DK Stitch Dictionary – Book Review


Hi everyone! This week I thought I would take a look at my DK Stitch Dictionary. This book is an invaluable tool I use a lot in my embroidery designs. I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but here in the UK Dorling Kindersley (DK) is known for producing high quality books for children and adults alike. The books DK produce are characterised by clear photos which are well annotated as well as crystal clear text. This book is no exception, with gorgeous photos and clear step-by-step instructions. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Stich Dictionary Cover

The cover of the 1999 hardback edition.

I have the 1999 hardback edition of the Stitch Dictionary, which has since been reissued. I bought my copy from a local charity shop for the princely sum of £1.50 and I was really lucky to run across it! The dust cover of my edition is a little grubby, but the inside is in perfect condition. The Stitch Dictionary is structured to give general information such as needle selection first, before moving on to the stitch gallery and then step by step instructions for each stitch.

Stitch Dictionary Tools

Part of the section containing general information.

The first section has some very useful information and it covers fabrics, tools and needles. There is also good advice on how to support your work as you embroider and how to finish work off by blocking. I found the section on starting and ending thread to be a little scant, but the rest is very useful.

Stitch Dictionary Library

Part of the Stitch Dictionary’s gallery.

I’ve included two page spread showing part of the Stitch Dictionary’s huge 12 page stitch gallery above. I love this section because it makes it so easy to browse and compare stitches to find the perfect stitch for each project. The clear pictures really help to get a good idea of how the stitches will look in person. I appreciate that the stitches are shown on aida, making it easy to imagine them on both evenweave and plainweave fabric. This picture shows part of the wide variety of stitches available, which is really impressive!

Stitch Dictionary Outline

A spread showing the instructions for some outline stitches.

This picture shows a two page spread for the outline stitches section. Here you can see the clear instructions that are laid out step by step. I really appreciate the skill level given here, as well as suggested uses. The instructions are really easy to follow, with each step illustrated by a letter in the accompanying picture. I have successfully managed to pull off even advanced stitches using the instructions given here. This is in spite of my considering myself very much a beginner.

So, is the DK Stitch Dictionary Worth Your Money?

The short answer is yes, absolutely! This hardback edition is packed full of great stitches – even including cutwork – and lies flat in use. Some of the re-issues are paperback, which may make use more tricky, but the book is still useful. There is a 2009 out of print edition under the same name and the book “Embroidery Stitches: Step by Step” looks to be the same hardback book under a new name. I have used this book to design every piece I have created, like the Teddy Bear Embroidered Bookmark. I have also used for my latest design, which I should be able to show off in a couple of weeks. The only thing I would wish for is spiral binding to make it stay totally flat in use. That said, I think this is a great reference for any needleworker and is well worth a look!


About Izzy Tinsley

Izzy is a yarn addict who crafts as often as she is able. You can usually find her with yarn and needles (and a nice cuppa) in the home she shares with her husband, quietly stuffing yarn into every available corner.

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