My boyfriend and I took a day trip to Antwerp yesterday. Whenever I am in Antwerp, I always like to pop into the International Magazine Store. It stocks over 10.000 magazines in various languages and they have a great range of craft magazines on the shelf. They even stock Inspirations Magazine! They also stock a very small range of specialist books and I was very pleasantly surprised to spot Helen Richman’s new Stumpwork book among them.

Ever since Helen told me at the RSN day classes I did with her in July that her book was due to be published in the Autumn, it has occupied the no. 1 spot on my Christmas list. I managed to resist ordering it when I received a notification that has been published two weeks ago. Again I managed to resist buying it from the shop and just bought my magazines. However, I kept thinking about it and after I found out that my boyfriend had not ordered it yet, I went back to the shop and bought my copy.

The subtitle of the book is ‘Techniques and Projects’ and that sums up the book perfectly well. Over half of the book is taken up by technique sections which explain everything you need to know about stumpwork embroidery and it has a number of sections ranging from beginner to advanced with a few example projects in which you can practise the techniques you have learned. Helen also provides tips for designing your own project.

In that sense, the book is a more comprehensive version of the RSN Essential Stitch Guide than a book full of projects like Jane Nicholas’s Stumpwork books. This is why I really like this book as it helps you master the skills needed and providing projects you can attempt as a beginner or advanced embroiderer. I think this will become the recommended book for those doing the RSN diploma stumpwork module.

The book starts with a brief section on the history of stumpwork and its popularity. Next is a section on the required materials, equipment and tools. As every section in this books, this section is very comprehensive as Helen lists and describes everything you could possibly need. In this section there are also some details about framing up, transferring your design (she provides various options) and painting the background.

Next Helen explains a very comprehensive range of techniques. She does not only cover various embroidery stitches but appliqué, padding, slips, beadwork, metalwork, ribbonwork and needlelace. Every technique is explained in great detail by several colour photographs showing the various steps.

The range of projects in the book is very diverse. However, because for copyright reasons I cannot include pictures of these. However, the ‘Secret Garden’ RSN day class I did with Helen in July is actually featured in the book, so I can share a picture of my attempt at the project! It is quite fun to have already completed a design from a book before it has been published!

My version of Helen’s ‘Little Secret Garden’

I will also share a picture of the back cover of the book as it will have some more details about it and a few glimpses of the other projects featured.

Back cover of Helen Richman’s ‘Stumpwork Embroidery’

The biggest project that is included in the book is actually shown on the front cover. It is called ‘A Flourish of Frost’ and it even has its very own technique section on how to make human stumpwork figures. This section is accompanied by examples from historical pieces of stumpwork as well as from contemporary pieces.

If you are looking for the essential guide to Stumpwork embroidery, look no further! This book has everything you need as a beginner to try a new embroidery technique or as someone who is an advanced embroiderer but who like to expand their repertoire and explore different stumpwork techniques.

If you would like to get your hands on a copy, you can order one directly through Helen’s company ‘The Bluebird Embroidery Co.’


Posted by:Marlous

9 replies on “Helen Richman’s ‘Stumpwork Embroidery’

  1. Thanks for the summary! I love her Secret Garden design and having seen Mary Corbet’s review recently and the amazing koi piece this is definitely on the ‘to buy’ list for me. Your work is beautiful too. How long did the project take you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! That is a difficult question… It was a day class and I think it took a couple of evenings and a weekend to finish. The ribbon work is really quick. The stumpwork petals took the largest amount of time (but is a little bit repetitive).


  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been hoping to get my copy from the RSN shop these past two weeks but they still don’t have it, so I think I will order it directly! Or maybe ask someone to order it for me as a present 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do! I think you will get a lot from it, especially if you are going to be doing the stumpwork diploma module. If you order from Helen directly, I believe you get a signed copy.

      Liked by 1 person

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