I’d like to recommend an amazing book on needlepainting. It is completely free because it was published in 1907 and is therefore public domain: A treatise on embroidery; with twenty color illustrations from original models by Hemingway & Sons Silk Co. Clicking on any of the images in this post will take you to a larger picture.
There are a lot more designs in the book than the ones depicted in the twenty color plates. Here’s three of the color photos of stitched examples:
Gorgeous, aren’t they? The book also has detailed diagrams with color placement instructions, pattern outlines, and each design also comes with several paragraphs of text instructions on stitch placement, shading, and anything else required to work the piece.
The book also offers general information for improved stitching of flowers and other designs, including for example the parts of a flower so that embroiderers understand and respect the underlying structure:
The book also has an introductory section, with a stitch dictionary (some of which I haven’t seen elsewhere), general embroidery information, and illustrations of variations on stitches as inspiration. Here’s some examples (I love the leaves):
It really is a wonderful book. Do let me know if you work any of the patterns. I’d love to see the results.
P.S. Turns out, one of my very favorite needlework blogs mentioned this book too (but from a different free source – I think this scan has better colors): Mary Corbet’s post.