Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Hand embroidery – where to start?!?


If you’re hooked on hand-embroidery and want to expand your techniques, you’ve come to the right spot!

If you’re one of those people who’ve said to yourself, “Wow, I’d like to learn to do that,” but aren’t sure where to start – start here.

The point of this site is not to instruct the reader on every tiny nuance of embroidery. Rather, the point is to supply you with a resource base, and to discuss various techniques, pitfalls, troubleshooting, and all the joys and frustrations that come with hand embroidery.

To embroider, you really only need three things: fabric, needle, and thread (and, in some cases, you don’t even need fabric – but more on that later).

The fiber-arts market is heavily laden with all kinds of enticing goodies, and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up making a massive investment in materials that you don’t necessarily need. But perhaps that’s half the fun of embroidery – the abundant sources of inspiration… and the fun accessories!

If you’re like me and millions of others, though, all that inspiration stuff can lead to a closet full of unfinished projects, to bookshelves packed with books not quite what you had in mind, to a lack of storage space, to a lack of clear purpose, and perhaps even a disorganized mess.

So what do you want to do? Do you want to get started on basic embroidery? Do you want to learn how to make those beautiful old cutwork linens? You want to decorate your children’s clothes? Your clothes? Do you want to adorn your house with fine linens and things? Do you want to make things to sell? Or perhaps market your own skills and become an instructor?

Bookmark Needle ‘n Thread, and look for regular updates on resources, tips, techniques, and all kinds of ideas for the needleworker.

And do feel free to leave comments and suggestions for other readers and to join in with advice or whathaveyou!

See you soon!


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(19) Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this site..I joined several beginner embroidery groups but none of them are for the real beginner..this site is just what I was looking for…thank you.

  2. I too, would like to say thank you for sharing such a wonderful site. I’ve enjoyed quite a few wonderful minutes here this evening, and now, I think I can do the crazy stitch!


  3. Hi!Hello. I’ve done some embroidering before. It was on my backpack in highschool. Anyways I’d like to know what thread and fabric is used. Thank you.

  4. Would like to learn how to do hand embroidery. Not sure where to start. No nothing about this craft but love the beautiful works of this art very pretty. Thankyou. Lesley

  5. oui je veux bien apprendre a faire de la broderie
    fine pour mes draps – mes nappes et meme pour les robes de mes filles , je vous remercie pour vos effots

  6. Well, by golly, here it is, the beginning. Boy, have I got some reading to do!!! LOL. Looking forward to seeing “In the beginning”… 🙂

  7. Hi Mary
    I have now been following your site for a few years now, but not from the beginning! It is so interesting to be able to go back to the start and read what came first.
    I do get great enjoyment from your site as well as fully detailed instructions for many embroidery techniques.
    Thank you and may your good work and expert guidance continue.

  8. Hi Mary, Your plan for a local art center with a well stocked library is a fantastic one–and worth keeping. If you can sort your books that you don’t use regularly–but want to keep–by size and then box them in acid free paper boxes that approximate this size–they should keep nicely with minimal wear. My husband maintains a library of WWII pictures, documents and books that way and it takes up far less space and is secure. Thanks for all you do!

  9. Mary,

    Here it is TEN years later! I got a big laugh out of your sentence:
    “The point of this site is not to instruct the reader on every tiny nuance of embroidery.” We did not know what we were in for! We did learn the tiny nuances of every stitch, every thread, every needle, every anything to do with embroidery and we loved every minute. We are so happy to have found you Mary. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and love of embroidery with us.

    1. Very well said, Robin! It’s the nuances that make Needle ‘n Thread so delicious. Thank you, Mary, for all your effort to make this my favorite blog!

  10. I collect embroidery and beadwork books also. I hope some day we will have our own ebook site like Project Gutenberg.

    Congratulations on your 10 years of blogging!

  11. Dear Mary,
    I want to thank you so much for this blog. I do counted cross-stitch, and have made a couple of half-hearted attempts at surface embroidery. (I even bought the e-book on the Jumble Lattice Sampler – probably not the best choice for a beginner!). But I really enjoy reading your blog, and the material on fabrics and threads is very helpful to me.
    So thanks! Hope all is well, and your organization plans come to fruition.

  12. Congratulations on a stellar decade. I found you about a year ago and this is one of my most favorite sites. Thank-you for providing us all such wonderful eye candy and especially for being such a warm genuine person. You are so easy to love! I consider myself very lucky to have found you and I’m looking forward to the next decade. Kudos!

  13. Ten years! I’ve only been following you for about a year now, but I’m stunned by how your first post reflects your personality and sounds EXACTLY like your posts do now. With a twinkle and a smile, warm-hearted and humorous, spreading the joy and fun of needlework with every word, in every detail. I am looking forward to the next 10 years (at least!) of your endeavour to spread your passion. You are doing such a good job. xoxo Gabi

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