Book review and giveaway: Firefly’s Step-By-Step Encyclopedia of Needlecraft

This post contains affiliate links.

I’m pleased to review Firefly’s Step-by-Step Encyclopedia of Needlecraft today.  I’ll also be hosting a giveaway of the review copy I received from Firefly Booksso read on for details!

Book review

As the name implies, Firefly’s Step-by-Step Encyclopedia of Needlecraft is a comprehensive needlecraft guide with tons of “over the shoulder” close-up pictures.  The book explores knitting, crochet, embroidery, patchwork and quilting, and sewing.  Each chapter highlights one of the crafts by identifying tools and equipment, explaining the basics with step-by-step photos and text, and then exploring additional techniques.  As soon as I picked up the book, I fell in love – or, I should say, I fell in love again.  You see, most of the content is reproduced almost entirely from one of my favorite books, the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Needlecrafts.

There are some notable differences between the two books.  Good Housekeeping includes chapters on rugmaking and needlepoint, which are absent from Firefly.  Firefly includes a sewing chapter, which is absent from Good Housekeeping. The layout of the Firefly guide is improved – it starts with preview pictures of all projects, rather than sprinkling the project pictures throughout each chapter as Good Housekeeping does.  At the end of the book, there is a 60 page pattern section which includes pictures of each project.  The projects have also been updated to reflect more modern styles.  (However, I did recognize a few of the projects too, from other books, so I would guess they are largely archived patterns and not new for this book.)

Firefly is also about 80 pages longer than Good Housekeeping.  Several chapters include additional information.

  • There are instructions for making hand dyed yarn in the crochet chapter.
  • The embroidery chapter includes alphabets in several styles and a detailed section on machines (including equipment, machine stitches, designing for machines, border motifs, machine embroidered fabrics, and freestyle machine embroidery).  The section on cleaning your embroidery has been edited out.
  • The additions to the Patchwork and Quilting chapter introduce lace and insertion applique, making quilting patterns, contour quilting, corded quilting, and trapunto.

It is important to note that this book is aimed at a U.K. audience, so all of the terminology is British.  This is most prominent in the crochet section, where there are substantial differences in terminology.

Overall, I give Firefly’s Step-by-Step Encyclopedia of Needlecraft 5 out of 5 stars.  The pictures are clear, the instructions are well edited, and the projects cover a range of skills.  If you are looking for a comprehensive needlecrafts guide, this one is very strong — unless, of course, you already own the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Needlecrafts 🙂.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.


I’m giving away my review copy of Firefly’s Step-by-Step Encyclopedia of Needlecraft, courtesy of Firefly Books.  Because the book is over 300 pages long, and therefore ridiculously heavy, this contest is only open to those with a mailing address in the U.S.

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