Free Needlework books online

Free Needlework books online

Recently I have been digging out a list of Needlework books online for the stitch along that is being worked by members of the Hand Embroidery group in the Stitchin Fingers Textile Community. It will be starting next week! Yikes that sounds close to me … I am really looking forward to this. In case you missed it you can see what I will be stitching on here.

Anyway here is the list I thought many readers would find useful weather they are involved in the stitch along or not as they are all very useful books

Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont is online as part of Project Gutenburg. You can download the whole book from the site for free it is an excellent resource

Handbook of Embroidery by L. Higgin contains standard stitches but also information on goldwork and quite a good section on couching and diaper patterns.

Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving by Grace Christie covers all key areas of Embroidery. It is a classic but also one of the most clearest illustrated stitch books of its time. Don’t miss this one as it is very useful.

Art in Needlework by Lewis F Day and Mary Buckle is a 326 page book published in 1907. This book is free to download from the Internet Archive site. You can download it in PDF format

A Book of Fancy Designs for Ornamenting Oriental Work. (PDF file) by Mary Haehnlen is a small book that should not be missed by crazy quilters as it contains diagrams of 65 crazy quilting stitches. This free ebook comes the Antique pattern Library.

The Cult of the Needle by Flora Klickmann is a hidden gem I discovered at the Internet archive. It is a 134 pages of styles and types of embroidery including drawn work, hardanger, Berlin work, and Huck darning

Ladies’ Guide in Needlework published by W. A. Leary & Co. in 1850. The 193 pages of this book have been divided into 3 PDF files which can be downloaded from the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics (the download is found half way down this page)

Beeton’s Book of Needlework is also on the Project Gutenburg site and can be downloaded free. There is a section on embroidery and a section on “Berlin” work which covers many canvas work stitches

The Lady’s Manual of Fancy-Work by Matilda Pullan published in 1859 is also available at the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics. It contains a mix of needlework arts including beading, Berlin work (canvas stitches)

Many of these free resources are presented as PDF files which means you need Acrobat Reader to open these files. You can download a free reader on the Acrobat site.


  1. Welcome back! And, you’ve done it again…thank goodness I’ve finished most of my work for the day since I’ve been drooling for a good hour over these books! Thank you so very much, Sharon, for the time you take to do this! Bestest regards!

  2. You are always such a wonderful source of hints, tips and inspiration – thanks for these links – I have an original copy of Therese de Dilmont’s Enclyclopaedia as well as a more recent reprint – I treasure them both and refer to them often.

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