What are needle arts

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Create wonders with a needle and thread
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Needle arts engage your hands and fill the heart

Needle arts is an umbrella term for art and craftwork created with a needle. Folk art museums, antique shops, fine fashion boutiques and specialized handmade shops like those on Etsy feature some of the world’s finest or most creative examples.

Embroidery, sewing, crocheting, knitting and any other medium that utilizes a needle to either create the end product (lace, tapestry or crochet) or embellish an existing one (fabric, a wedding gown or canvas) falls under this category. If you want to get into crafting and haven’t had the chance yet, needle work welcomes everybody. With affordable needlecraft supplies and how-to’s at your disposal, what are you waiting for?

Getting started

The inertia that keeps many would-be crafters from getting started often stems from not knowing what to do first. Fortunately, there’s a huge variety of books and websites dedicated to the needle arts. Many of these books focus on a specific style or region.

A book on the lace and colors from ancient Egypt may walk you through making a colorful shawl whereas a needle felting book will teach you how to make adorably fuzzy felt characters.

Here are some of the best websites for a few popular needlework mediums:


Emblilibrary carries over 60,000 machine stitched appliqués to add to your creations.

Advanced-Embroidery-Design specializes in the photo stitch technique, which resembles a charcoal sketch more than traditional embroidery. Find a tutorial for photo stitching and free patterns on this site.

The Stitchery carries the patterns, kits and supplies you'll need to create embroidered masterpieces, from beginner to advanced. They're also a great resource for cross-stitch, quilting and other kinds of needlework. 


Knitty is an online magazine that’s all about knitting. You’ll find patterns, contests and features on some talented crafters. Best of all you’ll find a sense of happy community, people who share your passion and urge to knit the unexpected.

Speaking of community, Ravelry is a free online community where knitters and crocheters share tips and new designs, ask questions and gripe about dropping a stitch or ten. Whether you’re a newbie or experienced, there’s always something new to learn.


Quilters Home Magazines assembled a handy list on the 50 Best Quilting websites, including fabric, sewing machine and other supplies shops, designers, communities and online markets to share and sell your goods. .

Get inspired

If flipping through a book or surfing around the best needle arts online doesn’t inspire you, maybe it’s time to get started anyway. Open a sketch pad and do a half hour of free drawing with a pencil. Sketch the first images that come to mind and don’t worry about making a cohesive picture. Just draw.

Visit a craft supply store and choose a handful of threads or yarn. Pick a variety of colors that jump out at you and grab some embroidery or knitting needles. If you’re hand stitching, you’ll also need a hoop to keep your fabric taught while stitching.

Needle work is a hands-on craft, so allow the materials you’re working with to guide you. Choose a soft, luxurious yarn that you can’t wait to snuggle around your neck no matter how imperfect the scarf.

No matter which medium you’re incline towards, be patient. Learning new stitches, patterns and techniques takes time – threading a needle can take five minutes when you’re having one of those days. Relax!

These skills are the polar opposite of stress inducers. They fill the heart, engage the hands and free the mind to wander. Whether you prefer to listen to music, an audio book while you work or simply the sound of your kids playing or the rain coming down, the hours dedicated to these projects will reward you as much as the beautiful end product. 

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