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 (72) 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)

Embroideries from an English Garden – Book Review


Amazon Books

My poor bookshelves were in the throes of upheaval last month – undergoing one of those bouts of organization and purging that must happen – when I came across this gem and I realized that I had not yet shared it with you.

So today’s your lucky day!

Embroideries from an English Garden: Projects and Techniques in Surface Embroidery by Carol Andrews is an Absolute Must for the embroiderer’s library. I don’t say that lightly, either.

Actually, I wonder if I say that too many times, about too many books?

Well, whatever the case – I Absolutely Mean this book is an Absolute Must!

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

Why? Why another book that’s a Must?

Well, if you have any interest at all in creating realistic looking embroidery, then this book teaches you how to do that, using all kinds of surface embroidery stitches.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

The book is both a project book and an instructional book.

The projects in the book are primarily floral – the title clues that pretty clearly.

But it’s the realism that Carol Andrews achieves in those floral pieces that is amazing. Her projects are really beautiful!

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

The techniques in the book are taught primarily through the projects. The front of the book is loaded with a variety of realistic, beautiful, garden-themed embroidery designs that are worked out in a variety of ways, though needlepainting (long and short stitch shading) figures prominently in most of them.

For each project, there’s a thread list, embroidery notes, and indications on what to stitch where and how, but most of the “how” is found in the back of the book, where each technique is illustrated.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

This is part of the “how” section included in one of the projects, and you can see that it addresses each element in the project.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

Some of the projects are smaller and simpler. You could easily embroider these small elements in a weekend, learning and practicing the techniques involved, before moving onto one of the larger, more complex projects in the book.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

This is a beautiful butterfly! And while many books these days have instructions on needlepainting butterflies, this one, taken in isolation, is a great learning piece. And it is so realistic looking!

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

Some of the pieces involve beads (like these blackberries), and some involve stumpwork elements, like thread-covered berries and the like.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

In the back of the book, where the individual techniques are illustrated and taught, there’s a very nice sampler that you could start with, to learn a whole variety of surface embroidery techniques that lend to creating realistic embroidery.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

You can see here an example of the instructions on techniques. The author uses very clear diagrams with precise, coherent explanations to demonstrate how to work every technique in the book.

Embroideries from an English Garden by Carol Andrews

At the very back of the book, you’ll find the line drawings for all the projects.

This is an excellent, excellent book! I’ve had it on my shelf for a while, and I have no idea why I didn’t review it sooner! It was originally printed in 2006, I believe, and now it’s been reprinted and is widely available again.

You’ll find it ranks up there with the best surface embroidery books, if you’re interested in creating realistic-looking embroideries that fit into the needlepainting category – though they aren’t made up of “only” needlepainting techniques.

Definitely a book to add to your wish list, if you don’t already have it! It’s suitable for beginners and beyond.

Where Can You Find It?

You can find Embroideries from an English Garden through the following book affiliates:

In the US, you can find Embroideries from an English Garden through Amazon.

Worldwide, you can order Embroideries from an English Garden through Book Depository, which offers free shipping world-wide.

Looking for books on other needlework techniques? Want an opinion on a needlework book before you buy it? Feel free to check out my Books page, where I have reviews for over 100 needlework books that are worth adding to your library, or looking for at your local library!


Leave A Comment

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


(20) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    I bought this book a couple of years ago and have already done two projects – the pink pansy (but in purple) and the hellebore. I had great fun and am very happy with the results. After my gold work project (inspired by your Mission Rose) and a chinese-inspired silk project, I fancy a
    having a go at one of the bigger embroideries from the book.

    I hope that you are feeling better. Thanks for all the fascinating info you provide for us. I really appreciate it.

    Regards, Liz

  2. Amazing. . . so real. . . so beautiful. . . BREATHTAKING! Thanks for the reveiw.
    Are you feeling better, Mrs. Corbet? I hope you are! I’ve been praying for you.

    Sarah ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. G’day Mary,
    Lucky me, I have this one. I first saw it in our Embroidery Guild Library. It took quite a search at the time to find one. I knew I had to have that book for myself so search I did. I located one in the UK. Good to hear they’re widely available now.
    Hope you’re feeling better and refreshed for your weekend off.
    Cheers, Kath.

  4. Dear Mary

    What a lovely book and the illustrations look so real and I love the natural look of the projects, these would be lovely to embroider as well as being instructional. I like the drawings at the back of the book and I’m sure there are loads of stitches and techniques to learn I will have to put this on my wish list. Thanks for sharing this book with us.

    I hope you are feeling better and strengthened and rested after your weekend break.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  5. Thanks, Mary, for this review. I don’t have the eyesight to do thread painting, but I can’t wait to read this book just for the eye candy.

  6. Your comments about black work have me interested. Looks like you work back and forth in rows than doing a whole design element. So do pattern tell you to do a stitch in a row across and another one on the way back? I looked around on your site but search came up with more than 3000 options so gave up. Thanks for help if I made my request clear.

  7. Question: Why am I surrounded by WIPs and UFOs?

    Answer: Mary Corbet continually casts tempting techniques, elegant embroideries, beautiful books and authoritative authors right in front of me…….and I drop everything and snap the bait, simply seething to try something new.

  8. I was happily thinking that this was another book I must add to my wish list and THEN I got to the bottom of the post and discovered your link to your Books Page!!! Oh n-o-o-o-……

  9. In french we say :un mot, un geste, et cathy fait le reste !
    Itยดs ordered !
    Thank you so much mary for the advice
    Have a nice day (to all readers)

  10. Mary, you are an angel who reads my thoughts.
    I immediately bought “Secret Garden” book when the article is out.
    I wanted to buy “Embroideries from an English Garden” has long been. The book seemed very interesting. I said to myself: “I’ll ask Mary if she knows this book.” But I have not had time to do so. And now, a week later, Mary speaks of this book. Thank you Mary. I love you.

  11. Yeah, I ordered it too! I’m going to be there is a significant jump in the number of orders for this volume after your post – either amazon or the author should put you on a retainer! LOL – thanks for letting us in on this one – looks like a keeper!

  12. Thank you for this very timely review, Mary – it looks a most useful book indeed. Just what I want right now, as I have a yen to do flower portraits in this style and want to learn the techniques. I’ve just purchased a copy through http://www.hive.co.uk with free delivery to my local independent bookshop (which helps them) – and a little cheaper than at Amazon. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands and eyes on it in a few days time.

    1. The book is out of stock even in the place you have stated. Also they don’t ship to Asian countries.

  13. I’ve had this one on my wishlist for a while, so I’m glad to have a preview of it and can decide to leave it on the list for one day soon…=) Having said that, I’ve bought 4 or 5 new embroidery books recently, and my shelf is becoming badly over-crowded, so perhaps I’d better wait a while.=(

  14. Oh Mary–funny you should review the book that I’ve just returned to the library. Of course I was there to pick up another Carol Andrews title “Making Needlework Accessories embroidered with Beads”!! Would you consider reviewing her book “Made to Match, Beaded Cases for Scissors & Needles”? It is not available thru inter-library loan & looks equally scrumptious. Many thanks.

  15. The book depository does not have the book now. Many sellers say that they don’t have stock because the publisher doesn’t have it. But Crowood press has it. Their shipping charges to my part of the world is $18.50!!!!!! Abebooks has the book but the shipping charges alone to my part of the world is $23.
    Do you know Any other place to buy this book MARY?
    Please reply


More Comments