Mary Corbet

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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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Painting with a Needle – Young Yang Chung


Amazon Books

How-to embroidery books are essential for a good embroidery library. Just as essential, in my opinion, are the books that inspire us to try new things or to perfect a technique. Painting with a Needle by Young Yang Chung is just such a book. It’s inspirational, instructive, and just downright gorgeous!

The book focuses on the art of silk embroidery, especially in Asian culture, but also in Western culture. Filled with beautiful photographs of silk embroidery from around the world, the book can’t help but inspire. The technical information the author supplies is useful and precise, though perhaps not for the beginner. However, she does take you step by step through the process of creating several needlepainting projects, giving clear diagrams with stitch directions. She also provides a section on tools, accessories, floss, fabric, etc.

Want to know how inspirational it is? The cover features an embroidery of some magnificent fish that look absolutely real, they are so precise. The photo is a close-up of a screen created by the author, and the whole thing is featured inside the book. My 12-year old niece, after thumbing through the book and contemplating the fish for a long time, suddenly took it into her head that she had to learn to embroider – and she had to start with fish under water! This is her beginning attempt:

Admittedly, it isn’t quite the same, but I thought it wasn’t bad for a first attempt! Here’s a close up on a bit of coral:

Young Yang Chung’s book is really gorgeous! On top of it, it’s inspiring! And it’s not just for needleworkers – if you like to have “coffee table books” in your house, anyone would be entranced while thumbing through this one.

What books inspire you? Do you have any good recommendations for ornamental and useful embroidery books? Don’t hesitate to share them with the rest of us!


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