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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Hand Embroidery Kits: A Good Resource


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Kits for surface embroidery projects are sometimes pretty hard to come by. They’re even tough to find in local needlework shops, although occasionally you can find some nice crewel kits in shops that carry a wide variety of needlework supplies and that cater to a variety of techniques. But mostly, if you want surface embroidery kits, often you have to go straight to the designer.

For those of you who like to work kits that employ traditional surface embroidery techniques, I thought I’d point out Roseworks Embroidery Designs, a company out of South Africa that sells a whole plethora of surface embroidery kits.


The very first entirely-surface-embroidery kit that I ever worked was from Roseworks designs. I don’t remember where I purchased the kit – I think it was a shop in the Northeast that is since out of business. Some time later, I came upon the shop Twining Thread, which was located in the Northwest, and which carried some of the Roseworks kits. And now (yeah, I know this is hard to believe)… I’ve got a few of the kits out in The Stash, waiting until The Day.


Roseworks Designs has a nice collection of Jacobean-style embroidery designs. The designs come pre-printed on the cloth, with thread recommendations and stitching instructions. I think the thread list is pretty much DMC, but you could always opt for your own favorite, if you’d like to work with something beyond stranded cotton.


If you like Jacobean style designs, but you don’t want to work a big piece, they have a great collection of Jacobean miniatures. That little orange thing called “Prelude” is really pretty!


Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, they have just that – a page devoted to exotic embroidery designs, from a bedecked camel and Arabian steed to a rather sumptuously attired elephant, and few others in between.

The exchange rate makes the kits very affordable, but I’m not sure what the postage is these days. If you’re interested in these types of surface embroidery kits, you might want to check their list of shops that carry Roseworks Designs to see if there’s one in your area. (The list is somewhat outdated – Twining Thread in the US doesn’t exist anymore.) If there isn’t a shop in your area, you could always order right off the website.

So… there’s a resource for embroidery kits for you, if you’ve been looking for one.

If you like working kits, where do you find them? Do you have any specific resources for hand embroidery kits that you’d like to tell others about? Feel free to leave a comment!


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(18) Comments

  1. Dear Mary , Well this is not to bad for South Africa, besides Trish Burr, There is Di Van Niekerk at http://www.dicraft.co.za. She specializes in a combination of ribbon and embroidery with kits at her online shop as well as various outlets world wide including the States. Her designs can be bought with or without the the ribbons and threads and comes with detailed instructions. Another local online shop is http://www.daaftdesigns.co.za There are some beautiful designs which can be bought with or without threads and also have detailed instructions. Go
    and have a look.
    Enjoy your week, love Elza , Cape Town. xxx

  2. You know how much of a miracle life is when fully lived. Mary, thank you so much for posting today. I need a cardinal for an ornament that I’m going to make for my godmother and family that live in N.C. and this seems like a good place to start. You simplified my search if they have the right kit.

    Many thank you’s,


  3. Hi Mary

    I love receiving your newsletter every morning … a great way to start a day! I was interested in hearing about Roseworks Designs, and thought that you might also like Tanja Berlin’s site : http://www.berlinembroidery.com/index.htm. She offers kits in Jacobean, modern and traditional. I can attest that her instructions are excellent! And, she has conducted workshops for our embroidery guild and she is even better in person!

    Thanks again for my morning sunshine!


  4. Dear Mary

    re Roseworks.co.za

    Can recommend her kits without reservation. They are fabulous and her ability with colours – wow! I learned much of my embroidery skills on these kits.

    Other good and interesting SA sites I haven’t noticed you mention in your website are:

    Daaftdesigns.co.za, and

    Take care
    Judy Adams

  5. Dear Mary,

    Each afternoon, I look into my email and start reading your letter to which I started a few months ago with such delight.
    I leave in Brussels, Belgium – this explains why I am getting your letter in the afternoon. In the Anglo-Saxon world you are much more geared towards embroidery than we are. Although we are picking up quickly. This is why I usually buy my threads, beads, fabrics from overseas.
    The address you provided in this letter seems to be very promising and I will sooner rather than later check and probably import one of their kits. I love the floral ones.

    I am wondering if you would know about a good supplier for tablecloth printed with a design and potentially also coming with a complete kit. The only one I know of it Mani de Fata in Italy. Could you help?

    Thank you for your very well done letter. They really are very instructive and so well written

    Please continue to bring us joy and dream

    Yours truly


    1. Hi, Genevieve – Thanks for your comment! There is Permin of Copenhagen that makes printed table cloths, etc., to embroider. You might what to check them out. Also, Anchor makes a few, and they are available through different places in the UK. You might search online for those. There’s also Copeland linens (in Ireland) that makes a whole range of stamped linen goods: http://www.copelandlinens.com/

      Hope that helps!!

      Best regards,

  6. Thank you Mary! I learn something new from you everyday! These kits are so beautiful and I am so tempted to buy one despite the fact that I have loads of projects backed up. What to do? I think I must have one of the the Jacobean Miniatures kits to start.

  7. Thankyou so much for posting this. I’ve been interested in learning surface embroidery for a long time but the sheer cost of materials was scaring me. Would you suggest these to a complete beginner, whose only ever done cross stitch before?

    1. Hi, All! Thanks for your input on Roseworks Designs. For those who have stitched their kits before, I’m glad to hear that they have provided such a good stitching experience! There are a couple kits on their site that I’d like to get, but given the current piling up of projects, methinks I’ll have to wait!!

      Zeb, yes, I think if you look at the smaller kits, or the ones that are labeled as ‘beginner’, you’ll find them easy enough for a beginner in surface work. The smaller garden scenes especially give a good variety of easy stitches.


  8. Great site for Jacobean designs – thanks.

    Can I bring myself to do a kit, or make up a design like I usually do when starting a project : that is the question! (when I eventually get to Jacobean work)

  9. Dear Mary,

    Thank you so much!I looked at every single one and I would love to have them all! I too have found it difficult to find SE kits. Finding affordable ones is even harder. Thanks again,you have such a talent for choosing topics and providing information that meet my needs!

  10. Hi Mary,

    I have bought many items from a uk website sewandso.co.uk They have lots of kits such as surface embroidery, cross stich, hardanger; plus most other things you need for your hobby e.g. DMC, Anchor, Kreinik,carbon paper, pencils, Daylight lights, needles. Their customer service department is excellent and they are very reliable. Your lady in Brussels may be interested to know that they have loads of tablecloth designs – not sure about the full kit she may have to buy the threads but they happily ship to Belgium – I also live very close to Brussels.


  11. Hi Mary:
    Thank you for the information of the crewel kit. I am beginer in embroidery and I have
    learned a lot doing the crewel kit. Later
    on when I am ready I will embroider in my
    own designs. I would like to know how do
    these companies iron on those designs.
    Thanks. Dalilih

  12. Great site for we Jacobean embroidery enthusiasts – thank you, Mary! Another possibility for those interested is Sue Hawkins’ site http://www.suehawkins.com
    She has a great online catalog, offers some nice Jacobean “smalls” and a lovely Tree of Life pattern.

  13. Hi Mary,
    It was Roseworks ‘Prelude’ kit that led me to your site to find out how to work all those stitches! I have since done it in 4 different colour schemes (after doing the recommended one)it looks so stunning all ways I think because of the stitching choices. I am now working ‘Firebird’ a larger design as a centrepiece for a quilt, which will have the 4 smaller Prelude pieces in each corner. Until finding Roseworks designs in a local needleshop I had only done xstitch and I am loving the surface embroidery – challenging but so satisfying when complete. I am inspired to do some of my own designing and am keen to learn/practice lots of different stitches. Yr website is an invaluable resource for me to learn about materials, stitches, etc thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences good and bad it means so much to me xxx

  14. Mary, I just received a catalog from Ehrman Tapestries and they offered some really beautiful pillow kits for embroidery, but pricey.

    Echoing everyone else who visits your site and receives your daily blog I so appreciate your generosity in sharing your knowledge and the time it steals from your day to pass it along to the rest of us.

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