Thursday, January 9, 2014

 Happy February!

I feel sorry for February stuck half-way between winter and spring,  kind of lost, just hanging around until something better comes along. Most of us are tired of cold weather and are counting the days until spring arrives bringing buds, nesting birds, butterflies and green lawns. February doesn't have time to do much - it numbers only 28 days. Every four years February is given an extra day - so we call that year leap year.  On that extra day women get to propose to men.  (Not this year!) February has one redeeming point - Valentine's Day - giving us a colorful plus to an otherwise dreary winter. Who can resist red hearts, flowers, and candy!  Not me!   

 I hope you all enjoy your February 14th with your favorite valentine (and that can be your doggie or kitty!)

February also brings new books to brightened up long winter days and nights so this little month is okay in my "book". 

Great News!  The Art of Chinese Embroidery by Margaret Lee should be in the states and to me by the middle of February or so. This book fully illustrated with clear diagrams in full-color. She includes seven projects with full page color photos, and perforated full-size patterns. $44.95 

                                       By Margaret Lee


For this lead article I usually pick an author or authors with a new book on the horizon but this month I discovered two new titles I fell in love with and couldn't chose which to feature.  So I decided to write about both of them. 

                   Hand Stitch: Perspectives - This is a Gem!     

       "I've been told that the most beautiful sound in the world is that  of linen thread being pulled  through a taut piece of cloth stretched on an embroidery frame."                    -  Lesley Millar -  from   Hand Stitch Perspectives.   

This book, Hand Stitch Perspectives, is a little off the radar.  It's published in England, that's not so unusual, but it comes from a University publisher.  As you've probably guessed I discovered this one by accident while looking for something else.  And what a find!  The forward is written by Joanne Hall,  the editor of Embroidery Magazine, who writes, "All the contributors, most of whom have links to the embroidery area in Manchester School of Art, bring years of accumulated knowledge and insight to bear in their determinations of the reach of the potential of hand stitch. In short each offers a unique perspective.  If the last decade has taught me anything. it is the exploration of new perspectives of all forms of embroidery, traditional and contemporary, past and present, it is a vital part of keeping the humble hand stitch alive. " 

Who are the hand stitching stars of this unique book?  Let me introduce you to them all: Professor Lesley Millar, Professor David Owen, Professor Tom Lundberg, Jane McKeating, Professor Alice Kettle, Kate Egan, Heather Belcher, Anne Morrell, June Hill, Dr. Melanie Miller, James Hunting, Ian Wilson, Dr. Nigel Hurdstone, Lesley Mitchison, Anne French, Tracy Gill and Sue Prestbury.  The backgrounds and accomplishments of these artist are impressive and they each bring a new prospective to the subject of hand stitching.

I loved the section by David Owen, "The Mindful Hand", in which he explains how the eye and hand work together and the section by Jane McKeating,  "Ground in Cloth and Thread", that, among many things, explains how the Fine Cell embroidery project works in England for prisoners in their cells. We are talking both sexes.  39 prison are involved, with over 400 prisoners working  in their cells for 20 to 40 hours a week. The embroidery earns them money but the hand stitching also makes a real difference to their mental health and outlook on life. 

I've read the entire book and found myself going back to so many of the illustrations and information I have stitckies throughout in the book wherever I discovered an AHA! moment.  In the section, "The Past to the Present", Ann French quotes the famous, A.K. Kendrick, the first official curator in charge of textiles in the South Kensington Museum (now the V & A Museum, London) in the Museum Journal of 1909, he asked,  'But what can the museum to encourage embroidery?' I think we should also ask what can needle artisans do to encourage others to become part of the great art of needlework. This book is a start in showing off how wonderful hand stitching is.   $55.00.   Don't forget the 20% discount when you find the  blog discount code someplace in this blog. 

Anne Butler Morrell a writer in this book, has a small book of her own, The Migration of Stitches and the Practice of Stitch as Movement, a slim but interesting book  about embroidery stitches and techniques have their origin in basketry, weaving and sewing. According to Anne, 'Such stitches are used with a variety of different fabrics and threads to achieve many different effects, both practical and ornamental. The stitch techniques are interconnected, their separation and nomenclature is for ease of identification. However, this closes off approaches that have been employed by makers of the very objects being classified. Understanding the use of stitch by changes in movement reveals the makers' creative use of stitches, the ingenious development of stitch with different fabrics threads and tools.'   Enjoy her research into stitches shown in color.  $18.00 



This next book, Soutache: 30 Gorgeous Bead Embroidery Designs,  uses hand-stitching in a gorgeous way: to create a jewelry-making technique that  combines beading and fiber in a magnificent way using a technique called soutache  What is soutache?  This embroidery was first developed in 15th century France when trim was added to dresses and coats and also used in the creation of jewelry.


By the 17th and 18th century soutache had become an essential element of elegant attire. Since that time it has been in and out of fashion.  The costumes of bull fighters uses much soutache.  In this book ( I can't stop looking at!) the author, Anneta Valious brings us irresistible bead embroidery designs using  technique of soutache as a trim, wide and small, for gorgeous large and small carbochons and other beautiful beads.  Beware - if you open this book you will want to create these pieces for yourself and others.   $27.95     


 News Flash!

The new book, Painted Canvas Embellishments by Michael Boren and Carole Lake- $34.95,  is a best seller before it was even unveiled at the TNNA trade show.  Congratulations to a great duo. 

 I was in the middle of the next article about Elizabeth I when the phone rang.  It was Michael Boren.  He called to tell me while he and Carole were teaching at the Callaway Gardens for the EGA, they discovered a box of their resource guide, Gloriana: Elizabeth I - Her Private Passions.  9 copies in existence!  They offered them to me for sale.  Of course, I said yes! 

                        Now I can offer this book to you on a first come first serve. 

Their guide went with a lecture they presented to many lucky people but this guide even without the lecture is a valuable resource of fascinating information about Elizabeth I with a great time line of that period.  Michael Boren is a wonderful musician and an expert in the music of the Elizabethan era and includes a wonderful guide to recordings you might want in your music library.   $19.95.  Remember only nine are left in existence so first come first serve.   (discount code: DGFB)

Elizabeth I - Her Kingdom and People

If you are into history especially the Elizabethan period I have two wonderful books to recommend:  The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer and Elizabeth's London by Liza Picard.  These two books bow before great reviews. Both invite us into the world we would have lived in and the lives we would have lived centuries ago.  Most histories focus on the palaces of the royalty and their lives but what about us, the common people? What would have life been like?  We might have lucked out and been born into an upper class family of merchants but even then life, for the most part, was pretty horrid. The streets smelled like sewers for good reason, the streets were full of sewage, dead bodies could lie unclaimed for days, dead animals were pitched into the streets as were the innards from butcher shops.  Crime was rampant.  Food could be scarce. (Hope you like porridge.) Life expectancy was short. By the age of ten 21% of children died.  At 50 you were considered very old.  Yikes! If I ever think I have it hard I will remember what it was like 500 years ago. 

Both books focus on the everyday life of the time.  So how do they differ?  Same time period but a different peak into this world.  Kind of like hearing the story of the same trip taken by two different people. They both saw the same things but the observations take a personal focus.  If you listen to both travelers you get a more complete picture of the trip.  That's how I feel about reading these two books by two accomplished authors passionately involved with Elizabethan England.  Pick either one - you'll get a great read or do what I did and read both.  For all you passionate embroiderers yes, both these books include information on needlework, linen, wall hangings fabrics and more. Books of the time are included too. This made me happy since this was the golden age of hand-made books that for the wealthy were embroidered, bound with gold or silver and gems set in the covers.  Today we're going to a temporary books on a machine. 

In Picard's book
she begins with the river Thames, the bloodline of Elizabethan London, with the city on the north side,  largely still confined within old Roman walls. She takes us up river to the royal palaces. Before you get there you are introduced to the crowded city, the mansions of the great and the river frontage. We learn how the rich and the not-so-rich live even what was in their gardens, the diseases they suffered from, what they drank, education and lots more.  Fascinating facts and great writing.  $21.99

Mortimer does it differently. 
He introduces you to the landscape of the country, towns and cities including London and walks you down the streets so you actually feel part of what is going on in each place.  All the chapters cover different parts of their lives, religion, traveling, love and disorder, hygiene and health,  entertainment, eating and drinking and more.  What I loved is this is not a pile of dry facts, the reading absorbs you so you are there!  $26.95

On a positive note about this fascinating time period, it was the golden age of embroidery and handmade books bound in gold, silver, gems, many beautifully stitched.  But the clothing of the wealthy especially royalty were more valuable than most anything they owned.  Clothing was even asked for as ransom.  Words cannot adequately describe the artistic handwork that went into making a garment.  Gold, silver, embroidery, gems, fabulous fabrics and styles were used creatively to impress others with your status.  I discovered a wonderful book that puts words into pictures that create an "aha" moment of what status was about.

Reynolds, Anna - In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion -
This large volume in gorgeous color takes us on a clothing tour of the times by bringing together works by the most fashionable artists of the time and rare surviving examples of costumes.  How were they made?  How did they clean them?  How long did it take to make an outfit like the one on the front cover of this book?   How long did it take to get dressed in a costume?  This book is a feast for the eyes you can enjoy any time you decide to open it and flip the pages.  $75.00


 Onto the Queen herself and Stitching  


Speaking of Elizabethan stitching I've included a great book on embroidery of that era by Jacqui Carey, a great researcher in this field.  In Elizabethan Stitches: A Guide to Historic English Needlework.  Jacqui's detailed studies of 16th and early 17th century textiles and how they differ from today is now available to us.  She found many errors in embroidery books published in the last 100 years on needlework of the 16-17th centuries. She discovered Elizabethan stitches have been obsolete for so long that they do not appear in stitch dictionaries. In her book, Jacqui provides a valuable reference source for those wishing to identify and catalog historic needlework, as well as providing practical how-to instructions. All stitches provided in this book have been found on surviving items, and case studies are used.  Diagrams are used throughout this book to clarify stitch structures, and where possible the obsolete stitches have been compared to modern stitches. Step-by-step instructions offer a method for making each stitch, and a discussion on historical design shows how the stitches might have been used.  Jacqui includes gorgeous color plates.  $54.95. Use the Code: DGFB and get a 20% discount on this book or any other new book you have on your wish list.

Can't let Elizabethan embroidery go without including these two books of embroidery that was popular in that era that is still popular today:

Nicholas, Jane - Stumpwork: Medieval Floral - Jane is the Queen of Stumpwork and her many books on this subject are the best you can find on this style of embroidery. This beautifully illustrated book was inspired by the decorative panels and borders from the illuminated manuscript, Book of Hours, created by Jean Bourdichan for Anne of Brittany in the 16th century. 

Jane chose eight flowers and interpreted them into stumpwork - all  botanically correct.  Five are worked as botanical specimens with their Latin names embroidered underneath.

                                             One of Jane's lovely Medieval Flowers



The other three are presented as illuminated panels with richly colored borders embellished with gold thread and beads. Psst!  Look for the insects she includes.  $32.95

Messent, Jan - Embroidered Portraits: Ideas, Inspiration and Techniques - I have a copy of this book in my library.  I know I will never embroider any of the amazing portraits Jan has created for this book but I love leafing through the pages.  Embroidered portraits have been a constant through history including the Elizabethan era so I included this wonderful book in this list. Have fun checking out the famous portraits she includes.  By the way, the portrait on the front cover is not Queen Elizabeth I as many people think but a famous contemporary of hers, Bess of Hardwicke.  $35.00. 

Want to read about Queen Elizabeth I?  Here's some options.

Neale, J. E. - Queen Elizabeth I - Long considered the definitive biography of the great Tudor Queen, this scholarly and immensely readable book won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography and has been translated into nine languages.  $16.95  

Ronald, Susan - The Pirate Queen; Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventures, and the dawn of the Empire - The author offers a fresh look at this famous Queen focusing on her uncanny instinct for financial survival and her superior intellect that propelled and sustained her rise, including her use of piracy to transform her realm into the greatest empire the world has ever seen.  16-pages of  b/w photo insert. She was dubbed the "pirate queen" by the Vatican and Spain's Philip II because she employed a network of daring merchants, brazen adventurers, astronomer philosophers, and her stalwart Privy Council to anchor her throne. $15.99. 

Ronald, Susan - Heretic Queen - This time this author focuses on the Queen's role in the Wars on Religion that tore apart Europe in the 16th century. This is a searing account of the dark underside of the Elizabethan golden age. This book was released in August of 2013 to acclaims.  $16.99 

Stevens, Dakota - Comparing the Movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age to the Real Life of Elizabeth I of England - I loved the movie - have watched it five time. My motto is: " I rather watch a great flick numerous times then a bad movie once."  I've not read this book but I penciled it in on my to-read list.  $21.95 

Watkins, Susan - Elizabeth I and Her World - The author relates the extraordinary tale of how Elizabeth set out to capture the hearts of her people.  In plays and pageants, in cameos and medallions and portraits, in the great country houses, their interior furnishings and their gardens, the royal image was specifically tailored to evoke devotion. To love Elizabeth was to love England.  The author paints a brilliant picture of the young Elizabeth, skillfully recreating life as it was experienced in the great royal palaces and country houses of her subjects.  The photography is suburb.  $29.95 

I had to include this book, Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts, the Russian Tsars edited by Olga Dmitrieva and Tessa Murdoch, in with this selection of Elizabeth I books since this is an invaluable resource of the Tudors and Tsars.  This book was the result of an exhibit between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Russia.  The book covers the time from a young Henry VIII in 1509 until the death of Charles II. Welcome to a world of grandeur that will probably never be seen again.  This is a grand collection of the portraits (including miniatures), armor, weapons and of course clothing that has survived the ages.  $45.00 

Into historical fiction? Try Margaret George's Elizabeth I is considered one of the best historical novels ever written and received a string of great reviews and a run on the New York Times best-seller list. Margaret George tackles a complex subject, Elizabeth Tudor, England's greatest queen who has baffled and intrigued the world since her reign. But what was she really like? Lettice Knolly, Elizabeth's look-alike red-haired cousin, thinks she knows. Both cousins vie for power and the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and the court is drawn into their rivalry and drama. This is a magnificent portrait of the elusive woman who ruled over the golden age of British history and culture - and the one woman she could not control.  $17.00

And if you or someone close to you is into paper dolls:

Dover- Elizabeth I Paper Dolls - Elizabeth was a brilliant woman; articulate, musically gifted, and a master politician .  Only a "mere" woman she was able to defy all attempts to steal her crown for over 40 years.  Enjoy her in her magnificent costumes.  $5.95

Mystery Corner

Thanks to the many of you who asked for Mystery Corner to continue and perhaps enlarge.  I'm listening and hope you enjoy the selection of mysteries I've included.  First I'd like to introduce you to author,  Tessa Harris, who crafts the nifty Dr,Thomas Silkstone Mysteries about a 18th century English anatomist and pioneering forensic detective. Our author was born in Lincolnshire holds a history degree from Oxford University and since has worked with local newspapers and women magazines. Today she is regularly on BBC radio interviewing lots of famous people. 


                                                         Tessa Harris


In her first mystery, The Anatomist's Apprentice, her protagonist, Thomas has arrived in England from America to study under ifs foremost surgeon. Against his better judgment he agrees to examine the body of Sir Edward Crick. But it is also the living that he must apply the keen blade of his intellect to.  I'm hooked and I'm not a big mystery reader.   I love the historical detail especially what a doctor and forensic pioneer had to deal with. $15.00 

In her juicy follow-up, Dr. Silkstone,  The Dead Shall Not Rest - tt's not just the living that who are prey to 1880's London's criminals and cutpurses. Corpses too, are fair game, dug up from fresh graves and sold to men of science for dissection.  Dr. Silkstone's unscrupulous rival, John Hunter, has learned of the imminent death of eight-foot tall Charles Byrne, known as the "Irish Giant" and is obsessed with obtaining his body for his research. When Dr. Hunter is implicated in the murder of a young castrato, Thomas must determine how far the erratic surgeon would go to get knowledge.  $15.00

The Devil's Breath - Oh goody another mystery to solve. When a man staggers out of his cottage onto the streets of Oxfordshire, he terrifies the people with his shaking body, heaving chest and the look of horror on his face.  Everyone seeing him thinks the devil himself has entered the man's body. England is covered with the "great fog" that darkens the skies over England like a Biblical plague. When Joseph's son and daughter are found murdered the town is sure Evil is abroad.  Dr. Silkstone is called in on these strange happenings.  $15.00 

For those readers who like their mysteries "cozier" check out the titles below.

Abbott, Victoria - The Sayers Swindle - A Book Collector's Mystery - When Jordan tries to locate a missing set of valuable Dorothy Sayers first-edition novels, she finds an elderly man ready to make a swap. But matters are gravely complicated when his entire family disappears - and a dead body shows up.  $7.99 

Aames, Avery - Days of Wine and Roquefort: A Cheese Shop Mystery - Cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette plays host to Noelie Adams, a bright sommelier visiting to help grow business for the local winery. Noelie pairs well with the cheese expert Charlotte, but something seems to be troubling the secretive house guest. Charlotte's life is upended when she finds the sparkling woman dead. Includes recipes.  $7.99 

Arlington, Lucy - Books, Cooks and Crooks: A Novel Idea Mystery - When a celebrity chef is killed during Inspiration Valley's annual cookbook fair, literary agent Lita Wilkins will have to scramble to figure out which of her clients is a killer.  $7.99 

Bentley, Jennie - Home for the Homicide - A Do-It -Yourself Mystery - For Avery and her husband Derek, renovating the Craftsman Bungalow in Maine is like stepping back in time. The attic yields the most heart-stopping surprise,  In a discreetly hidden antique crate, Avery finds a clue to a decades-old missing persons case. As Avery delves deeper into the sinister story, it becomes clear that someone wants secrets to stay that way.  $7.99 

Craig, Elizabeth - Quilt Trip: A Southern Quilting Mystery - Expert quilters gather for a meeting in a remote Victorian mansion, but when they are trapped by an ice storm and one of their number is murdered, it's up to Beatrice Coleman to untangle this whodunit, includes quilting tips.  $7.99 

Collins, Kate - Throw in the Trowel: A Flower Shop Mystery - Flower shop owner Abby Knight has just returned from a romantic honeymoon. But after Marco discovers a skeleton buried in the basement of his bar, Abby and Marco may not live to see their first wedding anniversary.  $7.99 

Hamilton, Victoria - Freezer I'll Shoot - After vintage kitchenware enthusiast Jaymie Leighton discovers a dead man in an icehouse with an ice pink in his heart, she must sharpen her sleuthing skills to chip away the mystery.  $7.99


Hechtman, Betty - If Hooks Could Kill: A Crochet Mystery - When a television crew descends on Tarzana, Molly Pink and the rest of her crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, put up with the inconvenience as best they can until the residence of one of their own becomes a real-life crime scene. Iincludes delicious recipes and crochet patterns.  $7.99


James, Miranda - The Silence of the Library: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery - Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel.  Charlie's returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but a celebrated author's visit draws an unruly swarm of fanatic mystery buffs - and one devious killer.  $7.99 

Lee, Elizabeth - A Tough Nut to Kill: A Nut House Mystery - This is a first in a new series featuring Lindy Blanchard who has devoted five years of her life saving pecan trees on her family farm in Riverville, Texas. But someone is going to deadly lengths to see she fails. Who is out to ruin the Blanchard family? Includes pecan recipes.  $7.99 

Logan, Kylie - A Tale of Two Biddies: A League of Literary Ladies Mystery - Guests are storming Bea Cartwright's B&B for the Bastille Day celebration. In horror of the holiday, the League of Literary Ladies is reading the Charles Dickens classic,  A Tale of Two Cities.  But when murder strikes, solving the mystery will become a tale for the ages for the Literary Ladies.  $7.99 

McKinlay, Jean -Read it and Weep: A Library Lover's Mystery - When the Briar Creek Community Theater mounts their newest Shakespeare production library director Lindsay Norris has no intention of leaving the stacks for the stage. Unfortunately a villain is waiting in the wings.  $7.99 

Madison, Ada - The Quotient of Murder - A Professor Sophie Knowles Mystery - When winter seizes Hanley College, Dr. Sophia Knowles must thaw out a cold case to track down a killer - her most difficult puzzle yet. Includes original puzzles and brainteasers.  $7.99 

Maron, Margaret - The Buzzard Table: A Deborah Knott Mystery - A mysterious ornithologist staying at Mrs. Lattimore's Victorian home and doing research on Southern vultures seems familiar to Judge Deborah Knott and Sheriff's Deputy, Dwight Bryant, especially after a murderer strikes. 

A Little About Ruth Kern Books

I've never mentioned in my first blogs that Ruth Kern Books has been in business for over 21 years and stocks over 1000 titles in new needlework books and many thousands of out-of-print needlework books as well as selected subjects. We do mail order and set up the book shops for the American Needlepoint Guild and the Embroidery Guild of America as well.  Actually, I've lived, breathed and loved books my entire life.  I've done needlework since childhood and decided to combine both loves. 

I love to write and have been published in magazines as well as in short stories.  I have a full length historical fiction that took me to Egypt four times for research.  My book takes place in Roman occupied Egypt,  fourth century A.D  and in my eighteen months in Egypt I had a fascinating time visiting and researching material for my book. My synopsis just needs editing and cover letter to agents is completed.  If the unexpected in life doesn't happen in the next few months I should have mailed  it out during spring of this year.  Hoorah!  

I will update you on this progress perhaps include some articles I wrote on Egypt and some short stories, if  there is any interest.  meanwhile, I enclosed two pictures of me crossing the Western desert where I met up with camel drivers from the Sudan and they circled me wanting to know what a foreign woman was doing crossing this desert in 118 degree heat.  My guide told them and they adopted me teaching me how to ride properly and the men sang to me as we rode together.  I had to experience all the things my protagonist would live through.


 Me playing Lawrence of Arabia with my camel herding friends


                                           My friends in the Western Desert


 Book, Books, Books and More Books

Meanwhile, back to books!  I have included more new needlework books and some classics for your perusal.  I love to hear the words, "I discovered you have a book I've been looking for years!" 

Classics Go First - Ilse Altherr books - True Classics!

(Don't forget to find the code somewhere in this blog and get 20% off.)  

Ilse Altherr has taught hardanger, pulled thread, blackwork and other embroidery techniques for years.  Fortunately for us she shares her knowledge of these techniques in her books.  I have a customer in Belgium that is passionate about Ilse's books and she's not alone.  Ilse's reputation as a teacher keeps these books available and after talking to her the other day, I'm sure they will be in print for a long time.  Below are her five books and I've included several of her patterns. These are definitely classics!  And they come spiraled bound so they can be laid flat on your work table. 

Hardanger Embroidery: Traditional and Contemporary - If you love hardanger or want to learn it this book is perfect for either the beginner and more experienced needleworker.  The graphs are large and very clear, The diagrams and the written instructions are wonderful too. She provides fabric and a corresponding thread index to help you select the materials.  Or you are free to chose your own.  Stitched examples, numbered and named are included as an index.  You can definitely teach yourself with this book.  $32.95 

Reversible Blackwork - First Ilse explains that reversible blackwork is a form of blackwork that is generally worked on even-weave fabric and traditionally with black thread which forms an over-all pattern of geometric design. On occasion, she writes, free-form stitches are also used. A few of this delicate technique's possibilities include wide and narrow borders.  More uses include decorating household items, clothing, evening bags, cases or greeting cards and stationery that can be printed out and used. Metallic threads may be added to all patterns in this book without compromising the reversibility. Her graphs, diagrams and instructions are perfect to get even the beginner hooked on this needlework technique.  $32.95 


Blackwork and Holbein Embroidery - This book is chocked full of great blackwork patterns, borders, and medallions and is the companion book to Reversible Blackwork, A majority of these patterns were taken and graphed from historic samplers in various European countries. As in all of Ilse's books the graphs and diagram are extremely clear.  $32.95 

Hems, Edges and Fancy Borders - Ilse covers classic hemstitching, working contrasting hems, hems and decorative drawn thread work I and II, the four-sided Stich for Hems, picot edge Italian hem stitching, fringing in the round, and edges used for pulled thread 1-6 pictures. She includes great close-ups of the stitching, wonderful graphs and samples of finished work in b/w.  $28.00 
Mastering the Art of Pulled Thread - This classic teaches you everything you need to know to master this technique.  Ilse carefully leads you through what materials you need, stitches and, as she always does, includes great instructions and graphs so you can teach yourself.  $32.95        




Butterfly Garden - This pattern book by Ilse was created as a beautiful hardanger project.  She gives thorough instructions on how to assemble and read the graphs  Again, she includes large diagrams and graphs.  $22.50 

 A Classic Needlework Book for Left Handed Stitchers

There are very few books available totally dedicated to left-handed stitching.  Yvette Stanton brings us a great book, The Left-Handed Embroiderer's Companion that is the stitch dictionary left-handers have been dreaming of with great instructions just for them.  She instructions on how to hold the needle and insert it into the fabric easily. It is not always good to work stitches in mirror images to right-handers and she shows other ways that work. The stitches in this book are ordered so the main stitches are in alphabetical order. Variations of these stitches are in rough order of complexity. Each stitch has step-by instructions and each step has a diagram to show what to do.  All stitches have a photo of the finished stitch, and a photo showing the stitch used in embroidery. This book is a great companion for all left-handed stitchers.  $28.00 

This next book,  Arts and Crafts Embroidery by Laura Euler, takes us back a bit to the Arts and Crafts Movement (c. 1860-1910) concentrating on the needlework of this major movement introduces us to the history behind this art form. This book features over 380 beautiful photos of the work of famous designers including William Morris and Gustav Stickley and brings us the English, the Scottish, and the American-styles of Arts and Crafts needlework. Great research.  $49.99 

Need a good stitching book?

Search Press - The Stitching Book: A Step-by-Step  Guide to Surface Stitching Techniques - This stitching book is divided into sections each presented by a well-known experts in each field: Silk Shading, Crewel Embroidery, Mountmellick , Stumpwork, Hardanger, Blackwork, Drawn Thread Embroidery and Goldwork "taught" by the likes of Patricia Bage, Jill Carter, Ruth Chamberlain, Kay Dennis, Clare Hanham, Jane Rainbow, Pat Trott, and Lesley Wilkins.  What a team!  If you are familiar with Search Press you know how beautiful their needlework books are with  gorgeous color photos and directions.  $29.95 

A Quick Reminder about Jane Nicholas's new book, Stumpwork Butterflies and Moths being released this month.  (See the January blog for more information You can't go wrong with her books in your needlework library.  $32.95   This book is being released today and should be on the way to me.

By the way if you want a great guide book to butterflies I have just the thing - Beginner's Guide to Butterflies by Donald and Lillian Stokes.  Each page in this handy,  5x7 all color book introduces us to over 100 of the most common and beautiful species.  The photo of each butterfly is in gorgeous color so you can see the close-up detail of colors, shapes and sizes.  The authors include a little map of the U.S.A showing where each butterfly is located, the life cycle, size and what each butterfly eats.  $9.99 


If you are into crewel embroidery, Crewel Twists: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp was a best seller last year and for good reason. Hazel shows needleworkers how to creative with fabrics, threads, beads, and alternative stitches, borrowing from other forms of needlework, and still producing a product that is a typical of crewel or Jacobean style of embroidery. Her original designs include projects including beads, and metal threads to add sparkle and texture to your work, techniques employed in needle-made laces with designs defined by means of texture, designs using monochrome embroidery making use of threads and beads in the same color range and more traditional embroidery including shading and satin stitch and many variations of trellis couching to provide texture and interest.  Great color photos.  $29.95 

Last But Not Least..... 

A Brave Eye - Diane Springall  


Nothing better than an autobiography of one of the world's top textile

artists to get needle artisans inspired by looking into the working process of a great artist.  We walk through her 40 year career in textiles that includes being a panel lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum and chairman of both the Embroiderers' Guild and the Society of Designer Craftsmen. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and her work can be found in many private and public collections. This book was published in conjunction with an exhibition for  a  2011 Knitting and Stitching Show (London, Dublin and Harrogate), and explores her life and work and impact on the craft of needlework itself.  In fact, Diane has been instrumental in promoting embroidery in the fine art world and has been teacher and mentor to many of today's greatest artists working in stitch, including Alice Kettle.  (Remember she authored the first book in this blog .  $42.95

                                        Diane Springall working on textiles

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