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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Book Review: A-Z of Stumpwork


Amazon Books

A-Z of Stumpwork was originally published by Country Bumpkin Publications, but, as of 2015, it has been recently re-published by Search Press, along with the rest of the A-Z needlework series.

This is good news for embroiderers worldwide, because the A-Z books are some of the best embroidery reference books (and the most beautiful!), and they’re now available to a wider audience, more affordably.

A-Z of Stumpwork focuses on dimensional embroidery techniques, made famous in 17th century embroidery, and enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity today.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

The cover above is from the new A-Z of Stumpwork published by Search Press in 2015.

If you own the old version, or if you’re considering buying a used copy, the old cover looks like this:

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

The book begins with general information about stumpwork: materials needed, tools, how to transfer the design, and so forth. Then it launches into the instructional section, which covers surface embroidery stitches (both raised and padded stitches), padding and slip techniques, wirework techniques, needlelace techniques, and beading techniques.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

Each technique section is filled with step-by-step color photos.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

Below each photo is the written explanation of the step illustrated.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

If you’ve wondered how to use felt as padding, wonder no more – the book shows several different ways to use felt, whether in single layers or worked up over many layers.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

The book instructs on ways of making separate slips – that is, embroidered pieces that are separate from the main design and then attached onto the design.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

Wired leaves always come to mind when I think of stumpwork, and the book demonstrates clearly how to make these detachable leaves and petals, and how to attach them to the main design.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

Beads are a regular part of many stumpwork designs, so there’s a thorough section on how to attach beads to your stumpwork projects.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

And often in stumpwork, we run across covered beads – berries or whatnot made out of thread-covered wooden beads. The book details different ways to cover these types of beads.

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

Finally, the back of the book features over twenty beautiful stumpwork projects created by talented designers from all over the world. (Incidentally, the “Magic Mushrooms” stumpwork design above is available for free on the Country Bumpkin website.)

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

The designs range from tropical birds to modern flowers to scenes of Africa to Elizabethan flowers – there’s a wide variety of designs, and they’re suited for beginners to stumpwork, to intermediate (and beyond).

A-Z of Stumpwork Book Review

The back of the book contains line drawings for all the designs and their elements.

What can I say about this book that the book doesn’t say for itself? If you’re interested in stumpwork embroidery, then I’d say this is one of those necessary reference books that you’ll want on your bookshelf!

Where to Find

You can find A-Z of Stumpwork through the following book affiliates:

In the US: A-Z of Stumpwork at Amazon

Worldwide:: A-Z of Stumpwork through Book Depository with free worldwide shipping.

You can find more book reviews on all kinds of embroidery books – from stitch dictionaries to specific techniques – here on Needle ‘n Thread.

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(24) Comments

  1. Gday Mary,

    Interesting you should have an A-Z book review for today.
    Country Bumpkin’s newsletter today has a letter and photos from Karin Eveland in Mount Holly, New Jersey, USA. She has the “Little Sewing Shoppe” there, and during the recent ice sculpting competition, a competitor carved the large capital letters of an A sitting on top of a Z, right outside the shop. Karin has taken photos of the A-Z books from her shop, placed on the sculpture and sent them to Country Bumpkin.

    I think you get the newsletters, if so you will see the happy coincidence for yourself.

    Yes the book is an excellent one. Some of those embroidered padded circle flowers in the demonstrations you’ve shown, wouldn’t go amiss on your felt stitching eh?

    Thanks for pointing me back to this book. I’m keen to find mine up again now.

    Cheers, Kath.

  2. I have this book and love to flick through it. I am yet to attempt any stumpwork though, need a bit more confidence in my surface stitching first. I have a few of the A-Z series and they are all equally beautiful and easy to follow.

  3. That is great series,
    The A-Z of Embroidery Stitches have a Chinese vision,and I got one.But not all the A-Z series translate into Chinese
    about the stumpwork,what are you thinking about books of Kay Dennis? I like beginner’s guide to stumpwork :>


  4. I have this book and per your review will take another look at it. I would love to see you do a stump work demo. I have made a stump work butterfly but I’m afraid to attach it to the embroidery block. There is something about poking a hole through the fabric that flys in the face of the care I take of the fabric while embroidering. Enjoy your vacation.

  5. I’ve seen this book advertised before but never paid much attention to it. #1 The book is never advertised with much more than the front cover and perhaps the index shown. I am refusing to purchase any books that does not show what is inside the book! #2 I didn’t think it had anything to offer. I might have been wrong. I love the spiral binding. It is the perfect binding for ANY needlework book with patterns in it or for one that would be used as you work. Even though I won’t intentionally do stump work, there are enough techniques to help in embroidery, such as the pages on attaching beads. Very impressed. Thanks Brenda

  6. I have this book and I love the lovely projects. I had been to a book exhibition and found almost all the books of the A-Z series. I picked up 6 books and that set my hobby budget back by quite a bit but it is something I don’t regret.

    I have been curious about Stumpwork and since I had no clue, this book was the first one I looked out for. I am yet to try any project, but it is at the top of my list… after Goldwork

  7. I must tell you that you are an enabler. After reading this posting I had to have that book for my library. Thank you again for bringing these great books and things to our attention.

    I love your work and inspiration!

  8. Darn it Mary – now there’s another book to add to my wish list! I’d been eyeing this one on-line but hadn’t actually seen a copy. Your review tells me it’s one I should get.

  9. hi, love to have that book. but dont think that i will get it in India. I dont know anything about stumpwork. But would love to learn. If its abailable in India please let me know…

  10. Hi Mary,
    I have this book. You’re right : this book is full of concrete explanations and perfect for those who want to learn stumpwork.
    But one thing : designs are quite “old fashioned” and difficult.
    I wrote a review two days ago about a new Japanese book from Sashiko Morimoto (it is translated in French – I suppose it is also in English)
    Explanations are very clear too, designs are cute and above all more simple. I think it is a good book for beginners. You can see some photos here :
    Have a nice day

  11. Hi Mary,

    This is in response to Usha’s post. I live in Bangalore and got it from Strand Book Stall who take online orders. Alternatively Variety Book Depot in New Delhi is the wholesaler for India. Do check them out.

  12. Hi Mary,
    I love stumpwork and wanted to give it a try.But didn’t know where and how to get started.Read the review and I will tell my daughter who is in the US to get one for me.Thanks a lot.

  13. Mary I just got this book in the mail last week. I have already used it. I love the way it explains and shows you how to do the different techniques of styumpwork.

  14. Dear Mary, I was so looking forward to receiving the rest of the hand monograms for the fan flowers J – Z. Will you be doing these ever.
    In the meantime, thank you for your other wonderful pieces of art – just breathtaking beautiful works of embroidery. With many thanks.
    Lauren Michelin

  15. Dear Mary,
    I have a question about Greek Embroidery. I have a special project I’m working on and I think it involves couching. I just can’t tell. I think you would be able to tell me (even with your eye’s closed.) Please send me an email that I can send a picture to. I’ve been looking for over a year to determine how to reproduce this technique.

    Thank you,
    Elisa Konstantopoulos

  16. Hi Mary, my name is Jumie and i am really interested in learning everything about embroidery. I will be very glad if you can please recommend the books i will need so that I can buy them.

    Thank you

  17. Bom Dia!!!
    Ou Boa Tarde!!!
    Como faço para comprar o livro de A a Z of Stumpwork,por favor estou apaixonada por estes bordados,me responda,
    Maria Celeste(Brasil)

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