The Intentional Thread by Susan Brandeis

Textile Art Book Reviews

At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.


The scope of embroidery is pretty endless. You can blend colours, create innovative line qualities and make interesting marks. The Intentional Thread by Susan Brandeis provides a beautifully detailed set of examples of exactly how to do so. Just as the title suggests, with this book you can use your threads intentionally to create interesting and considered works of fine art.

Well drawn diagrams help us to visualise how stitches and colours will work together.
Lots of variations as to how we can use our stitches

Who Is The Book Aimed at?

The Intentional Thread is for those experienced in either hand embroidery or machine embroidery. It has great potential for students or teachers wanting to increase their embroidery tool kit and artists with designs they would like to develop in new and exciting ways.

About the artist

Susan Brandeis is a Distinguished Professor and Studio Artist. She founded the Southeast Fibres Educators Association and has been exhibiting, teaching, and writing about Textile Art and design for over 35 years. 


To begin, there are several introductory sections, explaining a little about the book itself, followed by stitch types. The explanations are thorough and go the extra mile in how to develop the stitches past the basic techniques. For ease of reading, there are also handy sections perfect for those looking for a specific piece of advice

The book The Intentional Thread contents list
Detailed Contents Page
Stitch Types
Introduction to our Basic Stitches

What Is Good About This Book?

The level of detail really sets apart The Intentional Thread from other hand embroidery books on the market. The author offers us multiple options of stitches and designs to work with, meaning the reader can create something truly tailored to their own style.

ANGER in a thread embroidery way
Creating expression

Developing a sensitivity to colour is something that takes practice. Luckily we are introduced to useful colour combinations, adding another level of detail to our stitches that are considered and complimentary.

Filling Stitches
Complementary colour use


The photography in The Intentional Thread is of high quality. The up-close shots of the techniques are of a great standard, enabling us to see all of the tiny details we need to really build our designs with.

Well illustrated, Brandeis has even explained what she has in her personal sewing stach, so that we can visualise what we need too.
It is easy to run out of ideas if we are simply exploring one stitch and not a few at a time. The author helps us to work with stitches in a playful way here, really portraying what can be done with yes, just one stitch type.
Macro-shots of the stitches


The Intentional Thread is a great book for embroidery enthusiasts and those wanting to expand on their skills. It is great for beginners wanting to test out some mark-making, and advanced embroiderers wanting to expand their skills and use their stitches in new and thoughtful ways.

You can purchase The Intentional Thread by Susan Brandeis here

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