There are so many craft books out there aren’t there? But buying one isn’t so easy these days.  If you’re looking for one type of craft in particular, book shops have a limited selection and it is difficult to view the contents online, most sellers will only show a couple of pages.  These are just a few HAND EMBROIDERY books that I have on my shelf which I would recommend if you’re just starting out or need a bit of inspiration.


A-Z of Embroidery Stitches by Search Press

This a a truly comprehensive , easy to read, dictionary of stitches. It has detailed instructions for 141 stitches so covers all the basic, and more advanced embroidery stitches that you are likely to use. It also touches on ribbon embroidery with a few examples. All instructions show many stages of each stitch with beautiful stage by stage photographs. There are sections on the basics- which background material and needles are best to use, how to transfer a design, and how to use a hoop correctly. Thread painting is also shown with easy to follow guidance. There is also an A-Z of Embroidery Stitches 2.

If you are left handed and are struggling to find a book that explains embroidery stitches which you can easily follow, Yvette Stanton’s book is called The Left Handed Embroiderer’s companion- I have not seen this myself but have had ladies on my workshops who have recommended it.


Garden Stitch Life by Kazuko Aoki


This is an utterly delightful book and a joy to read. As the title suggests, it contains motifs and projects all garden related, so flowers, mushrooms, insects and birds. Her style is very modern and simple, stunningly stitched and beautifully photographed. Each  project has a template and includes a seed packet, note book cover, stitched samplers, a tea cosy and many pictures. with templates at the back of the book. In the first half of the book, Kazuko shares her inspiration with photos of her beautiful garden and atelier, then the second half gives stage by stage instructions of how to make the projects. Its a personable little book, which goes beyond a regular embroidery book. This isn’t just a “what you need to know about embroidery” kind of book, it gives a personal insight into the author’s life in Japan and you almost feel like to get to know a little bit about her.  You feel like to really do get an insight into how she works. Such a pretty book to dip in and out of.


Embroidery Country Garden by Lorna Bateman- Search Press


So Search press have done it again- published this much awaited for publication of Lorna’s fabulous work. This is a great “go to” for all level of embroiderers. Lorna has devised many stitched projects such as- scissor case, needle case, pin cushion, magnifier cover, a sewing bag and a thread catcher to name a few. Absolutely beautiful photographs and easy to follow stage by stage instructions with sensibly sized boxed photographs on each page. It starts off with the tools, materials and preparation as most embroidery books do, but in a lot of detail with some valuable advice from the much experienced stitcher. Then there is an A-Z of stitches, followed by an A-Z of embroidered flowers, I loved this section, particularly the sweet sketches alongside each embroidered flower. After the detailed projects are the templates and additional pull out patterns.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this book, and although I consider myself a fairly experienced stitcher, I learned several little tips from Lorna. We stitchers are generally a generous breed when it comes to sharing our experience, but this author was particularly generous with her knowledge.


Textile Collage by Mandy Pattullo


This is a wonderful book for anyone who is seeking a more creative approach to their stitching. Mandy talks about the choice of materials that she chooses to work with- often an old and worn quilt. she takes them apart and incorporates pieces into her pieces. she delights in mixing things up, arranging and rearranging pieces of fabric, a technique which she calls fabric collage. There are no templates, so all her pieces grow organically and become “evocative compositions”. she uses lace but not in the traditional, pretty way, more to add torn parts of it to add texture and interest to a piece. parts of blankets, traditional embroidery and cross stitch are also embedded in her work.

Further into the book, Mandy Pattullo looks at how she starts to build up a design, discussing materials, colour, composition, mark making and stitch in her abstract work. She describes how she uses finger turned applique ,then goes onto describing how she creates portraits and animal pictures. You really get an insight into how she works as a true artist. the last part of the book explores how you can embellish a piece of clothing to really make it unique and your own, domestic embroidery.

If you are feeling stuck in your own techniques or ideas, this book will definitely get your creative juices flowing. It is absolutely full of innovative techniques which you too could use in your own work, using your own style. A joy of a book. Its not a book to read from page to page, rather to pick up and flick, your own ideas will jump out at you, total inspiration. One thing Mandy says on the very last page, is to put away other peoples books, images, and pages when creating your own. Find the joy in the fabrics you have chosen to work with and find your own emotional response. We are often too influenced by others and what we think we are expected to create. It is so much more rewarding to start from scratch and let the textures, fabrics and colours speak to you.

These are just a few fab books out there, do let me know if you would recommend others, its always good to share……


See you soon,