Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New blog will come out slightly late in October (about the 25th) since my husband's health has deteriorated some, and I've also had a number of funerals to attend. But I'm back on track!  This business is my saving grace! 

                          JULY/AUGUST BLOG 2019



The world is changing very rapidly. It always has and always will. The internet has changed the way we do business: shopping centers are closing, main anchor stores like Sears, Kmart, and many others are teetering on extinction.  The book business is changing too. With Amazon on-line, book stores have closed also. Jeff Bezos offers deep discounts to book buyers that stores and myself can't compete with.  Publishing Houses are competing with many self-published authors published with the help of Amazon and others. Even a number printed magazines are failing.  That's reality.

Change is change. And we have to change with it.  I've been in the book business for over 28 years and seen these changes arriving one after another.  So I have had to change too.  I love books and this business. What I once did on paper I now do on this blog; bringing books and news to my wonderful book friends (I hate the word customers!). It has surprised me how many followers follow this blog - thousands - yet the sales of new needlework books has steadily declined over the last two years while the reader level has risen. Why? The books are being bought on Amazon at a deep discount. I offer 20% but I can't do more and make a living.  I have made a decision to focus on out-of-print books which I are doing fine. 

I am not closing my business - I am moving with the changes in retail. I will happily still take orders for any new needlework book you want at the usual 20% discount and locate any book you want but this blog will change. I spend countless hours, researching new books, planning this blog out, finding photos of the book covers, etc. and doing articles.  I love the whole process but unfortunately I need to earn a living and so I must change the direction of this business once again. This breaks my heart but I could not figure another way to make it.  I hope you all will understand.

Starting with the next blog I will feature new books but the blog will concentrate on out-of-print books (this includes older, classic needlepoint book authors such as Jean Hilton, Michele Roberts, Carole Lake, Jane Zimmerman, Alison Cole and many others) instead and I will include articles on these authors and other interesting information about the art of needlework. 

But for now enjoy this blog (as before ) and please stay tuned for more on our new direction. 


PERCEPTION: We Create Our Own World In the Midst of Everyone Else's  or "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder"
 "What is behind your eyes holds more power than what is in front of them."  -  Gary Zukav -

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, after reading a number of books on the subject, I'd like to add, "Life, too, is in the eye of the beholder, and each of us is the architect of our own life. You know, the old question: is the glass half full or half empty. It seems our perceptions of what's around us color everything for the good or the bad. We get a taste of someone else's perception of this world when we look at a painting, listen to music, read a book, and of course, our needlework. If you design your own patterns or pick out your own colors - what pleases you, what you see as delicious colors is your perception of beautiful. Someone might wrinkle a nose at what you've done and another might love it. But go for your own perception. Whoever thought that paint splashed on large canvases would be considered "art"? Yet, Pollack did something he wanted to do and took the art world by storm. And think of Andy Warhol. Who could imagine painted giant soup cans would be bought for millions? And think of


inventors. Edison had visions of lighting the entire world at night and after many, many failures and lots of nay sayers, Edison trudged stubbornly on and did it. We now live in his world. So trust your instincts and perceptions. 
     I read this about Jim Lowell, one of our adventurous astronauts. He said, "The lunar flights give you a correct perception of our existence. You look back at earth from the moon, and you can put your thumb up to the window and hide the earth beneath your thumb. Everything you've ever known is behind your thumb, and that blue-and-white ball is orbiting a rather ordinary star, tucked away on the outer edge of a galaxy." He is so right. But we less adventurous souls here on earth with that in mind need to learn how our perception works here on earth.

Our eyes are cameras that allow us to see the world and our brain interprets all the eyes are focused on. That creates our perception. Other people will see the same thing entirely differently. That is why five witnesses at an accident scene will see different things, making "eye" witnesses not the most reliable sources. Why? Think about optical illusions. They mess with our brains. What you think you know and what you perceive is split. As Al Seckel says in his wonderful book, Optical Illusions: The Science of Visual Perception, listed below, when there is not enough information, or the information seems in conflict with what you see, our brains can't sort it out correctly, the brain fails us. Psychologists know that it is a fact that a person's perception can be "primed" in a particular direction. What is priming? That happens

Do you see figures or objects or both?

when you engage in a familiar activity that is so familiar when you are asked to do a variation (ever so slight) an error will occur. May I mention driving and using a cell phone? We get so used to driving (or bored) we think (in error) that we can do other things at the same time. I've even seen a lady knitting as she drove. She really perceived she could do that! What was she thinking (or not thinking)?  Her perception and those who drive and use cellphones can bring tragedy to themselves or others.

But creativity is another world. Think of a piece of paper or fabric. Whether we're an artist or needleworker, the main idea is to transform something three-dimensional to that two-dimensional flat material and make it LOOK three-dimensional so we have the illusion of being real flowers, a scene, animal or person. We know in our heads how it should look but how do we transfer that to a flat surface? That takes, as my grandmother would say, "patience and perseverance." A great example of how to stop thinking incorrectly and start really seeing is to use your visual brain. Carl Purcell, in his book, Drawing with Your Artist's Brain, says, enjoy the scenery, view the world in terms of shapes and edges, tie everything together with unifying value patterns." He also says, "see values correctly, search for relationships of angle, size and position, define form with line and explore the relationship between objects and space, tie everything together with value and patterns."Molly Ban, in Picture This: How Pictures Work, takes a picture to the basics of shapes and is able to make us feel the emotion she wants us to feel. In pictures and words she shows us how shapes make us perceive things in a certain way.

Isn't all this necessary for designing needlework too? The Needlework Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen ($35.00) has a short chapter on design and briefly goes into perception and gives us a peek into what needs to be done to get the design right. She lists questions to ask ourselves, questions to help us put what we want to accomplish with a design in good order so we don't give up and thrown it into the UFO (unfinished objects) drawer. Such questions as: What is the subject matter? What is the shape of the piece to be? What is the focal point? Do you like realistic or decorative? Do you want shadows? She even gets into the language of the line. Her book introduces us to how getting a three-dimensional feel out of a design on a flat fabric.

Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, great teachers, and authors of many wonderful needlework books are masters of perception. In their book, Location, Location: Sources of Design, they include a chapter on Learning to Look. They remind us to: look up, look ahead, look to the right and then the left, look down, look through, look closely. They say, "Harnessing passion and discipline in order to focus your looking takes time and practice." Then you can truly sketch the wonderful design you have in your head.

I confess, my own world and creativity is always developing. I love what I do (books, needlework, writing) and I don't want to lose this in my life. Whenever I reach a wall I can't seem to climb over or knock down because something has changed, I stop and write down how I want something to turn out. I've found putting my thoughts on paper makes what I am doing real. Of course, I make to-do lists (when I don't -ohh-ohh - things go haywire!). I also ask myself a load of questions: Do I need an attitude adjustment? Is my work reflecting what I feel about it? Or am I using bits and pieces of advice from people or books that are good for them but wrong for me? For me, it's really important to have what I call, "thinking time". I clear part of my day or evening to take apart something in my business, my writing, or even my life. The scariest question I ask me is: Am I afraid to express my real self because I might get criticized? We all hate criticism and such things as, "THEY are more knowledgeable than I am, pass through our brains. But do they? Hmm. They have only THEIR perceptions to go by. Boy, fear can stop us right in our tracks from trying something new.  Don't give up on creating. I confess. I did that once. The only thing that accomplished was that I stopped doing what I loved to do best.

In needlework we worry over whether we've used the "correct" stitches. Fear of that can make us put the project aside. Jean Hilton applauded her own mistakes and her students'.  She says in her book, Stimulating Stitches, a classic needlepoint book ($29.95), "Please note I have put quotes around the word "mistake", to stress that when errors happen you can often make something new and different out of that error that can lead to a new combination of colors and fibers, to a new pattern of stitches or to a new way of thinking." That's the power of perception: it is not written in stone, it opens our minds as we search for what we want to create. As a child, Jean said she was often told, "stop and think" which created an analytical personality. Her philosophy "what if" she goes on to say, "the thrust of this long introduction is to get you to open up your mind to see new possibilities with your stitching." Let us remember to, like Jean, have a flexible attitude about something different, try it out and see if it works for you. Her "stop and think" is very similar to my "thinking time" so I relate strongly to Jean's encouraging us to enlarge our perceptions of what works and doesn't work. When I get really stuck or make "mistake" in my writing I pull out Jean's introduction and reread it and other books that break what I call my "stinky" thinking.  (Discount code: 19AUG).

Yes, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder (or creator). I've included a list of books that help us to see the world clearer, our work clearer and our needlework clearer.

Arnheim, Rudolf - Visual Thinking -35th Anniversary Edition - Since this book made its appearance it has been the gold standard for art educators, psychologist, and general readers alike. Arnheim asserts that all thinking (not just thinking related to art) is basically perceptual, a dichotomy between seeing and thinking, between between perceiving and reasoning, is false and misleading. $29.95

Bang, Molly - Picture This: How Pictures Work - This author's brilliant, insightful, and accessible treatise is now revised and expanded for its 25th anniversary. Bang's powerful ideas - about how the visual composition of images used in elements of an artwork can give it the power to tell a story - remains unparalleled in their simplicity and genius. Why are diagonals dramatic? Why are curves calming? This book has changed the way artists, illustrators, reviewers, critics, and readers look at and understand art. $28.99 

Herman, Amy - Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life - This book by Amy Herman, a well-known art historian has trained experts from many fields to perceive and communicate better. By showing people how to improve their "visual intelligence", a set of skills we all possess but few of us know how to use effectively. She has spent more than a decade teaching doctors to observe patients instead of just listening to symptoms, investigators separate facts from opinions when investigating a crime, and training professionals from the FBI, the State Department, Fortune 500 companies, and more. She teaches you how to recognize the talents, opportunities, and dangers that surround you every day.  Sherlock Holmes has nothing on Amy! Fascinating!  $15.99

Purcell, Carl - Your Artist's Brain: Use the Right Side of Your Brain to Draw and Paint What You See - Not What You Think You See - Carl Purcell teaches us to overcome dependency on the "intellectual brain" and listen carefully to the more observant "artist's brain to become a better artist, no matter what your medium. He includes 22 step-by-step demonstrations on key
relationships between shapes, spaces, subjects, backgrounds, angles, sizes, values and more. Easy examples and fun exercises teaches you how to "see" and design great compositions, "Points to Remember" sidebars that allow you to quickly grasp each concept.  Have fun!  $26.99

Secket, Al - Optical Illusions: The Science of Visual Perception - This book is mind-bending, fun, and eye-opening and shows how our perceptions can be tricked. There is a good combination of photographs, paintings, a drawings - 275 in all that give our brains a run for their money.  All images are individually explained and includes notes about the science of visual perception.  $24.95


Bothell, Valerie - Embroidery Combinations Perpetual Calendar - Enjoy the largest collection of embroidery seams inspiration ever published in a perpetual calendar that includes 365 crazy-quilting designs from best-selling author Valerie Bothell.
Each inspirational photo is labeled with the embroidery stitches used, so you can easily recreate the designs. This sturdy, spiral-bound calendar is built to last for years and the handy easel design stands upright on your work surface.  $19.95

Eaton, Jan - Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches: The Classic Guide Revised - Hello there! A classic brought back. This is the new, redesigned edition includes the internationally renowned embroiderer Jan Eaton's revisions to the original text, and includes a preface by embroiderer Mary Corbet. Over 400 stitches explained and illustrated with diagrams and photos. 14 stitch categories, including outline stitches, filling stitches, canvas stitches, and insertion stitches shown in 800 color photos. You can't go wrong with having this stitch reference book on your book shelf.  $29.95

Hislop, Amanda - Seascapes - This is a wonderful reference tool for all textile artists, whatever their skill level. Featuring original projects, practical and enjoyable design exercises, and extensive sections on composition and mark-making, this instructional guide is full of great ideas for a stunning selection of fabric and stitch scenes that culminate in four incredible step-by-step projects.  Full instruction for all the techniques used. How great to see inside a textile artist's head and see how she thinks designing through.  $24.95

Kapitanski, Jessica Sallie - Create with Cork Fabric: Sew 17 Upscale Projects: Bags, Accessories and Home Décor - Elevate your sewing with a bagmaker's secret - cork fabric! Learn how easy it is to work with cork from the innovative designer behind Sallie Tomato patterns. Sew seventeen projects from purses and pouches to gorgeous accessories and home décor. Using only regular sewing tools, you'll love adding cork fabric accents to everything. Cork comes in a rainbow of colors, and it's eco-friendly, maintenance-free, pliable, and hypoallergenic - making it the irresistible choice for all sorts of handmade gifts. $24.95

Lyne, Sonia - Mini Hoop Embroidery: Over 60 Little Masterpieces to Stitch and Wear - With this author's previous experience in the fashion industry, working as a pattern-maker, assistant stylist, buyer, Sonia had the eye and creativity to not only start designing her own embroideries but to create teeny tiny embroidery hoops so we could create our own small-scale embroidery projects. In this book she brings us 20 tiny masterpieces in a wide range of embroidery styles from classic embroidered flowers and applique animals, to abstract stitch 'n' paint shapes and tasseled stitch art and turn it into wearable jewellery, necklaces, brooches and more.  $15.95

Schaefer, Sylvia - The Quilter's Negative Space Handbook: Step-by-Step Design Instruction and 8 Modern Projects - Break down the process of modern quilt design with a scientific approach to design principles. Applying the concept of negative space in 8 key ways, you'll be able to transform them into modern masterpieces, step-by-step. Each chapter teaches skills, such as removing elements or disintegration, with a quilt project and tips on piecing, choosing fabrics, and machine quilting for an artistic finish.

This next book has nothing to do with needlework but is so beautiful I had to include it and is something I wish I had time to do.

Brown, Cassie - The Kew Book of Sugar Flowers - Just look at this book's cover and you will see why I had to include it. What do they say? A picture is worth a 1000 words. In this gorgeous book, sugarcraft specialist Cassie Brown, teaches you how to craft stunning, authentic-looking flowers and foliage using sugar to create beautiful bouquets and stunning sprays, from the early stages of germinating your ideas - taking inspiration from nature and making molds from real flowers into decorations with an exotic or wild flower theme for a special occasion.  $24.95

Now Back to Business!!

Smith, Rebekah L. and Kelsey Anilee Smith - Exploring Folk Art with Wool Applique and More - Elevate your wool applique! Stitch sixteen projects in the American folk-art style, from heartfelt home décor to handy sewing accessories. They include heartfelt home décor to handy sewing accessories. Each project combines wool applique with a traditional handwork skill: embroidery, rug hooking, punch needle, yarn sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, or dimensional mohair. Learn from the authors and their fellow folk artist friends as they collaborate on these creative projects and share expert tips and tricks.  Enjoy the gorgeous gallery of fiber folk art.  $24.95

Thompson, Meghan - Whimsical Felt Embroidery - Meghan Thompson is the founder of Olive and Fox (an on-line Etsy shop).  With step-by-step instructions and photos to guide you, it is easy to create colorful llamas, elephants and other animal projects that you'll want to display on your walls. She also includes such fun foodie sayings as: "Donut Worry" or "Love You a Latte" as well as floral-inspired designs. Templates are included for her felt embroidery, incorporating fun fabrics that add dimension and texture to hoop art and bring projects to life.  $21.99



       I love pincushions especially when they are very clever designs like the mouse above but I can't imagine living without my two old, battered pincushions for sentimental reasons. They were my grandmother's and I remember her using them when I was a little girl. Back then I loved to pull all the pins and needles out of each one, line the pins out on her dining room table and count them. I have no idea why that fascinated me. When I shared a friend, he laughed and shared that when he was about eight years old he took his mother's pincushion apart to see what was inside. To his disappointment it was full of sand. What he was expecting to find I don't know and he doesn't have a clue either, but little boys are a curious lot and love to see how things work or our made. His mother kindly explained the sand inside was used to keep the pins and needles sharp. When I asked him he couldn't really recall what the pincushion looked like other than it was small and round. Maybe it was a standard tomato and strawberry-style pincushion like I have, except mine, after years of use is missing the tomato
stem. My other pincushion I still have was personally made by my grandmother. It is a small dome-shaped affair with a metal trim around the base that is covered with a narrow decorative trim. Not exciting but a perfectly good pincushion.

     Most pincushions are strictly functional but during my research I discovered there was a time when some pincushions were purely decorative. Someone had the idea of taking straight pins of varying sizes and push them all the way into the cushion and arrange the pins in decorative patterns to mimic fine silver embroidery. I used to make my initials with pins in my pincushions. Some clear cushions were decorated the same way and these pin cushion-bottom seats had their moment of fame. I couldn't uncover and proof that these chair seats are still being made or that pincushions are still decorated like that. Does anybody reading this know?

Queen Eliz I Pincushion
     In Queen Elizabeth I day, pincushion, like all royalty clothing and accessories, were beautifully embroidered, sometimes tasseled and mounted in silver and gold and hung at the waist, a style that was proudly worn until the reign of Queen Victoria. These particular pincushions were square or rectangular in shape and could be thick or thin according to taste. They were highly prized for the gorgeous embroidery covering them. Pins were very, very important. We mustn't forget clothes were pinned for many centuries - the button not yet invented - so pins were so important...Ouch!

     In the sixteenth and seventeenth century pincushions were known as "pyn-pyllows to stycke pynnes." Were these the first pincushions as we now know them? Or had this handy accessory been invented much earlier. There is no information at this time as to the actual date of their invention but I can't imagine not having some sort of a gizmo at my side to keep pins handy and safe.

Pincushions have been made of all types of fabric imaginable. I even found examples of knitted and crocheted ones. Now we are back to the nagging question of what's inside a pincushion other 
than sand. In earlier times pincushions were stuffed with small bits of rags, pieces of flannel, bran, and yes, sometimes sand. Today foam is most popular. As I reached this point of this article I looked at my grandmother's handmade pincushion with new and curious eyes. After a few minutes fight with myself I decided to very carefully take it apart. See females are curious too! The cardboard bottom popped out. That was easy. Carefully, I moved the flat round piece of metal that held the fabric-covered foam in place. It fell with a clatter. I picked it up. On it was printed: Ball. My grandmother had made the pincushion out of a Mason jar lid! I'd been using her pincushion all these years and hadn't realized what she had used to create it. A piece of ribbon covered the metal ring with a cute hand-made bow covering it so my eyes had never seen a Mason jar lid. How cute! How inventive! I will never know if she thought of this herself or discovered it in some craft book. Doesn't really matter. I put the pincushion carefully back together. It no longer has a home in my sewing box but now has a place of honor on my writing desk, a personal reminder to look more carefully at what is around me and think outside the box.

I've included some neat books on making pincushions so have fun perusing them and possibly making a pincushion of your own.

Annie's - Pincushions and More - Annie's is part of the third-generation Muselman family business, founded in 1925 and long known for original craft designs including crochet, knitting, card making, and paper crafts. In this book discover the joy of making small useful projects from your stash and gifting them to others who share your love of sewing and quilting. Lots of inspiration here to create 13 unique pincushions and three needlebooks. Templates are given on a 30x21inch insert.  $9.99

C and T - Make Pincushions: 12 Darling Projects to Sew - Upgrade from the basic tomato with a pincushion that's sure to put a smile on your face! Sew 10 playful patterns from top designers, from 3D shapes to techniques-like applique, embroidery, and piecing- in this value packed booklet. You can adapt these ideas and make more pincushions. For example, the cupcake could be adapted into dozens of pincushions. Each pincushion is designed by a different designer. The instructions are clear and the book includes wonderful photographs.  $12.95

Czepuryk, Kristyne - Perfectly Pretty Patchwork: Classic Quilts, Pillows, Pincushions and More - When it comes to classic quilt blocks, think beyond the quilt! Sew timeless blocks into beautiful quilts; then feature the same block into accessories. Eight quilts include a sunny mini-quilt, a decorative throw, a Dresden-inspired wall quilt, and a Flying Geese baby quilt. Eight sewing projects include: pincushions, a circular purse, and a petite pouch. Packed with tips for quiltmakers who are new to sewing dimensional items.  Have fun!  $25.99

Hoey, Aneela - Stitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty cases, Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions and More - Celebrate and use your sewing skills with this author's 15 stylish yet functional patterns for a wide variety of sewing organizers. The patterns are designed to work together, so small projects fit into larger ones. There is information on installing zippers, alternative fastenings, dewing with vinyl, making three-dimensional shapes, and the different types of interfacings that can be used. The basic techniques section is comprehensive, so there's no need to be daunted by the detailed finishes on the projects.   $26.95


If this was your first visit I'd like to introduce you to our book business of over 26 years. During this time we've set up many bookshops for the ANG and EGA seminars and a variety of other needlework organizations as well as doing this blog.

Can't find a certain book? Please give us a call and we'll go to work to find it for you whether it is in-print or out-of- print.

Call us Monday thru Saturday; at: 602-943-0738. If you get the dreaded message machine please don't be shy about leaving a message. I'll get back to you ASAP. Or you can e-mail me at: rkern3@mindspring.com. Or mail your order to: Ruth Kern Books 7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

MOST IMPORTANT! Remember to look for the discount code hidden somewhere in this blog that gives you a 20% discount on any new book you order from this blog or the previous ones.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019


                MAY/JUNE BLOG 2019
              "There is no friend as loyal as a book." 

                                Ernest Hemingway

As you know I've been a book lover all my life. Books got me through a hard childhood, made me passionate about learning, and today I have books stacked up in my bedroom that give me a sense of comfort and security no matter what is happening in the world or in my life. I so enjoy going from room to room and running my fingers over my large collection of books I love. What memories are on those shelves. I even have books from my childhood and my diaries. Hemingway said a mouthful. I do wonder what his book collection was like. As for mine, there is always room for another book, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, if it is well-written and/or well- illustrated it will find a home with me. I'm a bibliophile with a very strong emotional attachment to books as an art not their monetary value.

In this Blog I will introduce you to places and people with the love of the book as art and brought their dreams to life for you and I to enjoy, admire, and inspire us to believe in our own dreams. Don't give up even if you are over 90!  Years ago and woman in her 90's got her first book published, a book she had been working on for many, many years. That was her dream and she made it!  It became a bestseller. 

Now let's take a peek at other dreamers.

                VISITING A HEAVENLY BOOK SPOT -   

Books are at the center of my life. As my daughter always says, "My mother's way of decorating is to add another bookshelf." I claim that remark as true.  I'm also always looking for new and interesting places, ideas, and needlework ideas to write about, investigating 'new stuff" for this blog. Not only do I dig into my files, books and the internet but I love visiting places to do with books and needlework.

But this time, this article began with a call from Christi Buchholz, who introduced herself as the customer service representative for Roswell Bookbinding. To my surprise, I discovered that this company has been located in Phoenix, Arizona, about a 20-25 minute drive from me, for nearly 60 years. Here I was in the book
business and didn't know about this company known all over the world and selected for many memorable binding projects including the St. John's Bible Project (a grand-sized Bible all done in the calligraphy of Donald Jackson.) More of that monumental project later in this blog. You see the Roswells' had a dream for a business and a love for books as an art.

Christi encouraged me to come on over and tour the entire 5000 square foot building and see the entire process of creating my beloved books. So on the 14th of May I happily drove to Roswell Bookbinding, anxious to meet Christi who would take the time to personally tour me.

What can I say about a perfect morning other than the tour was way above all my expectations?The minute Christi and I stepped into a large conference room with wall of shelves full of amazing past book projects completed I was in book heaven.  She kindly showed me some of the more exotic and complicated projects such as a copy of Mickey Mouse's suitcase specially made to hold books, an Adidas shoe box, explained how Rockwell was awarded the high honor of binding the St. John's Bible. I wanted to stay there for days instead of hours but there was so
much more to learn.

Over 100 people work there and were some of the most welcoming people I've ever met. They graciously allowed me to watch them

Hand Sewing a Book

Working on a Cover
work and explained their jobs. I learned about foil stamping and dye cutting, what a signature was (page count is very important with offset presses where the total pages must be multiples of 8,16, or32), choosing between gloss lamination or matte lamination in paperbacks. I watched machine book sewing with large spools of white thread unwinding continuously and hand stitching.  

You can feel the pride in their work and love of binding the minute you walk into the building. Here are people taking paper, leather, vinyl, cardboard, glue, thread and other miscellaneous materials and turn that into amazing books. How wonderful to see your hard work turn into something beautiful and lasting. 

Because of my research and historical novel, The Secret Codices - ($15.95 -20%discount applies), I've been trying to make time to learn the Coptic binding that was used on the books in the 4th century A.D. that feature in my book. I've put that off long enough. I've decided I've got to make an appointment for that happening like I do for the dentist, doctor, etc. When I learned about these discovered books in Egypt I wanted to go see them and write about them. My book relates the heroic efforts of a small band of 4th century Egyptians to preserve these forbidden texts and translate them into the Coptic language. The story is told by a female scribe, tutored by her grandfather, the famous teacher, Epimachos. Her journey to save these codices leads her on a dangerous adventure spanning the length of Egypt from Alexandria up the Nile to the mountains in the south near Nag Hammadi. I did four extended stays in Egypt to research them. But I have more to write about. That's my dream.

I hope many of you are considering making a book on your needlework with pictures and information on it for historical purposes. Look at all the needleworkers of the past whose art is now written about and displayed. Who knows?  So we have the best information on that process, I've included some books below on book binding. 

I've seen excellent needlework books fail, simply because the front covers and back covers were done poorly. It has been shown that people choosing a book to read look at the front cover, then the back cover, and then read the first few paragraphs of the book and then at illustrations, diagrams, or photographs if these are included.
If designing a book it takes great planning and foresight.

Hazell, Rachel - Bound: 15 Beautiful Bookbinding Projects - This author is an expert on binding and shares her knowledge with an accessible collection of creative bookbinding projects using different techniques for cutting and folding as well as stitches such as ladder, the Silt Book, A concertina with Pockets and the Three-Hole Pamphlet Stitch, which can then be developed further to create unique and personal handmade notebooks for yourself and as gifts. $22.99

Hollander, Tom and Cindy Hollander - Introduction to Bookbinding and Custom Cases: A Project Approach for Learning Traditional Methods - This step-by-step guide by experts in binding bring you valuable beginning and intermediate level skills, using their trademark hands-on approach, this couple explain the basics of the craft, then guide you through instructions and photos to help you succeed. You'll master the pamphlet book style, the flat-back book, the round-back book, and the construction of slipcase book protection. Along with formulas to help you navigate making your own custom-size books, an extensive glossary of bookbinding terms and a list of many of the authors' handmade books and boxes provides inspiration.  $35.00

Kyle, Hedi and Ulla Warchol - The Art of the Fold: How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structure - Hedi has been described as a book structure magician and in this book she shows
you step-by-step how to create her unique designs, using folding techniques. Projects include flag books, blizzard books and more including nesting boxes. Gorgeous photos of her work including novel notions and accoutrements. $29.99

Watson, Aldren - Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction (Revised) - This Dover publication brings us expert, illustrated guide to creating fine books by hand;. Materials and equipment, basic procedures, rebinding an old book, plus 8 more projects: dust

jacket binding too. Through the illustrations by the author, cover materials, tools, and equipment (including making your own) you will become proficient in this craft.  $16.95

                         ST JOHN'S BIBLE PROJECT
         "One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time"
                                  Smithsonian Magazine

The Smithsonian Magazine says so much about this incredible book project in so few words. And it was one man who caused this to ever be possible. Donald Jackson, the Queen of England's calligrapher and longtime friend of St. John's Abbey had a lifelong dream of creating an illuminated Bible. As a young boy he loved the feel of a pen in his hand and took that love of writing and drawing to its highest level. In 1996, Donald

Jackson presented his idea (and passion) to give to the world a complete handwritten Bible done on parchment and quill. The project began in 1999 and the production was completed in 2011. This wonderful dreamer designed a special script for this project, and saw the project through to completion. Calligraphers were chosen to work with him and a mixture of techniques from ancient illuminated
manuscripts were used, calf-skin vellum was selected, gold and platinum leaf and hand-ground pigments, and Chinese stick ink.

The only modern equipment used on this monumental book project was a computer to plan the layout of the Bible and line-breaks for the text. The size is impressive as well being two feet tall by three feet wide (when open) and is divided into seven volumes.


You've seen the covers in the Roswell Bookbinding article above, now I will let this work of art speak for itself.

As for Donald Jackson, his love of book art has consumed his life. He didn't chose a simple path for his art, he took it to the highest level he could.  It took him from the 1970's to almost the 21st century to be heard. The planning, the hard work, the pressure to make his vision come to life and be perfect must have been draining so I feel he had to focus on the love of his art and not the pressure. 

If you want to learn more about this one-of-a-kind book art project or want to see where the replicas of this Bible are being exhibited please go to: www.saintjohnsbible.org.

                   "It is through art, and through art only,
                 that we can realize our perfection"
                                         Oscar Wilde

I must include this wonderful hand created book from 400 years ago by Thomas Trevelyon, a man of some mystery, not of the upper classes or royalty. He seems he was a skilled scribe and pattern-maker who had a great access to woodcuts, engravings, almanacs, chronicles, emblem books and took his talent, knowledge and love of book art to create his own. He did not do this for reward or public admiration, he simply had a passion in him to use his talent to create something for his family and close friends to enjoy.  How surprised he would be to discover his works are in the Folger Shakespeare Library and is considered one of its greatest treasures. In fact, this is their only book to enjoy an exhibit devoted to it. How about that Thomas Trevelyon?

We are not talking a small work of art. The facsimile edition, that I am a proud owner of is massive being 18 inches tall and weighing over 17 pounds. It is printed on archival paper, Smyth sewn, and bound in cloth-wrapped boards with a reinforced spine and a full-color dust jacket and I love the bookcase that holds it. In addition to the 594 pages illustrated by Trevelyon, this volume includes a new introduction and indexes to poetry, scripture, subjects, images, and Trevelyon sources.


The highlight of this book is the wonderful Elizabethan embroidery designs - over 100 pages of them. These delicious embroidery patterns are ready to transfer to material and be stitched - about 290 designs. Such a wonderful source for embroiderers in love with Elizabethan embroidery. I've shown some of these in this article for your pleasure. 

This book is still available.  New with bookcase - $750.00 (only 10% discount on this since it is short discounted.  The mailing will be $18.00

Thank you, Thomas Trevelyon.


BLOG BOOK PICK: Goldwork Masterclass by Alison Cole a designer of beautiful embroidery and books.

"With a needle and thread Alison Cole magically turns fabrics in Art Masterpieces."   -  Ruth Kern -

Last blog I selected a pick recommended by Alison Cole, the wonderful embroiderer, teacher, and writer of award-winning books on needlework. This month I'm excited to announce her forth-coming book due out in August, Goldwork Masterclass: Adventures in Metal Thread Embroidery.  This book, she writes, "has been written for all who love the joys of Goldwork. Each chapter of this book looks at a different aspect of Goldwork - from traditional to contemporary. Starting with a little of its rich history and the materials and padding beneath, through to the glittering threads and techniques for their application - this book takes goldwork apart to give you the inspiration to create your own beautiful metal thread embroidery."  If you order by July 10th, 2019 you can purchase this book at the discounted price of $45.00 PLUS your usual 20% discount. Afterwards, the price will revert to $54.95 but you still can count on the usual 20% blog discount.  (our discount code: Bks19)

Alison's other "classic books" are still available and are listed below. But first, I want to meet this incredible, dedicated embroiderer, designer, and teacher. She lives in Australia, but teaches around the world. I so enjoyed meeting this delightful redhead at one of the embroidery seminars. She's a delight and her classes are filled as soon as announced. She has received the Florence Monod Award for excellence and a Commendation for Stitching Excellence from the Embroiderer's Guild United Kingdom for their 'Picture This' competition to name just a few of many, many awards and honors she has compiled to date. Her Stumpwork Masterclass helped her win a commission for Christian Dior. Then another commission - embroidering on the Monash university Chancellor's robes. In 2017 her book, The Embroiderer's Little Book of Hints and Tips received a Gold Medal at the Independent Publisher Awards in New York, USA.

Alison took her love of needlework to an incredible level of excellence. Don't miss visiting her website and view her awe-inspiring needle art. Her website is:Alisoncoleembroidery.com.au.

Alison's Other Great Books:

Stumpwork Masterclass - This 208 page soft cover publication that is for beginners and experienced stitchers and contains information on all aspects of this beautiful form of embroidery that she teaches in her beginner and intermediate classes as well as the masterclass. The main focus here is the techniques found on historical pieces of Stumpwork, she also encompasses modern techniques. Alison takes Stumpwork apart and looks at its history and each element that makes it up from motifs such as flowers and animals to stitches and neede-lace.  $49.95

All That Glitters - In her first book Alison features the embroidery techniques of Goldwork and Stumpwork and features a text book of requirements and techniques as well as a project section with designs - both framed and free standing pieces - suitable for both those new to Goldwork and the advanced embroiderer. Laid out with clear diagrams, color photos and hints and tips, this is an important book for embroiderers.  $39.95

The Midas Touch - Alison features sections on Basic Supplies and Requirements, Techniques and a Project section of eleven projects that range from small beginner pieces for beginners to larger, more complex designs for more advanced embroiderers. It is laid out with clear diagrams, color photos and hints and tips. $39.95

Embroiderer's Little Book of Hints and Tips - This is a workbasket-sized 144 page soft cover book with a concealed internal spiral-binding so it opens flat. Alison includes sections on everything from setting up a workbasket through to framing your finished embroidery. It has special sections with hints for Goldwork and Stumpwork embroidery as well as general stitch hints and fudges, hints for photography and going to classes. At the back are needle identification pages with actual size photos of needles for comparison.   There are some blank pages for you to enter your personal notes. $40.00


Barrett, Gina - 20 to Stitch; Fabric Buttons - Create 20 unique, shaped fabric buttons for use as embellishments or accessories. Learn to make 20 button designs using fabric as an embellishment to a garment or as a piece of jewellery or accessory. Gina Barrett uses techniques such as stitching, embroidery and beading, and provides shaped templates for those projects where the user may need more assistance. The buttons are all worked at a small size, so will require limited materials and thread for a polished finish. All these buttons can be created easily by following Gina's straightforward instructions and stitch diagrams.  $9.95

Bateman, Lorna - Embroidered Country Gardens - Embroider elements of an idyllic English country garden in this beautiful book suitable for beginners as well as accomplished embroiderers. Lorna walks you through a variety of stitches including raised and textured stitches, teaching you to embroider individual flowers with them and how to incorporate these into an original garden motif. This book includes an A-Z of English garden flowers, how to stitch them, how to stitch common garden insects, and how to embroider iconic garden imagery such as birdbaths and garden ornament. Lorna also includes hints and tips to help you develop your own skills and unique styles. She features over 8 elaborate and practical projects to stitch, including a pencil case, tape measure cover, thimble pip, glasses case and thread catcher. Full-size pattern insert for making a bag in which to keep the individual projects is included. Lorna focuses on raised embroidery techniques and textured stitches.  $26.95

Giordano, Chloe - The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano - Take a walk through the stunning stitched world of renowned embroiderer Chloe Giordano. Taking each project from conception through to completion, see how Chloe plans her designs, chooses and blends colours, selects threads, and finally stitches in order to create her beautifully detailed embroideries. Packed with Chloe's guidance on every aspect of the process, including hooping and framing, this book will inspire you to create stunning thread paintings of your own. In the second part of the book, wind your way through a beautiful gallery of Chloe's work showcasing her popular intricate embroideries that celebrate wildlife both big and small. All are accompanied by back stories and inspirations behind the piece, offering a fascinating and exclusive look into the mind and mastery of the embroiderer. Chloe has a huge following online with over 243,00 followers on Instagram and 44,000 followers on Facebook.  $29.95

Haggard, Brian - Blended Embroidery - Preserve family memories with new quilts that lovingly tie together the past with the present. Learn how to comb through bits of history and reimagine them into wall art, sewing notions, and more! Gorgeous embroidery adds richness to these vintage hybrids. Full instructions for five projects, fifteen stitch techniques, and a gallery full of ideas will help you think outside the box and create a cherished new piece for your home.  $27.95

Ishii, Sachiyo - Pocket Pompoms: 34 Little Woolly Creatures to Make - Our author brings us 34 really cute pocket-size creatures with sections on materials, tools, and basic techniques, you have all you need to get your started. Learn how to make the pompoms, attach them to each other and needle felt on features such as faces, ears, arms and legs - adding the features is where their characters really come to life! All the pompoms can be made from scraps of yarn in your stash and each design uses only small amounts. You can be up-to-the-minute with plastic pompom makers or keep it traditional with the cardboard ring technique. $14.95

Ishii, Sachiyo - 20 to Knit Pocket Pets - Sachiyo is back with a new collection of 20 great projects including a baby penguin, a koala bear, a guinea pig and a squirrel. All the projects are accompanied by clear, easy-to follow patterns and photos. There is a useful page of basic techniques at the start of the book, including making up, stuffing, and simple decorative surface stitching. Easy to make.  $9.95

Newton, Deborah, Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters - This is the most trusted resource on finishing techniques for knitting. Compiling her sage wisdom from more than 25 years of experience. She uses a straightforward approach that empowers knitters to create professional-looking garments and accessories. She patiently takes her student-readers through blocking, seaming, buttonholes and bands, zippers, edgings, pockets, and other embellishment - and carefully demystifies it with detailed photos, tips and tutorials. As a bonus, 15 patterns for sweaters, jackets, and scarves, many with variations, illustrate the newly learned techniques.  $22.95

Okamoto, Keiko - Keiko Okamoto's Japanese Knitting Stitches: A Stitch Dictionary of 150 Amazing Patterns with 7 Sample Projects - The author is known around the world for her wide range of innovative designs including new takes on classic forms full of interesting embellishments such as fringes, pompoms and garlands. This is the first time her famous book is available in English. Projects include a cardigan with charming crocheted strawberry garland, a multi-colored, fringed neck wrap, a pair of funky, sculptural arm-warmers - toasty and multi-textured; a charming Fair Isle knitted basket bag, a pair of fluffy, cuffed mittens, an elegant A-lined textured wool sweater suitable for any body type, a chic Nordic-patterned short coat.  $18.99

Search Press Studio - 100 Little Crochet Gifts to Make - These 100 projects from some of their best-selling crochet authors covers a wide variety of themes from beautiful crocheted flowers, beanie hats, Christmas crocheted projects, cute bears, lovely hearts and stylish purses. Special stitches used are explained in detail, and yarns are described in generic terms, so crocheters can use what is available to them, wherever they may live. They are simple enough for experienced beginners and will also appeal to seasoned crocheters. The tools and materials are inexpensive and widely available. $19.95

Shippee, Melissa - Beautiful Beadwork From Nature: 16 Stunning Jewelry Projects inspired by the Natural World - Drawing from the shapes, colors, and beauty of the natural world, this award-winning designer has fashioned a wonderful collection of wearable art. From delicate earrings made of graceful beaded flowers to a show-stopping crystal fringe necklace inspired by ancient stalactites, each striking project uses popular materials such as seed beads, crystals, and Czech glass beads. Along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.  $27.95

Shore, Debbie - Sew Outdoor Living: Brighten Up Your Garden with 22 Colourful Projects - Using easy-to-follow photography and simple instructions Debbie shows you how to sew beautiful items for outdoor living. Sew decorative accessories for the patio, such as seat cushions and bunting, create practical items such as a BBQ tool roll and picnic caddy, and even make a child's teepee. Perfect for people of all abilities who love sewing and enjoy their gardens, or who want to make a gift for someone who does.  $17.95

Yu, Han - Bead Embroidery Chinese Style: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide with Inspiring Projects - This author is one of the world's leading experts on bead embroidery, regularly showing garments at Fashion Week, and for state dignitaries and celebrities as well as teaching and lecturing workshops across China. She includes 25 unique embroidery designs and a step-by-step guide to 30 unique projects that incorporate traditional Chinese art and design elements. You will learn over a dozen embroidery stitches for single-bead, multi-bead, free stitches, layered stitches, and more. Small-scale embroidery projects include jewelry, coasters, pouches and more. More advanced projects, include makeup bags, lamp covers, and wall art. $24.95

Wolfe, Victoria Findlay - Playing with Purpose: A Quilt Retrospective - Take a deep look inside the evolution of one of today's most important modern quilt artists. Always fascinated by color, pattern, and design, Victoria found her life's true joy in quiltmaking. From a young age, a wandering spirit compelled her to become "an artist". Today, her diverse and exciting body of work stirs quilters worldwide to dig deeper, take risks, and experiment with fabric. This beautifully photographed retrospective contains photos of more that 100 of her inspiring quilts, as well as the stories behind them.  $39.95


Blake, Bethany - Something Borrowed, Something Mewed (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery) Daphne Templeton's sister Piper is getting married - and their mother is getting carried away. She insists on hiring Sylvan Creek's top event planner, Abigail Sinclair, who proposes a Statue of Liberty - inspired bridesmaid dresses. WIth all the bickering among the families, Daphne's glad her only duty right now is pet-sitting for Abby's cat, MS. Peebles. At the tension-filled dress fitting, the abrasive wedding planner is found strangled by a garter - a weapon both borrowed and blue.  Now Daphne is ready to get involved to help solve a murder.  $7.99

Cahoun, Lynn - Sconed to Death (Cat Latimer Mystery) - Cat has a full plate at her Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort, as a group of aspiring cozy mystery authors arrives for a writers retreat. So when Dee Dee Meyer stirs up trouble because she insists Cat's best friend Shauna stole her recipes - Cat marches into the shop to confront her. But Dee Dee's about to have her own batch of trouble. Greyson FInn - a celebrity chef and, until today, one of Denver's most eligible bachelors - has been found dead in her bakery. Cat is warned by the chief of police not to engage in any half-baked sleuthing. But as her curiosity rises, Cat's determined to discover who served the chef his just desserts. $7.99

Connolly, Sheila - Murder at the Mansion ( Victorian Village Mystery) - This author has published over thirty mysteries, including several New York Times bestsellers. This is a first in her latest series. Katherine Hamilton never wanted to return to her dead-end hometown. But when she is called in to help save Asheboro from going bankrupt, Kate can't refuse the generous offer. One day while touring the old Victorian mansion, Kate stumbles over a dead body. Impossibly, the victim is none other than Kate's high school nemesis, Cordelia Walker. Soon Kate is drawn deep into the history of the old mansion. What secrets are hidden within its walls-and can the truth be discovered before the killer comes for Kate herself?  $7.99

Dratch, Dana - Seeing Red - (Red Herring Mystery) - A reporter like Alex Vlodnachek can't say no to investigating multiple murders in a tale in which the discovery of several dead bodies is upstaged by many other complications. Alex's freelance career is catching fire and her relationship with B and B owner Ian Sterling is flirty and fun. She's even attending a glittering cocktail party at his sprawling Victorian inn. But something is off. When Ian's father vanishes, the enigmatic innkeeper ask her help. When Alex, an intrepid redhead discovers a body in the B and B's basement and a "reproduction" Renoir in the library, she begins to suspect that Ian is more than just a simple hotel owner. With editor pal Trip, brother Nick, and rescue-pup Lucy riding shotgun, Alex scrambles to stay one step ahead of disaster - and some very nasty characters. Can see find Ian's father before it is too late? Or will Alex be the next one to disappear?  $7.99

Greenlaw, Linda - Slipknot: A Jane Bunker Mystery - Now back in print this is the first installment in Greenlaw's mystery series. Jane returned to Maine to escape the mean streets of Miami. Surely whatever crimes are committed in this tourist-filled seaside town won't involve anything as dark or seedy as did in the Sunshine State. It's a bit of a shock, then, when Nick Down AKA the town drunk, turns up dead - and it's not the simple accident that everyone assumes it to be. Now it's up to Jane to get involved although only two things are certain: nothing is what it seems, and the whole town is in each other's business. Before she became a writer, Linda was the captain of a swordboat, the career that earned her a prominent role in Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and a portrayal on Isle au Haut, Maine, where she captains a lobster boat.  $7.99

Smith, Karen Rose - Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches (Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery) - Restaurant critic Derek Schumaker, notorious for his bitter reviews, is about to visit Daisy's Tea Garden, and Daisy and Aunt Iris are simmering with anxiety. A bad word from this reviewer and her business might stall but Daisy tries to stay confident. After all, how can her resist her cucumber sandwiches with pimento spread - not to mention the cheesy cauliflower soup and more. Schumaker takes a to-go order when the afternoon tea service is done, which Daisy hopes is a good sigh. But when he perishes from a seizure, it looks as if his food was dosed with poison . When she discovers whispers of scandal in his past - Daisy has quite an assortment of suspects to sift through. Delicious recipes included.  $7.99

Sefton, Maggie - Dyeing Up Loose Ends - (Knitting Mystery) - Kelly is happily busy with her son Jack, now a rambunctious four-year-old preschooler. Jack keeps his mom on her toes and drinking all the coffee she can handle. Kelly splits her free time between Pete's and Lambspun, where her fellow knitter love hearing all about Jack's latest exploits. The Lambspun's crew is horrified when a murder occurs in their midst - and Julie is the victim. With her sleuthing instincts on full alert, Kelly starts asking questions. The well-liked waitress may have had enemies no one knew about, or she could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Friends at Lambspun soon learn that the answers are knottier and more shocking than they ever dreamed.  This series includes a recipe and pattern.  $7.99

Young, Kate - Southern Sass and Killer Cravings - For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Now Marygene Brown has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she finds not all is peachy. She has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the man has been poisoned Marygene must find the killer. $7.99  


If this was your first visit I'd like to introduce you to our book business of over 26 years. During this time we've set up many bookshops for the ANG and EGA seminars and a variety of other needlework organizations as well as doing this blog.

Can't find a certain book? Please give us a call and we'll go to work to find it for you whether it is in-print or out-of-print.

Call us Monday thru Saturday at: 602 - 943-0738. If you get the dreaded message machine please don't be shy about leaving a message. I'll get back to you ASAP. Or you can e-mail me at: rkern3@mindspring.com.  Or mail your order to: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

MOST IMPORTANT! Remember to look for the discount code hidden somewhere in this blog that gives you a 20% discount on any new book you order from this blog or the previous ones. 


LAST SMILE:  I saw this on a bumper sticker when I was stuck in traffic:  "Blessed are the quilters for they are the Piecemakers".