I managed to get about 30 seconds in the adult stacks on a library trip last week, and this was the one book I grabbed. Creative Embroidery by Jean Nicholson, published in 1960. I opened it up immediately to this passage:
"in these days of mass production the assertion of one's individuality is very important....the desire to enrich an article or to make it more interesting, whatever it may be, should be strong enough to overcome any preliminary hesitation....anyone who has the creative ability necessary to perform the actual embroidery, and the desire to create something beautiful out of ordinary things, has the germ of an artist in her make-up. Often the materials themselves suggest a treatment, and really all that is necessary is to pause with a needle and thread in one hand and the material in the other. It is in that moment that the special qualities so valuable to the artist--awareness and inquisitiveness--are required......Perhaps you recall the charming design on the manhole cover just outside your front door. Another careful look at it, and then, with the aide of a dinner plate and pencil, a designe quite oringinal in it's employment can be made. All around us there are sources of inspiration...."