It really isn’t her embroidery technique that makes Helen Steven’s work so wonderful. It’s her eye, which she turns to the countryside around her cottage, history, and to myth, that is inspiring.
She has a long list of books to her name, many of which are out of print at the moment, I especially love Myth and Magic of Embroidery, which includes her mythological work as well as her nature studies. Very pretty, and the words that go with the pictures are carefully chosen to pull you deep into the moods of the pieces she showcases.
Her newer books have taken the quick technique overview from the back of her coffee table books and brought it front and center as master classes. Working the projects in these books will give you an understanding of silk shading that is unparalleled. And the designs are her usual gorgeousness (all right, so maybe it isn’t a word, but it ought to be!)
She has masterclass books on animals, butterflies, landscapes, gardens, and flowers and I cherish each one I own. They are as beautiful and almost as lush to read as her overview books. Read just to lose yourself in the English countryside for a while!