I teach hand embroidery at our local quilt store in Clinton, Wi. and the absolute best thing to use is pellon SF101. It is a fusible apparel interfacing that looks like a fine muslin when iron onto the fabric. Don't iron it on until after you have traced the embroidery design. This stuff doesn't gum up the needle or offer any resistance. It hides all those little threads. Our shop carries it, but I originally found it at JoAnn's and bought a whole bolt after using it for a project. I always stress that the embroidery fabric have a high thread count--makes it easier to embroider. The best thread is sulky 12 weight which is available on large and now smaller spools. It looks wonderful, doesn't shred or separate and doesn't knot up as much as dmc. I used one large spool to do all the embroidery on the Winter Wonderland Quilt, so it goes a long way. The best needle (it is the only one I've found that is tapered from the tip to the eye) is from Scarlet Today (www.redworkplus.com) She also has cute hand embroidery patterns on her website. I think crabapplehill also sells those needles. When looking for patterns check out coloring pages on the internet--just google a subject and you can spend hours cruising through getting inspired. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help.