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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Best Instructional Books for Goldwork Embroidery


Amazon Books

I’m very excited that Search Press’s new edition of A-Z of Goldwork with Silk Embroidery is out now in the UK, and coming very soon (by September, I believe) to the US.

The re-printing of the A-Z series of needlework books (which I wrote about here) is a great thing for the embroidery world. The books, printed and distributed by Search Press, are now available more affordably, and hopefully, they’ll be available for a good long time.

Getting my little paws on the new edition of A-Z of Goldwork reminded me why I love this book. It prompted me to put together a short list of goldwork reference and instructional books that are definitely worth having on your needlework book shelf.

A-Z of Goldwork Embroidery - Search Press edition - and other goldwork instructional books

I’ve already reviewed quite a few instructional books for goldwork embroidery here on Needle ‘n Thread, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend all of them as Must Haves, or qualify them as “Best” books, or even, in some cases, qualify them as All That Great. The ones below, though, are tried-and-true.

These are the goldwork books that have withstood the test of time for me as instructional books. I’ve linked them directly to my reviews, if you want to read about the books in more detail.

If you’ve been contemplating taking the leap into goldwork, I hope this list comes in handy for you!

The Short List of the Best Instructional Books for Goldwork Embroidery

1. A-Z of Goldwork with Silk Embroidery – If you just have one book on goldwork, this should probably be it. Though the book doesn’t cover Every Single Aspect of goldwork, it covers most, and it instructs with very easy-to-follow, step-by-step photos, as is typical with the A-Z series of needlework books.

2. Goldwork Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration by Hazel Everett – I’d rank this book right along with the A-Z book. It’s excellent and the projects in it are beautiful. The instruction is perhaps not as systematic as the instruction in the A-Z book, but it’s very clear, and the author does touch on a few points that are not covered in the A-Z book.

3. Goldwork Embroidery: Techniques & Projects by Mary Brown has been around since 2007. It’s a good instructional book – I wouldn’t put it right up with the two previous books, as it’s perhaps not as thorough – and it has some great projects in it that are accessible for beginners and beyond, so it makes a good practice book, too. I reviewed the book back in 2007, so it’s not as thorough a review as those I write today.

4.Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork by Ruth Chamberline – This is not really a thorough goldwork instructional book. The goldwork covered in this particular book is all couched goldwork. Purls and the like aren’t addressed. But the instruction on different types of goldwork couching is superb, and the fact that the book instructs around the creation of a really lovely goldwork and silk sampler make it quite a desirable book. The author makes the techniques accessible, and the book itself is well written and beautiful. As is unfortunately often the case in the publishing world, this book, new in 2007, is now out of print, but it is available through used book sources and the like.

5. New Ideas in Goldwork by Tracy Franklin is a good one to have, if you’re already into goldwork embroidery. I don’t think I’d recommend it for beginners, but if you’ve already started dabbling with metal threads, this book will give you a more modern perspective on what can be done with them. I’ve not actually reviewed this book in depth, but I did mention it in this post, way back in 2006, which was the first year of Needle ‘n Thread.

A-Z of Goldwork & Silk Embroidery

I mentioned above that A-Z of Goldwork & Silk Embroidery has been recently reprinted by Search Press. I gave the book a good going-over during the last few days, and I’m still as enthusiastic about it as I was when it originally came out.

The Search Press edition has a different binding and cover. I think some corrections have been made to the former edition, but nothing in essence has changed, as far as the content goes.

Where to Find It

You can find the new edition of A-Z of Goldwork with Silk Embroidery through the following book affiliates:

In the US, you’ll find A-Z of Goldwork through Amazon.


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(15) Comments

  1. Good morning, Ms. Corbet,
    I got Best of Class (the best project out of everyone who took embroidery) on my fair project, and they selected it to be judged at the state fair, so looks like I’ll be headed over there again this year!

    1. Hi, Bobbi – It’s a reprint. I mention that at the end of the article. They compare about the same, except for the binding and cover, and I think there are a few minor typographical corrections from the original edition.

  2. Dear Mary

    I was out yesterday visited Highclere Castle in Newbury Berkshire where Downton Abbey is filmed it was lovely and the weather was good. Late today been shopping with my sister. Anyway I have the A-Z of Goldwork with Silk embroidery and it is a great instructional book I’ve used this many times when embroidering Goldwork and it’s really a great reference book. As well as the A-Z book of Goldwork I think here on Needle n Thread is also a great reference when embarking on goldwork embroidery especially your ebook the Marian Medallion Project which has lots of instructions and tips and techniques on goldwork and silk embroidery techniques. Thanks for sharing the books on Goldwork and for the links, I hope you have a great weekend. Now to get down to some serious embroidery can’t wait.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Sounds like you had a wonderful day in Newbury! Thanks for the plug on the Marian Medallion project – it seems like years and years ago since I did that one! Enjoy your stitching!

  3. HI – I am surprised you didn’t mention Helen Mc Cook’s Book ‘Goldwork’ from the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) Essential Stitch Guides series. It is very comprehensive and beautifully photographed.

    1. Hi, Mary – I don’t find the RSN Stitch Guides to be as thorough as other books. They’re more like brief overviews, or “tasters.” The Goldwork one is not as thorough as the books mentioned above. The first two books mentioned above include everything in the RSN book, and then some. That’s why I didn’t include it on the list.

  4. So I just checked my shelves out of curiosity and I have four out of five of these books (don’t have #5 listed above). At least some of these are due to reading about them right here on your blog! How much gold work have I done? Almost none 🙂 One class taught me that I’m not sure this is a technique that I would really enjoy enough to invest in the materials for many projects, but I LOVE looking at pictures and thinking about it.

    As always, I LOVE reading your blog every day, Mary. Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge and wisdom!

    1. Some of my favorite embroidery books are those with fabulous pictures of techniques I don’t ever plan to master, eg Painting with a Needle by Young Yang Chung.

  5. Hi, Mary and others! I just wanted to mention that Nordic Needle already has this book available for U.S. and international customers. I would much rather support the small stitching businesses than the Amazons of the world, and perhaps some of your readers would as well! 🙂

  6. Thank you Mary for the list. It is a good day; I own all these and more so my husband thanks you for not enabling me this morning (the day is not over).
    I would add the Royal School’s book on Goldwork to this list too.

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