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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (51) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Embroidery Techniques from the Royal School of Needlework


Amazon Books

The Royal School of Needlework is probably the quintessential school for aspiring professional needleworkers. For the average beginner or advanced embroiderer who isn’t seeking a career in needle art, the Royal School of Needlework is still a great source for personal education.

Sally Saunders’s book, Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques, is a great addition to any needleworker’s library. It’s another one of those perfect “coffee table books” that will fascinate anyone, whether they embroider or not.

The book begins, as all good neelework books do, with the essential information about setting up an embroidery project: tools, fabrics, threads, frames – everything is covered in the first two chapters.

The book is then divided into four sections: silk shading, crewel work, blackwork, and goldwork. Instructions for each of the above techniques are covered clearly and are illustrated by gorgeous examples of finished work. The author supplies designs for practice or for major projects, beginning with basics and advancing to complex work.

In each section, the reader receives practical tips on each of the projects presented, with all the techniques for finish work included.

An illustrated stitch glossary occupies the last section of the book, so that even the beginner can see clearly how to accomplish even the most complex projects in the book. Certainly, some of the projects are not for beginners! But don’t let that deter you – the various grades of complexity make the whole book a real treasure.

My favorite section of the book is the part on goldwork. As this great art enjoys a revival these days, it’s wonderful to have a source of inspiration and instruction as detailed as this chapter.

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the aspiring needle artist in your life, I don’t think you could go wrong with this book!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(5) Comments

  1. I just got this book. It says in the design section (p 10), that there is a list in the back of the book of good design books. My copy does not have this list. I was wondering if mine is just missing, or if it is a misprint. Can you shed any light on this? Thanks!

  2. Hi, Maranda – Can you drop me an e-mail to remind me to look this up? I’ll need some time to dig out the book – I should be able to get it out this weekend and look up what you want!


    PS – us the “contact us” link in the menu across the top of the page to drop me an e-mail. If you regularly use an aol.com e-mail address, please use an alternative, if possible, as I can’t normally respond to aol addresses for some reason (My mail delivery always fails!).


  3. The Royal School of Needlework is a fine publication that I have had since it was first published. Like all books that are teaching sources they are static for the time. In saying that though it is a good place to start.

    Over the years there has been many new stitches and techniques evolved. My copy of The Royal School of Needlework has become the “go to book” which I have added several pages of index about a stitch or technique and the changes and where I have found them.

    I really think it is a must have if one is serious about their craft/art.

  4. I enjoy surface embroidery. I love working with different colors and a lot of different stitches. I was taught to start with one color and stay with that until all of the stitches were completed. It’s a game for me and a race to the end although I’m quite slow to finish. I take my embroidery everywhere with me.

  5. Mary,
    Did Miranda’s question about the missing design books index get resolved? I too NEED to get this book. I get interested with something special and try to exhaust all resources on the topic.
    Many thanks,

More Comments