For those of you who have been reading my blog you know that I love to browse through the Antique Pattern Library website. If you haven't been to this site I highly recommend it, especially when you have insomnia. After a while you will fall asleep but not before you encounter a new stitch or an exquisite embroidery from the 1800s.
One of the best books available on this site is Beetons Book of Needlework. Five hundred pages of everything. Yes, everything! Check it out.
A good resource for embroidery patterns is the Briggs & Co. Catalogue of Transfer Patterns. I'm still looking through it. Don't read it all at once or you may overdose on inspiration. After I fell asleep paging through the Briggs patterns I had wonderful dreams about embroidery designs.
Chances are both these books will keep you busy for a long time.
Oh and one more book that has exquisite color plates is M. Heminway & Sons "A Treatise on Embroidery, Crochet and Knitting with Illustrations." This one will keep you awake so I recommend only reading it during the day.
Dimensional Embroidery and my Azorean heritage