6 August 2004

Magazine Review: Inspirations 43

The cover of this new issue of Inspirations shows the first project in the magazine.

Bird of Paradise by Helen Stevens is a lovely threadpainting project featuring a magnificant peacock surrounding by delicate orchids. The project is work on silk, with silk with some cotton and gold thread work as well as some beading. Despite its size a, I think this project would work up quite quickly and uses fairly basic surface embroidery stitches such as variations on satin stitch (which they give some weird names to!), couching, seed, stem and straight stitch.

First Blush by Julie Graue is another needlework accessory project, this time a needlecase. This is a large needlecase (finished product is 15cm x 10cm or 6" x 4"). The ground is silk, worked with mostly stranded cotton and some silk. The main stitches used are again surface stitches (bullion, knot, couching, fly and whipped chain) and beading. I quite like the design, but its a bit "girly" for me, but I like the structure of the needlecase.

Sahara by Jenny McWhinney is a wool blanketing project made using mostly different types of wool with some cotton, rayon, gold thread and beading. It was inspired by a previous project, Arabian Nights. The project is medium size (worked on a 76cm or 30" square of wool), worked in surface embroidery stitches (back, blanket, couching, fly, knots, satin, split and stem stitches). While I am not a big fan of camels (the central motif of the design), this is a lovely bright project, I love the border.

Best Friends by Helen Hardman, is another blanket project. This cat based design combines several techniques, including patchwork, stumpwork and surface embroidery using mostly fine wools with some cotton and beading. Many motifs are worked over padded areas and are slips which are attached separately to the blanket. The cats in the design are goregous, as are the flowers, but I'm not sure about the window idea.

Belle Fraise by Lesley Turpin-Delport, has designed an interesting stumpwork project, worked on linen using cotton thread. The design shows the various elements of the strawberry plant in this botanical study. Various traditional stumpwork stitches are used (bullion, knot, detatched buttonhole, feather, fly, satin, stem stitches). I like stumpwork but I find this one a bit boring, a little too green and flat.

Fil d'Or by Tanja Berlin presents the first in a series of four goldwork projects, which when complete will produce a goldwork sampler. This first project introduces you to the basic techniques of goldwork, including transfering patterns to fabric, working with felt padding and basic couching techinques for gold thread. The project uses gold thread (gilt twist, imitation Japanese gold, gilt pearl purl) and silk as well as felt and silk noil ground. This is a good starter project for a beginner.

Penny Squares by Anna Scott is a great, quick little redwork project that uses a few, simple surface stitches (blanket, detached chain, satin, seed and stem stitch) to produce a lovely little sachet (which could also be adapted to a number of other purposes). Worked using cotton thread on quilters muslin, this is a fantastic starter project for someone new to surface embroidery. Would also make great little gifts.

Gilded Rose by Carolyn Pearce is a delicate silk ribbon box lid project worked on silk using silk ribbon and cotton thread using beading, knot, detached chain, fly and whipped straight stitch. Roses and leaves, very pretty, but a bit fussy for my tastes.

General Comments - As always, the posing of all the designs is fantastic, the instructions are clear, however, the very detailed stitch diagrams that I usually associate with this publication are noticably absent. I have to say I hope this is not the start of a trend. The one great selling point of this magazine was it being self contained. The loss of the stitch diagrams (for what I assume is more advertising - there are ALOT of ads this edition) will hopefully be revisited. Don't get me wrong, I love the ads, but not at the loss of one of the best selling points of the mag.

Free Gift - on the front cover is a packet of Madeira stranded cotton thread, colour 210 (scarlet red).

Publisher: Country Bumpkin
Location of Publication: Australia

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