Needlework tips and techniques

Are you hooked on needlework like me? Keen to learn more? Or an absolute beginner? 

Whether you are hoping to master basic embroidery stitches or create an heirloom, I am delighted to help by offering tutorials, videos, inspiring ideas, and downloadable patterns covering a multitude of different needlework techniques.

What equipment will I need?

If you are new to embroidery, you may choose to start by reading the equipment section to learn about the threads, hoops, needles, fabrics and other items you use in this timeless craft.

Learn new stitches

Another great jumping off point is the stitch index which covers a wide variety of stitches with instructions and step-by-step photos. But don't stop there! Each page gives ideas for how to use its specific stitch to create elements in your needlework projects.

Videos and tutorials

Or you can choose to watch my short videos to see how to work different stitches.

Prefer to jump in and try a project straight away? Check the free tutorial list.

Downloadable patterns

If you already have some experience, browse the patterns in my shop. These are available in the following techniques...

I offer patterns you can either frame or make into bellpulls, needlecases, pincushions, pillows or even into a chessboard. You can use them to decorate your own home or give them as gifts. 

Begin simple and develop your skills and knowledge. You may discover that you find one form of embroidery more relaxing than another. Try out a variety, before deciding on your favourite.

What techniques are covered?

We can split all embroidery techniques into two main categories - freestyle or counted thread. You will find both on the site. 

So let's look at the difference between these two styles by answering the following question...

How does the design get onto the fabric?

How do you know where to place your stitches? 

You have two main options here...

  1. You can transfer your pattern onto the fabric using a variety of methods 
  2. You can follow a pattern plotted out on graph paper (counted thread)

Which method you prefer is a personal thing, so let's look at the advantages of both.

Transferred designs

Printed outlines are actual size. There is no guesswork involved. You can place a transfer on a pocket and know it will fit at a glance.

The outline defines the size of each element, such as a leaf or eye, so you know the finished piece will be in proportion.

Many patterns presented in this manner also have an instruction sheet telling you which stitch to work in which area.  

You don't have to stick to the instruction sheet every time. You are at liberty to be more creative and choose your own stitches to fill each area, and you will find plenty of ideas for doing this on the site. 

One creative way to practice surface embroidery stitches is to decorate the seams and patches in crazy quilting projects

Counted thread techniques

Hardanger embroidery patterns to purchase and downloadClick on the photo to check out my Hardanger patterns

But what if you buy a kit and the fabric is blank? Where on earth do you start?

You work these designs from charts plotted on graph paper. You can even learn how to design your own charts on the computer. 

For some counted thread techniques, such as Hardanger or blackwork, you will read the lines on the graph as fabric threads. It is then obvious how many threads to work each stitch over.

In a counted cross stitch pattern each square will represent a stitch that contains a symbol telling you which colour of thread to use.  

You can change the size of a design by choosing a fabric with a different number of threads per inch (or cm).


Once you have completed your project there are ideas for finishing techniques

If you are interested in the history of embroidery we also have you covered. 

Looking for a job in the sewing sector

I am sure you have questions you would like answered? Perhaps you would like to contact Carol directly or learn more about her personal stitching story.

Ready to stitch?

Clicking on the links below will take you to the main hub page for each needlework technique. There you will find further links for more detailed information and projects you can try yourself. 

I hope you love learning different needlework techniques and have fun doing so.

Are you sitting comfortably? Stay awhile and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of needlework.

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