A few people have been asking for embroidery book recommendations for beginners lately, so I thought, why not make a post about some of my favourite ones? I know I said in my last post that I would be concluding the Garden Bouquet project next, but I’ve had to push that to Monday, October 4th. It will be a Grand Affair and Saturday was going to be too busy to sit down and have a cup of tea with you all. So Monday it will be! I still wanted to post something this week though, so this is like a bonus post!
One of my favourite past-times – aside from the actual embroidery – is to go to the library to browse the craft books section. That was how I came across several wonderful books about hand embroidery some years ago, and how I mostly taught myself how to stitch. I love using books to learn new skills. Even though the Internet can be a wonderful wealth of information on so many hobbies, sometimes it’s just nice to do something that doesn’t require a screen. Hence, books.
Below is a short list of some of my favourite hand embroidery book recommendations (and a few blogs I love). I’ve used all of them and own two of them (the ones pictured). They were all incredibly helpful one way or another, so here’s a little break-down to help you decide which might be best for you.
Best Embroidery Book Recommendations for Beginners:
1. Embroidery Techniques & Patterns by Marie-Noëlle Bayard
I was lucky enough to buy this wonderful book for only three dollars at a charity shop several years ago, when I began to be more serious about learning embroidery. This was the book I used to teach myself the basics, and I highly, highly recommend it. It has tons of stitches, all grouped by “families”, so that you can practice one type of stitch a few different ways before moving on to the next one. Ranging from the very basic stitches such as the stem stitch, all the way to the more complex ones such as the Palestrina stitch (haven’t used that one yet), the book covers all the stitches you will need, and more.
It features step-by-step photos of each stitch being worked, and it’s very easy to follow and well-explained. Each section also has a project with some instructions and a pattern to transfer. I haven’t done any of them, but there’s a wide variety of projects, from a cross-stitch wall hanging to curtains with drawn-thread work.
A very thorough, informative book that covers more than just the basics, and allows you to discover tons and tons of new stitches and techniques.
Available for purchase on Amazon.
2. A-Z of Embroidery Stitches by Country Bumpkin Publications
This is a very colourful and inspiring collection of embroidery stitches, with very clear step-by-step photos on how to work each stitch. I wrote in my Goodreads review that it had a really great French knot tutorial and really helped me during one of my first projects. The book is quite detailed, and provides useful information on things like fabric choice and working with hoops. There are even tips for left-handed stitchers! That can be hard to find sometimes as most stitchers tend to be right-handed, but this book has you covered if you’re left-handed.
The coloured photographs are beautiful and easy to follow, and it feature different stitches than in Embroidery Techniques & Patterns. Definitely another great book to peruse if you want to teach yourself many different stitches.
You can find it on Amazon, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble.
3. Long & Short Stitch Embroidery: A Collection of Flowers by Trish Burr
If you’re interested in needle-painting (also called silk shading or art needlework), then you simply must have a look at Trish Burr’s breathtaking work! She’s the expert on all things needle-painting, and there’s no one better to learn from than herself. The long & short stitch is what’s principally used in needle-painting, and this book will show you everything you need to know to get started! It has both beginner and more advanced projects, full stitch diagrams, thread keys, and instructions. You definitely don’t want to miss this book if you want to learn needle-painting and love botanical-illustration style flowers. Everything in this book is simply gorgeous.
See it directly on Trish Burr’s website, or buy it at Chapters , or on Amazon.
4. Colour Confidence in Embroidery by Trish Burr
Yes, I’m listing another book by Trish Burr, because I find this one so useful too, and wish I had it sooner. This one is less about how to learn the long & short stitch, and more about how to accurately choose colours for your embroidery. It has pages and pages of useful colour schemes and everything you should know about colours; how to pick them, how they affect your embroidery, how to shade them correctly, etc…Even if you’re not as interested in realistic-looking needle-painting, the book is still a wealth of information if you need some help with colour palettes and preparing a project of your own design. It has helped me tremendously so far when picking shades for a project and using them appropriately to achieve a realistic floral effect.
Plus, there’s a whole section of patterns with diagrams and stitching instructions, featuring beautiful flowers and colourful birds. Some previous knowledge of needle-painting is definitely helpful for those projects, which is why I also strongly recommend Long and Short Stitch Embroidery.
See it on Trish Burr’s website, or buy it at Barnes & Noble, Chapters, or Amazon.
Blog posts and tutorials are also a wonderful way to learn a new skill. Sometimes, you don’t need or want an entire book to practice just one stitch, or follow a long Youtube video to complete a project. Sometimes a good old blog post is the best way to go (not biased at all, LOL). Below is a short list of some of my favourite embroidery blogs that I highly encourage you to check out!
Who in the embroidery world hasn’t ever consulted the Queen of All Things Embroidery? Most of us have definitely learned a thing or two from the one and only Mary Corbet over at Needle n’Thread, for the simple reason that she somehow manages to cover everything under the sun about hand embroidery! Her website is truly phenomenal. There’s everything and anything you could possibly be looking for, from basic stitch tutorials to sew-alongs, book recommendations, and other super useful posts, such as tips to create your own patterns, and what kind of needle you should be using. If there’s one blog you don’t want to miss, it’s this one!
This is an absolutely beautiful blog dedicated mostly to floral embroidery and needle-painting. If you want to learn the long & short stitch and perfect your skills, Stitch Floral is also a wonderful place to start. Amina is lovely, comes up with the most beautiful colour combinations, and offers easy and informative posts. There’s also some bonus freebies on her site, and many posts full of helpful tips and tricks. Very inspiring, stunning work!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love to stitch the occasional Mollie Johanson pattern, because they’re just so irresistibly cute. If you like Things With Smiley Faces, Wild Olive is the perfect blog to check out! It’s full of cuteness, freebies, and fun craft ideas. Most projects are super beginner-friendly, quick and easy to stitch. Mollie’s patterns are my favourite to stitch when I just want to relax. They bring me so much happiness, and are just plain fun! Totally recommend if you’re looking for some easy projects to begin with.
There are so many more resources I could have included in this list, but this will have to do for now! If you like this kind of post, I could definitely do a Part 2 with more embroidery book recommendations in the future. You’re also most welcome to have a look at my craft-books shelf on Goodreads, where I’ve reviewed and rated several craft books of various genres.
I hope this was helpful, and happy stitching! If you have any more questions or are looking for something more specific, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments.