This morning I called Gwen of Busy Smockers and asked whether she has some Amanda Jane's needles in stock...and to my luck, she has! So I went to her lovely home and we were greeted by her kind hospitality. I LOVE Gwen's little workshop...it has just about EVERYTHING you need for smocking and heirloom sewing. Her wardrobe is packed with so many beautiful heirloom dresses and smocked dresses. Gwen was VERY helpful and kind..tending to my every questions and gave me some tips and tricks and I bet she would've been an excellent teacher (hopefully I'll be able to learn from her on one of my trips here). She recommended me a good beginner's book and a good basic smocking pattern. She gave me a bonus of a very lovely magazine called Creative Needle, which unfortunately no longer in business, which is too bad, since the magazine is absolutely lovely. Thank you, Gwen for a lovely time at your place :)
I was not aware of smocking, looks very nice and very difficult:) Good luck to you (though I am sure you will do just fine!) What is your first project going to be???