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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Right-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion – Book Review


Amazon Books

It’s been a while since Yvette Stanton’s stitch dictionary, The Right-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion, hit the market. Her first book of the stitch-dictonary ilk was written for the left-handed stitcher, and is appropriately called The Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion, and when it came out, I reviewed it here on Needle ‘n Thread. It is the definitive stitch dictionary for the left-handed stitcher.

I wanted to review The Right-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion today for a few reasons: 1. I think it would make a great Christmas gift for any stitcher interested in surface embroidery, crazy quilting, counted work, drawn thread work…. (should I go on?). If you don’t already have it, you may want to add it to your wish list! 2. It’s a Really Good stitch dictionary, and I’ve been making use of it for a while now without actually giving any verbal credit to it. I refer to it often when I’m either deciding on a stitch to use or needing a refresher. When I get transported to that desert island to be forever stranded, limited in the number of embroidery books I can take with me, I’m pretty sure this book will be in the boat. Reason 3. It’s always nice to have a review to fall back on when someone inquires about “which stitch dictionary” to buy. This will hopefully give some insight into the book, so folks can make a good decision when judging among several available stitch dictionaries.

If you’re already familiar with the RHEC and you think this is “old hat” because it’s been available for a while, bear with me! If you’ve not heard of the book and you’re looking for a good stitch dictionary, this is definitely one you should add to your list of contenders.

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

Yvette’s stitch dictionary is colorful on the outside and instructional on the inside! In both of her stitch dictionaries, Yvette displays the various stitches worked on dyed felt for the most part. I love the colorful and bright combinations on the covers and on the inside samples. The book is large, well-made, and printed on nice paper.

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

This is a stitch dictionary, so you won’t find projects in the book – it’s not a project book! It is simply instruction in stitches, which is exactly what it should be. So right at the beginning of the book, you’ll find a table of contents that lists off a whole bunch of stitches. There are over 170 stitches and their variations in the book. That’s a lot!

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

The only “set-up” and preliminary-type information in the book has to do with the job of stitching. There’s a good, clear explanation of ways to start and end threads, for example.

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

All the stitches and variations in the book are demonstrated with diagrams. Now, even though these aren’t step-by-step photos of the stitching process, they are just as good. The diagrams include fingers, too, and they show you exactly how to hold the thread, how to wrap the thread, where to insert the needle, and so forth. Each stitch is worked out in clear stages, bit by bit, so you don’t miss any movement involved in making the stitch.

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

Throughout the stitch dictionary, you’ll find plenty of photos that demonstrate what the stitches look like when stitched. White bullions on bright yellow felt – what’s not to love?

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

The book is not limited to surface embroidery stitches only. There are plenty of counted thread techniques covered as well, and they, too, are illustrated with clear diagrams and explanations.

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

You’ll also find drawn thread stitches within the ranks. The book does not limit you to just one type of embroidery, as you can see!

Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion by Yvette Stanton

And, to make finding the stitches and variations that you’re looking for much easier, there’s an alphabetical index in the back of the book.

The Right-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion is exactly what the title promises it to be – a faithful companion for the embroiderer, just waiting to help you create the perfect stitch.

The pros of the book:

The first “pros” that pop into my mind: quantity and quality. The quantity of stitches and variations is quite nice – and the stitches range from the simple to the complex (like plaited braid, for example). The quality of instruction is superb, as is the case with all of Yvette’s books.

The cons: Hmmm…. Are there any? It’s a great stitch dictionary for beginners and beyond!

Where to Find It

You can find Right-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion directly through Yvette’s website here, or it is also available through the following book affiliates:

Worldwide with free shipping, Right-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion is available here through Book Depository.



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(30) Comments

  1. Being a left hander, it may seem funny for me to comment on a right handed book. I was unaware of this stitching guide. I like the fact there are no projects in the book, only stitch instructions. Projects come and go in popularity and style, but a comprehensive stitch guide is timeless. I will be looking for the left-hand version as a present to myself! Thank you for the review.

  2. Hi Mary, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! I bought the left handed stitching book when you reviewed it last year was it? It is a beautiful book and it is great for left handed stitchers who have not worked in a right handed world for over 35 years! I have become so accustomed to stitching from right handed diagrams that I am more comfortable doing it that way! I find myself very confused on stitches I have done already but use it for reinforcement. On a stitch I have not used it’s a bit easier but I move in a right handed direction none the less. I guess I am saying if you’ve stitched for a long time and are left handed review BOTH books and look at the diagrams of stitches you have used, make a choice of which way looks more comfortable for you. . . I am getting the right handed version. . . it’s on my wishlist!

  3. Mmm, you said *when* you get stranded on a dessert island, as opposed to *if*. Is that something to do with teachers’ pensions in the States??=) But seriously, hope you manage to find one with a good stock of fabric and thread too.

  4. Being left handed I have the ‘proper’ version of this book. 🙂 It’s excellent. I’m sure the right handed version is equally as good. The only problem I have with the left handed version is that I automatically reverse stitching images in my head because most guides are for righties. I did that with the left handed guide at first and it was quite confusing! 🙂

    I still don’t know why righties couldn’t have just bought the left handed version and held it up to a mirror or reversed the images in their heads. 🙂 Yvette was most kind to produce a right handed version of her wonderful book.

  5. I saw the left hand version first, and passed it by. Several weeks later, I found the right handed version, and got it. Still could not get the left hand version out of my mind for some reason. Then it occurred to me to buy it just in case some day I meet someone left handed and frustrated. Or what if I can’t use my right hand normally any more? Both are now side by side on my shelf. Great illustrations and phots, and like Mosaic Magpie pointed out – no full projects to make it look dated in 20 years.

  6. Nice review. I use Betty Barnden’s “The Embroidery Stitch Bible,” I love that it has a section called stitch selector where I can see color groupings of like stitches…..detached stitches vs raised stitches or feather stitches…etc. It comes with a spiral back so it is easily held open on your lap and each stitch is worked in three thread weights so you can see what your stitch will look like. This is a great book for a collector if you don’t already have it. I love mine! Enjoy!

  7. I’ve been using both books in the classroom throughout the year. They greatly help the implementation of learning points, particularly those unfamiliar variations. I love the variety of well chosen points, quite different from that found in traditional dictionaries. I recommend using, especially when we want to choose the most suitable stitches for a project.

  8. I saw a comment re the left handed one – someone was saying it was not good to teach left handers to work over their work. As a left hander I agree that is really poor and there are a few examples of that in the left handed version. Working over your work is just not necessary, left or right handed. Having said that it covers many many stitches and is a good rescource.

  9. I have several stitch dictionaries and it looks as though I might have to add one more to my shelf. I go around muttering “My name is Mary Anne and I’m an embroidery book junkie”. Do I need help?

  10. Looks like a good one though I can’t locate it on the Noric Needle site and a used one is over 100 on Amaon. Just a bit over my limit though I will keep looking.

    1. Hi, Sue – on Nordic Needle, type “Yvette Stanton” in their search box, & all her books will show up. It’s between $20 – $30 there. Hope that helps! MC

  11. Hi Mary,
    I am a left-hander so I naturally bought the left-handed version as soon as it came out. But, being a designer and a teacher I also bought the right-handed version to use in class – the diagrams and instructions are wonderful, and sometimes when I’ve been teaching for two days straight my brain needs a little help in the ‘explaining a stitch’ department, and Yvette’s books are the ones I reach for.
    It is with great joy I read your review as just yesterday I taught my daughter-in-law how to cross-stitch. She’s right-handed so the first book I grabbed out of my bookcase was the right-handed version and gifted it to her straight away. I suggested that once she felt confident with her cross-stitching, this book would help her explore the wonderful world of needlework.
    I’ll be contacting Yvette this week to buy a replacement copy for my reference library.

  12. I will join your support group too; I have given up, as they say ‘resistance is futile’ and I now have a healthy collection of stitch books both real and virtual (is that the right terminology – one lot is an actual book that you can pick up and read, the others are in the computer soon to be transferred to the e-book reader).
    Along with all the gorgeous books, if information about stitches is what you are after take a look at Sharon B’s Stitch Dictionary on http://www.pintangle.com. She is truly amazing.
    I also have Betty Barnden’s book which I use a lot, and the Country Bumpkin A-Z of Embroidery I and II. Plus too many more to list here, lol.

  13. I have just checked out my favourite two booksellers: bookdeposity.co.uk has had the book but is out of stock, and fishpond.com.au does have it in stock for around $AUD26.00.

  14. Hi… Want the book… The Right-handed Embroiderers Companion but no one has it. Nordic Needle has the one for Lefties but not this one. Anyone find it anywhere?

  15. Hello again. Well, I went back to Nordic Needle and put in Yvette Stanton in the search box and there was the book. Thank you….. It is so nice to be able to share info with each other.

  16. If a book junkie groups is being started, I want in. Quilting, embroidery, beading,cooking needlepointing, history et all, count me in!!!LOL

  17. Last Christmas, I asked for Alicia Paulson’s “Embroidery Companion” but my mom ended up ordering Yvette Stanton’s “Right Handed Embroiderer’s Companion” because the titles are so similar. I was surprised but it turns out this is a great book too and I’m so happy about Santa’s little mix-up. I feel lucky to now have both books on my shelf. The first has great projects and the second is a great stitch reference for when I feel like designing my own project. It’s nice to be able to flip through the stitch dictionary to see the different variations and try out new stitches.

  18. Hi all, thanks Mary for giving Yvette’s book such a great review. When the right handed book came out I didnt bother looking at it as i thought it would be too basic–then with a few free minutes and no stitching at hand I leafed through it– since then I have sung its praises loud and clear to my stitching friends. It contains so many variations and such clear directions-absolutely fantastic. Dont hesitate over this one-it’s worth every pennyAnd if you dont get it for either Channukah or Christmas splash out and get it for yourself.

  19. I gave the Left Handed version to my daughter for Christmas and really liked that book. Being right handed, I would like that version to expand my stitching library. The left handed version is beautiful and this book would be welcome in my library.

    Pam C. KS

  20. Hi Mary, I think even if we have computers, a good paper embroidery dictionnary is allways handy. Thanks to let us know what is usefull for
    a reference.

  21. If I do not happen to be the lucky winner, you can bet, the money I was given for christmas will go to the RHE, and the Mount Mellick Whitework. Beautiful books.

    I have been to AYR, Wales, where there was a White Work place for women to make lace.


    Happy New Year to all!

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