I mentioned this book last winter when I first bought it, but with gift-giving season looming, I just have to recommend it again.
It has a lot going for it - Cosette Cornelius-Bates writes in such a friendly and knowledgeable way it makes a nice read on its own, and it does have a lot of patterns in it - but there is one thing I especially appreciate.
The section at the front that explains basic techniques.
Seriously. The last couple of days I've needed to do a lot of blanket stitch to finish off some Christmas presents, and that's a stitch I've managed to escape for lo these many years - as in, my entire life. Nor did I have a embroidery-mad friend anywhere within reach. Yes, I could have jumped over to YouTube to look for a tutorial, but that would have interfered with watching Howl's Moving Castle. I needed a book.
It turns out I had three books in the house that explain blanket and other embroidery stitches: Knit One, Embellish Too is the only one that made sense of it for me.
And this, my friends, is why I think somebody in your life needs a copy of it. Maybe even you!