Book review: Inspirations magazine index for the first 100 issues

For those of you who collect the wonderful Australian embroidery  magazine ‘Inspirations’ – either with a subscription, or just the occasional issue – this recent release from the publishers for an index for the first 100 issues will come as a welcome addition to your collection.

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

At first, I was a bit put out that the index costs almost £20 – as much as a ‘proper’ embroidery book! And this is ‘just’ an index….except it isn’t – it’s far more than that, really.

I remember around 1999, Inspirations brought out their first index, which was for the first 24 issues – I think I’m right in thinking that it was just a free supplement to an issue of the magazine itself:

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

It was pretty, in their usual style, but only had 16 pages, and was really just one list of projects and stitch diagrams, all listed together, with the occasional illustration to jazz it up.

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

This new index for 100 issues is something else entirely! For one thing, it’s beautiful – really nicely produced, with lots of clear photos of all the projects, and magazine covers. 148 pages altogether!

And it covers a lot of subject areas, so you can use the index for looking up things in all kinds of ways:

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

In the main part of the index, the cover for each issue is shown, as a visual reminder, and then all the projects for that issue are listed, with  a quick note about what the main technique being used is, and which page it is on in the magazine.

Just browsing through this main section made me realise how many lovely projects there are that I’d still like to stitch!

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

There is a good section at the back, of projects by type (so, if you wanted to make something for babies, or a doorstop, for instance, you could track down a suitable project here). There’s also an index of designers, so if you want to see all the projects, for instance, that Carolyn Pearce has done for the magazine over the years, then see this section to look them up.

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

There’s also a technique index, and it’s amazing to see how many types of embroidery have been featured over the years. There’s even an index of the step-by-step how to’s for particular stitches, which is really useful.

One section which is very useful is where they list the errata (there’s bound to be some in a magazine with this much detail!). This section includes reprints of charts, or parts of designs if necessary, or just a description if it’s a little thing that needs correcting.

If you don’t own the full set of back issues, you might think that this index is of no use to you….however, although many of the back issues are now sold out – especially the early ones, which, when they pop up on Ebay occasionally, sell for a lot of money – many designs are available as digital downloads from the website now, so having the actual back issue is becoming less and less of a problem.

The publishers plan to gradually release most of the projects from the 100 issues as digital downloads, sold separately (rather than a whole magazine’s worth!). Many are already available on their website, but if you look one up in this index and then find it isn’t available yet as a download, contact them, as they say they could probably fast-track the one you want to make it available  🙂

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

Originally published in late 2018, this index sold out really quickly – it’s been reprinted, and is back in stock now (April 2019). Available from their website HERE.

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Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 14: primrose flower and calyx

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I’ve been stitching the primrose flower and calyx at the bottom of the front heart panel. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

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HOW TO STITCH THE PRIMROSE FLOWER AND CALYX

This pretty little primrose flower sits at the base of the heart shape. The calyx needs to be stitched first. I found that the design was a bit off-centre for this shape, so I corrected it in pencil before stitching the outline. It’s also a bit oversized, I feel, but I can’t do much about that now!

The calyx has one layer of stitched padding, worked with one strand of Anchor 266, before Cretan stitch is worked over the top using two strands. Keep your padding stitches well away from the edges of the shape, so that the shaping ends up being gradual, and not lumpy.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Using Cretan stitch for filling in this calyx means that you will need to work the long arms of the stitch VERY flat – almost horizontal. It’s sort of like a flat Fly stitch – the movement of the needle is almost identical to Fly stitch.

Mary Corbet has a good video for showing how to do this stitch.

How to do cretan stitch video tutorial

To give the impression of a rounded front to the calyx, angle the horizontal arms up slightly at each side.

The primrose flower itself is then stitched in the same way that the small pink flowers were, using House of Embroidery Pale Lemon substitute. I found that I had to ‘tidy up’ the outline of this flower as well, before stitching it, as it was decidedly squiffy!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The instructions say to then whip the Blanket stitches with the copper metallic thread – I didn’t read the instructions properly, so I whipped the short parts of the stitches, instead of the long uprights, but the finished look isn’t much different. Hopefully.

It’s then suggested that the Blanket stitch petals have two more blanket stitches worked into alternating loops of the original row, to make a loopy edging. I felt this was too tiny to manage tidily, so I changed that to a line of Stem stitch worked in the HoE thread again, to finish the outline. Neater, and more successful, I think.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The centre of the primrose has a ‘forget-me-not flower ring’ of beads made from number 11 beads – Mill Hill 275 with one Gold one for the middle. I used one strand of silk thread and a betweens #10 needle to make it.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

HOW TO STITCH THE PRIMROSE LEAVES

The filling stitch for the primrose leaves is Tied Wheatear Stitch. I did three straight stitches to each section in Anchor 265 substitute with one strand, before tying them down with Oliver Twists 004 variegated substitute. I can’t find a video to help with this stitch, but the diagrams in the magazine are good.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The small leaves at the top centre of the heart are also stitched using the same stitch and thread colours, so do these at the same time, so save re-threading your needles! I could only manage two of the straight stitches in each space, rather than three for these smaller leaves, though, or it got too crowded.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

These are the leaves once outlined with Anchor 268 in one strand.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I have needed to make quite a lot of minor adjustments as I’ve been stitching this part of the etui, which I find quite frustrating when working from a published design. I think my main gripe is that the shapes are too small for some of the stitches suggested, as well as the drawn outlines being ‘off’ sometimes. I think this might put off less-experienced embroiderers, as they might blame themselves when it doesn’t come out as successfully as they were expecting. But I’m enjoying doing the actual embroidery, as usual!

Next week, I’m planning to tackle the beaded forget-me nots.

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~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 13: small pink flowers on the front panel

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week I’m focussing on the small pink flowers and leaves at the top of the front heart panel. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ***  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HOW TO STITCH THE SMALL PINK FLOWERS

This week I’ve actually been stitching with a thread shade that isn’t green! I was getting a bit bored with that!

These little pink flowers are on either side of the front panel, at the top. The instructions in the magazine say to use a variegated thread, and cut out just the lighter parts to use for this flower, but I’ve substituted with Anchor 73 solid pale pink for them instead.

I started each petal with one strand, making one Lazy daisy stitch on the far left hand edge of a petal to make a nicely rounded left hand curve, then I filled in all the rest of the petal with Blanket stitches. At the right hand edge I took the thread to the back, then started the next petal with a Lazy daisy stitch again, as that makes for a neater outline all the way round the flower.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Then I stitched an outer line with Coral stitch in a slightly darker shade of pink (Anchor 50 substitute). The shades I’ve used for these two pinks on this flower are reversed from what I listed in the original Threads list, as I found that the colour I’d chosen for the centre of the flower was too dark, so I swopped it round with the outlining colour.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The instructions say to fill the centre area with both Colonial knots and French knots, but I can never see the difference, so I just did French knots, in two shades (House of Embroidery Pale Lemon from my stash, so I don’t know what the shade number is (sorry!),  and Gentle Art 0460 Grecian Gold substitute), using one strand of the HoE and two strands of the GA thread, with two wraps of the needle each time. Knots need a sharp needle to be successful – I used a #9 Sharp for these.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

HOW TO STITCH THE LEAVES NEAR THE SMALL PINK FLOWERS

The three leaves near each of the pink flowers have centre fillings where two are the same, and one is different, on each side. These leaves are tiny anyway, so it does seem a bit of a waste to do tiddly little filling stitches that can hardly be seen, but here we go anyway…..

The centre leaf is in Vandyke stitch (previously used as a filling on the lily flower) with one strand of Anchor 267 substitute, and the leaves either side are stitched in Chained feather stitch with one strand of Anchor 268 substitute. Chained feather stitch is like a cross between Lazy daisy stitch and Fly stitch. It’s easy to do, and makes a nice alternative filling for leaves – I just found it too small to be seen properly once the leaf had been outlined, which all three leaves are, eventually.

Sew and So has a short video on how to do this stitch.

How to do Chained Feather Stitch

 

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The outlining was done in a deep olive green thread from Oliver Twists (no. 004 substitute) using Stem stitch , which is a variegated thread, so my leaves had more visual interest than the original suggested thread. Each of these leaves is barely 1/2 an inch long, so although cute, I do think there’s too much detail in there.

If you don’t want to do all this tiny stitching, you might choose to just fill them in with Satin stitch, or French knots used as a filling, or even Seed stitch filling, and then outline them with the Stem stitch – it would definitely be quicker!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

So, although I haven’t had much time for stitching this week, I’m pleased that I’ve been able to do some stitching that isn’t using green, at least for part of the time! And the panel is starting to fill up now, which is good. Next week, I’m hoping to get the primrose at the base of the heart done, which should be good, as I love stitching with yellow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ***  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

Dollhouse inspiration – stitching in miniature to see!

I often get customers of mine emailing me with photos of the stitching that they have made from my miniature needlepoint kits for 1:12 scale dollhouses and room settings. I love to see what people do with the kits that they buy from me! Before Christmas, I had several people send me pictures, and I didn’t get time to feature them here, so this blog post is a bit of a round-up of wonderful dollhouse inspiration – both the stitching, and the incredibly creative ways that they have decorated their dollhouses. Have a look at these!

Susan E. sent me this image of six copies of the blackwork sampler design which was featured in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine as a project (that’s my article that you can see underneath her fabric!), back in the autumn of 2017. She was making multiples of the design in order to give them as gifts in a ‘swop’ that her craft club were going to have just before Christmas. The design itself is also available as a kit, to be stitched on 28 count evenweave fabric, with one strand of Anchor thread. I think she has a lot of patience to do so many multiples of the same design!

She then sent me another image nearer to Christmas, after she had framed ALL TEN of the samplers she had stitched by then! They look amazing once they’ve been framed, don’t they? I particularly like the ones with the gold frames.

Annette J. has been a customer of mine for years, and has stitched lots of my dollhouse needlepoint designs, but even I was surprised by this picture that she sent me – I hadn’t realised how many of my Christmas stocking designs she had previously bought! These are all stitched on 40 count silk gauze. Don’t they look great together?

Another customer, Zanna B., sent me this image of a stocking as well, but this one has been personalised by her – it’s the Snowy Village dollhouse stocking design, which she has added lettering to, across the top – not easy to do, at this scale, and still have it readable (as the stocking is only 1.25 inches high when finished), but Zanna has managed it! She used the alphabet provided in one of my sampler kits (very resourceful!) to add the name of her grand-daughter to the stocking.

Sylvia B. adapted the Two Owls firescreen design to suit her dollhouse, which she is decorating to resemble her full sized cottage. She framed her firescreen with a wooden frame (whereas the kit that I sell usually has a metal frame) so that it would be authentic for her dollhouse. The firescreen design is stitched on 32 count silk gauze. The little firescreen is standing on a Carole pastel carpet, and there are two cushions on the sofa which she has also stitched. It’s a very cosy room!

Finally, Kath C. sent me these images of her dollhouse. She first stitched a staircarpet (the Carole jade design), and then made a hall runner to match, using parts of that design in her own way, to make a really beautiful long thin carpet.

In her dollhouse nursery, she has a Carole pastel carpet. I love the jigsaw on the table in the foreground!

In the entrance hallway, she has also stitched the Alison (charcoal colourway) carpet, which looks really good on the tiled floor.

I really love seeing how people use my designs in their dollhouses, so if you have made something from a kit or chart of mine, please email me pictures to janet@janetgranger.co.uk , and I might feature it on my blog at some point  🙂

I also have a section on my website for inspirational pictures sent in by my customers, so take a look at that for lots more lovely mini rooms!

If you’re tempted to buy a kit or chart of a dollhouse needlepoint design, my January Sale is on at the moment, so you could save money whilst treating yourself to some stitching goodies!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits