If you're new to hand embroidery, welcome! Hand embroidery is a beautiful craft with a rich history, and I love that it's a creative outlet that can be worked on during the brief quiet moments of a week. It’s easy to learn, very portable, won't require a huge financial investment, and packs away without a lot of fuss. Plus you won’t need an entire room to store your supplies! ;)

Below I've shared a bit of background about the materials used in hand embroidery, as well as demonstrated each stitch featured in my Herbal Tea stitch sampler, which you can get for free when you subscribe to my newsletter.

For instructions on how to finish the back of your embroidery hoop art, check out this article.

Review of Materials

Hand embroidery requires just a handful of materials, including embroidery floss (I recommend using 6-strand DMC embroidery floss), an embroidery hoop, fabric (cotton or a cotton blend is great to start), an embroidery needle (size 5 is pretty versatile), a water erasable pen for pattern transfer (works best on light-colored fabric), and your pattern. A small scissors is helpful too. All of these supplies should be available at your local craft store.

Tracing Your Pattern

There are several different ways you can transfer your pattern, but using a water erasable pen is great for starters. When you are done stitching, simply rinse out the blue ink under cold water, and let your embroidery dry flat on a clean towel.

Putting Fabric in Your Hoop

I find wooden embroidery hoops easiest to use, though they are available in plastic as well. Try different types to see what you like best.

About 6-Strand Cotton Embroidery Floss

DMC is the most well-known manufacturer of embroidery floss. Their floss comes in a wide range of colors and dye lots are matched beautifully for a consistent appearance. Six-strand cotton embroidery floss comes in a skein and is made of six strands which can be used all together, or separated for narrower stitches.

How to Split Your Embroidery Floss

Types of Embroidery Stitches

The Running Stitch

The Back Stitch

The Stem Stitch

The Fern Stitch

The Split Stitch

The Satin Stitch

The French Knot

The Straight Stitch

The Lazy Daisy Stitch (or Detached Chain Stitch)

The Chain Stitch

Using the Chain Stitch as a Fill Stitch

The Fly Stitch (also known as Detached Fly Stitch)

The Buttonhole or Blanket Stitch

Using the Blanket (Buttonhole) Stitch in Hand Appliqué

The Fishbone Stitch

The Colonial Knot Stitch

The Pistil Stitch

The Cross Stitch

The Herringbone Stitch

The Pearl Stitch (Coral Stitch)

The Spider Wheel Rose Stitch