A week doesn’t go by in my life that I don’t receive inquiries about where to find good embroidery kits these days.
There are many, many embroidery kits available today – from large companies producing kits for retail sale in craft stores all the way to designers who manage their own small needlework businesses, producing their own kits for their own designs.
I prefer needlework kits in the latter category, for at least these three reasons:
1. Kits coming directly from a designer usually (practically always) include higher quality materials.
2. The designer knows all the nuances of the piece, so if you run into trouble while stitching the design, you can usually contact the designer you purchased from for help.
3. When you purchase from an individual designer, you are a. supporting needle art at its very roots; b. you are helping an individual make a living; and c. you are contributing to the longevity of that person’s ability to keep designing. Without clientele, individual designers could not keep producing their goods, and the needle arts world (which is enjoying a good boom these days) would suffer indeed.
Today, for those of you who are looking for accessible goldwork and silk embroidery kits – and especially if you like Art Nouveau designs – I want to show you a kit from Liz Tapper, a needlework designer in the UK at The Art of the Needle.
If you are eager to try out goldwork and silk embroidery – even if you are brand new to the techniques – Liz’s kits are perfect taster kits for the techniques.
The kits come with everything you need to complete the embroidery project, except hoop (or frame) & scissors.
You’ll find silk thread (she uses Piper’s silk, which is a more-or-less flat silk), silk satin for the ground fabric, a heavy cotton for the backing of the ground fabric, and two sizes of pearl purl, which is a real metal thread. There’s also a spool of couching thread for the goldwork threads, and a scrumptious small heart-shaped cake of beeswax for coating the couching thread.
Because the Piper’s silks are flat silks, I wouldn’t necessarily slot this kit as a kit for beginner’s to embroidery. Flat silk (which you can read about here) can be a bit tricky or frustrating to use, if you’re not used to it.
If you’re already into embroidery – you know the basics, you’re familiar with working with different types of thread – and you’re ready to expand your repertoire, then the kits are fine for beginners (and beyond) to silk and goldwork.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of the goldwork, the pearl purl is a great thread to get started with. It’s not complicated to use at all – it’s just a matter of couching it. There are some tricks to stretching it, cutting pieces, and butting them up to each other, though, and these are covered in the instructions.
And, speaking of instructions, each kit comes with a printout of the instructions, which take you carefully step by step through the whole project from start to finish. They include photos and written instructions.
These are printed, it looks like, on an inkjet printer. I would rather see them printed either on heavier paper or on only one side of the paper, because when printed on two sides, the printing on one side can take away some of the clarity of the printing on the other side.
All in all, these are great little kits for getting into silk and goldwork. If you are keen on the Art Nouveau period, you might check out Liz’s other designs in this series.
Liz also has many other kits in her online shop, including all goldwork kits, whitework, a Bayeux-inspired horse kit, several crewel kits (including a lampshade), and more.
You can check them all out here. Remember, if you’re in the US, that there’s a currency conversion to contend with (just Google currency conversion calculator to compare the current currency conversion rates) and overseas shipping.
So that’s another individual kit designer that you can add to your list, if you’re looking for embroidery kits! I hope you enjoy exploring The Art of the Needle!