When I first started, my mother loaned me some DMC embroidery pattern booklets. I also found a lot of patterns online, and I discovered that you could register for the DMC embroidery floss website and download their free (new) patterns.

Learning to read and interpret patterns brought me a lot of insight into how to be efficient but careful when making my stitches. I used whatever small scraps of cloth I had received from my mother and I guess this is how I honed my skill!