Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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100 Issues: Inspiring Embroidery!


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Many of you, I know, subscribe to Inspirations Magazine, which is one of the longest-running contemporary magazines devoted to hand embroidery.

It’s been going since the 1990’s, when I was in college. I’ve previously told the story of my introduction to the magazine (and how I used to steal my sister’s copies) here, if you’re interested in reading a bit about my backstory with Inspirations.

The latest issue is a fantastic celebration of needlework and an exciting milestone. The latest issue is #100, and that’s definitely something to celebrate!

When #100 arrived in the mail the other day, I just knew I’d have to share it with you, so that those of you who don’t subscribe will have a chance to know what’s in this issue, and perhaps take the leap and at least purchase the single copy (if not start your own collection of the next 100 issues!). Issue #100 is an excellent sampling of what Inspirations Magazine is all about.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t received your copy yet and you like to savor the surprises in each issue, you might not want to read ahead, because I’m going to highlight the projects in issue #100.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Keep in mind, Inspirations is more than just the projects within an issue. Each issue features articles that take the reader into all kinds of different worlds of needlework. Sometimes, I find the feature articles just as alluring as the projects, especially when I want a little inspirational escape.

But, really, the meat of the matter in any issue of the magazine is the array of projects. Each issue is a project and instructional book, in magazine form.

This particular issue features a nice array of gorgeous projects, with something for everyone!

The cover of Inspirations issue 100 features a mistletoe-bedecked bell designed by Julie Kniedl. Christmas, after all, is right around the corner, and this little stumpwork piece is a delightful way to add to your holiday decor. It would make a nice accent on a very special gift box.

But of course, it’s mistletoe, so I think it should be hung above a door!

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Whenever I open Inspirations, I don’t start reading slowly, from cover to cover. I start by thumbing through to get an overview of the projects, because it’s kind of like Christmas that way – it’s a surprise package, and you don’t know yet what delights are within! I can never wait to discover each project slowly!

My heart leapt when I saw the first project – and boy, did it bring back memories!

I think the very first projects I fell completely in love with – to the point of absolute twitterpation – in any of the earlier magazines were Jenny McWhinney’s camels and her Monet books.

Monet is a mouse, of a rather Beatrix Potter style, and he has adventures! His adventures are depicted in a series of three books now (the earlier two are in previous issues).

I remember his first adventure, and oh! was it the most delightful thing I’d ever seen! A Beatrix Potter-ish tale, replete with darling illustrations – and all embroidered! What’s not to love?

I always thought the designs would make great little story time quilts for kids, too.

So I was pretty happy to see Monet back at it, this time with Hugo the Hedgehog and some goldfish. The illustrations are superb and the story is sweet.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

And then, lo! Another beautiful project that brought back memories!

This is a Trish Burr needlepainting project – Redouté’s Tulips.

Trish’s needlepainting is exquisite. I was first introduced to her work through one of her earlier books, Redouté’s Finest Flowers in Embroidery, which I reviewed here.

The tulips are a very elegant project!

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Jane Nicholas. What else is there to say?

I never really liked stumpwork all that much, until I came across Jane Nicholas.

Jane’s work is delicate, artistic, and magical. She really sets the bar, when it comes to stumpwork.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Just in case you aren’t familiar with how Inspirations works, each project is presented with a full list of materials to complete the project, followed by step-by-step instructions for working through the project. Finally, you’ll find, where necessary, specific stitch or technique instructions, illustrated step-by-step as well, for the particular stitches or techniques used in the project.

So, in this sense, this is what I mean by saying each issue is a project and instructional book.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Over the years, Inspirations has featured a fairly wide array of embroidered blankets, and so, in this issue, I was happy to see the tradition commemorated, with a beautiful blanket designed by Carolyn Pearce.

The blanket sports a lovely wreath of embroidered flowers, buds, greenery and ribbon, worked in a variety of techniques.

The kit for this particular project is already available on the Inspirations Studios website. You can find it here.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Hazel is definitely a recognizable character! (No, the chameleon above is not named Hazel!) What I mean is, Hazel Blomkamp’s work is recognizable from a mile away.

She has such a unique style, wherein she fearlessly combines stitches, colors, textures, beads, and bit of whimsy to produce her embroidery works.

Clive the Chameleon is no exception. He is an eye-catching character, full of color and life, and perhaps just a little smugness. But then, he is a chameleon. He’s fantastic!

This kit is already available on the Inspirations Studios website, here, if you’re keen to get it. I have a feeling it’s going to be popular!

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

For those who want something small and manageable, and quite elegant, Jenny Adin-Christie’s White Rose brooch (or ornament) will fill the bill.

I love Jenny’s designs and projects! I think she has a nice sense of “embroidery style,” and she comes up with such pretty pieces. This one incorporates several whitework techniques in a small space, and the result is elegant simplicity.

Inspirations Magazine Celebrates 100 issues

Finally, for those looking for goldwork and color, combined in a light and airy modern design, Anna Scott contributed a beautiful piece – Pomegranate and Rose.

Surely I’m not the only one who thrills at the sight of embroidered pomegranates? They’re one of my favorite motifs in embroidery. I find the light airiness of this design quite pleasing – and I like the combination of colors that at first struck me as a little unusual, but that work beautifully together.

100! And Where to Find It

And so you see that this milestone issue of Inspirations magazine features some really gorgeous projects – something for everyone! It’s a beautiful issue and worth having in your collection.

Maybe something in this issue catches your eye, but you aren’t keen on building a collection of magazines. If you’re not a subscriber to the magazine, you can buy the issue separately, too.

The latest issue isn’t quite available singly yet on the Inspirations Studios website. But keep on eye on the website, here, for the latest issue to be available as a single copy.

You can subscribe to either the print or digital editions of the magazine here. There are four issues per year. If you go digital, you’ll be able to download the printable PDFs for the patterns. The print copy has a pull out section in the back for the patterns.

If you’re in the States, you can pick up single issues here through Wooly Thread once they’re available, and you can also subscribe to Inspirations print edition through Wooly Thread, too.


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(14) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    I agree a great magazine and plenty to keep the stitcher occupied with all those lovely photos of embroidery projects whenever I have a copy which isn’t very often I can’t put it down and find it so interesting and in their 100 copy I really like the mistletoe bell I wouldn’t mind having a go at that so I might invest in the 100 copy for the instructions on the Christmas bell. Thanks for sharing the 100 copy of Inspiration Magazine and letting us know whats on offer and for the photos of the projects I can’t wait for it to be available on-line.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. It looks splendid! Eagerly awaiting its arrival. I am also looking forward to obtaining their full index for all 100 issues (yes, I have them!), which should be available soon. If anyone is on the fence, please just try one issue. Even if you don’t make a specific project, you will find you will use bits and bobs of projects in your own designs, learn new stitches, meet new embroidery artists, find exciting colorways, prompt all kinds of stitching dreams, and at the very least, you will never find more delicious eye candy to serve with a cup of tea! Thanks for the mouthwatering preview, Mary!

  3. I just looked at Inspirations in the App Store. It only has a few reviews, all from several years ago, but very negative about how the app functions. Don’t know how it works now. I have another magazine subscription online and it always causes problems. So be careful about online subscriptions!

    1. Hi, Patrice – I reviewed the digital version here: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2012/11/inspirations-magazine-e-readers.html

      I didn’t have any problems with it at all. It worked great! I only have two issues of the magazine in the digital version. One, I bought to do the review; the other I bought so that I could print a couple of the patterns out and transfer them without having to trace them from the pull out section in the print magazine (I’m lazy that way! and it seemed like a good price, to save me some extra work and time).

      Anyway, on iOS devices, I had no problem at all with the reader and the way it worked. Perhaps some of the negativity has to do more with the equipment people are using, rather than the platform? Or maybe they use different e-readers for other magazines, and the experience is therefore different and not what they expect? I haven’t used other e-readers for magazines, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions of how the thing should work or anything to compare it with.

  4. I love this magazine and I get the weekly newsletter. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my subscription a few years ago. For whatever reason, I was not getting it in the mail. And it’s rather expensive so missing an issue was a big deal. After contacting them the third time to report a missing issue, I was told they would no longer send me replacements as it was their policy to only do it twice. Since delivery was so unreliable, I didn’t renew the subscription. Funny, but the replacements always made it to my house.

    1. Hi, Margie – You can subscribe through a couple places here in the States – through Wooly Thread and through A Stitching Shop. Be aware that the listing at A Stitching Shop for the subscription does not include the $27 accumulated shipping fees. In either place, the subscription ends up costing about the same. Since they are mailing from the US and not from Australia, you will most likely not have the same problems with shipping. Inspirations revamped their system over the last few years – they are having fewer problems like this, I believe.

  5. I just got my copy! Wow and a free pattern to boot!

    I decided I would try the gold work project. I have never attempted gold work and trying to find the threads and tools is proving a challenge. I have no idea what some of these things were. I did find all of the gold threads, purls and checks so that is done, but I have tried to find gold work scissors and a velvet pad with no luck. I figured I could just use some old embroidery scissors but the pad has me stumped and I have no idea what it’s used for and the thing called a mellor, what does one do with it?

    I also wondered if it is better to use stretcher bars or a slate frame? I read the the stretcher bars can leave big holes in the fabric. I need help! I hope you have some tutorials on gold work. Now I will go back and read all your gold work posts!

    1. Oriole, like you I succumbed to this pattern even though I haven’t done any goldwork. Have you already bought your supplies? I bought the project kit from Inspirations to avoid having to source virtually everything. I will be doing mine on stretcher bars as I don’t have a slate frame (yet!) and am pretty sure that any holes from the tacks will be hidden when the work is finished.
      Mary, if you are reading this, please know that I would never have even thought of such a project if not for your post!

    2. Elizabeth
      Wow great I will not be alone on the gold work. I just got my threads today. I decided to use the stretcher bars and got them and the tacks. I will most likely use some twill tape on the fabric so I can tack it without worry. I have just started the Workbox by Carolyn Pearce so this project will be my late spring project. LOL

  6. Hi Mary,
    Hope you are fine.
    In september last year you shared your gorgeous embroidery of embroidered hollyhocks and embroidered butterfly.
    it was part of a design you transferred to a flour sack towel – just wondering if you managed to publish the full pattern and stitches etc and i missed it? I have looked through your blog but not able to find it 🙂 thank you for any help.

    1. Hi, Marie – I haven’t published that project or pattern yet. The next thing that will be available is the floral corner design that I was working on around the same time. Then I’ll see about getting the garden borders together, which include that design. Thanks for asking! 🙂

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