All Stitched Up! | Issue 148

27th July 2018

Hi There,
We were reflecting on the time we recently spent at our local Sewing, Stitching and Handcraft Show when it dawned on us that every stitcher has a story. We met many people while we were there and amidst the hustle and bustle of it all, it was the story of each stitcher that’s remained with us.

Inspired by a crocheted tablecloth, and regretful that she’d never learnt the craft from her grandmother, one shopper was on the lookout for ‘A-Z of Crochet’. She was hopeful that, over time, she’d be able to pick up from where her grandmother left off. We listened intently as she unfolded the story of her inspiration – an incredibly fine and detailed lace tablecloth, now rarely used, that was painstakingly crafted by her grandmother during World War II. She went on to share how thread supplies were scarce at that time and as a result, there are many shades of the ‘same’ thread used throughout the cloth which now helps to mark its place in history. We heard of her disappointment in not learning the craft directly from her grandmother but were inspired by her deliberate intent to put aside the time to learn an art that was commonplace amongst her grandmother’s generation.

A long-time quilter told us of the unexpected gift a friend’s collection of Inspirations Magazines had become. Upon her passing, a friend bequeathed her a complete Inspirations collection and, after taking the time to read through each issue, she realised that she was actually an embroiderer at heart and not a quilter!

Not only did the magazines become an ongoing connection with a cherished friend, they also provided a whole new direction as she found her true calling with needle and thread.
These are but two of the many stories we heard, but in some way each one made us think about our own narratives with needle and thread. What brought us to where we are today? What inspires our stitching? Is there another path with needle and thread we’re destined to take that we haven’t yet realised? Whatever the answers to these questions, we believe they’re powerful because it’s the ‘why’ behind our ‘what’ that makes our journey with needle and thread truly count.

What’s your stitching story? We’d love to hear the why behind your what, so email us at

World of Needlework
Designing for Whitework
If you enjoy the technique whitework, you’re probably familiar with Trish Burr’s stunning creations which you may have seen on her website, in her books, via social media (she gets lots of likes and shares!) and in several issues of Inspirations Magazine over the years.

Prancer by Trish Burr – Inspirations #88
While we’ve all been busy marvelling over her exquisite stitching, most of us probably haven’t spent much time thinking about who created the initial drawings.

Jill Buckley is a self-taught and highly talented Canadian artist who has perfected the art of “doodling”. Most of us have found ourselves doodling on a notepad whilst waiting interminably on hold, being assured that ‘your call is important to us’ but it’s unlikely our doodles have ended up as fabulous as Jill Buckley’s!

“As you might imagine, when designing for someone else, you don’t always hit the mark first time out.”
When it comes to creating a design, it begins with Trish providing Jill with an idea, then Jill gets to work and is equally as adept with a pen as she is working digitally.

Jill’s drawing and Trish’s finished project – A Partridge in a Pear Tree (source)
Her digital skills are vital as the two are separated by thousands of kilometres with Trish in South Africa and Jill in Canada so, in order to translate Trish’s vision into a workable drawing, these doodles fly back and forth across continents until they are just perfect.

Jill’s drawings provide the perfect balance of open space and fine, patterned detail. Trish then threads up her needle and starts to fill them with subtle shading and delicate satin stitch, stem stitch highlights and miniature eyelets.

Although we appreciate the pattern, the aspect of the drawings we find most striking are the personalities emanating from each one. How coy is her partridge, and how proud is Prancer? As for the cats – well, as any cat owner will tell you, that intense concentration any cat will display when watching a butterfly or bird is captured just perfectly.

Line drawing and finished piece – Chloe the Cat (image sourcepattern source)
If you’re planning on trying one of Trish’s whitework pieces as your next project, take a little time as you’re stitching to really look at the underlying drawing. The finished project, with its colour and shading is undoubtedly a masterpiece. But even before the first stitch is made in the fabric, you’re looking at a work of art.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

A Partridge in a Pear Tree


Needlework News
World Embroidery Day
As we look to celebrate and promote our love of everything needle and thread on 30th July – World Embroidery Day – we love hearing about the many ways this day is celebrated throughout the needlework community.

This year we were especially excited to hear about how Kelly Fletcher has created a way to help each of us indulge our passion and how the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design has come up with an innovative way to encourage the art of embroidery.
Kelly Fletcher
This is the third year Kelly Fletcher has released a free pattern in July for World Embroidery Day, but this year's design is by far her most detailed.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed embroidering it and am really hoping it'll encourage others to pick up a needle and thread and do some embroidery this month.’
If you’d like to join Kelly and embroider some lush foliage drawn from an old photocopy found among her gran's needlework things, which she’s turned into a vibrant, modern embroidery design that fits perfectly in a 10-inch hoop, you can download a free copy of ‘Leafy Tropics’ from her Craftsy store HERE

San Francisco School of Needlework and Design
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in San Francisco on World Embroidery Day, the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design are looking to create The World’s Longest Band Sampler and want your help!

They’ll be holding a stitching session, providing fabric, needles, threads and snacks to get you started on your own personal strip of the band sampler. If you have supplies you’d like to use, feel free to take them along as they’re wanting to put together a massive, collective reference at SNAD, using your unique styles, creativity and techniques!

You can stitch with them from 12:00 on the 30th July at 360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, California. To get more details, check out their website HERE

We look forward to hearing how you choose to celebrate World Embroidery Day in 2018!

Inspirations #99 - Out Now
Find Your Stitching Bliss

There are many words one can use to describe the emotions stitching evokes. Happiness, contentment, joy and euphoria are but a few.

This week, as we celebrate the release of a brand-new issue of Inspirations Magazine, the word to best convey what issue #99 will hopefully make you feel is… bliss.

‘Stitching Bliss’ is what issue #99 is all about, featuring a range of superb projects to cater for any stitching mood, from relaxing and meditative to fun and adventurous.

Inspirations Editor, Susan O’Connor explains more about Stitching Bliss with this extract from her welcome in issue #99:

“What is bliss? It is the state you are in when doing something that creates within you a deep sense of utter joy and absolute contentment.

So, what is your stitching bliss? Is it a large, intricate project with hours and hours of intensive stitching, new techniques to learn and new threads to master, or perhaps it is working on something so familiar that your hands automatically do the work while your mind can wander?
Is it teaching someone to stitch, creating embroidered treasures for family and friends or indulging in a project just for you?

It could be shopping for thread, choosing colours or discovering a new project from a favourite designer, or perhaps it is simply the joy of sitting down with a cup of tea and turning the first page of a new magazine to reveal a new world of possibilities.

Whatever it is and wherever you find it, we hope your level of stitching bliss is heightened by the projects and stories contained within issue #99 of Inspirations.”

To help you find your stitching bliss, within issue #99 you can choose from elegant whitework or sumptuous colour, simple embroidery stitches or a variety of techniques in one piece, surface or dimensional embroidery. Or, for something completely different, make a few Dorset buttons.

Single issue copies of Inspirations issue #99 are now available to purchase from our website for delivery to your door anywhere in the world.

Kits & Patterns Full of Bliss
The stitching bliss continues this week with a full range of Ready-to-Stitch Kits and Digital Patterns from issue #99 now available on our website.
Issue #99 Ready-To-Stitch Kits
13 brand new kits from issue #99 have now been added. Here are some highlights:

‘Sweete Bag’ by Victoria Laine is an amazing work of art and putting the kit together for this project was also a work of art! With over 35 threads, 8 different sequins, 4 different beads, a Susan Clarke original charm and several different fabrics, this kit has A LOT of elements to it. If you’re thinking about re-creating this magnificent design, the kit is highly recommended and as our first batch has already sold out, with only one more shipment coming in, stock is strictly limited.

‘Fine Tradition’ by Pat Olski is a collection of 5 different Dorset button designs – 3 brooches and 2 buttons.

‘The Tooth Fairy’ by Betsy Morgan comes in two different kits, one in blue featuring the seaside design, and another in yellow with flower motifs.

Browse Kits from issue #99

Issue #99 Digital Patterns
Did you know that many Inspirations subscribers purchase a printed copy of each issue to hold and treasure, then also purchase either a digital copy or digital patterns to work from? Digital patterns of each project from issue #99 are now available to purchase for your ease of convenience.

Browse Patterns from issue #99

What Are You Stitching?
This week we celebrate the stories behind the stitching, so join us as we share the why behind the what that’s been created with needle and thread…
Alice Sheridan | USA
‘I am an Octogenarian and have been stitching for more years than I can remember! For me, stitching is therapeutic. While stitching, I don’t notice the aches and pains that are part of being over eighty. I’m a member of both the EGA and ANG and enjoy the friendships these organisations provide.’

‘Since Trish Burr's book, Whitework with Colour, was released I have enjoyed stitching a number of her designs. I like that I can transfer her projects using her hot iron transfer patterns, something that is now very difficult for me to do with pencils. Lately, I have been stitching and following some of the Stitch-a-Longs that are popular now. They are fun, especially the ones with specialty stitches.’

Alice, we love that stitching provides a respite from the aches and pains of a life well lived and that you’re still so willing to take on the new challenges that needle and thread afford!
Karen Friscia Zoback | USA
‘My Mom collected antique china shoes and to honour her love I made this crazy quilt for her eight years ago.’

‘Sadly, I lost my Mom/best friend this past January and when my siblings started to take things out of the house, I inherited all her fabric, threads and sewing machine. She had my quilt hanging on her living room wall because she loved it so much - of course seeing it made me cry! My Mom was an inspiration to me and an A+ embroiderer.’

Karen, we love the story behind your quilt and that your Mom has passed the legacy of needle and thread from one generation to the next! Your quilt will remain a tangible memory of your best friend and we hope that, over time, your tears will be replaced with smiles as you recall your many memories with her.
Maria Hofstetter | Switzerland
‘After indulging my love of needle and thread at Hampton Court Palace in the UK, I found it hard to motivate myself when I returned to Switzerland, but by chance I got your newsletter and all that changed!’

‘After my cousin died in the USA, my family was so sad, but I used the opportunity to stitch some angels with my grandchildren.’

Maria, we love that you taught your grandchildren to stitch their way through grief and hope it’s a skill that remains with them throughout their lives.
Nancy McElroy | Canada
‘I live on a farm on the prairie just east of Calgary in Alberta, though I was born and raised in southern Ontario. I was 13 when I saw the cover of a magazine that featured embroidery and knew instantly it was something I wanted to do. Back in those days, floss was $0.10 a skein! I began with stamped designs on fabric and progressed to counted cross stitch and needlepoint. As I learned more techniques I decided that multimedia was my favourite, as this piece attests.’

‘I raised five children and home schooled them, so I made certain to carve out an hour or two at night to maintain my equilibrium and feel like I had some sort of life besides being teacher and mother. I would sit comfortably in my glider rocker, put on some quiet and gentle music and enjoy the solitude and pleasure of the needle's rhythm. I sometimes think I accomplished more with all of the children at home than I do now! Thank you for all of your work at Inspirations, I never tire of reading the latest news.’

Nancy, we love that the needle’s rhythm has been a constant companion throughout life and that you found such a striking way to combine your love of many techniques in a single piece!

Have you stitched something that has a why behind it’s what? We’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your ‘why’ to

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The Embroiderer’s Handbook

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The Embroiderer’s Handbook

Warm Wishes

Warm Wishes by Anna Scott from Inspirations #72 is a gorgeous navy blue linen scarf, embroidered in fine wool thread with cheery blooms in shades of peacock blue, raspberry, copper and garnet.

Warm Wishes


Caprice by Susan O’Connor from Inspirations #44 is an exotic embroidered evening bag, with beads and sequins.


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Summer Harvest

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Postcard from Provence

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This Week on Facebook

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‘The world is shaped by two things – stories told and the memories they leave behind.’
~ Vera Nazarian ~
What's On
Exhibition: “I walked out and was inspired” by The Five Muses
Days of Vines & Stitches | Greater Pacific Region of the EGA Biennial Seminar

Snape Maltings | The Quay Gallery
Next to the River Alde, Snape, Suffolk

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
28 JUL TO 11 AUG
Contemporary Textiles Exhibition
Buda Historic Home and Garden
42 Hunter Street Castlemaine, Victoria
30 JULY | 12:00
The World's Longest Band Sampler
For World Embroidery Day

San Francisco School of Needlework & Design
Suite 604/360 Post Street, San Francisco

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