Best Wildlife Themed Embroidery Kits | BBC Wildlife
Do you feel smart and want to learn about embroidery? Whether you’re a complete beginner or a more experienced embroiderer, there’s something for everyone in our roundup of these beautiful wildlife-themed embroidery kits.
What is the difference between embroidery and cross stitch?
Technically, cross stitch is a type of embroidery, but as explained in our best article on wildlife themed cross stitch kits, each stitch is a small x and usually worked on a squared piece of fabric called an aida. (sometimes printed). In embroidery, a pattern outline is transferred to fabric (sometimes printed) and filled in and uses a wider variety of stitches.
If you’re new to embroidery (or cross stitch), our colleagues at Gathered.how have lots of helpful guides and tutorials in their How to Stitch hub (or How to Cross Stitch hub), as well as plenty of embroidery designs free. (or free cross stitch patterns) to download and enjoy.
How to choose the right embroidery kit for you
There are a few factors to keep in mind when buying an embroidery kit – levels of difficulty (including types of stitches and number of colors used), size of a design you want to embroider (and its wearability) and the quality of the fabric and threads. Also, whether you need to buy a full kit or have a stash of fabric and yarn on hand, it would actually be better to purchase and download a chart instead (some of the charts of the kits below are also available as PDF downloads).
Best Animals, Plants and Mushrooms Embroidery Kits
Wildwood Embroidery Kit, by Hawthorn Handmade
This lovely wild wood embroidery kit from the Dorset-based company features a botanical-inspired design, plus a bonus little beetle. It’s a great kit for beginners to try out as the design is printed onto the 100% cotton fabric so there’s no hassle with transfers (which aren’t difficult to use, but having none not, it makes the kit a bit easier for complete beginners).
However, I found that the printed lines might be a bit chunky even using the recommended three strands of yarn, and could be just a little thinner to help hide them once the stitches are in place. The stitch guide is clear and easy to follow. In addition, it is also available with a black fabric background instead of white.
This pattern consists of six types of stitches and is available as a PDF download (£5.95).
Kit contains: wooden embroidery hoop, pre-printed cotton fabric, DMC embroidery thread (in five colors), embroidery needle, instructions, stitch guide and printed card template.
Sew your own card embroidery kit – sea creatures, by West Coast Stitchery
This kit is a great way to introduce yourself (or someone else) to embroidery – while creating lovely nautical-themed cards! A6 cards come with the design printed on, sewing holes punched out and are blank inside for you to add your own message. Pre-punching the holes and using only two types of stitches (back stitch and running stitch) meant that the embroidery of these cards was even more mindful than other embroidery kits, as less concentration was required.
A kit containing all three cards contains: three pre-printed and pre-punched brown recycled cards, three brown recycled envelopes, DMC embroidery thread (in six colors), an embroidery needle, colored kraft paper for the back of embroidery, instructions and a stitch guide.
Moon Hare Embroidery Kit, by Paraffle
This embroidery kit from Edinburgh-based Paraffle features an absolutely lovely moon-gazing hare design in just two colours. That, combined with the stitch types and accompanying stitch guide, means this isn’t too difficult a pattern for beginners. The fabric comes unprinted, which may be intimidating to some, but there are instructions for using Solvy paper – which is adhesive and water soluble. So when finished, you just need to run the fabric under a lukewarm faucet to break up and wash off the transfer (again, details on this are included in the instructions).
This pattern includes eight stitch types: single, back, chain, stem, satin, French knot, lazy daisy and six-pointed star, and is also available as a PDF download (£4.99) via the Paraffle Embroidery website.
Kit contains: wooden embroidery hoop, unprinted cotton fabric, pattern paper, felt (for backing), embroidery needle, DMC embroidery thread (in two colors), instructions and a stitch guide.
Wildflower and Bee Linen Embroidery Kit, by Hoop Embroidery Company
This is such a cute little set that I almost didn’t want to try it on to review it and instead gift it to a friend! Maybe I’ll offer the full kit instead. My kit came with pre-printed fabric, and the pattern was very easy to follow – although I struggled with the fine details of the bumblebee’s wings. I once discovered that the edges of linen fabric began to fray very quickly and often had to be trimmed. The instructions are relatively clear to read and follow, although I ended up checking some of the seam types against online guides.
This pattern consists of five stitch types: satin, brick, whip, split knots and French knots, and is available as a PDF download (£7.20).
The kit contains: a wooden embroidery hoop, a pre-printed “magic paper” design or a pre-printed fabric, a white cotton calico canvas or a natural linen fabric, Madeira mercerized embroidery thread (in five colors), an embroidery needle, instructions.
Cream Dots Tiger Moth Embroidery Kit, by Rabbit Hat Designs
I love tiger moth so much so this cream polka dot tiger moth pattern was so lovely to stitch. Although the pattern is quite small (the hoop is 4 inches in diameter), it is a good kit for beginners as the black areas are very forgiving of mistakes. It also comes with the pre-printed fabric already loaded into the embroidery hoop, which is very handy for anyone who might have difficulty with design transfers or adjusting the fabric smoothly in the hoops.
This pattern consists of two types of stitches: straight stitch and back stitch, and is available as a PDF download (£7.70).
The kit contains: a bamboo embroidery hoop, embroidery threads (in four colours), an embroidery needle, instructions, a fabric pattern, natural embroidery linen.
Soothing Spring Embroidery Kit, by DMC
This kit is part of DMC’s Mindful Making collection, which includes a range of embroidery, cross stitch, punch needle, knitting, crochet and macrame kits. The embroidery kits are all botanically inspired, from berries and poppies to succulents and carnations. This particular kit is called “The Soothing Spring” and is inspired by spring flowers. It is labeled as suitable for beginners and comes with pre-printed designs on the cotton fabric. I found the instructions to be clear and easy to follow, and once I got into sewing it was really calming.
This pattern consists of five types of stitches: back stitch, stem stitch, French knot, satin stitch and split fill stitch.
Kit contains: wooden embroidery hoop, embroidery needle, two pieces of pre-printed cotton fabric, DMC embroidery thread (in seven colors), instructions.
Main image: Girl doing embroidery. © Edwin Tan/Getty