Saturday, December 24, 2016

IMPORTANT : January Blog will be joined together with February issue for one large issue on Korea/Japan and much more.  It will be available on February 14th 2017.  I have been sick most of January but my lungs are clearing (still coughing). At least no more fevers.  Can't wait to finish this issue.  My friend Charlene has been to Japan twice and now to Korea too.  Discovered some really unusual things from interviewing her, I, for one, never knew. I'm hoping you will really enjoy that issue.  Ruth

                  DECEMBER 2016 BLOG
       May all your days be happy and bright!

December is another misnamed month. It is a Latin word that means ten for the tenth month as in the Roman Empire. Oh, well I guess it is too late to change it now. BUT I still agree with the Romans that March with spring arriving should be the first month of the year.

December has a beautiful gemstone: turquoise is known for its lovely colors that range from powdery blue to a greenish robin's egg blue. In ancient times it was Persia that had this sky blue stone and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt but today the United States supplies the most turquoise with Arizona leading the pack in production by value, as well as quality. That is why turquoise is much used by Native Americans in their jewelry.  It is a softer stone so be careful in exposing it to direct sunlight, perfumes, natural oils and solvents. 

December's flower surprised me. I thought it would be the  lovely pontisetta but I was wrong. It is the lovely white narcissus. During Roman birthday celebrations family and friends offered congratulations and brought gifts and many times included gemstone jewelry of turquoise.The meaning of the December birth flower is respect, modesty, and faithfulness.  

I hope you enjoyed running through the months, their meanings, flowers, and gemstones this year. Best of Everything!

Meet Barbara Jackson - A Crewel Jewel

When I opened up the latest issue #92 of INSPIRATIONS I immediately flipped through the beautifully illustrated magazine as I always do the minute it arrives I saw a familiar face -Barbara Jackson. I smiled and flashed back to meeting this delightful needleworker, designer, and business woman.

I met Barbara years ago at a National ANG seminar busy setting up the boutique with her helpers while Mark (my husband) were busy setting up the bookstore. Every year for many years we'd meet again at another national seminar. Lots of hard work but fun.  I admired her energy and passion for needlework and loved hearing her stories about going to The Royal School of Needlework in England for classes.  After three years of summer study Barbara graduated this prestigious school "with distinction".

She went on to create her own crewel designs and carried Pearsall's silk. They became very popular at her boutiques.  The most memorable seminar was in 2001.  The seminar was packed - over 1000 participants - some from many other places in world.  It was heavenly with a great time had by all.  Mark and I packed up and left the hotel on September 8th. Barbara left on September 9th. As she drove out of the hotel from the underground parking area the whole building shook.  A plane had hit the Capital Building. Mark and I were at his sister's in Xenia, Ohio eating breakfast and watched with horror as the second plane hit the other Trade Center tower.  We hardly spoke the entire trip to my brother's house in Metamora, Illinois - our ears were glued to the radio.  I later discovered many of our needleworker friends spent as much as another seven days at the hotel since airports were closed. How can we ever forget that?

Today Barbara is very busy designing, teaching and from what I read from the INSPIRATIONS she is working on her language skills in French and reading 18th century history. as well as designing more great crewel patterns and kits. I urge you to say hi to Barbara on her beautiful website: and see what she is up to.
Some of Barbara's Crewelwork

I hope you got this issue of INSPIRATIONS so you can read the entire article.  We do carry Inspirations by the issue or by subscription.


                         Another of Barbara's crewel designs

This is a bit of Barbara's introduction to crewel: "In early America, crewel was worked on plain weave linen with a handful of colorful wool, while in England, Jacobean crewel found its home on study linen twill with a wider spectrum of hues. ..... But what should come in the 21st century, but with its abundance with its abundance of wool yarns, silks and overdyed threads."  As she writes, she found mixing traditional designs with those subtly dyed threads 'intoxicating!'  Join Barbara in the fun and learn more from the books listed below.

Amor, Shelagh - Crewel Embroidery: A Practical Guide - Follow an expert instructor's special techniques, starting with the simplest stitches, from stem and chain to French knot and trellis filling. Expand your repertoire to more than 100 variations, with instructions on transfer methods, color choices, and color schemes. The process unfolds, from selecting your designs to final framing and finishing. Put it all together with 10 original floral projects for clothing, soft furnishings, and framed wall hangings.  $19.95

Blomkamp, Hazel - Crewel Intentions: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery - This book continues the concept of using non-traditional techniques and materials in crewel or Jacobean embroidery. It showcases four large projects, each with an accompanying small project similar in technique, and shows needleworkers how to be creative with threads, alternative stitches and beads even using patterns similar to tartan and houndstooth check. Every project is clearly explained with ste-by-step instructions and lots of photos. $29.95

Blomkamp, Hazel - Crewel Twists: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery - Hazel uses a wide selection of materials to update techniques and inspire embroiderers to explore while working loosely within the confines of crewel work styles. She show us how to be creative with fabric, threads, beads, and alternative stitches, borrowing techniques from other forms of needlework, and still producing a product that is typical of the crewel or Jacobean style of embroidery such as including beads and metal threads, monochrome embroidery using threads and beads within the same color range, techniques employed in needle-made laces with designs defined by means of texture, and more traditional embroidery including shading and satin stitch and the many variations of trellis couching to provide texture and interest.  $29.95

Burr, Trish - Crewel and Surface Embroidery: Inspirational Floral Designs - The 16 achievable projects are challenging but not overwhelming, decorative but also practical, with pleasing color schemes and clear step-by-step instructions. The skillful blending of wool, silk, and cotton guides the beginner and inspires the experienced stitcher to create this unique style of embroidery. The numerous photos, illustrations, and row-by-row color keys make the projects an effortless task and a joy to stitch.  $24.95

Gardner, Sue - A to Z Crewel Embroidery - Includes step-by-step photographs and invaluable hints for creating original designs in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, each one accompanied by comprehensive information about the wools, fabrics and equipment required and a multitude of tips to help you get started. Shows 45 stitches and techniques.  $19.95 

McDonald, Jaqui - Essential Stitch Guide to Crewelwork - In this invaluable book, one of a series of books on different techniques of embroidery, this author takes you through detailed instructions on how to work basic techniques, stitches and more. Approximately 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in size. Lots of color.  $21.95

Shaughnessy, Katherine - New Crewel: The Motif Collection - This author takes a modern approach to crewel embroidery.  This is her stunning collection of 30 motifs in circular patterns using five new stitches, and ten inspirational projects. This includes photos and color diagrams of each motif, along with how-to-illustrations plus a CD of the motifs for easy download. $16.95


Collinge, Dr. Annette - Embroidered Treasures: Flowers - This beautiful book showcases the Embroiderer's Guild's huge collection of embroidered flowers through the ages. These wonderful embroidered treasures are as varied as wall hangings, children's dresses, bridal bags and samplers, some of which date back to the seventeenth century. The images are shown with extended captions giving the country of origin, age, size and technique used to make them. $35.00

Epstein, Nicky - Knitting in Circles - Circular patterns for sweaters, bags, hats, afghans and more. 100 patterns and twenty projects from cable to lace to rich color work. Nicky has authored many, many gorgeous knitting books and this one is great too.  $24.00

House, Lizzy - 1001 Peeps: Five Magical Projects Book - In this beautiful book the author has taken 5 would be stand alone patterns and put them into one place, for a better value and a better product. With incredible photography, winning designs, and incredible quilting, this book is sure to inspire and enable you. Book includes 4 quilts and 1 large crewel embroidery. $34.95

Ishii, Sachiyo - 20 to Make:- Mini Knitted Charms- Charms and dangles are popular accessories, used to decorate purses, bags, mobile phones, and so on. Sachiyo provides patterns for 20 different designs - all in her distinctive, cute and fun style. All the projects are really quick and easy to make - each one can be made in just 15 minutes! They are great for using up scraps of yarn. There are ice cream cones, beach huts, strawberries and mushrooms, as well as love hearts, owls, cat and mouse, and stars, to name a few.  $9.95

Pickett, Jan - Decorated Lettering - This book contains essential calligraphic instruction and a myriad of ideas for decorating your lettering. There is instruction and inspiration for a huge range of styles, techniques and media by this master calligrapher.  $19.95

Polley, Sandra - The Knitted Teddy Bear - This is a serious teddy bear is destined for an heirloom collection. Inside this book are dozens of patterns for his/her unique clothing. $10.00

Redmond, Wen - Wen Redmond's Digital Fiber Art - Compose, create, and print innovative art quilts starting from your own digital photographs - even those from your phone! Well-known fiber artist Wen Redmond starts with the tools, and equipment you'll need - any imaging-editing software and a standard inkjet printer - and teaches you to alter images, print them on a variety of fibers, and accentuate them with stitching.  $29.95

Search Press Classics - A to Z of Sewing for Smockers - Part of the bestselling A-Z series of specialist needlework books, this how-to focuses on garment construction for smocking enthusiasts. Presented in an easy to use style, this book is overflowing with hundreds of step-by-step photos and invaluable hints for creating beautiful heirloom garments from blouses to bridesmaids dresses.  $19.95

Search Press Classics - A to Z of Wool Embroidery - Clear step-by-step instructions lead the reader through the stitches themselves; and beautiful designs created by readers of Inspirations magazine in Australia aid the needleworker in putting the techniques into practice. A handy guide for beginners and accomplished embroiderers.  $19.95

Stratford, Sue - Knit Me, Dress Me, Love Me - This book taps into the market for cute, easy knits with a vintage feel, including knitting patterns for seven different cute animal toys, - a rabbit, a kitten, a mouse, a puppy, a panda, a teddy and a monkey, each approximately 8 inches high. All are easy and quick to knit. Each animal is accompanied by a mini knitted version of itself that is kept in the little shoulder bag or backpack that each toy carried. There are patterns for the outfits in which to dress the toys - most of them are knitted and some sewn garments - all one size, and designed to fit every animal, plus the bags and other accessories. The chapters are split into themes such as Out to Play, Picnic time, Time for School, with clothes appropriate for each theme, including pajamas, outdoor clothes, summer dresses, school uniform and so on, with added accessories. Readers are encouraged to use up scraps of yarn and fabric or re-using materials from another item long since outgrown so the toy has special significance.  $19.95

Sweet, Amee K. - Elegant Soutache - The versatile soutache cord, in its many variations, combined with beads to become a new elegant art form to the most elegant jewelry.  $30.00

This book is not new but back in print!

Home Sweet Home an Embroidered Work Book - Country Bumpkin -  This is one of my favorite books and according to past sales one of needleworkers favorite too.  This is a delightful workbox in the shape of a whimsical English cottage filled with lovely accessories and covered in an exquisite garden of stitches. This workbox is sure to become not just a treasured heirloom, but a valuable accompaniment to every stitching project. The pages are filled with delightful photography, gorgeous diagrams and features detailed instructions for the embroidery, construction and more.  $34.95

Most Requested Needlework Books of 2016

Can't leave 2016 without remembering the most requested needlework books of this past year. With all the hustle and bustle of 2016 maybe we should slow down and review what we learned and what we accomplished.  Happy New Year! 

Arthur, Sandra - Can Do Hairdos: Techniques and Threads and Stitches for hair - This book hasn't been out very long but definitely reached the most requested lists.  The book is 5 1/2 x 8, spiralbound and color photos of different styles.  $25.00

Baird, Carolyn Hedge - Teeny Tiny Needlepoint Stitches - This is my favorite cover on a needlepoint book this year and the inside doesn't disappoint either. If you need stitches perfect for small spaces on your canvas this is it!  $30.00

Boren, Michael and Carol Lake - Twisty Stitches I: String Art for Needlepoint - This was the first book in this series, is a large spiralbound book with an entire study on Amadeus through Jessica Stitches with step-by-step photos. Since this is A to J there is a second volume out.  $58.00

Browne, Clare - English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanium - In medieval Europe, embroidered textiles were indispensable symbols of wealth and power. Owing to their quality, complexity and magnificence, English embroiderers enjoyed international demand and can be traced in Continental sources as "opus anglicanium" (English work). This sumptuously illustrated book draws on the new research and detailed photos to offer an introduction to that design, production, and use. Essays by leading experts explain the embroideries artistic and social context, while catalogue entries examine individual masterpieces.  $89.95  (discount code: 16dec)

Cole, Alison - Stumpwork Masterclass - This was the number one requested book this year. This gorgeous color book by Alison takes you through everything you need to know about doing stumpwork and more.  In fact, all of her books are constantly requested and I distribute them here in the states.  I couldn't be prouder of that.  $49.95

G., Sharon - It's About  Darn Time: Over 125 beautiful darning stitches and hints - If you every wanted to learn about darning stitches in needlepoint or improve what you already know - here's the book for you. She divides the book into eight chapters: Darning 101, Horizontal Darning, Open Lacy Paterns, Mixed Darning, Darning Patterns, Darning with a Bead, Diagonal Darning, and Zigzags. The graphs are large and easy to use.  $49.95

Gone Stitching - Got Stitches: Multi-Layered Stitches for Needlepoint - This book has been around for a while but is still requested. All the graphs are showed in color and is categorized by the number of threads per stitch. Whether you have two, three, or four different threads they have the perfect stitch for your project. For the adventurous stitcher, they have also included chapters on trame and trellis stitches.  $29.95

Oliveria, Elaine - Stitch Winter - The author of two other best sellers: Stitch Landscapes and Ins and Outs, brought us a new winner this year: Stitch Winter that was created to expand your abilities to take risk with color, threads and embellishments of course featuring winter themes.  Tips for working the graphs into a particular area. The graphs are large and clear.  $48.95

Wilford, Judy - Embroidered Landscapes: Hand Embroidery, Layering and Surface Stitching - Design and recreate realistic hand embroidered landscapes, from coastlines to deserts, escarpments to plains. This author's stunning process combines different genres, textiles, traditional stiches, and embroidery styles. Part I covers the materials and equipment, lays out a simple landscape, and demonstrates background layering and surface stitching. Part II contains a range of projects, each developing and extending the various techniques. $29.95

Witney Antiques - Now Whilst My Hands are Thus Employed: Three Centuries of Historic Samples - This full color catalog illustrates around fifty samplers. Many of these pieces are from private collections and were for sale this past summer. These samplers cut across all levels of society embracing both the affluent and the poor and stands as a testament to the skill and perseverance of the young and talented teachers.  $35.00

Meet Kristi Abbott

Kristi and I have something in common - popcorn!  Every Sunday night I might a huge pot of popcorn, add salt and butter and I'm in heaven! Along with a large salad and a glass of red wine I spend the evening writing and noshing!  My little dog, Buddy moves in next to me and wants his share of popcorn.  I am going to try some of Kristi's popcorn recipes for fun.  Kristi aka Eileen Rendahl and Eileen Carr was born in Dayton, Ohio, but now lives in northern California. Wherever she is I look forward to her next popcorn mystery.

Kernel of Truth (Popcorn Shop Mystery #1) - Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson's bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she's ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her pop-corn-loving poodle Sprocket, to start a new business -naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordella 'Coco' Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses. But when Coco's niece, Jessica, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was a victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn't so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a "jiffy"!  $7.99

Pop Goes the Murder (Popcorn Shop Mystery #2) - Despite Rebecca Anderson's best efforts to distance herself from her ex-husband, the guy keeps popping up. When Antoine offers to feature her breakfast bars and popcorn fudge on his popular cooking show, she suspects he's once again trying to butter her up but the TV exposure for her gourmet popcorn shop, POPS is too good to turn down. Things take a shocking turn when the crew comes to Grand Lake to film in her shop, and Rebecca discovers Antoine's assistant electrocuted in a hotel bathtub. Now the police want Antoine to come clean. Her ex may be a pain, but he's no killer. So Rebecca decides to bag the real culprit. If she isn't careful, however, she may be the next one getting burned.  $7.99

For those wanting more than popcorn here are a few more tasty mysteries.

Alexander, Ellie - Fudge and Jury - It's almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin' at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules team whips up crepes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year's confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn't be sweeter unless murder taints the batter.  Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead right after sampling a slice of Jules decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tried to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?  $7.99

McKinley, John - Assault and Beret (Hat Shop Mystery #5) - This has been a N.Y. Times bestselling series. Londoner milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Svarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop of Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can't wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light; to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.  William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it's up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues, They'll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception.  $7.99

Mugavero, Liz - Custom Baked Murder - (Pawsitively Organic Mysteries) - Kristin Stan Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there is no such thing as a quiet life. Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan's love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and cafĂ©, Stan is setting into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love is on the menu for Stan's mom, Patricia, too, who's engaged to Frog Ledge's mayor, Tony Falco. Mayor Falco's dogged ambition isn't popular with locals, but it's his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who's inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there's a whole pack of suspect to chose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor's unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets and a killer who's too close for comfort. Includes gourmet pet food recipes.  $7.99

Page, Katherine Hall - The Body in the Wardrobe: A Faith Fairchild Mystery) - Attorney Sophie Maxwell has come to Savannah to be with her new husband, Will. But nothing throws cold water on a hot relationship faster than a dead body. Worse for Sophie, no one believes the body she knows she saw is real, Will is spending an awful lot of time in Atlanta on a case he claims is urgent, and she's been tasked with house hunting for them with his former sweetheart, who Sophie can't help but suspect wishes Sophie would return to her Yankee roots! Fortunately, Sophie has a good friend in Faith Fairchild. With teenage Amy being bullied by mean girls and husband Tom contemplating a major life change that will affect all the Fairchilds, Faith is eager for distraction in the form of some sleuthing. In between discussions of newlywed  agita, surprising Savannah customs and , of course, fabulous low country food, Faith and Sophie will pair up to unmask a killer.  $7.99

Ross, Barbara - Iced Under (Maine Clambake Mysteries) - Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia's great-grandmother who disappeared in the 1920s. who could have sent it and why? Julia's search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother's recent unexplained death of Jacqueline's long-lost cousin Hugh who'd been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother's inheritance, Julia must fend of a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh's demise, and get back home before the next Maine's blizzard buries them all.  $7.99

Hope you enjoyed your visit with Ruth Kern Books

If this is your first time with us I'd like to introduce you to our company. We've been in business for 24 years and have set up needlework bookshops at both the ANG and EGA seminars and for other needlework bookshops as well as having sites on the web.  

Can't find a certain book? Give us a call Monday thru Saturday at 602-943-0738 and if you need to leave a message I'm probably helping Mark, my husband with M.S. or running books to the post office. I will return your call ASAP. Or you can e-mail at To reach us by mail: Ruth Kern Books 7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 8502. Always love to hear from you all.

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

Happy Holidays. I'll see you in January of next year!