For my high school needlework class this year, I went through my bookshelf and selected my favorite stitch dictionaries to have on hand in the classroom. I thought I’d share the list with you. I’ve also linked to my reviews of them, in case you want to read a little more about the books.
Knowing I had at least two left-handed students, I blessed the day Yvette Stanton conceived the notion of writing a left-handed stitch dictionary! Her book, The Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion, is an absolute must for any embroiderer’s bookshelf. She also has a right-handed version, which is on my to-get list. I suspect, between the two books, I’d be set for stitch instructions in the classroom!
Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches is a standard go-to reference book. It’s been around for a while, it’s quite thorough, and always useful.
The A-Z of Embroidery Stitches and the A-Z of Embroidery Stitches 2 both made it to the classroom shelf with me. I noticed right away, when showing these books to students, that they are immediately taken by the photographs. To them, a photograph is “real” – they understand it and assimilate it more quickly than they do a diagram. I am ever-grateful for the series of A-Z books from Country Bumpkin!
And speaking of Country Bumpkin, their other stitch publication, The Embroiderer’s Handbook was a must right off the bat. Here, it’s not only a question of stitch instructions. It’s a question of inspiration. Along with the step-by-step photos of the stitches, in typical Country Bumpkin style, there are gorgeous photos of needlework throughout.
The Embroidery Stitch Bible is a great little compact stitch dictionary to have on hand. I like this book as a reference tool especially because it has a visual index of the stitches in the book, and all the stitches are grouped in a logical way.
And finally, a book I haven’t reviewed yet, but that’s been on my shelf for eons, travels back and forth with me to class daily. It’s Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book. I like it for its instructional material and for its history and background information. It isn’t a flashy book – the photos are all black and white, and the stitch diagrams are simple line drawings – but it is a good solid book full of great information. I should review it and give you a closer look at it some day!
So those are my stitch dictionaries for the classroom bookshelf. When we get into specific types of embroidery (such as crewel work), I’m sure I’ll be taking in another round of books. But for this quarter, these stitch dictionaries are my perfect and priceless companions!
What are your favorite stitch dictionaries? Am I leaving anything off the list, that’s an exceptional resource in the classroom? Leave a comment below and let me know! Thanks!!