14 October 2021


BC Paperback

216x280 mm



96 pages

Search Press

RSN Essential Stitch Guides

RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Goldwork

by Helen McCook

A new, larger format edition of the classic reference work on goldwork embroidery by the Royal School of Needlework (RSN). The Essential Stitch Guides provide a set of definitive works on traditional embroidery techniques. 

Written by Helen McCook, Graduate Apprentice, Tutor and renowned embroiderer, this book begins with an historical account of goldwork, then moves on to the materials and equipment required; framing up, how to transfer a design on to fabric and how to start and finish a thread. The main section of the book then covers all of the essential stitches and techniques through clear, step-by-step diagrams and photographs, coupled with beautiful, close-up photographs showing how then can be used in a finished piece.

All the key traditional techniques are included: couching, bricking, basketweave, cutwork, spangles, s-ing, pearl purl, plate and kid. The book ends with beautiful and exquisitely-worked examples of how the techniques can be combined in finished pieces.

The RSN teaches hand embroidery to the highest standard and is well respected all over the world. It not only upholds the traditions of English embroidery that go back many hundreds of years, but is constantly taking embroidery forward in new and innovative ways.

Book Contents

The Royal School of Needlework 6, Introduction 8, The history of metal thread work 10, Materials and equipment 14, Framing up 24, Design 30, Starting to stitch 34, Order of work 36, Padding 38

Methods 44
Couching 45, Combining threads 45, Japanese gold 46, Turning and plunging 47, Bricking 50, Couching in a circle 51, Pearl purl 52, Twists 54, Basketweave 56, Cutwork 58, Cutwork chips over felt 59, Cutwork purls over felt 60, Cutwork purls over soft string 62, Flat cutwork 64, Kid 65, S-ing 66, Spangles 68, Spangles held on with purls 69

Plate 70
Attaching plate over soft string 71, Attaching plate over felt 72

Stitching with gold threads 73
Chain stitch 74, Feather stitch 75, Pekinese stitch 76, Trellis stitch 77

Using colour 78
Diaper couching 78, Or Nué 80, Or Nué with paint 82

Combining techniques 86
Three Wishes 86, Indian Summer 88, Spring Flight 89, More a Scottish Thistle than an English Rose 90, Pomegranate and Gilly Flower 92, Snowdrops 94

Index 96

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