I’m a huge ambassador for sharing information and any tips and tricks we might have amongst ourselves. I also believe that what works for one person, isn’t necessarily going to work everyone. So in addition to the tips and tricks I share with you that are based on my own personal experiences, here is a brief list of hand embroidery references and suppliers I turn to for my needs.
Books you may like to peruse for general inspiration or stitching guidance
One of the best books in my collection, and an invaluable resource for those interested in silk shading/thread painting – Margaret Dier’s book ‘Thread Painting and Silk Shading Embroidery – Techniques and Projects’. Available on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Australia, Book Depository and Booktopia.
A-Z Series by Inspirations – a wide variety of different techniques covered in this newly re-vamped series. You can purchase yours from Create in Stitch (based in Australia so be aware of postage costs), Amazon, Book Depository.
Useful Embroidery Tools
Elbesse Seat Frame – Since using the Elbesse seat frames, I now struggle with the more traditional hand held ones! You can get yours at Amazon
Slate Frame – For larger projects, a slate frame, whilst more time consuming to set up, is invaluable in keeping your fabric taut. You can purchase these from some needlework shops or the RSN. If you would prefer an easier to set up, but similar frame, the Needle Needs Millennium Frame is a great, handmade item. But beware – you will be waiting approximately six months to receive it.
Scissors – Some great hand embroidery scissors for precise cutting of thread and fabric in stumpwork are the handmade Ernest Wright Scissors. Another great option are Kai Scissors made in Japan, which are a little hard to come by, but Amazon and My Fabrics stock them for those in the UK.
Mellor – For getting tricky threads and gold and metallic threads to lie flat and nicely, a mellor is a great and handy tool to have in your supplies. You can purchase one from some needlework shops or the RSN.
Lighting and Magnification – Good lighting is imperative for all projects, and for some techniques, magnification is also an enormous help. I personally love the products from the Daylight Company. They have a great collection of floor and table solutions, as well as portable solutions. Somewhere like Sew and So offers products from a range of different companies that might be more suitable for you.
This is a tricky one, as there are so many wonderful, independent needlework shops out there, and it is not only region specific, but also dependent on what exactly you are looking for.
The below is a list of retailers I have shopped with personally, and have received good customer service from. Bear in mind I am currently located in the UK, and am Australian, so I apologise to everywhere else in the world! If you do have a favourite retailer that has a ‘global’ perspective, please do get in touch so I can look into them before adding them to the list below.
UK Based Suppliers
Sew and So – a large online retailer with a large variety of needlework, cross stitch and tapestry supplies and kits. They also have a quick despatch policy for the those times you run out at an inconvenient time!
The Hand Weavers Studio – a small retailer in London with a variety of specialty threads. In my experience, they also offer a very quick despatch policy
Oliver Twists Threads – a beautiful collection of threads. I haven’t purchased anything from them online, however their service at shows is amazing
London Bead Company – a lovely retail and online shop with a large variety of specialist threads and materials. Don’t be deceived by the name – it is much more than a bead shop! They offer great customer service for online purchases too.
Australian Based Suppliers
The Crewel Gobelin – I think every Australian needleworker has heard of this lovely store in Sydney. They have a great range of products, and I still order from them, even when I’m in the UK, as they stock threads I can’t find anywhere else! And you always get a lovely personalised ‘thank you note too.
Aussie Heirlooms Mini Piping – When backing blankets I like to add mini piping to them, and I can’t be bothered to make it myself! A great range of colours, and again, has shipped to the UK for me!
Hand Embroidery Supplies – Goldwork supplies are a little hard to come by in Australia, but here you will find all you could need, not just for gold work, but for all your hand embroidery supplies. And the customer service is incredible!
All Threads – A Brisbane based embroidery shop which has an incredible stock. The best place I’ve found to purchase wool blanketing, and they regularly are the only stockists I can find of some fabrics! Again, the service is incredible!
Online Learning Resources
The internet is a wonderful thing at times, and when wanting to learn new stitches, it can be incredibly useful.
The following resources may help you with either individual stitches or techniques:
Pintangle – A lot of us will now of Pintangle from TAST. Along with this is in my mind, one of the best online stitch directories you will find.
Needle n Thread – Sometimes we need a different set of instruction, and Mary Corbet has a good range of ‘how to’ stitches in her library.
Sarah Homfray is an experienced RSN trained embroiderer and tutor. Her YouTube channel is a wealth of information, and is definitely worth a review, as it is probably the best quality online instruction you can get.
Sara Rickards, another RSN trained embroiderer and tutor is currently uploading hints and tips. It’s worth subscribing to her newsletter, as some of her instructions and tips you won’t find anywhere else.
Over to you!
If you continually rely on a particular book, retailer or tool, do let me know. I will have a look into your suggestion, and once I’m happy, I’ll add it to the list!
Thanks for sharing!