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 (64) 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)

Some Great Finds in Needlework Books


Amazon Books

Each year, the Topeka (Kansas) public library has a “Friends of the Library” book sale that lasts for three days. It’s worth the trip, on the opening night, to go before the books get picked over! I like to pick up needlework books, if any good ones are available.

This year, I couldn’t make the trip in, but my sister and a friend did, and they both kept me in mind, picking up some great “new” (old) needlework books that have been fun to peruse and that I’m happy to add to my library… and, averaging about 50 cents each, it’s not as if you could go wrong picking them up!

An excellent find was Mary Thomas’s Embroidery Book – an excellent reference on all kinds of embroidery techniques. It’s not to be confused with her stitch dictionary! I’d be interested to see if it’s still in copyright, or if it’s available online. The copyright date on this one is 1936.

A pretty neat Better Homes and Gardens book (titled “Embroidery”) has a bunch of nice projects in it – some very classic, while some are typical of the 1970’s, when it was published. So, there’s some interesting “retro” stuff in there, and some nice folk embroidery.

There’s a great book on bead and sequin embroidery, by Stanley Levy. It’s got some really gorgeous stuff in it!

Another book – not properly “embroidery” but a mixture of all Irish crafts – called “Irish Hands” promises to be a nice browsing book. It’s got some gorgeous photos of Irish lace in it.

Then there’s a book of floral patterns for needlecraft & the decorative arts, by Karen Oleson – some nice line drawings of flowers and such that can be used for surface embroidery.

Another 50-cent-find was the Margaret Boyles Book of Needle Art. Probably it won’t be a favorite, but it’s got some good stuff in it.

And then – the laugh – Church Embroidery and Church Vestments, by Lucy Vaughan Hayden Mackrille! This book haunts me. I do consider it one of the best books on ecclesiastical needlework. This particular copy was published in 1939 (second edition), and it is in perfect shape, with perhaps just a little rubbing on the corners of the boards – the tiniest bit. Really, a beautiful book. The deep blue cover, the gold lettering – all very nice. What cracks me up is that, here it is, at a library book sale. I mentioned this particular book earlier, and, yes, it’s supposedly hard to find. I paid $100 for it several years ago, when I found a good copy online through a trusted rare books dealer. Guess how much last night? …. Right. Another 50-cent-find!

Well, it’s a jolly Saturday – I love books!


Leave A Comment

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