I got a gift certificate over the holidays and have been saving it for now. When things are busy at work, a new book or two always helps. When I'm too tired to stitch, I can flip the pages and learn and dream.
I've been looking at this book for a while. It's worth the wait. I've learned so much from it already. It's a textbook and a reference book and an inspirations book all in one. You can read a complete review by Mary Corbet here.
To go along with the theme, I also got this book. This Royal School of Needlework series is wonderful, with lots of information beyond the specific topic, such as frame types and framing up, transferring designs, and how designs are developed. I delayed getting this one because I'm not inspired by the cover design, but what's inside is worth it. Again, I was inspired to get it by Mary Corbet's review here.
So far all I've done is flip, but I'm planning ahead. Once I complete the crewel piece, I plan to pull out a thread painting design I began in a Tanya Berlin workshop.