Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy March!  

Be patient if you have suffered through a hard winter, spring is just around the corner. Thank goodness winter can't last forever. It just seems it does. With spring comes new life: flowers start to bloom, trees get leaves again, even the air smells new and fresh and lots of new books get published. I've included titles due out in March and a few due in April, classics and more. Hopefully there are some books included here that will make waiting for spring a lot easier. 

I can't think of a better needlework to bring in a spring than Brazilian Embroidery. The flowers and the lovely color combinations create a spring on material where no spring ever existed before. You can design what you would like to see in your garden no matter what the season.  Let me introduce you to an expert

Rosalie Wakefield is a master Brazilian embroiderer with flowers in her fingertips. If you aren't acquainted with Rosalie and her company Millefiori I'm happy to do so. Millefiori comes from the Italian - "mille (thousand) and "fiori" (flowers). This is often used to describe tiny Venetian glass flower patterned beads. Now for the thousand flowers of Brazilian embroidery.  I can hardly imagine how many thousands of flowers Rosalie has embroidered. 

Passionate about flowers real or embroidered is how I'd describe Rosalie.  As she puts it, "I garden with my needle." Not only has she "gardened" with her needle but she has created a multitude of designs and a number of great books. 

There is no better way to welcome spring then to pick up your needle and a design and book by Rosalie and jump into gardening before spring really arrives.  Here are her available books to help you do your best Brazilian embroidery. 

An Artist's Garden - More than 120 flowers, veggies. and wildlife inhabit this beautiful book. Rosalie shares detailed photos, traceable patterns and easy-to-follow instructions for small, intermediate-level designs and will delight embroidery artists who enjoy working with lighter-weight floss.  $25.00 

My Lady Flowers - This book is a collection of more that 80 Brazilian dimensional floral designs and flowers and more than 100 stitch techniques to challenge the intermediate to advanced level needle artist.  $25.00 

Tropical Flower Garden - This book is currently out of stock.

ABC's to Brazilian Embroidery - This book is also out-of-print but I do have a few copies available.  $20.00 

Rosalie's Latest Book

Rosalie has blessed Brazilian embroidery lovers with a new book she calls, "My Book of Stitches".  or as it is fondly referred as, "The Pink Book".  This book is full of ideas that come to Rosalie when she threads her needle and as 300 pages long and coil bound.  $30.00 

Visit Rosalie at: www.millefiori-be.com

Special Book Bulletin

I spoke to Ruth Schmuff yesterday about a new book her company, Bedecked and Bedazzled is publishing for two accomplished needle artisans - Jane Evens and Liv Weiss - Threads: A Needle Necessity. 
Ruth calls this book "a simplified thread thesaurus" that helps us untangle the threads available today. She goes on to say: "This is the go to book written by stitchers for stitchers about threads." They answer questions like: "How many colors does it come in? What is it made from? What can I substitute for it? How many plies should I use on 18ct., 13 ct., and beyond? And best of all, what else do I need to know about this thread, like is it slippery? Should I bring my needle up in a clean hole or a dirty hole?"  This is definitely a reference must for all needleworkers. $32.00.  Use this month's code and save 20%.  It is snuggled into one of the articles waiting to be discovered. Remember the code can be used on any book from any of my blogs or even a book you discovered on your own somewhere else. 

New Books Coming Available

Marfaing, Frederique - Hardanger Embroidery - Our authorincludes the essential techniques for creative beautiful embroidery,plus helpful tips and information on reading charts plus step-by-steps instruction for stitching 43 different embroidery building blocks, from basic to advanced  and includes instructions for making 18 pillows, bags, and other projects using the embroidery blocks.  $24.95 

Endo, Ysuko - Bead Embroidery Stitch Sampler: Motifs - This is a second book on bead embroidery Ysuko has published.  This book goes beyond basic embroidery stitches to full-fashioned designs and includes a collection of 123 embroidered motifs. These motifs vary from elegantly simple single motifs to complex all-over patterns to 3-dimensional designs. Along with step-by-step instructions are numerous examples of how to use and place the motifs on hems, pockets, cuffs, collars, and handbags, or as home décor trim on pillows, curtains or lampshade. Patterns emphasize beaded edgings and trims, as opposed to heavy, solid beaded fabric motifs.  $17.95  
Her first book, Bead Embroidery Stitch Samplers, a best-seller, is also available.  $17.95 

Midgelow -Marsden, Alysn - The Textile Artist: Stitch, Fibres, Metal & Mixed Media - This series showcases the work of some of the most innovative and talented textile artists who use a huge variety of different techniques, design ideas and materials. It covers all kinds of fabric embellishment from creating striking art quilts and decorated patchwork terms to dyeing different materials and incorporating mixed media such as papers, metals, transparent fabrics and silks into art or functional pieces. Alysn shares her expertise from free-machine stitchery to gilding, embossing, needle felting, beading, printing, applique, making stitched foil fabric and using dry decal transfer images. She includes projects including a memory lampshade, decorative panels, and a table cover. $35.00

Other Great Titles for Your Library

Kershner, Lois - Threadscapes: Design, Stitching Techniques and Stitches - Lois has been teaching how to create a realistic interpretation of landscape in canvas embroidery for years. Her original photographs and designs are her source material for this book. She loves nature and transforms it into threads with what she calls "painting" that creates the illusion of light, shadow, perspective, and texture on the canvas.  Her fingers are gifted and in this book she shares her personal techniques so we can do the same.  She includes color photos, clear graphs and a great step-by-step guide for every process that will leave you wondering why you thought you couldn't do this.  $54.95 

Pearce, Carolyn - Home Sweet Home: An Embroidered Workbook -  Discover the hidden secrets of this superb embroidered workbox, complete with a perfectly crafted liftout tray and nine beautifully matching accessories. Spring has definitely arrived with this delightful project that will become a family heirloom some day.  I never tire of looking at this book (it sits on my desk) and each time I look I discover something new.  $34.95

Donegan, Mary Clark - Patchwork of Peace: 247+ Stitches to Make any Canvas Proud - This is an American flag in stitches that will thrill the needleworker in you.  Old glory is stitched in 247 boxes. The stitches are all shown in color graphs with color examples of the finished stitches and best of all she includes what each stitch can be used for in other projects.  As Mary says in the introduction: "this is a one-of-a-kind heirloom".  Whether you forge ahead and make the flag or use this book as a great stitch reference guide, this is a must for any needlepointers library. $59.95 

Julia Key H. Snyder is Back with a New Book

Julia is still tripping through the Alphabet with her stitch guides and has started the new year off right with, i Bargello.  There is very little new on the art of bargello so I was happy to hear about this new addition. The book is presented in the usual tall, narrow, spinal bound book that is a trademark of Julia's books. These books lie flat and take up little room on a table. The bargello stitches are organized in alphabetical order so it is easy to flip through to the one you want or you can refer to the index in the back - 65 stitches in all, one stitch graphed out to a page with advice on the best use of each stitch.  $36.95 

Lets not forget some of her other needlepoint stitch books:

Great Layers for Needlepoint -  In this book, Julia shares great layered stitches that can be used in all areas of needlepoint such as backgrounds, different areas of the design depending on your use of thread. She divides these stitches into eight areas; diagonal trame patterns, diagonal trellis patterns, diagonal straight trame, single trame patterns, single double-spaced trame patterns, single triple spaced trame patterns, single horizontal/vertical trame patterns, single quad spaced trame patterns.  $36.95

Darn Fillings - This book is filled with 83 stitches to get us on our way to create a unique look to designs to help you think outside the box in your needlework.  Throughout the book are great graphs of each stitch and tips to make using these stitches perfect.  $34.95

176 Amazing Stitches to Unlock Creativity - This was Julia's first book in this ongoing series of stitch books.  As the title indicates there are 176 stitches to help you add needlepoint stitches you never tried before to the design you are working on.  Each graphed stitch includes encouraging tips to get it right. $37.95

A Potpourri of New Needlework Books

Benamor, Myriam - Venice Needle Lace Today - This book is presented in English and French featuring techniques of traditional needle lace developed into contemporary designs using materials available today. The author includes clear diagrams and photos of various stitches and grounds.  $38.00 

Carey, Jacqui - The Book of Braids - No one does braiding better than Jacqui.  This is her latest book in a series of great braiding books. She writes instructions so clear a beginner can master her techniques. In this new book she uses 130 examples to illustrate each point on braiding she shares with us, the purpose being to reveal the concepts behind the making of kumihimo, and how these ideas can be used to make new designs. She knows understanding the general principles rather than just following procedures. I know from experience, being a "why" person, this helps "cement" the information into the brain and unlocks creativity. Jacqui includes how to choose materials and equipment and how these decisions will affect the finished project,  I love seeing how color and selection of braid sequence will produce specific structures and patterns. Her innovative form of  'shorthand' notation can aid in memorizing complex sequence of moves and simplifies the documentation of these moves and more.  $49.95 

Draper, Joan - Stitch and Structure - Two and three dimensional textile art is explored and explained through diagrams, drawings and inspirational pieces by the author and her contemporaries.  $30.00 

Dye, Gillian - Surface Decoration in Silk and Metallic Thread - Gillian has been busy researching and writing her series on 16th & 17th Century Lace.  This is the third in this popular series.  $35.00 
Pullen, Martha - Antique Embroidery - In this book, Martha has pulled together embroidery patterns from the popular women's magazines from 1856 to 1937 together with instructions for all the heirloom embroidery stitches.  $20.00 
Pullen, Martha - The DAR Museum - Martha is back with another gorgeous book full of color plates this time with 60 whitework garments from the DAR Museum fashion collection from the 18th C. to the present with emphasis on the details of heirloom sewing for today's enthusiasts.  $30.00 


Hummingbirds: In Life and In Stitches 

                                Rosalie Wakefield hummer

I live in Arizona. A choice I made many years ago and never regretted.  Out I came with two little kiddies, a cat, and a trailer in tow. About $200.00 in my pocket.  I was young and very brave (or dumb).  Long story short, I never looked back and Arizona turned out to be exactly what I dreamed it would be. (discount code: 14mr) This is a land of red rock, rugged mountains, dormant volcanoes, long stretches of desert and of course, heat. (I love it!) We are also a land of hummingbirds. Hummer watchers travel here from all around the world to south of Tucson to catch a glimpse of a hummer they have never seen before.  I'm in Phoenix but the hummers abound here too.  Last year I had the honor of having a hummingbird nest built on a column ledge on the back patio and watching the two little ones grow up and fly away. 

These "glittering fragments of rainbows" as Audubon called hummers have been honored and revered throughout history. 
The Aztecs had a hummingbird god, Huitzilopochitli, was associated with the sun and war.  It was believed warriors would be reincarnated as hummingbirds.  Hummingbirds can fight ferociously for their territory so their fighting was probably observed by the Aztecs.

In the 1800's nature was all the rage.  Women painted accurate botanicals of plants with insects and birds.  Couples took long walks in the country and people waited eagerly for spring and the return of hummingbirds that were adored. Poets, like Emily Dickinson, wrote their praises:

                                         "Within my Garden, rides a Bird 

                                           Upon a single Wheel -

                                           Whose spokes a dizzy Music make 

                                           As 'twere a traveling Mill -  

Harriet Beecher Stowe rescued a dying hummingbird and it lived to become a member of the household.  Martin Johnson Healde, the most famous hummingbird painter, traveled through Central America painting them eventually being joined by his admirer, Mark Twain.  As you see hummers have been loved by the famous in the arts as well as us regular people.  Now I am wondering if a musician has ever written music about hummingbirds. The hummer has been honored in needlework too. Not bad for a tiny bird only three to five inches in length and weighing in at only a fraction of an ounce.  And the only bird that can fly backwards and hover in place. Sadly, there is a price paid for these abilities - hummers can perch but they can not hop or walk like other birds.  But they are the fastest birds in the world. 

I've hung feeders for hummers but I've got a project afoot this year to plant the flowers that attract them for a natural feed. This will be a continuous work in progress.

If you want to learn more about these "these flying jewels" I've included a number of books to get us going. I've included some needlework projects that include hummingbirds.  

Heidecamp, Arnette - A Hunmingbird in My House: The Story of Squeak - I learned that a hummingbird could live in someone's house when I read,  A Summer of Hummingbirds by Christopher Benfey. Then I discovered this book about Squeak living in this contmeporary author's home and I had to get it and read her account of how this came about.  She includes 57 photos.  $17.95 

Stokes, Donald, et al - The Hummingbird Book: The Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying, and Enjoying Hummingbirds - With this comprehensive, beautifully illustrated guide, you'll find it easy to attract these tiny jewels to your yard. Learn to identify them, understand their fascinating behavior, how to purchase the correct feeders, what to use in them, when to put them up and when to take them down, and what flowers to plant to attract hummers. The authors even share how to photograph these birds, their breeding habits, flight displays and more. $14.00 


Let's get the children in our lives interested in the wonderful wild creatures around us.

Sill, Cathryn and John - About Hummingbirds - Our authors use simple, easy-to-understand language to teach children what hummingbirds are, how they look, how they move, what they eat, and where they live. Many varieties of hummingbirds are introduced, from the smallest to the largest.  Illustrations.  $16.95  Target age: 4-7 years.

Fliptomania - Hummingbird Slo-Mo Flipbook - This little book is great or adults or children.  I have my own copy of course.  Filmed at extremely high speed in high definition, it shows a single flap of a hummingbird wing in frame-by-frame slow motion. Check out the "figure-8" path of the wings!  $4.99

If you want to go all out for hummingbirds I have just the thing:

Peter Pauper Press - Hummingbird Note Cards - There are 14 cards and 15 envelopes in these delightful note cards. These are printed on high-quality card stock. Blank interiors. $8.99 

Peter Pauper Press - Hummingbird Journal - This 160 lined - paged journal is 6" wide x 8" high bookbound hardcover. Elasticband holder. Acid-free archival paper. Inside back cover pocket. Embossed.  $10.99. 

Peter Pauper Press - Hummingbird Beaded Bookmark - Each bookmark is packaged in a clear plastic sleeve.  The bookmark is 2 1/2" wide and about 7" long.  $2.95 

Buckley, Frankie - Hummingbird Quartet: Cross Stitch - Like little - winged jewels, four hummingbirds hover near their favorite flowers designs. $6.95 
If you want to needlepoint or embroider hummers check out artneedlepoint.com for this and other hummer paintings done  in needlepoint. 

Or try hummers in Brazilian Embroidery by Rosalie Wakefield

Needlework Exhibit Bulletin

If you happen to be in Troy, Michigan between March 21-25,  2014 make a stop at the The National Academy of Needleart annual needlework exhibit, The Exemlary.  It will be held at the Somerset Inn at 2601 West Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI.  Admission is Free!  The hours are: Friday, March 21: 12-5; Saturday, March 22: 9:30-5; Sunday, March 23: 9:30-5; Monday, March 24: 9:30-5; and Tuesday March 25th: 9:30-12.
What better way to bring in the spring than a tour through great needlework from all levels of expertise and get inspired!

Stay tuned!  My April Blog will be full of great books - including the ever-popular mysteries. 

Don't forget to look for the discount code snuggling in an article.  Use the code for 20% off these books, from past blogs, or something you stumbled upon on your own. 

To order call: 1-800-429-5075.  If I am gone please, please leave your phone number so I can call you right back.  I love talking to my "book friends."   You can also send your order through the mail: 7235 N. 9th Avenue  Phoenix, AZ 85021
                      or click on link below and use PayPal:

Ruth Kern Books - P.O. Box 35366,  Phoenix, AZ 85069.  Remember to write the code in on the order.  To e-mail: rkernbooks3@gmail,com or rkern3@mindspring.com ( for paypal or for messages too) I look forward to hearing from you.

We accept checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express.   

Have questions??  Please call the above phone number or email to: rkernbooks3@gmail.com

We do carry a huge selection of out-of-print books.  Call us with your wish list. 

As I wrote in the January blog I celebrate two new years - January 1st and the first day of Spring (as many civilizations did) on March 20th.  Doesn't it make sense that the new year should begin with the earth's NEW life?  Any way,  have a happy NEW year and enjoy the green!   Your book friend,  Ruth

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