Needle Painting Embroidery: Fresh Ideas For Beginners

Trish Burr

Take a look at the title and cover pictures.   When you combine the two, you may ask yourself, “Can a beginner really create embroidery like that?” With the expertise of Trish’s teaching, you too, can embroider birds and flowers which look alive.


We open the book and see materials and preparation.   Mrs. Burr not only explains what materials are needed but, also expounds on which is best for the job. A good example is the section of needles. We are told crewel 9 is for two strands of thread and number 10 is for one strand.   The lesson does not stop there. She lets us know Hemmings, Colonial or John James is best. Thread, hoops and frames, magnifying lamp and fabric is also given.


The photographs on page 16 were awe inspiring. Her “The Malachite Kingfisher” and “The Portrait of Elise” are truly a work of art!


Now we get to the lessons. Trish teaches us techniques such as guidelines, starting and ending thread and stitches. Each portion has beautiful, sharp pictures to help us understand what she is saying.   I enjoy the section, Practice Motifs, where we are given motifs to learn how to shade. Again, we are given the materials for each technique. Each project uses common DMC and Anchor embroidery floss.


The projects will appear over whelming at first but, Trish holds our hand and takes us step by step through each project. Level one is for beginners, level two is moving on from beginner and level three is some experience required. Level one is flowers such as Cerise Anemone. Mrs. Burr explains materials, preparation and method.  The lesson doesn’t stop there. She goes into detail teaching us the outlines, leaves, petals, and flower center. Each process has detailed instructions and close-up photos.


Step two is more advanced flowers.   As we enter level three, Trish really shows her teaching talent when she introduces the needle painting projects, Apricot Dahlia, Red Poppy, Little Bee-eater and Racquet-tailed Roller.   For beginners, birds are too advanced to attempt.   Trish takes us through the usual steps. This is not where she ends. Tail feathers, branch, back feathers, breast feathers, neck feathers, eye, beak, head feathers, toes and claws all have detailed instructions on how to paint with needle and thread.


The last page in the book is a list of suppliers. Trish gives information on where you can purchase all the materials you will need for the projects in her book. Again, don’t look at the cover and feel this is too advanced for you. The book has been designed for the beginner and after a few hours of practice, I am sure you will enjoy the book as much as I have.