Sunday, November 9, 2014

                    WELCOME TO MY NOVEMBER BLOG

October ended on a high note doing the EGA National Seminar's bookstore and November began on another high note with my attending the Lacey Ladies event at the Irish Cultural Center here in Phoenix.  This will take more than one blog to walk through so I will continue this report in my December blog.  But for now come on in and visit awhile.


Lucky for me these incredible artisans were set up next to me and I got to enjoy their stitching through the entire seminar.  They spoke Italian and little or no English but who needs language when you can watch the entire stitching process?

Assisi embroidery has a strong history in the ancient Italian past. The traditional designs come from the 13th and 14th centuries monastic embroideries where designs and motifs were on fine linen cloth with the outlines and background embroidered in color silk. The motifs used were traditional designs of bird or animal pairs surrounded by elaborate scrollwork and used on altar cloths and chasubles. During the 16th century a wider range of motifs were used including Renaissance imagery of satyrs, demons and ancient mythical creatures with threads of red, blue, green or gold for the background and black or brown for outlines. Assisi embroidery is called a voided technique where cross-stitch fills the background while the motif is blank. The Holbein stitch is used to outline and emphasize the motif and create the surrounding decorative scrollwork.  It is so pleasing to the eye.

Fortunately they brought some books and a great DVD on
Punto Assissi.  The first book,  Academia Punto Assisi, is a largeinside spiralbound design book that is wonderfully graphed and includes large fold out designs as well as full page ones.  Yes the introduction is in Italian but the great designs speak for themselves.  $39.95

This second book,  Punto Assisi is also full of great Assissi designs and yes, it is in Italian but the instructions on doing the stitch for this
embroidery is in English.  This too has some fold out designs.  $39.95  

Best of all is the DVD, Il Ricamo l' arte dell'infinito, is in English as well as Italian and French.  This 35 minute color film contains technical instructions and the history of Punto Assissi and Punto Madama Caterina de Medici.   $39.95

Back home these ladies teach Italian hand embroidery with the emphasis on Punto Assisi. 

Who wouldn't want to learn Punto Assisi in this historic setting? If you want to see more about this embroidery and the Accademia Punto Assisi simple visit the web site:


Needle artisans are definitely book people and know what they like to read especially needlework books.  I'd like to share what books were at the top at seminars 2014. 

Painted Canvas Embellishment: An Idea Book - Carole Lake and Michael Borne - This book took off in February and has kept going all year.  $35.00. 

Home Sweet Home: An Embroidered Workbox - Carolyn Pearce - This unique workbox complete with a crafted liftout tray and nine superb matching accessories has stayed at near the top for over two years.  $34.95

Got Stitches?  Multi-layered Stitches for Needlepoint- from Gone Stitching has come on the scene recently and quickly rose to be a best seller.  $30.00 (see my October 14 blog for more info.

Stitches a la Carte - Lynda Richardson - Another sudden best-seller.  As they say word of mouth is the best way to discover a new needlepoint stitching book.  $30.00 (see my October 14 blog for more details.) 

Crewel Intentions: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery -Hazel Blomkamp - this is her second book on this subject.  Crewel Twists was her earlier and bestselling book.  $29.95 (See my review in July 14 blog).

Distinctive Presentations in Needle Art: A Complete Guide to Professional Finishing for Your Needlework - Marcia S. Brown - This surprised me.  The book is excellent as is the author's credentials but the price is high: $59.95 but worth it! (See my review in my Oct 14 blog).

The Midas Touch and All That Glitter - Alison Cole - Meeting Alison at the EGA National seminar was a highlight for me.  Her students loved her and her books sold off the map and not just to her students.  She's a brilliant teacher and a wonderful author.  (see my review in my October 14 blog.) 

Little Flowers in Silk and Organza ribbon - Di Van Niekerk and Marina Zherdeva - I was very happy to see a book on ribbon book published that covers using a combination of thread, ribbon embroidery and stumpwork and other techniques and so were the seminar attendees.  $24.95 ( See my review in my June 14 blog.)

Beadwork was taught at many seminars and two book stayed at the top:

Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples - Yasuko Endo - This book that combines beads and embroidery has been at the top since last year.  $17.95  (See my review in my August 14 blog.)  

Bead Embroidery Stitch Sample: Motifs - Yasuko Endo - This book flew out the door this year and continues to be highly popular.  $17.95 (See my review in my August 14 blog.)

Zentangle books were very popular at the EGA Seminar 14.  Classes on this mediative art is now being taught at seminars.  And it has caught on in a big way.  (See my article on zentangling in my July 14 blog.)

Jean Hilton Books are as popular now as they were when she was still with us.  Her Needlepoint Stitches, Stimulating Stitches, Borderlines are always sellers.  Why? Because Jean was one of the greatest needlepoint artisan's that we had.  Thank goodness her books are still available.  One of her needlepoint patterns, Teals of Laughter was very popular at the seminars.  $16.00 


Yvette Stanton Has A New Embroidery Book

Yvette is a prolific needlework writer.  Her three books are classics and now she has added a fourth: Sardinian Knotted
Embroidery. This beautiful embroidery comes from the town of Teulada in Sardinia, Italy. A simple knotted stitch creates the pattern and textures of this embroidery.  She includes 11 projects and step-by-step left and right-handed instructions. She includes a pattern insert covering projects.  $30.00

As you see from her new book and two of her earlier books she has a great interest in whitework, especially historical whitework.  She's a left-handed embroiderer and took it upon herself to make embroidering for all left-handers much easier to master.  She hails from New South Wales and has taught widely the art she is passionate about.  On her website she tells us she is mainly self taught and tries to teach others how she would want to be taught.  She strives to make sure each student understands before moving on to the next step. 

Her other books are:

Mountmellick Embroidery: Inspired by Nature - Yvette includes detailed instructions, history, patterns and the technique for knitting the characteristic edge fringes and this traditional whitework embroidery of Ireland.  $30.00

Portuguese Whitework Embroidery - In this fine book Yvetteintroduces us to bullion embroidery from Guimaraes in northern Portugal. Drawn thread work and bullion embroidery combine to create needlework this unique style. She includes pattern insert covering projects.   $30.00

Ukrainian Drawn Thread Embroidery (written with Merezhka Poltavsha) -  Both authors introduce a unique counted thread technique detailed through historic perspective and include step-by-step drawings and photos and sampler projects.  $20.00


Bosbach, Silke - Modern Sashiko - Our author shows us how to create 15 stunning embroidery designs which blend modern techniques with the simple and traditional Japanese method of Sashiko. Traditional Sashiko is a simple folk technique originally used for darning. While the conventional craft uses only a basic running stitch to create intricate patterned backgrounds, our author shows how to adapt this basic style by applying modern surface finishes on numerous textiles and combining it with a variety of other techniques.  $14.95

Ralui, Gioja - Sardinian Knot Stitch - Based on personal experience, the author presents a book for those who approach this traditional Sardinian embroidery for the first time. Every aspect of this embroidery is clearly illustrated with the aid of diagrams, photographs and instructions. In addition to the preface which outlines the origins and traditional uses of this stitch, the principal motifs and borders used on stitched pieces are also detailed with their names in both Sardinian and English. A few "non-traditional" projects are proposed which are simple to implement and complete with instructions and diagrams that will help to perfect the execution of the work.   $39.95

Halvorsen, Nancy - Table Please: Art to Heart - This book tickles me because if I'm celebrating something I like to have a great table look. Nancy includes wonderful projects including Boo table runner, spider web table topper, trick or treat table runner, mummy chair cover, autumn table runner, merry table runner, santa hat chair cover, peppermint garland table runner, snow much fun table runner, snowball men, winter birds table topper , and a thankful table runner.  She includes all instructions for embroidery stitches used, fusible applique, and patterns.  Have fun!   $15.00

Pedersen, Carol - More Hardanger Tips, Tricks and Fix-its PLUS Care and Feeding - This book is an addendum to the previous book, "Hardanger Tips, Tricks and Fix-its". In this book you will find additional tips regarding: Scissors, Managing stitching threads, Eyelets, tension, plus fix-its of open-work, on Hardanger fabric, plus providing inofrmation on protecting textiles, cleaning, displaying and storing.  This book was a best seller at the EGA National Seminar.  $25.95


Lippert, Sabine - Sabine Lippert's Beadwork Evolution: New Techniques Using Peyote Stitch and Right Angle Weave - If you are familiar with her other books you will be eager for this one.  This is a gorgeous collection that not only includes 24 wonderful projects, but also provides breathtaking variations on popular stitches to build beaders' skill.  From a peyote-stitched crocodile bracelet to right-angle-woven Marrakech earrings to the embellished shapes of a Helena ring, Sabine's savvy techiniques take beading to a whole new level. Sabine Lippert was a physican who transformed her passion for beading into a full-time profession as an internationally  popular teacher and designer all over Europe and United States while living in Bonn.  $27.95


For those of you who have been missing the A to Z needlework books since they've gone out of print I've discovered they are coming back in print not with Country Bumpkin but with Search Press, a wonderful needlework publisher.   Search Press is releasing them a few at a time and are calling them "Classics".  I agree these books are definitely that. Due out now:

A-Z of of Embroidery Stitches - This book is designed to help you try new embroidery techniques so you can experiment as you wish.  This comprehensive guide contains all the information you know to work dozens of stitches and includes how to chose material, beginning and ending a thread and using hoops to working as a left-handed stitcher as well as learning how to paint threads.  Step-by-step photos and clear instructions make the techniques available for the beginner and great information for the advanced needleworker.  $20.00

A-Z of Embroidered Motifs - This book features over 120 bullion designs, 146 step-by-step photos, hints, experts articles and patterns and revamped design of a great book.  $20.00

A-Z of Stumpwork - With its beginning in 17th century England this embroidery technique is still popular today. There are over 400 clear step-by-step instructions presented in five easy-to-use sections and 20 stunning designs from around the world.   $20.00

Another "classic" Search Press is bringing back is The Beginner's Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery by Ann Cox.  I assume they will bring back her second volume of her silk ribbon set.  In this first book you learn how to create foxgloves, roses, hydrangeas, delphiniums, primroses, geraniums, irises, poppies, and more. All the techniques are explained and only a few stitches are needed to create great designs. There are also instructions on how to paint and stencil fabric backgrounds. Both for beginners and more advanced embroiderers.  $19.95


Downey, Sarah Jane - Fashion in the Time of William Shakespeare - This neat little book reflects the time when clothing identified the social status of the wearer.  $13.00

Malle, Chloe, editor - Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute - Costume without bounds in this extraordinary look at the history of the Metropolitian's Costume Institute exhibitions and galas celebrating the past with the threatrical mutations of today's icons.  $50.00

Thunder, Moira - Embroidery Designs for Fashion and Furnishings - This beautiful book illustrates the highlights of the fine collection of designs for embroidery of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Focusing on designs for fashion, accessories, and furnishings, it includes gowns, jackets, bags, collars, children's clothing, saddle pouches and designs for home furnishing as well as poignant embroidery.  Featuring exquisite designs from the Italian Renaissance to the embroiderypatterns of Morris & Company and 20th C. Russian creations, this book provides a wealth of practical information and inspiration for designers and embroiderers.  $34.95


As I was scanning the new mystery books I saw a common theme - Christmas mysteries.  This flashed me back to the (code: thxs 14) Victorian Era in England and the British passion for ghost stories especially at Christmas.  Some of the greatest writers of all time have written ghost stories: Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James, Edith Wharton and many, many more.  These literary ghost stories are not a cheap thrill with lots of blood and gore but carefully constructed psychological tales that tell us about a person experiencing an otherworldly experience.  Who hasn't read or seen a movie version of Charles Dicken's, A Christmas Carol?

Today it seems to be a tradition to write a Christmas mystery.
I noticed this a number of years back but now seems even more popular.  See if any of these mysteries is your cup of tea.

Andrews, Donna - Duck the Halls: A Meg Langslow Christmas Mystery - The residents of Caerphilly,Virginia must struggle to maintain their Christmas cheer in Andrew's lighthearted 16th mystery. Andrews leavens the actions with her trademark humor, including dueling Christmas dinners and an extravagant live nativity scene.  $7.99

Bryan, Mollie Cox - A Crafty Christmas: A Cumberland Creek Mystery - The ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Cropper are thrilled when Sheila wins a 10-day scrapbook-themed Caribbean cruise. Vera and Paige tag along to rest up before the chaos of Christmas. After Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster when she's named the prime suspect. Can the Croppers find the real killer?  $7.99

Crawford, Isis - A Catered Christmas Cookie Exchange: A Mystery with Recipes! - Bernie and Libby Simmons, caterers extraordinaire, are hosting a televised cookie contest just in time for Christmas, but unfriendly rivalries cook up a cutthroat competition.  Includes original recipes.  $7.99

Hollis, Lee - Death of a Christmas Caterer: A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery - A caterer for the Island Times'Christmas party, food and wine columnist Hayley Powell's quest for a cook turns into the pursuit of a killer who caters to no one.  Includes recipes.  $7.99

Meirer, Leslie - Christmas Carol Murder: A Lucy Stone mystery - It's Christmas, but Tinker Cove has fallen on hard times. Lucy Stone is excited, however, to be a part of the town's production of A Christmas Carol. but a real-life Scrooge has everyone feeling frosty. When the miserly man is murdered, the mourners are few and the suspects are many.  $7.99

More Mysteries

Brandon, Ali - Literally Murder: A Black Cat Bookshop  Mystery - From her Brooklyn bookstore, Darla Pettistone not only sells mysteries, but solves them, aided by her big-boned black cat, Hamlet. Invited as guests of honor at a championship cat show in Fort Lauderdale, Darla and Hamlet are soon investigating a murder.  $7.99

Connolly, Sheila - Picked to Die: An Orchard Mystery - It's harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancé, Seth, are both racing to beat the New England winter. Seth's restoration of an old building in town is halted after the discovery of a skeleton. Then a relative of one of Meg's former apple pickers is found dead. Is there something rotten in Granford? Includes recipes.  $7.99

Gerber, Daryl Wood - Stirring the Plot: A Cookbook Nook Mystery - Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual Halloween fund-raiser luncheon held by the Winsome Witches. But there's one unexpected addition to the menu: murder.  Includes recipes.  $7.99

James, Miranda - Bless Her Dead Little Heart: A Southern Sisters Mystery - The New York Times-bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, returns to Ahtena, Mississippi, with the first in a spin-off series featuring snoopy sisters Miss An'gel and Miss Dickoe Ducote. When a stressed socialite beings murder right to their doorstep, even they have trouble maintaining their Southern hospitality.   $7.99

Martin, Carol Ann - Weave of Absence: A Weaving Mystery - It's a joyous time at Della Wright's studio in Briar Hollow, North Carolina as part-time employee Marnie Potter prepares for her wedding. At the engagement party, Della notices Marnie's suave fiance engaged in a heated argument with one her students. After the student turns up dead the next day, Della must weave together the clues to find the killer.  $7.99 

Reed, Hannah - Off Kilter: A Scottish Highlands Mystery - National bestselling author Reed delivers the first in a brand-new cozy mystery series, in which a young writer finds herself swept up in a murder amidst the glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands.  $7.99 

Washburn, Livia J. - The Fatal Funnel Cake: A Fresh-Baked Mystery - It's time for the Texas State Fair - and cooking contests galore! Fryers are heating up, and stomachs are growling. Phyllis Newsom has entered the contest for the best funnel cake, but she'd better watch out. Someone's brought an appetite for murder. Includes recipes.  $7.99


ORDERING IS EASY!  Call us at 1-800-429-5075 and use your MC, Visa, Discover, or AMX card. If you prefer to send a check: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

QUESTIONS?  Call us Monday through Saturday between 9:30 to 6 pm.  If I happen not to be here - I'll call you back as soon as possible.  Now that we are on standard time the time difference is 2 hours earlier than the east coast and 1 hour ahead of the west coast.  You know us stubborn Arizonians - we
don't change our time.  Look forward to hearing from you. I always have time for book lovers.  Or e-mail me at:  or

Enjoy autumn, I will see you in December!

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