Jess seemed a little off-colour and I suspected an ear infection, so as soon as we could, we went to the local doctor. The nurse-come-receptionist was so sweet, I thought I should dedicate a bear to her. So now we had the nurse bear ‘Florence’.

Next, we drove to Launceston and as we walked through this lovely town we passed the University and I could just imagine a bear on graduation day. I imagined all the knowledge contained in all the libraries of all the universities of the world. Hence the birth of ‘Bookworm Bear’.

Nearing the end of our wonderful trip, I asked my two daughters "What other bears could I draw?"

Jess called out, "A ballerina bear!" and Sarah shouted, "No! A clown bear!" So I did both!
After Jenny found the inspiration for all 12 of her lovable bears on her trip, she ended up stitching them together to form a fabulous quilt which has become immensely popular with children lucky enough to have one made for them.

So now it’s your turn… if you can’t get away from it all on a holiday like Jenny did, perhaps you can get away from it all in your sewing room and pick a bear (or two or more!) you can bring to life as you enjoy the whimsy of these irresistible designs.
Make Your Own Lovable Bears

Lovable Bears by renowned Australian artist Jenny McWhinney features twelve unique and irresistible embroidered character bears. The book includes full-size patterns, stitch diagrams, step-by-step photographs for each bear plus construction guide for the quilt.

Loveable Bears

Classes with Jenny
Enter the amazing world of Jenny McWhinney and her gorgeous designs at Beating Around the Bush 2018. Join Jenny as she teaches her iconic character-based needlework.

Some placements in Jenny’s classes are still available, but hurry and book today to avoid disappointment.

Beating Around the Bush 2018

Looking for More Bears?
Warm Welcome: The Bears

Warm Welcome: The Bears by Nancy Lee from Inspirations #91 are easily constructed bears featuring pretty embroidery and a monogram.

Inspirations Issue 91

Warm Welcome: The Bears | Pink

Warm Welcome: The Bears | Blue

The Loved Ones

The Loved Ones by Jan Norman from Inspirations #9 is a pure wool blanket with endearing hand appliquéd honey bears and soft pastel flowers.

The Loved Ones

Dear Heart

Dear Heart by Beth Allen from Inspirations #57 is a sweet little felt bear to keep your precious sewing accessories safe.

Inspirations Issue 57

Dear Heart

Enfant Cherí

Enfant Cherí by Marie-Pierre Théus from Inspirations #76 is a charming cushion decorated with embroidered circles and cute teddy bears.

Enfant Cherí

Inspirations Issue 76

What Are You Stitching?
Sometimes the space we find in our ‘in betweens’ affords us the luxury of being able to catch our breath and wrap up some of the details from where we’ve just been before we get to where we’re going next and this week’s What Are You Stitching? does just that! We’re catching up with some of the stitchers we’ve introduced in past issues of All Stitched Up! to see what else they’ve produced with needle and thread.
Anna Lifson | Newsletter #117
‘I'd like to share what I’ve recently finished hand embroidering:

An angel and some birds…

- and the view from my window.’

Kate Brown | Newsletter #123
‘Having produced more embroidery in the year since Beating Around the Bush than my entire life to date, I have now completed ‘Cow Parsley Meadow’ from the class I did with Jo Butcher at BATB in 2016.’

Françoise Richard | Newsletter #125
‘This is my latest embroidery - a Warhammer Soldier named Chevalier Gris. My son had been a fan of this game for a long time and asked me to embroider it for him. Now I am moving onto Carolyn Pearce’s Strawberry Fayre from Inspirations #95.’

Angela Bishop | Newsletter #126
‘I am originally from NSW, and now live in the UK. I am inspired by my Australian roots for my work as its close to my heart and I miss the colours from home that are not seen in the UK.’

Anna, Kate, Françoise and Angela, catching up with past contributors to What Are You Stitching? is like catching up with old friends and it’s been a pleasure to see what else has been created with your needles and threads. We can’t wait to see what’s next from each of you!
Subscribe to Inspirations Magazine
Not a Subscriber? Join Today!
Become part of the Inspirations family by subscribing to the magazine... we'd love to have you join us!

You May Have Missed
Roses and Old Lace

Roses and Old Lace by Alison Cole is a dainty combination of raised silk embroidered roses highlighted with goldwork and gold lace.

Inspirations Issue 98

Roses and Old Lace

Roses and Old Lace

The Embroiderer’s Little Book of Hints & Tips

This handy book from Alison Cole is full of tips from over 30 years of experience, where Alison has written down advice on everything from setting up your workbasket through to framing and photographing your completed work.

The Embroiderer’s Little Book of Hints & Tips

Strands of Gold

Strands of Gold by Alison Cole from Inspirations #73 is a richly textured goldwork study with teal and paua shell highlights.

Inspirations Issue 73


Clematis by Alison Cole from Inspirations #78 is a magnificent stumpwork of trailing blooms with goldwork stems and dragonflies.


Inspirations Issue 78

Honey Bee

Honey Bee by Alison Cole from Inspirations #90 is a gorgeous goldwork study of the industrious honey bee.

Inspirations Issue 90

This Week on Facebook

 This is just adorable.

 This is wonderful!

‘Honour the space between no longer and not yet.’
~ Nancy Levin ~
What's On
16 TO 23 JUN
50th Anniversary Exhibition
The Embroiderers’ Guild of Queensland
149 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley QLD or 07 3252 8629
Affinity | Cross Currents
Zig Zag Gallery
50 Railway Road, Kalamunda WA
Glen Hall | 0419 931 676
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries
Art Gallery of NSW | Upper Asian Gallery
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
20 TO 24 JUN
The Point of Stitch
The Embroiderer’s Guild NSW

Craft and Quilt Fair Sydney 2018
International Convention Centre, Sydney

Jan Taminiau | Reflections Exhibition
A major exhibition on the work of Jan Taminiau

Centraal Museum
Agnietenstraat 1, 3512 XA Utrecht, The Netherlands

Hanging Thread: Gillian Creelman
San Francisco School of Needlework & Design
Suite 604/360 Post Street, San Francisco
1 JUL | 10:00 TO 3:00
Learn to Smock Day
Smocking Arts Guild of NSW

Dence Park Community Centre
26 Stanley Road Epping, New South Wales

0417 431 387

Alice Springs Beanie Festival
17 TO 22 JUL
Bridging Stitches
Bridging Stitches / Un pont entre les points | EAC Seminar 2018

University of Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

20 TO 25 JUL
Days of Vines & Stitches
Days of Vines & Stitches | Greater Pacific Region of the EGA Biennial Seminar

Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park California, USA

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top