Sunday, September 7, 2014

NOTICE:  OCTOBER BLOG WILL BE PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 10TH - I got last minute news and decided to add it.  Thanks for being patient.  Ruth

                 SEPTEMBER BLOG

Come on in!  Hope you brought a cup of tea and something good to munch on while you peruse this blog.  You are always welcome here morning, noon or night.  If this is your first time visiting make sure you click on some of the earlier blogs too.  Hope you find some inspiration.  Don't forget any ordered book is 20% off.  Just locate the discount code in this blog and call in an order at: 1-800-429-5075. You can use that code for earlier blogs or our website or any book you'd like to order.  Look forward to hearing from you.  I always have time for my book friends. 

What do you pick to fill your time?  

In business you immediately reply: "Whatever is a priority." And that of course can vary.  I've found that true in my personal life as well.  But if you sit and think about it (I call that time with my cup of tea and music my "thinking time".)  you might discover, like I did, you've blown slightly off course. I always have my clip board and paper with me so I can put my thoughts on paper.  Like waking up in the middle of the night with a great idea you can't remember in the morning, I know better than to believe I will remember what I was visualizing during my quiet times.  I scribble it all down.  No machine in-between me and my thoughts.  Sometimes I laugh at what I wrote and other times I'm pleasantly surprised by an important insight. My thinking time is a priority for me.  But "doing" time is even more important. To get myself "doing" I am addicting to reading articles and books about "doing" people. I love to discover what motivates them. This is why organizations like the EGA and ANG work.  The meetings and seminars inspire people with a similar passion. 

One evening while browsing through our local newspaper I discovered an article about Cindy Burke, a very determined woman, who has set a priority in her life doing what she loves to do - make quilts - and donating  these beautiful covers to the 150 men who serve with her stepson in the Middle East.  Already She has sent over 100 quilts overseas and is still going strong despite her machine giving out twice. Cindy is a woman who has made her love of sewing and her appreciation of the troops her priority.

Is stitching time a priority for you?  If not, why not?  And when will it ever be? Time is ticking away for all of us. I hate the word regret.  I've had the honor of being a hospice volunteer and I'm sorry to say, I heard that word too many times. I decided then and there I didn't  want that word associated with my life and I'm sure you don't either. What I've done is to use the word regret ahead of time.  In other words, "Would I regret not finishing my book?  Or you could say, "Would I regret not making time to do my stitching?"  Time is as slippery as an eel.  We can't hold on to it so let's deal with it wisely.  If we take charge of what is a priority to us we are at least taming the beast. 

Is it  a Crewel World Or is it a Jacobean One?  I'm confused!

This thought came to me when I looked at the titles of Hazel Blomkamp's two books listed below. She used both crewel and Jacobean in her titles.  Since she has over two decades of designing and teaching Jacobean embroidery I will go with her on her description, "that crewel embroidery has been around for at least 1000 years.  Jacobean is used for the form of crewel that developed and flourished in England during the reign of King James I in the early 17th century. Today this style of embroidery is easily recognizable and characterized by its use of exotic plant and animal shapes." Jacqui McDonald, in her book, Essential Stitch Guides: Crewelwork, calls Jacobean embroidery, Jacobean Crewelwork.  So both are crewel embroidery but Jacobean Crewel is the style of crewel developed during that 17th century time period. To get the real feel of the differences in style I spent time studying them both in the books I listed below.

Hazel focuses on Jacobean Crewel in both her books where she
Hazel Blomkamp
shares her abundant knowledge with us. Hazel is from South Africa and is well-known for her gorgeous embroidery there and abroad.  Other great designers
and teachers, like Trish Burr, revere her  beautiful and innovative crewel embroidery especially her wonderfully sublime color schemes. She is mostly self-taught and like many of us began her interest in embroidery from her maternal grandmother. 

Hazel not only embroiders but is a beadworker, columnist,  author, and has a wonderful website: She works from home and dedicates her time to her needlework passion which leaves her little time for her home or garden.  I think she's made a great choice for her time here on earth.  As Joan Rivers so famously said,  Cooking? Cleaning?  Phooey! 

Please enjoy the list of crewel embroidery books below:

Blomkamp, Hazel - Crewel Twists: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery - Whether you refer to it as crewel or Jacobean, this free-form of surface embroidery has been around for centuries and
is still popular amongst needle artists today. Because of the nature of the fanciful objects and the tradition of using a large variety of stitches in one project, this embroidery lends itself to endless creative expression. The author uses a wide selection of materials to update techniques and inspire embroiderers to explore while working loosely within the confines of crewel work styles. The original designs included projects including beads and metal threads to add sparkle and texture to your work; monochrome embroidery making use of a variety of threads and beads, all within the same colour range; techniques employed in needle-made laces with designs defined by means of texture; more traditional embroidery including shading and satin stitch and the many variations of trellis couching to provide texture and interest. $29.95
(Discount code: MRSEPT)

Blomkamp, Hazel - Crewel Intentions: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery - Keeping to the theme started in Crewel Twists, this book continues the concept of using non-traditional thechinques and materials in crewel or Jacobean embroidery. It showcases four large projects, each with an accompanying small project similar in technique, and shows needle workers how to creative with threads, alternative stitches and beads. Traditional techniques are explained but are extended with the use of bead embroidery techniques are incorporated, and the book also explores weaving techniques used to create textures like twill and lace weaves, as well as patterns similar to tartan and houndstooth check. Every project is clearly explained with step-by-step instructions and lots of photos, and the completed embroideries are once again displayed in ways that are both decorative and functional in the home. Templates of the original designs complete this great source for creative embroidery.  $29.95

Other books

Bradbury, Frances M. - English Crewel Designs - This book features patterns filled with swirling stems, leaves, flowers, and birds traditionally found in English textiles.  $7.95

Burr, Trish - Crewel and Surface Embroidery: Inspirational Floral Designs - This fusion of crewel and surface embroidery has step-by-step instructions for 17 achievable projects that use the minimum of stitches to create the maximum effect., The blending of wool, silk and cotton will guide the beginner and inspire the experienced stitcher.  $24.95

Country Bumpkin - A-Z of Crewel Embroidery - This is a great resource for beginning and experienced needleworkers that includes over 500 step-by-step photos and fabulous designs from the world's best embroiderers. Everything you need to know abut crewel embroidery.  $39.95

Fitzwilliam, Ada Wentworth - Jacobean Embroidery - This older book originally written in 1912 explains Jacobean embroidery by an expert in the field. Black and white illustrations.  $19.95. 

McDonald, Jacqui - Crewelwork: Essential Stitch Guide - These "essential stitch guides" are wonderful in their color format and great directions.  Afterall, these books are under the auspices of the Royal School of Needlework. The author shows you how to work basic and more complex stitches using detailed instructions and showcases beautiful examples of both traditional and contemporary embroideries.  $21.95

Rainbow, Jane - Beginner's Guide to Crewel Embroidery - Starting with just four of these stitches, this guide clearly demonstates, with detailed step-by-step photos, how to work up a complete project. Instructions follow on showing how to stretch and mount your first embroidery. Using further projects she helps you build up skills, introducing new stitches in each section. Line drawings accompany each design and are used as a guide for the stitches. The designs and colors used are traditional - reminiscent of the embroidery worked during the Tudor period.   $17.95


Aarons, Kathy - Death is Like a Box of Chocolates - A chocolate Covered Mystery - First in a new series. Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell celebrate their combined bookstore and chocolate shop in West Riverdale, Maryland, with a fudge cook-off. But success turns bittersweet after a photographer is found dead in their store. Now Michelle must pick through an assortment of suspects.  Includes chocolate-making recipes.  Yum!  $7.99

Abbott, Victoria - The Wolfe Widow - A Book Collector Mystery - As Thanksgiving approaches, Jordan Bingham is grateful for her job researching rare books for Vera Van Alst, the infamous curmudgeon of Harrison Falls, New York. But when an uninvited guest makes an appearance, much more than dinner is disrupted - and Jordan is thankful just to be alive.  $7.99

Albert, Susan Wittig - The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star - Bestselling author Albert returns to Darling, Alabama, in the 1930's where the ladies of the Darling Dahlias garden club welcome famous female aviatrix Lily Dare to the annual Watermelon Festival. Unfortunately, Lily brings a whole lot of trouble when someone sabotages her plane and threatens her life.  Includes Southern-style Depression- Era recipes.  $7.99

Belle, Josie - Marked Down for Murder: A Good Buy Girls Mystery - Maggie Gerber puts Valentine Day love and President's Day sales on the back burner to save her nemesis Summer from being framed for murder - with the help from her friends, the Good Buy Girls.  Includes tips on bargain hunting and shopping.  $7.99

Brown, Rita Mae - The Litter of the Law: A Mrs Murphy Mystery - Halloween arrives early this year to rural central Virginia, when a twisted killer will stop at nothing to protect a multimillion-dollar scheme in the 21st installment of this beloved bestselling series.  $7.99

Cantrell, Janet - Fat Cat at Large - A Fat Cat Mystery - When she's not dreaming up irresistible dessert bars for her Minneapolis eatery, Bar None, Charity "Chase" Oliver is running after her cat, Quincy - a tubby tabby with a gift for sniffing out edibles. But what happens when this cat burglar leads Chase to the scene of a murder:  First in a new series includes recipes.  $7.99

Carlisle, Kate - A Cookbook Conspiracy: A Bibilophile Mystery - It's a recipe for disaster when bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is asked to restore an antique cookbook for Baxter Cromwell, her sister Savannah's ex. On the opening night of his new San Francisco restaurant., Baxter is found dead, the cookbook has disappeared, and Savannah becomes the suspect du jour.  $7.99

Coco, Nancy - To Fudge or Not to Fudge - A Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes - In this second installment of Coco's series life is sweet for Allie McMurphy, proud owner of Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop on Michigan's Mackinac Island - until murder and deception leaves a bitter taste.  Includes recipes.  $7.99

Genova, Rosie - The Wedding Soup Murder - An Ilatlian Kitchen Mystery - Victoria Rienzi's family restaurant is hired to cater a wedding at the Jersey Shore's exclusive Belmont Country Club. The event goes off without a hitch - until the body of the club's president is found on the beach. Now Vic must act fast to find the murderer.  Includes recipes.  $7.99

Haines, Carolyn - Smarty Bones: A Sarah Booth Delaney Murder - A Professor arrives in Zinnia, Mississippi to study a myserious unidentified corpse that has been preserved for years. After the professor claims she can identify the dead the dead woman and reveal her role in a national scandal, the society ladies of Zinnia call on P.I. Sarah Booth Delany to handle things. $7.99

Hart, Carolyn - Dead, White, and Blue - When the notoriously flirtatious Shell Hurst disappears during the Fourth of July fireworks display, Annie Darling and her husband Max are soon following a twisted trail, marked by blackmail, betrayal, and adultery in this beloved series.  $7.99

Hughes, Mary Ellen - The Pickled Piper: A Pickled and Preserved Mystery - First in a new series, Piper Lamb achieves her dream of opening her own shop of pickles and preserves, called Piper's Picklings, in the idyllic small town of Cloverdale. But things soon turn sour as she encounters a barrelful of trouble - including murder.  Includes recipes. $7.99

Kennedy, Mary - Nightmares Can Be Murder: A Dream Cloud Mystery - Taylor Blake returns to Savannah, Georgia, to help her sister Allison run a candy store.  Allison belongs to the Friday Night Dream Club, where members share and analyze their dreams.  After a local dance instructor whom Allison had dated is found dead, the murder scene resembles one of the dreams shared at the meeting - and Allison becomes the prime suspect.  $7.99

McKinleay, Jenn - Death of a Mad Hatter: A Hat Shop Mystery - Scarlett Parker and her cousin, Vivian Tremont, owners of a ladies' hat shop in London, are hired by the Grisby family to create hats for an Alice in Wonderland- themed funraiser for a children's hospital,. But when the Grisby heir is poisoned, the ladies are suspected.  $7.99

Parra, Nancy J. - Murder Gone A-Rye: A Baker's Treat Mystery - Toni Holmes is the best gluten-free baker in Oiltop, Kansas - well, she's the only one. But when her grandmother becomes a murder suspect, she's more concerned with keeping Grandma free in this follow-up to Gluten for Punishment.  It includes gluten-free recipes.  $7.99

Price, Cate - A Dollhouse to Die for - A Deadly Notions Mystery - Daisy Buchanan thinks of her shop,  Sometimes a Great Notion, as a haven of vintage sewing notions and other treasures. But after an antique dollhouse provokes some bizarre behavior in a customer, Daisy makes it her business to find out what secrets it holds.  $7.99

Ross, Barbara - Boiled Over: A Maine Clambake Mystery - For Julia Snowden, the Founder's Day celebration in Busman's Harbor means helping her family's clambake company to prepare an authentic taste of New England seafood. However, a killer adds murder to the menu, making the Snowdens' business appear fishy.  $7.99

Swanson, Denise - Murder of a Needled Knitter - A Scrumble River Mystery - Newlyweds Skye Denison and Wally Boyd are all set to enjoy their honeymoon cruise. Only two things stand in their way: murder and Skye's mother, who has booked the same trip with her knitting group.  $7.99

Thompson, Victoria - Murder in Chelsea: A Gaslight Mystery - After a woman claiming to represent the birth mother of Sarah Brandt's adopted daughter is murdered, Sarah and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy uncover revelations that not only affects Sarah's future with her daughter but her future with Malloy.  $7.99

Viets, Elaine - Board Stiff - A Dead-End Job Mystery - After a tragic paddleboarding mishap that results in a death, husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont are about to find out murder is no day at the beach.  $7.99

Book Bulletins - Needlework

Glad to report a return of an old favorite that I still get requests for: Needle Index - Valley Quail Chapter of the EGA.  This little spiral-bound booklet is perfect for all your needles being kept in the sections designated for each type.  No losing needles here and help in selecting the correct one.  $9.95

For the many of you waiting (im)patiently for the new revised edition of Jo Ippolito Christensen's classic, The Needlepoint Book, more waiting time is needed.  It will not be released until next spring.  I will keep you informed.  Meanwhile if you want to place an order just call 1-800 -429-5075 or e-mail  me at: Or write to: Ruth Kern Books 7235 N. 9th Avenue  Phoenix, AZ 85021.  We'll be waiting.

Brett-Smith, Sarah C. - The Silence of Women: Bahama Mud Cloths - This is the first full-length scholarly work devoted entirely
to the textiles created by women of the Bamana people in Mali, West Africa. These traditional mud-dyed cloths have been typically treated as craft but here they are presented as a complex art form. The author explores the hidden cultural testimony written into the mud-cloth patterns, documenting women's silent visual commentary on the events that dominate their lives - excision, arranged marriage, childbirth, and death.  $75.00

Castagnetti, Anna - Ricami Sui Nastri - Embroidery techniques incorporating tie-rack - grosgrain and other ribbons.  German language. $29.00

Collinet, Clementine - A Beginner's Guide to machine Sewing - 50 lesson and 15 projects to get you started - Learn how to get the most out of your sewing machine with this comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide. There are 15 gorgeous projects to make including cushions, shoulder bags, soft toys and quilts.  Full-size, fold out patterns accompany the designs and 50 illustrated step-by-step lessons will guide you through all you need to get started.  $19.95

Hall, Felicity - Cross Stitch Alphabet and Numbers - 100 cross stitch patterns for Aida and canvas - Over 100 letter and number charts, perfect for creating personalized gifts and pictures in cross stitch and needlepoint.  All of the designs can be worked on aida (with stranded cotton) or canvas (with wool) so the possibilities are endless. Includes full-color charts and an ideas gallery offering inspiration for transferring the designs into cushions, gifts, cards and pictures.  $22.99

Holzer, Elizabetta - Ricamo Estense - Canvas Embroidery themes from medieval artifacts: Introduces new vocabulary of stitches where surface stitches are combined with counted thread stitches to form striking decorative bands.  $58.00  In Italian.

Loveday, Helen - Japanese Buddhist Textiles: The Bauer Collection - This is the latest in a series documenting the world-renowned Asian art collections of Alfred Bauer. This volume presents a group of 18th and 19th century Japanese Buddhist textiles. This collection is not made up of monks robes or kimonos but of uchishiki, beautiful and intricate Buddhist altar covers. Like keso, they were made from lengths of sumptuous silk, most often donated to the temple. With elaborate polychrome decoration, highlighted by gold or silver thread, uchishiki stand out as testaments in the extraordinary skill of Kyoto weavers. Superb photos are accompanied by full scholarly notes on the history of silk weaving in Japan as well as the techniques and decorative motifs used.  $160.00 

Merzorati, Laura and Stefanis Bressan - Guida Al Ricamo Hedebo - The details and specifics of this whitework techniques which combines cutwork, needle lace and surface embroidery are presented through clear diagrams, step-by-step photos and projects for the home.  $44.00

Panese, Ombretta and Marialuisa Severi - El Merletto Venizieno Adago - Venice-style needlelace techniques, tricks, stitches and designs for the 21st century.  $30.00

Shimoda, Naoko - Artfully Embroidered - This is due out in October.  In this book discover vintage embroidery designs with a modern twist.  $24.99

A Few Miscellaneous Titles

Steensen, Wenche O. - Simple Cloth Daisy Dolls - These charming characters in this book are all based on justone simple design. Gorgeous in their simplicity, the dolls personalities are created cleverly with different hairstyles, clothes and accessories. The basic model measures 16-18 inches in height and the materials used are pured cotton jersey and wool with very simple stitching to define the shapes. Suitable for beginners, the book includes detailed step-by-step photos showing how to make the basic doll, and beautiful close up photos of the finished dolls and their wardrobes. All the patterns are full sixe and the author offers lots of good tips and advice throughout. Whether you are new to doll making, or experienced in the techiiniques, you will love making these appealing softies.  $19.95.

Pasierbska, Halina - Dollhouses: From the Vand A Museum of Childhood - This is a great peek into the miniature worlds of the finest dollhouses. Dollhouses provide a microcosmic view of the world and preserve vanished aspects of daily life and culture. But they also present an idealized version of life, sometimes airbrushing out the more basic and functional elements of everyday living. This new volume uses the dollhouse's contradictions to explore interior design, new technology, professions, and family relationships, considering such topics as the roles of the domestic servant and the gendering of spaces and household roles. The V&A Museum of Childhold's collection of dollhouses, representing homes and ways of living spanning thee and a half centuries, provides the backdrop for these tales.   $24.95
I'll be back in October. Hope to see you then.  Meanwhile don't forget to find the discount code for 20% off.  This discount applies to ANY book you discover on the blog, web or from a friend. Just use the code.

Ordering is a piece of cake.  Call us at 1-800-429-5075 or e-mail us at  Want to mail us an order: easy!
Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue  Phoenix, AZ 85021. 
Call and chat up your favorite book.  That's what we are here for.

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