Embroidery Tools for Beginners

by Sammy Bishop

So, you're ready to get started!

You've collected the basics that you need to start embroidering - or better yet, bought a beginner's embroidery kit.

There's also a few tools that can help you on the way - whether that's helping with threading pesky needles, easing sore hands and fingers, or help with learning new embroidery techniques!

Some of these tools are obvious; while others are fabulous small investments that can be made if you plan to do embroidery more regularly.

Scissors

Scissors are one of the most vital accessories for starting embroidery.

I like to keep two pairs to hand: one pair of small embroidery scissors (I love ones with cute designs like rabbits, unicorns, or dragons - like these); plus a bigger pair of fabric scissors, for trimming off larger pieces of material and felt.

I always try to keep both pairs of scissors as sharp as possible. My favourite scissors are reserved for embroidery only - going near paper or sellotape with them is a huge no-no for me!

Needle Minders

A needle minder is made of two small magnets that you can attach to your embroidery, which your needle sticks to when you're not using it.

There's tonnes of lovely needle minders available - they're the embroidery accessory that you can really personalise and find something to suit you. My current needle minder is from Denkai Designs - it's a catchphrase from my favourite podcast, and I LOVE it!

A strong magnet on your needle minder is essential, so that your needle will stay safely stuck in place. Bonus use: if you drop a needle (which I do all the time), sweep your needle minder over the floor to find it and pick it up!

Hoop Stands

A hoop stand is a must for anyone who suffers with sore hands or fingers while doing detailed crafts like embroidery or cross stitch.

My preferred hoop stand has a flat base that tucks under my leg while I'm sitting down - like this one.

. Once sitting, you can alter the height and angle until it's in the perfect position for you to comfortably stitch - then just tighten the screws and start embroidering! 

I also love these for saving my posture - my hoop stand saves my back from being hunched over a piece of embroidery for hours at a time!

Needle Threaders

 Needle threaders are a god send when working with a small needle - or with thread that keeps splitting! 

There's a few different kinds, but I prefer the simplest ones. These are a metallic, bendy diamond shape, and are easy to use. You just need to push the metal diamond through the eye of the needle; pass your thread through the diamond; then pull the diamond (and thread) back through the eye of the needle. Easy!

Note: some needle threaders won't fit through needles with smaller eyes; if you're using a needle minder like the one pictured, it's best to use needles in size 9 and upwards.

A Stitch Guide

When I was learning embroidery, I found it really helpful to keep a stitch guide to hand that I could refer to whenever I needed to jog my memory.

I later moved on to using a YouTube playlist - like this one - of basic embroidery stitches that I could come back to if I was struggling with a technique.

After a while, stitches can become second nature - but it's always good to have an embroidery guide to hand!

Storage

 Even the most experienced embroiderer can find storing skeins, threads, and bobbins an absolute nightmare! I probably organise my threads once every couple of months - and they're always in a state of complete disarray whenever I get around to it!

If I have lots of full skeins of thread, I'd recommend a good wall hanging - a simple metal grid and some hooks is all you need to hang up your threads. I try to arrange them by colour - mostly to make it easier when I'm choosing new colours for a project. Plus, it adds a gorgeous pop of colour to a wall!

With shorter bits of thread - or ones that have been pulled out of the skein - I like to wind them onto simple paper bobbins, and write the colour code on the top. These can be easily stashed in a box (in colour order again!), to keep everything looking tidy - for a short while, at least!

Sammy Bishop

Founder & Owner of Paraffle

Sammy set up Paraffle as a side-venture in 2017 whilst she was doing her PhD at Edinburgh University. After finishing her PhD in Religious Studies (specifically Hinduisim and the New Age movement of Tantra), running Paraffle has become her full time hobby and job!

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