Wednesday, February 24, 2016



                   FEBRUARY 2016 BLOG

I guess I should be writing good-bye February since this blog is so late due to my right should fracture and being hacked but I've managed to reconstruct it from scratch! (Hope you don't see any sweat, blood, or tears on this page!)  Glad to get it back.

Anyhow,  I went to the web, dictionary, etc. and could not find out how February got its name.  Poor February!  It also was given only 28 days except for Leap Year every four years.  And lucky us this is a Leap Year.  Hoorah! Aren't we always looking for more time?  Well, here it is.  Put this extra day to good use.  I know I need it badly after my accident and hacking.  Have fun with yours. What a great time to get more needlework done. 

The gemstone and color for February is amethyst.  I think most of us think red because Valentine's day is in February so we see red everywhere for the first half of this month.  But no, we need to think purple.  Amethyst is believed to protect the wearer from evil and harm. I guess I should have been wearing this gem!  Whatever the meaning, it is a beautiful stone and look good in needlework. 

I hope your year is humming along and you are enjoying stitching!    Ruth


As a child I shared a bedroom with my sister.  We were two different people with different interests and friends.  We also had different ideas on organizing it and who stuff should be where.  We worked most of it out between us but I (am I'm sure she did as well) dreamed of a room of my own.  Then I got married and had two children and there was no spare room for me though each child had a room of their own.  Today, years later, I have a room of my own to write, read, or stitch, or whatever I want to do (even daydream).  I hope you have a room (or special space) for your needlework or other interests.

Some years ago I saw a televised, one-woman play about Virginia Woolf that featured this famous author giving her famous lecture,  A Room of One's Own, at a woman's college back in her day when women still had a problem getting a college  education, a job, and even entering into university libraries.  She was to speak on writing for women but took her audience back in history to describe the condition for 14th, 16th, and even 19th century women as being under the thumb of a man ruled society and not allowed to grow or decide anything for herself without male approval.  In fact, she described these poor women as being locked up, beaten, and flung around the room.  If you watch the news, local and international you've seen what can still happen to women who decide to rebel that male authority.  Virginia
Woolf's lecture was to encourage women to write but first she said, "you need a room of your own AND money." Her point was women need get their own space to create and money to keep them independent, in other-words, respect for what they are doing whether it be writing or designing, or stitching.  I wonder if the women in Ireland who, during the potato famine, worked lace to save their families from starvation, got respect and credit? I hope so.

If you'd like to read her whole lecture copies of A Room of One's Own is still available.  $8.00

The second part of having a room of one's own is organizing it so it is pleasant to work in (I have a large floor to ceiling window in mine that looks out onto the backyard.) and keeping papers, materials, etc. in order for easy use.  Nothing is more frustrating than the "missing paper hunt" and wasting the allotted time for your project on searching for it.  Same goes for tools and threads, books, etc.  I've been there and done that and I learned the hard way to find better ways to keep things in order but I think no matter how good we are a few fresh ideas don't hurt. 

Below I've included some neat books on organizing so we can get a fresh prospective on keeping the myriad of things we must deal with in good order. 

Clement, Christopher - It's All About Work: Organizing Your Company to Get Work Done - This is an eye-opening book how to attack these challenges from a sound base that is both practical and realistic. Five simple principles are demonstrated and shown how you can put them to work in your company. $19.95

Hallock, Lois - Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space: Sewing Room Makeovers for Any Space and Any Budget - This book explains how to transform a cluttered, makeshift space into a functional, beautiful and well-organized home quilting studio, as a guide that offers dozens of helpful ideas, and tips, an innovative selection of practical storage solution, and before and after photos of real-life makeovers for different sized spaces and a range of budgets.  $34.95

Maggio, Rosalie - The Art of Organizing Anything: Simple Procedures for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life - The disorder in your life may be keeping you from accomplishing your goals. This book helps you streamline your life at home and at work, reduce stress, be more efficient and locate all those misplaced items. This best-selling author introduces an organizing principles you can tailor to meet your own needs. You'll learn how to put 10 essential organizing principles into practice. This book is packed with lists, tips, shortcuts, advice, and inexpensive solutions.  $20.00

Silber, Lee - Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain: A Creative Approach to Getting Organized - Almost all organizing books are for left-brainers - people who are generally disciplined, neat, and analytical. But for those who are more creative and spontaneous rather than logical and detail oriented, help is on the way! The author turns organizing advice on its head and offers unique solutions that complement the unorthodox lifestyle of the creative "right-brainers".  $18.99

Thomas, Geralin - Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets - The author has been a professional decorator since 2002. The book is full of bite-sized information and suggestions for every area of the house. She offers specific suggestions on decluttering, as well as fantastic organizing  and storage tips. What's great she gives advice on backsliding.  $19.95


                 "Crazy Quilts are to patchwork quilts what jazz is to symphony. Jazz is improvisational but works within a structure. The final result is most noticeable for the individual touches the artist brings to the underlying foundation of the melody, rhythm, and key. "  Nancy Kirk, Crazy Quilt Society

Crazy quilting is an American as American Pie. It became a craze in this country in the 1880-s and within a few years you could find these "crazies" in rooms of most houses in this country. Why did these crazy quilts become popular then? Probably because more was good. This quilt style was non-functional embellished mementos to the dead, events, holidays, and even weddings. Each one was a unique remembrance.

In Colonial times patchwork quilts weren't a decorative fad but born out of necessity, since small pieces of cloth could be pieced together with a foundation to create one-of-a-kind fabric that had a purpose. Why waste good leftover fabric then or now?

This was not the first time crazy-style worked fabric actually reared its head but for clothing not bedding. Think of the Harlequins, those wonderful, magical characters that probably originated in the 12th century Venice carnival. The costume is considered the earliest crazy patchwork style. In the 16th century Japanese nobility at times wore kimono garments of crazy-style patchwork joined in stripes. What's that old saying: what goes around comes around?  Nothing stays out-of-style forever. The rage for crazy quilting died back as fads have a way of doing but today they are once again very popular and show no sign of fading away.

What makes them so popular? I think it's the 'do your own thing attitude' The more you add, the better the quilt. Whether ribbon, buttons, beads, pictures, handkerchiefs, trade cards or you name it, are added to the 'crazie' the better it becomes. It is you own design, reflecting your own ideas. When I look at these marvels of imagination Picasso jumps into my mind. Did he get his inspiration for his art from these quilts? I tested my theory on my husband, Mark, asking him to look at a number of crazy quit pictures. "Who do you think of when you see these quilts. His reply (without prompting) came fast. "Picasso"

Naturally I had to investigate further and went on the web to see what I could find out about Picasso. Guess what? His period of Analytic Cubism (1909-1912) certainly reminds me of crazy patchwork only, at times, he inserts people. His Synthetic Cubism period (1912 -1919) was a further development of this genre in which cut pieces of paper (newspaper or wallpaper,
etc.) were pasted into compositions, which heralded the first use of college in art. I still can't say whether crazy quilting gave Picasso a new direction in his art but I am of a mind these patterns might have stirred his creativity. What do you think?

Although crazy quilt teachers will tell you there are no real rules in design, stitching is another matter. It must be good. There are lots of decorative embroidery stitches to chose from and the following books can take you deep into the ins and outs of this marvelous art so your quilt could become a family heirloom.  (discount code: hrt16)

Brick, Cindy - Crazy Quilts: History, techniques, Embroidered Motifs - An exquisitely illustrated history of the crazy quilt from colonial days to ours, with expert instructions for planning, piecing, and embroidering or embellishing your own 'crazy'.  $29.95

Clouston, Jennifer - Foolproof Crazy-Quilt Projects: 10 Projects, Seam-By-Seam Stitch Maps, Stitch Dictionary, Full-Size Patterns - Embrace the versatility of crazy quilting with quick-to-sew projects! This best-selling author shares 10 small, useful items from a tablet purse to summer slippers, each will full-size patterns. Mix cotton, wool, linen, and silk for eclectic fabric pairings to complement each project. Beginning and experienced crazy quilters will love the dictionary of 60 embroidery and beading stitches, foundation piecing primer, plus stitch mapes for all seam treatments and embellishments.  $26.00

Montano, Judith Baker - Embroidery and  Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool - This handy, spiral-bound book brings us 180 stitches and combinations, tips for needles, thread, ribbon, fabric illustrations for left-handed and right-handing stitching.  $22.95

Montano, Judith Baker - The Crazy Quilt Handbook - This classic guide has been updated in full color. New projects, new photos, and up-to-the-minute techniques make the process more user-friendly. Includes seven designs for a total of 12 beautiful projects to get you started including wallhangings, jewelry, and on an evening bag.  $19.95

Pan, Gail - Patchwork Loves Embroidery: Hand stitches, pretty projects - From Australia this author brings us 15 patchwork and hand-embroidery projects including wall hangings, table runners, totes and fabric covers for books or folders. Learn the basic of hand embroidery; using the correct needle, choosing threads and fabrics, and transferring the designs.  $24.99

Shaw, Kathy Seaman - Embellishing Crazy Quilts: For Beginners - Even beginners can create beautiful crazy quilts with this book to guide your stitching. Template patterns will help you keep seams straight and net... and give you great variety. 150 combinations seams are charted so you can see exactly how to stitch them...and they are easy! Use simple embroidery stitches to create these...straight stitch, lazy daisy, French knot...Plus 104 different monogram designs and over 60 embroidery motifs are include flowers, baskets, birds, teapots, hearts, and more! A great addition to your crazy quilt library .. even if you are not a beginner!  $29.95

Shaw, Kathy Seaman - Crazy Quilting Volume I: Beyond the Basics - The basics and more are covered in this first volume. Topics include: How to apply the principles of Design to guarantee balanced results. Take the guess work out of selecting colors of fabrics and embellishment supplies. Dye your own ribbons, lace and fabric. Stitch fancy seams that are easy, always beautiful, uniformly spaced and balanced. Use diagrams of the surface embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery, and surface beading stitches to help you create these perfectly every time. Plus 94 seam designs, template patterns, and eight full sixe block patterns are inside. This is a great book for the novice crazy quilter or even stitchers that have never done a crazy quilt, embroidery of any kind, but want to learn create beautiful embellished crazy quilt projects.  $34.95

Bernard, Wendy - The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary - This is the follow-up to the very popular Up, Down, All-Round Stitch Dictionary - $29.95.  This book  includes 150 new stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round. The stitch patterns are organized by type - knit and purl, textured stitches, ribs, lace, and cables - plus a chapter on mosaic knitting.  $29.95

Eckert, Monika and Stephanie van der Linden - Romantic Lace Knitting - In this beautiful book you will find 20 gorgeous lace knitting designs. While away magical hours knitting with delicate yarn and bright colours to create shawls and scarves to take with you wherever you go. The authors lead you through the essential techniques of increasing, decreasing, casting off, checking tension and adding beads, along with step-by-step illustrations and helpful hints and tips for selecting yarn and troubleshooting.  $19.95  Due in May.

Gompertz, Will - Think Like an Artist: And Lead a More Creative, Productive Life - How do artists think? Where does their creativity originate? This author seeks answers to these questions in his exuberant, intelligent, witty, and thought-provoking style. From Caravaggio to Warhol, from Da Vinci to Ai Wei Wei, this book identifies 10 key lessons we can learn from the greatest artists throughout history, and collects ideas from leading contemporary figures in the arts who are creatively forging new paths.  $22.95 Due in April.

Jain, Rabul - Textiles and Costumes At Royal Court of Jaipur - The textiles of the Kachwaha Raipur maharajas of Amber-Jaipur were among the finest ever produced in India. This book offers tribute to that remarkable artistic and material legacy, and is the first comprehensive overview of the court textiles of any princely Indian state.  $130.00

Kapolos, Janet, Shelley Selim, - What if Textiles: the Art of Gerhardt Knodel - This book gives us a one-of-a-kind look at all aspects of the work of internationally renowned contemporary textile artist, Gerhardt Knodel. Including over 400 images, it documents the development of Knodel's art from 1969 through 2014. He became widely known for creating huge "environments of cloth" like Panel Channel, a corridor of china silk panels through which viewers walk. Knodel has transformed our view of textiles during the past 40 years.  In this book he describes his goals as well as his interest in the complex language of historic textiles as a stimulus to new work in the fiber medium.

Livingstone, Karen - C.F.A. Voysey: Arts and Crafts Designer - C.F.A. Voysey (1857-1941) advocated honest and thoughtful design, believed in high standards of craftsmanship and encouraged the use of only the finest materials. his simple, elegant work - often enhanced y highly symbolic decoration - was considered revolutionary in his time and continues to enchant today. This definitive volume on Voysey's design life focuses on the English architect as a designer of furniture, metalwork, and textiles, providing a new analysis of his characteristic motifs. It offers a complete and full6y illustrated account of both his output and his vision for domestic life at the turn of the 20th century. $65.00

Owen, Cheryl - Quilting for the Absolute Beginner - This clear and easy-to-follow guide is the ideal tool for the complete beginner to quilting. It is packed with expert crafter Cheryl Owen's helpful advice and exciting projects, and guides readers from the basic stitches right through to more complex quilting techniques. $21.95

Parker, Clara - Knitlandia: A Knitter See the World - Over the last decade, the author, has clocked so many travel miles that she's essentially taken off from or landed in a new city every two weeks. In this book she takes us along on 17 of her most memorable voyages, big and small from the fjords of Iceland to a cozy yarn shop in Paris's 13th arrondissement, fro a noisy spinning mill in Taos to a fledgling festival in Edinburgh. With her usual mix of warmth and humor she weaves a masterful narrative that is both personal and universal, touching the heart of what it means to be a knitter.  $19.95

Smith, Caroline - Sewing for the Absolute Beginner - This clear, easy to follow guide is the ideal tool to get beginners started sewing. It is packed with expert, helpful and exciting projects, and guides the reader from the basic stitches right through to more complex techniques. Step-by-step instructions and the spiral, hands free format enable you to practice and master each technique more easily. The author covers all the tools, equipment, terminology and techniques, and includes a selection of attractive simple projects specially designed for the beginner.  $21.95

Suttey, Lee - Sketching Type - A Guided Sketchbook for Creative Hand Lettering - In this book you'll find more than 50 inspirational exercises and creative prompts divided by type style-retro, futurists, ornamental exercises and fun - to help generate ideas, encourage experimentation, and make practicing enjoyable. Each exercise is introduced with whimisical visuals and followed by three pages (some blank, some with templates where you can practice and try out your own ideas.  $19.95

Van Den Hoek, Judith - How to Wear Jewelry - From wearing a classic strand of pearls to stacking an eclectic set of bangles, this book offers 55 creative ways to accessorize and style your bijoux. Covering a variety of materials, iconic designs, and trendsetting looks, the beautifully illustrated guide is a must-have guide for anyone who loves jewelry.  $12.95


Abbott, Victoria - The Marsh Madness (Book Collecting Mystery #4) - This national bestselling author brings us another spine-tingling mysteryfeaturing rare book collector Jordan Bingham and some Ngaio Marsh first editions worth killing for. Jordan works hard to improve Vera Van Aist's collection of classic detective stories. So when Chadwick Kauffman heir to the Kauffman fortune offers a very good price on a fine  collection of Ngaio Marsh first editions owned by his recently deceased stepfather, she is thrilled to meet with him at his fabled summer estate, Summerlea. The next day, Jordan and Vera are shocked to read that Chadwick has died in a fall from the grand staircase at Summerlea. Bur when the picture in the paper is of a different man, it becomes clear that the ladies are victims of a scam. And they'll have to unmask the killer the imposter because someone is trying to frame them for murder.  $7.99

Alan, Isabelle - Murder Plainly Read (Amish Quilt Shop Mystery #4) - In this latest book from Isabelle Alan an Amish man checks out permanently, but quilt shop owner Angie Braddock's got this mystery covered.  $7.99

Allen, Beverly - Floral Depravity (Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery (Center Point) #3 - As the co-owner of the Rose in Bloom Flower Shop, Audrey knows how to put together unique wedding bouquets, but this one takes the cake. The daughter of a local historian is getting married in a medieval-themed, hand-fasting ceremony, and Audrey is responsible for providing period-accurate blooms. But making sure she gets her roses right turns out to be the least of Audrey's problems. Shortly after the vows are exchanged, the father of the groom suddenly drops dead. When Audrey discovers the man's death stems from monkshood poisoning, it's a clear case of murder. Now, faced with a suspect list that rivals the guest list, Audrey needs to root out the toxic killer.  $7.99

Budewitz, Leslie Ann - Guilty as Cinnamon: A Spice Shop Mystery (Spice Shop Mystery #2) - This bestselling author brings us a tantalizing mystery starring Pepper and her crew in Seattle. She brings us a smart blend of zesty characters, piquant spices, and scrumptious food. $7.99

Cochran, Peg - Berried Secrets: A Cranberry Cove Mystery #1) -This bestselling author brings us a new series set on a cranberry farm set on Lake Michigan where it is cranberry picking time.  Monica Albertson comes to Cranberry Cove to help her half-brother Jeff for the harvest. What she least expects to see is a dead body.  Includes delicious cranberry recipes.  $7.99

Erickson, Alex - Death By Coffee -(Bookstore Café Mysteries #1) - When Krissy Hancock and her best friend Vicki decide to open a bookstore café in their new town of Pine Hills, the decide to call it "Death by Coffee" after Krissy's father's most famous mystery novel. Little do they know how well the name fits. On their very first day of business, Brandon Lawyer huffily takes his coffee .. to the grave. It seems he had a peanut allergy but how could nuts be in his coffee? And who stole his emergency medication?  $7.99

Erickson, Alex - Death By Tea - (Bookstore Café Mysteries #2) - Mystery lovers have descended on Pine Hills for this year's book club competition, to be held at Krissy Hancock's Death by Coffee,  a book store café. But the killer in their midst seems determined to outwit all the armchair sleuths and send Krissy to the remainder bin forever.  $7.99

Flowers, Jean - Death Takes Priority: A Postmistress Mystery #1) - After caring for her dying aunt and being dumped by her fiancé, Cassie Miller decides to return to her small hometown in the Berkshires to lick her wounds and live in the house where she was raised. Leaving behind her managerial position in the Boston main postal office, Cassie for the job of Postmaster of North Ashcot, Massachusetts. Everything is business as usual until Cassie arrives at work one day to find the post office has been broken into. The only items stolen: stacks of telephone books. Who steals phone books? Two days later, the body of an unidentified man is found in the woods. And when the handsome antiques dealer she just had lunch with is taken into custody, Cassie is suddenly drawn into the case.  $7.99

Hyzy, Julie - Grace Cries Uncle (Manor House Mystery #6) - When Grace's estranged sister Liza shows up on her doorstep, the timing couldn't be worse. Grace's beloved boss and benefactor, Bennett Marshfield, has finally gotten her to agree to a DNA test to establish if he is, in fact, her uncle. If so, Grace would move from being the trusted curator and manager of Marshfield Manor to Bennett's heir. And her duplicitous sister would be right behind her in the line of inheritance. Liza is not the only mysterious visitor to arrive in town. A man claiming to be an FBI agent has shown up, and a swarm of avaricious antique collectors have descended on Emberstowne for a prestigious convention. When Bennett reveal he's in  mind to acquire a secret antique and the FBI agent turns up dead, the plot thickens. Is Liza at the center of it all?   $7.99

Tremel, Joyce - To Brew or Not to Brew ( Brewing Trouble Mystery #1) - The Allegheny Brew House is a dream come true to Maxine Max O'Hara, who went all the way to Germany for her brewmaster certification, and is now preparing to open her own craft brew pub in a newly revitalized section of Pittsburgh. But before she can start pouring stouts and lagers to thirst throngs, there is trouble on tap. Suspicious acts of sabotage culminate in Max finding her assistant brewmaster and chef Kurt Schmidt strangled in one of the vats.  $7.99


I hope you enjoyed your visit. If you hadn't heard of us before I'd like to introduce you to our business. We've been in business for over 21 years we set up book shops at both the ANG and EGA nationals and regionals and for other needlework organizations.

Can't find a certain book? Give us a call whether the title is in or out-of-print. We have a website as well as this blog. It is It is being worked on but still usable.

Questions? Give us a call Monday through Saturday at 602-943-0738 between 9am and 6pm Arizona time. (Yes we are the people who never change their clocks forward or backward.) If I don't answer I'm probably in the middle of helping Mark, my husband with M.S. or on an errand so please leave a message and I will return your call ASAP. Or you can e-mail us at: or To reach us by mail: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

IMPORTANT! Don't forget to find the discount code in this blog that gives you a 20% discount on any book you order.

Have a great 2016!  Remember to keep plenty of time available for stitching and reading.