I picked up freehand surface embroidery several years ago after watching many time lapses and tutorials on Instagram. Someone embroidered yet another woven wheel stitch and I thought, “That’s it, I’m getting some thread.”
Heidi Parkes is a Milwaukee quilter and fiber artist - and former art teacher, which shows in her approach to teaching and sharing her tradecraft. She teaches great classes that pull together quilting, piecing, whole cloth quilting, applique, and embroidery, that ask you to color way outside the lines by considering many artistic concepts and methods in your improvisation. She also has loads of great content on YouTube.
Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching
Jenny Hart is one of my embroidery heroes. First known for her wonderful portraits of punk rock heroes, she began publishing books and patterns under the brand Sublime Stitching during the feminist craft revival of the early aughts. Her tutorials are well-written and come along with all of the many wonderful collaborative patterns she also sells on her website.
Christi has been offering embroidery classes online for several years and has amassed a wonderful array of resources and lessons for new and old fiber artists that are all highly recommended. I have taken several classes with her so far, on quilting, embroidery, and making your own clothing patterns. Most recently, she launched a beautiful book, MYSTICAL STITCHES, that has already become my go-to when I need a skills refresh and inspiration, and a podcast that helps artists of all kinds develop their creative practice.
The Spruce Crafts
YouTube and other video platforms have been a real boon for anyone trying to learn a new skill, and embroidery is no different. The Stitchery has tons of high quality, well-produced video showing various embroidery stitches, time lapses, and other skills, including a funny series where fiber artists fumble through learning new methods (very relatable).
DMC Free Embroidery Patterns
Blue ribbon thread company DMC has hundreds of regularly updated patterns by the biggest names in illustration and hand embroidery. All you have to do is give them your email address and sign up for a newsletter, and access to the entire library is all yours.