I inherited a supply of needles and I must confess (being self taught) it wasn't until recently that I discovered the remaining needles, that I had been routinely using were far too fine for the job in hand. I broke so many! Enlightenment came when I went to a class held by Norah Stocker of Fantasia Textiles and found I should be using needles three times the thickness. Not sure why I hadn't worked it out for myself!
The handbook has also survived but I have to handle it very gingerly as the pages are so brittle. An additional instruction book shows all manner of rather clever techniques to master : not sure I'm into festooning and monogram embroidery but who knows, it might come back into fashion-most things do!