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 (61) 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)

Tips and Tricks for Hand Embroidery


Amazon Books

This is a new index which I’ll be adding to the “Editor’s Floss” in the right column of Needle ‘n Thread.

Here you’ll find general categories for different types of tips, tricks, and helpful information articles on Needle ‘n Thread. I’ve linked to articles that focus solely on a certain tip or technique, as well as articles that contain helpful information within, even if they weren’t written to focus on a particular tip.

While organizing this list, I’ve noticed that I am missing some key information that is especially suited to beginners – articles that I planned to write, but never finished, etc. I’ll be finishing those up and publishing them in the near future.

As I re-organize and re-categorize some articles, I’ll add them to the list. And of course, whenever I come up with a new article that would fit under any of these categories, I’ll list it here, too, so you can find it easily.

Tips Especially for Beginners

Video Library of Hand Embroidery Stitches

Starting and Ending Threads

Transferring a Repeat Pattern (Iron-on)

On Threading Needles (read the comments section, too!)

Making False Starts – Knowing When to Start Over

The Back of the Embroidery

Removing and Repairing a Slip Knot on the Back of your Work

Hand Embroidered Lettering and Text Index – a series of tutorials

Transferring Patterns

Transferring a Design onto a Dressed Slate Frame

Transferring a Repeat Pattern (Iron-on)

Tracing a Pattern (information is contained in the text of this post)

Using Solvy to Transfer Your Design: Part I

Using Solvy to Transfer Your Design: Part II

Transferring a Pattern Using Prick and Pounce

General Information about Iron-on Patterns

Designing your Own Embroidered Card Pattern

Difficulties of Pencil Transfer with Whitework

Transferring a Pattern using Tracing Paper and Tacking stitches

Hoops, Frames, and Stands

The Embroidery Hoop

Dressing a Slate Frame

Using a Stretcher Bar Frame

Stand Review for the Needlework System 4

On Embroidery Hoops in General

Using a Scroll Frame for Ribbon Embroidery (read the comments section for reader input!)

A Project from its Conception to the Beginning Stitches (includes commentary on planning, framing, transferring)


Thread Conversion – DMC to Anchor, etc.

Cotton Floche vs. Danish Flower Thread

Floche, Perle, and Stranded Cotton

Twisted Silks in Use

Comparison of Twisted Silks

Comparison of Flat Silks, Part I

Comparison of Flat Silks, Part II

Goldwork Threads: Sadi

Goldwork Threads: Passing Thread Close Up

Size Comparison: Gilt Silk Twist vs. Stranded Cotton

Embroidering with Gilt Silk Twist (needle info, etc., within the artcle)

Further Clarification on Floche, Coton a Broder, and Danish Flower Thread

Individual Stitches and Techniques

Long and Short Stitch Shading (Thread Painting, Needle Painting) – a series of tutorials, including videos.

Video Library of Hand Embroidery Stitches

The Difference Between Stem Stitch and Outline Stitch

Whipped Backstitch and Running Stitch – Stitch direction makes a difference!

Satin Stitch around a Tight Curve

Satin Stitch: Outlining and Padding before Stitching

Making Flowers out of Buttonhole Stitch

Making Hollyhocks out of Buttonhole Stitch

Working Herringbone Stitch in a Circle

Experimenting with Italian Stitch in Silk and Gold

Using Seed Stitch as a Filling

How to Make a Bullion Rose Bud – this is a video tutorial that includes tips on starting and ending threads

Lattice Work for the Center of a Flower

Plaited Braid Stitch Musings

Couching Lattince Work

Thread Painting Tips – Long and Short Stitch Shading

Thread Painting Tip from Trish Burr

Stitching a Better Satin Stitch

Beginning a Cutwork Piece

Satin Stitching on Linen – satin stitch on fabric usually used for counted thread techniques (check the comments section, too, for good tips!)

Drawn Thread Embroidery Tips

Chain Loop Bunches in Drawn Thread Embroidery

Hemstitch Tutorial: Photo Tutorial on the Hemstitch used in Drawn Thread Embroidery

Securing the Edges for Drawn Thread Embroidery: Re-Weaving the Drawn Threads

Securing the Edges for Drawn Thread Embroidery: Satin Stitch Bars

Diamond Stitch used in Drawn Thread Embroidery


What is Cloth of Gold?

Taking Care of Linens and Projects (read the comments, too)

Embroidering on Vintage Linens

Fabric for Surface Embroidery and Tips on Linen

On Specific Tools

On Threading Needles

Selecting the Right Needle for the Job

Using a Laying Tool

A Boo-boo Stick

Tack Kit (for stretcher bars)

Thread Rings and Keeps

The Contents of a Needlework Toolbox

How to Make a Simple Needle Roll for Storing Needles


Stretched Purl Pearl wrapped with Thread (gold and floss twist)

Using a Plunging Lasso (for plunging goldwork threads)

Goldwork Threads: Sadi

Couching Gold over Silk, and Some Comments on Plunging Threads

Repairing Cloth of Gold (read the comment section especially!)

Preparing Beetle Wings for Embroidery

Chipwork and Working with Purl

Or Nue Information

Goldwork Tools

Stretching Pearl Purl and Couching in the Valleys

What is Pearl Purl and How to Use It

Finish Work

Ironing Your Finished Embroidery

Finish Work: How to Frame a Piece of Embroidery

Finishing an Embroidered Pouch

Making a Cord, Tassel, and Button


Floss and Thread Organization, Part I ***

Floss and Thread Organization, Part II ***

Keeping Organized While Stitching

Organizing a Project Room (no real tips, just what I did)

Organizing Threads, Especially Floche, Coton a Broder, and Perle Cotton

Organizing Threads Using Key Chain Tabs

Organizing Threads using Thread Cards

Miscellaneous (There’s always a junk drawer, isn’t there?)

Setting up a Children’s Embroidery Class (including making your own thread holders)

An Online Resource for Tips and Tricks

Making Dorset Buttons

Making Embroidery Stitch Videos

Budgeting so you can Afford your

Making an Arm-Chair Thread Catcher for Scraps and Orts

How Many Hand Embroidery Techniques Are There, Anyway? (read comments!)

Stitching a Stuffed Figure

*** These articles need to be reformatted, which I will do soon. When I switched the site over last year to the new format, some of the characters and formatting didn’t transfer, and I just now noticed!!! Aaack. So I will fix these and repost them!

I hope you find something useful in this list that maybe you haven’t seen before, or perhaps you’ll find something that a stitching friend could use, and you’ll forward it on! Thanks!


Leave A Comment

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


(9) Comments

  1. Mary: with all that written stock don’t you want to publish a book?
    I’ll be your first buyer, surely! and I’ll do all the divulgation I can… Think about that, pleeeease! I’m serious!

  2. Mary: Thanks for posting these links. I'm particularly happy that I clicked over to the post "On Threading Needles" and that I read the comments as you suggested.

    I'm working on a crewel embroidery project and have been frustrated with the needlethreading part of it. I'm a beginner, plus a bit clumsy with my hands, so I'm constantly having to re-thread. Neither the "fold & pinch" nor the moistening methods seem to work well for threading yarn. I do have a Clover needlethreader, but I find that the wires fray the yarn a bit as I'm pulling it through. Plus I've already yanked out one end of wires.

    Then in the comment section I read Laura's paper strip suggestion…so simple, no equipment needed but a piece of paper and scissors, and it works wonderfully with yarn. What a relief!

  3. When do you know how many strands to use? I have a project that does not specify and my usual rule is two strands of floss but I recently noticed some embroidery that had tiny stitches and as far as I can tell they used only one strand.

  4. Hi, Angie – I’m glad the needle threading suggestions were useful! The paper strip is a great (and economical) substitution for a needle threader – and a lot easier on the threads!!

    Hi, Susan – How many strands of floss you need to use really depends upon what you’re stitching. For delicate work or tiny stitches, generally one strand works, but if your working on a ground fabric that’s thick or fluffy (for example, felt) the stitches might get lost with just one strand. There’s no hard-fast rule for the number of threads. It’s basically just whatever looks best. The one exception would be satin stitch, which usually looks best with only one strand of thread, as two or more will often twist up and look bulky, unless you’re using a laying tool.

    Hope that helps!

  5. I have to say this is the best site I have come across!!! Thank you soooo much!! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I have surfed the entire web searching for tips and tricks to help me get started. I finally decided to go to ebay and find some patterns and books and teach myself… BIG MISTAKE… LOL I had no idea how much is really involved!!! Then as a last resort I googled HAND EMBROIDERY PATTERNS and clicked your link. I am so glad I found you!!! XOXOXO

  6. I have just run through your list and haven’t found what I need so I am writting this looking for help.

    When cross stitch kits first came out here in Spain ,30 years ago, I decided to do a whole set of alphabet letters and frame each one individually. I don’t know who designed them but the letters are all stitched in green and there are boys and girls in 19th century clothes.These pictures have spent the last 20 years in my garage and as I have been spring cleaning I have found some of them in a terrible state with signs of mould and rust. My idea is to make a quilt with them, now that I have grandchildren, but I don’t know if I will be able to get them clean.

    Here goes my question. Do any of you expert ladies know how to clean cross stitch work with terrible stains?

    I hope a solucion can be found and I’d like to thank you all in advance for your help.

    Keep up the good work.


  7. I'm looking for information on how to work with sequins and beads. I've had a lot of trouble finding anything. The closest I have come is a short video that only explains one technique. Do you have any information about beaded embroidery?

  8. Hi Mary. Thank you for all the information that I have received from your website. I am brand new at this and any info would be appreciated. What is a blog? Can I use dmc floss to work on? Sincerely, Theresa

  9. Hi, I am sravanthi. i have a doubt. i want to do start embriodary on cloths. but how i have to draw design on trace paper and how to transfer design from trace paper to on cloths.And for transfer which chemicals i want to mixup. please suggest me and do the needful.Thank you.

More Comments