Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Most Inspiring Book On My Stitchy Bookshelf

French Mary Thomas

Like Carina, I purposely chose not to share either of Mary Thomas' famous embroidery books as my favorite stitchy learning book -- until I realized I accidentally did! I have had this French embroidery book on my shelf for over a decade, and it is well worn with use (the binding is starting to come apart in the front!), but I never realized until today that it is just a French translation of Mary Thomas' Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches! I've never associated it with that book at all; I also own vintage copies of Mary Thomas' books but use them in a completely different way. Perhaps because I don't understand a word of this version, I never thought much about it beyond its lovely stitch samples.

French Mary Thomas

Which is the whole of its appeal for me! I don't speak the tiniest bit of French, so my mind is free to focus on the stitches themselves. And this edition has such wonderful samples and illustrations. (Carina points out that they are the same photographs as some newer English editions.) It doesn't need any other language; there's something to be said for not having anything defined for you! I rarely use this book to learn something specific, more as eye candy when I feel like playing with something new.

French Mary Thomas

I've always found this book to be the most inspiring on my shelf, and I might even credit it with getting me back to embroidering as an adult when I hadn't since childhood. It was a gift and even though I hadn't embroidered in so long and had never heard the name Mary Thomas, I spent years flipping through it and admiring the beautiful stitches before finally picking up a needle again. I suspect I'll do the same for years to come - I'll probably end up having to tape it back together soon enough!


  1. Oh you're funny, Mizz Julie. :-D

    Those are the same photos which are in my version of the MT dictionary. :-)

    1. Haha, no way!! I had no idea - they're certainly not the same as in mine! My English copy is from the 1950s and the illustrations are just that, not photos, and all in black and white, of course. It's a charming book and an amazing resource, the best on my shelf, but it definitely doesn't inspire stitchy daydreams! :)

      I guess there's just no getting around it then: Mary Thomas' books are the best!!


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