Celebrating 300 Issues

17th September 2021

It’s hard to believe that this week we’re celebrating the 300th issue of our weekly newsletter.

To help put this milestone into perspective, over the past 6 years we have showcased literally hundreds of the world’s most beautiful needlework projects, included 500+ stitching news articles and editorial pieces and published well over 1,000 designs sent in by you, our fabulously talented readers, for inclusion in our hugely popular ‘What Are You Stitching?’ segment.

Thanks to your help, together we have been able to spread the good news about stitching and help fulfill our mission of making the world more beautiful one stitch at a time.

In acknowledgement of this achievement, we wanted to bring you some testimonies from our own team here at Inspirations as they share their personal highlights from the 300 issues.

Let’s start with our Subscription and Kit Manager Sue Forrest, whose favorite project to date is ‘Remember’ by Philippa Todd from ASU #273: ‘I loved this due to the history it represents and the fact you can stitch something to wear with pride. From a work perspective, it was actually one of the easiest projects for me to source and produce the kit for, so that made a nice change!’

Our esteemed and uber creative Senior Graphic Designer Lynton Grandison had this to say: ‘My favourite project we have featured is Pomegranate by Margaret Lee from ASU# 232. I like how the simplicity of the design focuses one’s attention on the individual stitches and so one’s appreciation for the artistry and technique is heightened.’

Ansie van der Walt, our magazine feature article writer and Loose Threads editor, shares: ‘My favourite project has to be Macaron Magic featured in ASU #293. They look delish! I also really enjoyed the article Crafting for a Purpose from ASU #274 as making and crafting have benefits that reach far beyond the item being made.’

Mavis Brown’s recreated Hazel Blomkamp Owl

‘Then my favourite ‘What Are You Stitching?’ projects would have to be the three Hazel Blomkamp designs created by Mavis Brown in ASU#247. I just love that owl!’

Ray Cullen, our newsletter Technical Designer who is responsible for the coding magic that makes our newsletter possible and has worked on all 300 issues, shared his insights: ‘My favourite project is also Macaron Magic from ASU #293

After building these newsletters for a while now, this is one of the few projects that, for me, made me stop and have a double-take. They just look so intricate and spectacularly crafted.

I actually wanted to see if I could buy one premade so I could give it to my nan!’

Crocheted Freddie (source)

‘Another highlight of mine was the article Crochet Freddie from ASU# 215. Even looking at this now, it puts a smile on my face, such a great little project! I remember sending this to my friend, who is a die-hard Freddie Mercury fan, at the time they begged me to make one for them, but unfortunately, my skills are best suited to the IT world.’

Mike Reynolds with his cross stitching (source)

‘And finally, I just loved reading the story in ASU #193 Finding Yourself with Cross Stitch about Mike Reynolds. Do something in life you love because YOU want to do it. Ignore what others think and find what makes you happy. That really resonated with me.’

Next up is our General Manager Jessie Huber, whose job here at Inspirations can be likened to couching in a goldwork project in that her role is to hold everything in place!

‘I have the privilege of corresponding with all the amazing All Stitched Up! readers who write in to share their needlework for the ‘What Are You Stitching?’ segment of the newsletter.

Peggy and friends at World Embroidery Day 2018 in ASU #151

‘And while it’s almost impossible to single anyone out as I’ve had wonderful conversations with so many of you, it is always a great pleasure to receive an email from Peggy Kimble. Peggy has shared a huge collection of her wonderful and varied projects with us over the years, and even at 98 years of age still continues to photograph and send us her needlework… and always shares a lovely insight into her daily life in Canada.’

As each of us here at Inspirations was working on our contribution for this issue, without any collaboration it just so happened that three of us picked exactly the same highlight – the article 1000 Hearts from ASU#279.

Susan O’Connor, Inspirations Editor-in-Chief explains why this was her favourite story: ‘The tiny embroidered hearts that are given to people in crisis to help them get through a difficult time in their life is such a lovely idea, and a wonderful way to give pleasure to those stitching the hearts and comfort to those receiving them.’

Hearts stitched by Michelle from Tasmania (source)

Heidi Reid, from our fabulous kit department, explains her thoughts on this article: ‘Embroidery projects that change lives for the better and touch people’s hearts really appeal to me. For example, the article about counsellor and stitcher, Sarah de Jong, who realised when she first conceived of the 1000 Hearts project that a tiny act of kindness can make a huge difference to a person who is hurting, is a beautiful way of lifting the spirits of people in need when they need it most.

The embroidery may not be the world’s most technically difficult, spectacular or perfectly executed, but the creativity and love poured into each one changes lives none the less.

Featuring this in All Stitched Up! hopefully would have inspired others to emulate Sarah’s example, which I think is AMAZING.’

Hearts stitched by Maureen from NSW (source)

As a testament as to how far and wide the reach of 1000 Hearts has been, Inspirations Chief Operations Officer, Andrea Fleming, tells of her own personal encounter: ‘All Stitched Up! has allowed us to share some of the ways we’re able to come together to make a difference in the lives of others. 

For me, the two articles I’ve had a personal connection with are 1000 Hearts from ASU #279 & Waste Less Bread Tags from ASU #283. These two projects embody the words written in our article on 1000 Hearts; ‘Acts of kindness and compassion do not need to be huge’ and ‘It only takes a small thing to make an enormous impact in the life of someone in need.’

‘Not only has it been an absolute joy to collect the bread tags that the Inspirations community have saved and posted in, but when my own Mum – with some degree of bewilderment – showed me the small heart she’d been given by a friend, I was able to explain the reason behind the gift as I immediately recognized it as being part of Sarah de Jong’s 1000 Hearts project.

I love that All Stitched Up! has allowed us to see the difference we’re able to make one humble bread tag and tiny heart at a time.’

As someone who creates a significant amount of the content we all enjoy in each issue of this newsletter, lead writer Nancy Williams has her own unique perspective: ‘Without doubt, my most memorable ASU article was Rediscovering Embroidered Book Bindings that appeared way back in ASU #138 from May 2018.’

Psalms (1633) featured in Cyril Davenport’s English Embroidered Book-bindings (1899)

‘I have to admit, this stands out for somewhat self-serving reasons as it was the first article I wrote for the newsletter. I remember the excitement I felt at being a part of this amazing team and being fortunate enough to write about something I was so passionate about! I don’t think that feeling has left me yet.’

‘In terms of my favourite project, it is definitely Alison Cole’s goldwork Tree of Life which appeared in ASU #222. As I was writing the article, I fell in love with the project and cheekily went next door to our kit department and asked if I might be able to buy a kit before I’d even done the final edit on the article.’

Ellaine Bronsert is our Assistant Editor for Inspirations magazine, which means she not only assists with writing up the instructions for every project, she also re-creates many of the stitches used in the designs which are photographed and become the step-by-step’s we enjoy in each issue.

As Ellaine has all the technical and creative skills to re-create every single Inspirations project, we were eager to hear her favorite pick:

‘There are many, many projects featured in All Stitched Up! that I love for a whole range of reasons. However, from a selection of favourites, there is a project I particularly enjoy thinking about, especially during a year of things turning upside down – An Apple a Day by Julie Kniedl, featured in ASU #197.’

‘When I think of this project, I think of cherishing small, humble moments in day-to-day life. Moments of simplicity, peace, noticing beautiful shapes and colours in the natural world, delighting in small joys. Like a gorgeous, round, ripe apple. Also, red is one of my favourite colours :)’

Lynette Maton’s ‘What Are You Stitching?’ in ASU #297

When it was time to include Inspirations’ Chief Executive Officer Kristian Fleming’s personal favorites, we realised he had not yet responded to our email. This happens sometimes, so we called him up and while we couldn’t pin him down to anything specific he did finally confirm: ‘When I heard that we have published over 1,000 designs sent in by our readers for our ‘What Are You Stitching?’ segment, I considered how many collective hours of stitching that represents and how much joy all of us receive from not just admiring each design, but discovering the stories behind every piece. Without doubt this is my favourite segment of the newsletter.’

Jeannette Roberts’ ‘What Are You Stitching?’ in ASU #259

Our final contribution comes from the newest member of the Inspirations team, our Graphic Designer and Admin Assistant Willow Fry, who creates all the newsletter graphics, website photography, answers the phones, helps with emails and processing all our orders: ‘Having joined the Inspirations team just over a year ago and being 20, you could say I am still learning a lot about the art of embroidery.

Reading the newsletter each week has helped me to understand where the passion for needlework comes from!

My favourite segment in ASU is also ‘What Are You Stitching?’ as the delightful WIP’s/completed projects and the stories that accompany them are both inspiring and heartwarming, making me wish I could pick up a needle and get stitching on my own project (unfortunately I have to keep working!).’ 

Jill Gillespie’s Embroidered Sketch Book Cover in ASU #248

‘My favourite WAYS submission so far would be Jill Gillespie’s in ASU #248. She embroidered a beautiful book cover for her grandson to go on his sketch book of insects, a gift her grandson will surely treasure forever. It reminded me of the many sewing projects I did with my own grandmother including tie dying fabric with tea and making stuffed animals that I loved.

A huge THANK YOU to our team for 300 inspiring and beautiful issues of the newsletter, but most importantly THANK YOU to YOU, our passionate, engaged and dedicated readers for making our jobs an absolute joy.

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