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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A Dozen Embroidery Books that Would Make Great Christmas Gifts!


Amazon Books

Yes, I know I should have done this two weeks ago! But there are a lot of things I’m doing right now, that I’m sure I should have done two weeks ago!

Every year, I’m accosted with the what-do-you-want-for-Christmas question, and I’m pretty sure there are plenty of stitchers out there who are also asked the same thing.

As time ticks away and Christmas looms closer, you still have a chance to lay out some heavy hints. If you have family and friends who might be baffled about what to get you for Christmas, forward this list!

You can even act like you did it accidentally.

And if you’re like me and you have to finagle (or even buy!) your own Christmas presents, maybe you’ll find something on the list you didn’t even know you wanted. Get it! Wrap it! Sneak it under the tree!

Then thank your husband, your wife, your brother, your sister, your parents – doesn’t matter who! – profusely for it.

12 Embroidery Books for Christmas

Embroidery Books for Christmas

Oh golly! Any of the books below are gorgeous and instructive. Some are new – just out! – and some have been around for a bit. Some, I haven’t reviewed yet, but all are good!

If you can’t find them locally, you can order them online through Amazon and have them well before deliveries stop on Christmas Eve.

Beginner’s Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery is a new one. It’s not a huge book – only about 50 pages – but it’s got plenty of little flower vignettes and straightforward instruction. It clocks in under $10, too! I’ll be doing a thorough review of this one in a few weeks.

Outside the US, you can find it at Amazon UK and at Book Depository.

Another new one on the market, The Stitch Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to 225 Embroidery Stitches and Techniques is a hefty tome, at about 180 pages. I’d slot it for beginner to intermediate embroiderers. It has clear diagrams for instruction, and quite a few projects in the book. Another one I’ll be reviewing in detail soon!

Outside the US, you can find it at Amazon UK and at Book Depository.

Hazel Blombkamp’s Crewel Intentions is fantastic – you can read my review of Crewel Intentions here. It’s … amazing! And yes, you want it. You know you do!

Outside the US, try Amazon UK and Book Depository.

For stitchers hankering to get into goldwork, Hazel Everett’s Goldwork: Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration is a fantastic book. It’s instructional and it’s beautiful – and it covers just about Everything Goldwork, for beginners and beyond. You can read my review of Goldwork: Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration here.

Outside the US, here it is at Amazon UK and Book Depository.

A-Z of Embroidery Stitches is an excellent stitch dictionary, full of step-by-step photo instruction for all kinds of embroidery stitches. For beginners, intermediate stitchers, and even advanced stitchers, this is a great book to have on your shelf for reference! This has been re-printed by Search Press – it’s the same A-Z of Embroidery Stitches published by Country Bumpkin years ago, just with a different cover. A classic, and a must!

If you’re outside the US, you’ll find it at Book Depository and Amazon UK.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox is another oh-so-gorgeous silk ribbon embroidery book, packed full of clear, step-by-step instruction. Another one I haven’t reviewed for you yet, but I will! For those who like mixed media and stumpwork, there’s quite a bit of good stuff in here that you can apply to your embroidery projects.

Outside the US, it’s at Amazon UK and at Book Depository.

Beginner’s Guide to Crewel Embroidery is a lovely instructional book for beginner to intermediate crewel embroiderers, and a good refresher for more advanced embroiderers. If dabbling in crewel work is on your list for next year, this book will come in handy! You can read my review for Beginner’s Guide to Crewel Embroidery here.

You’ll find it outside the UK at Book Depository and Amazon UK.

Stumpwork Butterflies & Moths by Jane Nicholas came out earlier this year, and it’s a beaut! If you love stumpwork, butterflies, nature in general, this book is for you! It’s by Jane Nicholas, after all. What more can I say? You can read my review of Stumpwork Butterflies & Moths here.

Outside the US, it’s available at Amazon UK and Book Depository.

Trish Burr’s book, Needle Painting Embroidery: Fresh Ideas for Beginners is a perfect place to start if you’re planning to take the plunge into long and short stitch shading in 2015. It’s for beginners to needle painting (some embroidery experience is good to have when you first launch into needle painting) and beyond – intermediate and advanced stitchers will find plenty of inspiration here! You can find my review for Needle Painting Embroidery here, if you’d like more details!

Outside the US, it’s available at Book Depository and Amazon UK.

Another stitch dictionary that I really love! The Embroidery Stitch Bible has a lot to recommend it, beyond the 200+ stitches in it. What I like best about this book is the organization of it and the visual index, along with the stitched samples. So easy to find stitches in it! This is one of those books that was around for a while, then super hard to find, and is again more widely available. If you’re looking for a stitch dictionary, you can’t go wrong with this one! And I have a review of The Embroidery Stitch Bible here, too, if you want more details!

If you’re outside the UK, you’ll find it at Amazon UK and at Book Depository.

Another classic for those wishing to learn realistic needle painting techniques, Embroideries from an English Garden is a beautiful, instructive book to add to your library. I think this is one of the best books out there for learning shading techniques. And, the book is full of beautiful floral projects, so you have plenty of scope for practice. I’ve got a detailed review of Embroideries from an English Garden here.

Outside the US? It’s available at Book Depository and at Amazon UK.

Stumpwork Flowers by Sachiko Morimoto is the book you need if you’re just starting out with stumpwork, or if you’ve been doing stumpwork for a while and you want some smaller, quicker projects that are fun, pretty, simple, sweet, minimalistic, clean. The instructions are crystal clear, the projects are small and manageable, and the end results – beautiful! I love this book. The projects within are perfect for gift embroidery, too! Want more details? Here’s my review of Stumpwork Flowers.

If you’re outside the US, you’ll find it available through Amazon UK and Book Depository.

Inspirations Magazine, Issue 84

Finally, more than a book! And a gift that keeps on giving! How about a subscription to the world’s most beautiful embroidery magazine, Inspirations? This is the first item on my wish list every year! Inspirations is a lovely magazine published in Australia that comes out quarterly. Subscriptions are actually pay-per-issue, so you pay quarterly for the magazine. Each issue is like receiving a project book, an instructional book, an embroidery newspaper, a resource guide, and a long, cozy letter from a good friend – all in one! Inspirations is an ideal Christmas gift. If you don’t have a subscription to it yet and you don’t think you’re likely to get one from someone else, treat yourself. It’s worth it! You’ll find two options for subscribing on the Inspirations subscription page: a regular hard copy subscription (if you’re not familiar with the magazine, it’s large, printed on quality paper, with amazing photography and full size pattern pages) and a digital subscription with printable patterns in PDF format.

I could go on and on recommending embroidery books – there are few things I like better than a good needlework book. But I think a dozen good ones, plus a magazine, will do!

If you’d like to browse through more needlework-related books to get good gift ideas, feel free to visit my Needlework Books page, where you’ll find links to all the books I’ve reviewed here on Needle ‘n Thread.

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(12) Comments

  1. Wonderful suggestions, I use my Embroidery Stitch Bible constantly. As per a previous review here on Needlenthread I bought Embroidered Flora and Fauna. This book would be a marvelous Christmas gift as visually it is such a treat. Many many times I just thumb through the book to enjoy the pictures. So far I have only stitched a dragonfly, but it turned out great. I love your book recommendations. Thanks and Merry Christmas

  2. Dear Mary

    Busy time isn’t it! What a great selection of embroidery books just in time for Christmas but which one to choose is the question they are all so relevant to any embroiderer very useful especially the ribbon embroidery books which I’m interested in, I do like ribbon embroidery the flowers look lovely. Thanks for reviewing these wonderful books and for your recommendations on them.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Can you help me, Mrs. Corbet?
    I finished my non-Crewel Rooster (yay!), but now I don’t know how to finish it! I don’t really Want to just frame it or turn it into a pillow. Do you have any finishing ideas I could use?


    1. Hi, Sarah – Well, I guess it depends on how big it is. Is it the original size? Can you use it on a notebook cover? Maybe the pocket of a tote bag? I mounted mine in a tray, but the trays for mounting things like that are kind of expensive. I kind of like the idea of a pocket on a tote bag…maybe to use as a project bag?

  4. Mary, I persuaded my hubby to get a couple of the Stumpwork books for my birthday, earlier in the year, after reading your recommendations. The butterflies in particular amaze me, they are superb! I’ve tried a couple of projects, and hope that, given time, practice will improve things! It’s a challenge that I’m really enjoying, so many thanks!

  5. On your recommendation, I subscribed to Inspirations magazine and have just received my second issue. It is marvelous, even if I never do a project from it. Just packed with ideas. Thank you for suggesting it.

    1. I agree, Clara – the latest issue is quite wonderful! It’s my favorite so far in a long time. The projects are beautiful and the articles are interesting and entertaining. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next! ~MC

  6. Great List!

    Mary do you know a U.S. supplier that sells subscriptions to Inspirations? Just thinking it would be less in postage.


  7. Hi Mary!

    Thank you for all your book reviews, they are invaluable.

    I wanted to ask, would you recommend Stumpwork Flowers over A-Z Stumpwork or RNS Stumpwork? I’m a complete beginner, and wondering where to start. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Florentine – For a beginner, yes, I think I’d recommend Stumpwork Flowers, because all the instruction is there, and on top of that, you have small, manageable projects to practice on. The RSN books are reference books, not project books. So you’ll find instruction in them, but no projects.

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