This study examines a group of late sixteenth-century embroideries by Mary Queen of Scots (1542–1587) and the English countess "Bess of Hardwick" (ca. 1527–1608). While scholars have tended to regard these textiles as status-driven proclamations of rank and power, Nicole LaBouff argues that they functioned as aids for self-instruction in natural history, the wisdom of the ancients, and the art of discourse. Recent histories have shown "information overload" to be a pervasive problem among Renaissance male intellectuals. These embroideries reveal women also struggled with it. Bess and Mary found their solution in embroidered cabinets of curiosity, needlework notebooks, and stitched mnemonic devices.