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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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

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This is my Christmas haul….some fantastic embroidery books!

Every year at Christmas, I give the ‘Christmas Elf’ (also known as a ‘husband’) some ideas of what I’d like for Christmas. This system is foolproof – this way, I always get things that I love (and so does he – there’s a female Christmas Elf who collects ideas of what he’d like, too!).

This year, I had a bumper crop of gorgeous books:

Embroidery and patchwork books

This first one is one that I knew had to be on my Christmas list as soon as I saw it first advertised, back around September.

Passion for Needlework

It’s the new Inspirations book ‘A Passion for Needlework 2: Factoria VII’. This features twelve designs from a variety of designers who also create designs for the Australian ‘Inspirations’ magazine. The book is the second in what is now looking to be a series of volumes, fortunately – this is stitching eye candy at its best. The book is very well produced, the photography is wonderful, and I’m tempted to start on one or two projects right away! This is one of my favourites from the book, which I am itching to stitch:

Embroidered etui set

And these gorgeous little stumpwork pots are calling to be stitched too:

Stumpwork floral pots

One thing that I wasn’t very keen on with this book was the settings that the photography had been done in – a converted bacon factory in Australia, which is now a home, but it’s been decorated in the, admittedly, popular ‘industrial’ decorating style. But I hate that! The actual embroidery, in many of the images, seems a bit ‘lost’. Like this one:

Passion for Needlework

I don’t like to have to play ‘hunt the embroidery’ when I’m looking at a picture in an embroidery book……

This next book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years, but never got beyond that:

Stumpwork embroidery book

I think that’s because although the embroidery is great, I’m not personally very keen to stitch things all in white, so the cover was putting me off. But on Pinterest a few weeks ago I saw an image taken from one of the projects inside the book, and then I ‘upgraded’ the book from ‘maybe one day’ to ‘yes, now!!’

It’s got some gorgeous stumpwork projects in it – really creative stuff. This complements Jane Nicholas’s style very well (Jane is Australian, and has a lovely neat stumpwork embroidery style, doing mainly botanical studies). I’m looking forward to trying some of these projects, too. This is my favourite so far:

Stumpwork embroidery book

The book has a long section at the beginning covering all sorts of ‘how to’s’ – very good detail.

Stumpwork padding

I also received a couple of patchwork books, as I have a huge interest in making American Civil War-style mini quilts at the moment, using reproduction fabrics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Patchwork

This book is by two really good quilt designers – Jo Morton and Kim Diehl. They both showcase designs based on the same blocks throughout this book, showing how a designer can be influenced in very different ways, when using the same basic elements as another designer.

This is my favourite design from this book. It’s one of Jo’s:

Jo Morton quilt

The other quilting book is a very new one:

Patchwork and quilting book

This book uses a novel idea – the author took one ‘layer cake’ of fabrics (that is, a pack of 40 co-ordinating fabrics, each ten inches square), to see how many projects she could make out of it (plus the backing fabric).

These are all quick little projects, so I want to get a few of these done soon, such as this one:

Patchwork mug mat

I’m hoping to share more of my attempts at patchwork and quilting on this blog during 2019.

Finally, I also got the latest Johanna Basford colouring book ‘World of Flowers’. If you haven’t seen this, you’re from another planet! I want to work on this one on the right hand side first:

World of Flowers

So, as long as I get some spare time (Ha!! What’s that?!), I should have some good things to be working on during the coming year  🙂

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 40: attaching the 3 smalls to the etui, and making beaded cords

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I have been attaching the 3 smalls to the etui, and making beaded cords for the scissors and ruler. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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When I started this project, months ago, I read through all the instructions in the magazine itself, and on the pullout sheet, to get my head around what was needed to make this gorgeous project. But how to attach these three ‘dangleys’ had me stumped for ages, and yet they are crucial to the finished look of it. If I left them off, it would have really detracted from it. But the magazine instructions seemed really unclear to me, so I devised my own way of doing it.

I made a separate cord for each dangley, and now I’m at the part where I could join them all to the bottom tip of the etui.

I had bought a large cloisonne bead on Ebay specially, with a diameter of about 12mm, and a large hole of around 3mm, to use as the decorative feature bead at the tip of the heart etui. The large hole is really helpful now! First, thread all three cords through the cloisonne bead. Securely attach a length of green quilting thread to the bottom tip of the back heart panel, then take the needle through the neat ends of all three cords. Then secure the thread to the tip of the front heart panel and pull quite tight. Go back round – back heart, 3 cords, front heart – several times, to make sure the three cords are securely attached.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

Lastly, make one knot in all three cords together, under the cloisonne bead, to hold the bead close up to the tip of the heart etui. For added security, I put a drop of Superglue inside the hole of the cloisonne bead and held the cords against it for a couple of minutes to make sure it was all held as one, just before I made the knot.

I hadn’t planned to make beaded chains for the scissors and ruler, when I first started to make the etui. I’d planned to just use twisted thread cords. But as I kept looking at the magazine’s pictures, I felt I wanted to do it like the one in the magazine! So, I bought some gold beads from Spellbound Beads, and made my own beaded chains, as per the instructions on page 57 of the magazine (more or less – I couldn’t get exactly the same beads).

I adapted it though (again!) so that I used gold coloured quilting thread instead of tiger tail for the threading, as it’s easier to manipulate, and these beaded chains don’t need to be particularly strong. I started by threading on a bead and tying a knot in the thread, then threading on the calotte crimp. This bead on the end stops the thread from slipping out of the hooked calotte crimp. Then I threaded on gold ball beads, green hex beads, and feature beads, until I’d made  a length about two inches long.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

Then I looped the thread through the handle of the scissors, and, leaving a small loop of beads, went back through most of them to the hooked calotte crimp, and knotted the thread to the starting thread. I put a large drop of Superglue on the knot before cutting the thread ends short, then I closed up the calotte crimp with jewellery pliers, slipping a jump ring in the loop with  a lobster claw attached, just before closing it.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

I worked out where the chain would come to on the etui once the scissors are in the pocket, and stitched another jump ring to the heart panel fabric alongside the scissor pocket, so that the lobster claw can attach there.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

Then I made another beaded chain for the ruler. With this one, I attached it on the right hand side of the pocket as you look at it (rather than on the left, as the instructions suggest), as I had more space there to do it.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

So, that’s it! Finished! There’ll be lots of images, and a list of Hints and Tips for doing the whole project, plus a comparison with the ‘Home Sweet Home’ project of Carolyn’s that I previously made, coming up next week…..

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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!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to mail@janetgranger.co.uk  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 39: how to assemble the pinwheel, and attach the needlelace berry to the etui

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I’ll explain how to assemble the pinwheel, and how to attach the needlelace berry to the back heart panel. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ***  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is the third of the ‘dangleys’ that I am constructing, that hang from the bottom tip of the heart etui.

First, cut out the front and back embroidered pieces, place a circle of felt and a circle of acetate on the reverse of each one, run a line of gathering thread round the edge of the fabric, and pull up to draw the fabric over the shapes, lace across the back, then tie off securely.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

Take an 8 inch piece of grosgrain ribbon (mine was 3/8 inch wide), and attach it to the back piece using beaded Knotted Pearl Stitch, starting at the centre top, and leaving a 3/8 inch overlap of ribbon that goes beyond the centre point.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

As you approach the completion of beading around the circle, trim the ribbon and fold the excess under so that the seam is right at the top. Finish the beading, then slipstitch the join in the ribbon with matching green sewing cotton.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

I am not attaching the cord in the way that the instructions in the magazine suggest – which is to attach the thimble holder at one end of the cord, and the pinwheel at the other end, and then attach the cord part way along it to the bottom tip of the heart etui. Instead, I am making a separate cord for each piece, and I will attach each one on its own. For the pinwheel, I used a cord four inches long from the neat end to the knot in the cord that I attached inside the pinwheel itself.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

I used a bodkin to poke a large hole through two layers of ribbon at the top of the circle (from the inside to the outside), then I threaded on a daisy spacer, a cloisonne bead, then another daisy spacer, then I knotted the cord to hold the three close to the top of the pinwheel, and trimmed the spare cord inside the pinwheel.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

This is all done before attaching the front panel of the pinwheel.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

Then the front panel is attached with beaded Knotted Pearl Stitch. Stuff the shape firmly with a small amount of wadding just before completing the circle of stitching.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

This is the completed pinwheel. It was at this point (i.e finished!), that I realised I had made it too big. Not sure how that happened, but I must have cut it out following the wrong line of tacking, and it just went downhill from there. It should be much smaller in diameter.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pinwheel

…like this one, from the magazine. Oh well.

The next small job was to attach the needlelace berry to the back panel at the top of the V, with green quilting cotton.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

When the etui is folded closed, this cord is pulled between the heart shapes across the V, and the cord is then wrapped around the Dorset button to hold the etui closed.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre needlelace berry

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ***  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~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!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to mail@janetgranger.co.uk  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.

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

needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder