Starting OffFirst things first: starting off your embroidery. As with many aspects of embroidery, there's a few ways to do this - and none of them are wrong! My favourite method is to use 2 strands from a skein of thread, and to tie a simple knot in one end. There's a brief tutorial on how to do this here.
Embroidery StitchesIt can be hard to know which embroidery stitches to learn first - there's so many to choose from! I've separated this list of embroidery stitches into different uses - creating lines, flowers, and other effects. Each one is labelled with a difficulty level, so you can choose which level you want to start with!
Stitches to create lines are perhaps the best to start with. It's easy to create all sorts of designs with just a few simple stitches!
Back Stitch is my preferred method of creating simple lines. It starts off with a single stitch - then just doubles back on itself (hence the name!) to create a continuous line. Stitch lengths can be easily altered depending on the shape you want to create - so it's easy to achieve curvy lines, too!
Stem stitch is great for creating a more textured line. The stitches are done on a slight diagonal and overlap a tiny bit each time. Like Back Stitch, it works for both straight and curvy lines - so it's perfect for outlines, or for stitching plant and flower stems.
Chain Stitch is my favourite stitch for making bolder, thicker lines. It's made up of connected loops (or chains), which give a textured, raised effect on the fabric. It works well on both curved and straight lines, and variations of it are used in lots of other stitches - so it's a great one to learn when you're just starting out!
Embroidering flowers and plants
Once you've mastered embroidering lines and outlines, try out some floral effects! Stem Stitch (above) is perfect for plant stems - and the stitches below are great for stitching simple flowers.
Six-Point Stars are perhaps the easiest of all flower stitches. They're made up of three single stitches, crossed over on a centre point. I like using these to fill small spaces, or to frame more intricate stitches.
Filler stitches and other effects
Satin Stitch is a gorgeous filler stitch in hand embroidery. The trick to it is making sure that the stitches are all parallel - this lets them create a shiny, glossy effect that can really show off vibrant thread colours!
French Knots are my favourite stitch for creating a touchable, bobbly effect, for things such as cherry blossom or animal fur. They can be really tricky to master - but once you get the hang of them, they're a great stitch! My trick is to make sure the thread is pulled tight, halfway through creating the knot (check out the video) - and plenty of practice!