Embroidery

8. DESIGN FOR APPLIQUÉ.
By Fairfax Wade.

No. 8 .—Design for Appliqué. By Mr. Fairfax Wade.

19. DESIGN FOR WALL-HANGING.
By William Morris.

No. 19 .—Wall Hanging. Designed by Mr. W. Morris. To be worked on linen in outline.

6. DESIGN FOR A SOFA-BACK COVER.
By William Morris.

No. 6 .—Design for Sofa-back Cover. By Mr. W. Morris.

Worked on hand-woven linen in two shades of gold-coloured silks. Outline.

12. DESIGN FOR A BORDER FOR A CURTAIN OR TABLE COVER.
By Miss Burnside.

No. 12 .—Design for Border for Curtain or Table Cover. Designed by Miss Burnside, of the R.S.A.N.

21. DESIGN FOR BORDER FOR APPLIQUÉ.
From Ancient Italian Work.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 21 .—Border for Appliqué. Copied from Ancient Italian work.

17. TWO DESIGNS FOR WALL PANELS—“JUNO” AND “MINERVA.”
By the Rev. Selwyn Image.

No. 17 .—Two Panels. Designed by Rev. Selwyn Image. Representing Juno and Minerva.

4. DESIGN FOR WALL PANEL OR CURTAIN.
By Fairfax Wade.

No. 4 .—Design for Wall Panelling or Curtains. By Mr. Fairfax Wade.

To be worked in outline and solid embroidery, in silk or filoselle, on satin de chine.

22. ITALIAN DESIGN.
Showing the application of transposed Appliqué.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 22 .—Italian Design. A Specimen. Showing the application of transposed Appliqué.

20. DESIGN FOR WALL-HANGING.
By William Morris.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 20 .—Wall Hanging. Designed by Mr. W. Morris. Worked on linen. Background in Silk Cushion Stitch.

11. DESIGN FOR A BORDER.
By Miss Webster.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 11 .—Design for Border. By Miss Webster. To be worked in outline in silk or crewel.

Gold and Silver Cloth

Cloth of Gold or Silver  is made of threads of silk woven with metal, which is thrown to the surface. In its best form it is extremely expensive, varying from £4 to £6 per yard, according to the weight of gold introduced. Cloth of silver is generally £3 the yard.

Inferior kinds of these cloths are made in which silk largely predominates, and shows plainly on the surface. They are frequently woven in patterns, such as diaper or diagonal lines, with a tie of red silk, in imitation of the diaper patterns of couched embroidery.

They are chiefly used in ecclesiastical or heraldic embroidery; their great expense preventing their general use.

2. DESIGN FOR WALL PANEL.
By Walter Crane.

No. 2 .—Design for Wall or Screen Panel. By Mr. Walter Crane. Representing the Four Elements.

Embroidered in crewels on a silk ground of dead gold colour partly outlined.

7. DESIGN FOR A SOFA-BACK COVER OR PIANO PANEL.
By George Aitchison.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 7 .—Design for Sofa-back Cover or Piano Panel. By Mr. George Aitchison.

Worked in two shades of blue silk on hand-woven linen or satin de chine.

18. TWO DESIGNS FOR WALL PANELS—“VENUS” AND “PROSERPINE.”
By the Rev. Selwyn Image.

No. 18 .—Two Panels. Designed by Rev. Selwyn Image. Representing Venus and Proserpine. To be worked in outline on linen, as No. 1, or in coloured silks on a groundwork of satin de chine.

5. DESIGN FOR A QUILT OR COUVRE-PIED.
By Fairfax Wade.

No. 5 .—Design for Quilt or Couvre-Pied. By Mr. Fairfax Wade. To introduce squares of Greek or guipure lace.

Worked in golden shades of silk on linen, lined with silk of the same colour. The embroidery is partly solid and partly outline, very fine and delicate.

Implements

Needles.—The best “embroidery needles” for ordinary crewel handwork are Nos. 5 and 6. For coarse “sailcloth,” “flax,” or “oatcake,” No. 4. For frame embroidery, or very fine handwork, the higher numbers, from 7 to 10.

It is a mistake to use too fine a needle. The thread of crewel or silk should always be able to pass loosely into the eye, so as not to require any pulling to carry it through the material.

Scissors  should be finely pointed, and very sharp.

Thimbles  which have been well worn, and are therefore smooth, are best. Some workers prefer ivory or vulcanite. Two thimbles should be used for framework.

Prickers  are necessary for piercing holes in gold embroidery, and also for arranging the lie of the thread in some forms of couching.

3. DESIGN FOR A QUILT OR TABLE COVER.
By George Aitchison.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 3 .—Design for Quilt or Table Cover. By Mr. George Aitchison.

A border of sunflowers and pomegranates, with powderings of the same for the centre.

This has been embroidered on cream-coloured satin de chine in solid crewel work, with charming effect, both for a counterpane and curtains.

1. DESIGN FOR WALL PANEL.
By E. Burne-Jones.

No. 1 .—Design for Wall-Panel. By Mr. E. Burne-Jones.

Worked in outline on neutral-tinted hand-woven linen in brown crewel. This style of embroidery is very suitable for internal decoration, where a good broad effect is required without a large amount of labour. A frieze or dado, or complete panelling of a room, may be worked in this way at a comparatively small cost.

DESIGNS FOR CHAIR-SEATS OR CUSHIONS. (9. PERIWINKLE 10. IRIS.)
By Miss Jekyll.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

Nos. 9  and 9 .—Designs for Chair-seats or Cushions. By Miss Jekyll. Periwinkle and Iris.

Stitches Used in Frame Embroidery

Feather Stitch.—In framework, as in handwork, we restore the ancient name of Feather work  or stitch—Opus Plumarium. We have already said that it was so-called from its likeness to the plumage of a bird.

This comes from the even lie of the stitches, which fit into and appear to overlap each other, presenting thus a marked contrast to the granulated effect of tent stitches, and the long ridges of the Opus Anglicum, having no hard lines as in stem stitch, or flat surfaces as in satin stitch.

Feather stitch, when worked in a frame, is exactly the same as that worked in the hand, except that it is more even and smooth. The needle is taken backwards and forwards through the material in stitches of varying lengths; the next row always fitting into the vacant spaces and projecting beyond them, so as to prepare for the following row.

Every possible gradation of colour can be effected in this way, and it applies to every form of design—floral or arabesque. Natural flowers have mostly been worked in this stitch.

A skilful embroiderer will be careful not to waste more silk than is absolutely necessary on the back of the work, while, at the same time, she will not sacrifice the artistic effect by being too sparing of her back stitches.

DESIGNS FOR TABLE BORDERS.
No. 13 by Fairfax Wade; 14 and 15 by Walter Crane; 16 by Mary Herbert.
Vincent Brooks Day & Son, Lith.

No. 13 .—Table Border. Designed by Mr. Fairfax Wade. Conventional Buttercup. To be worked either solid or in outline.

No. 13 .—Table Border. Designed by Mr. Walter Crane. For solid embroidery in crewel or silk.

No. 13 .—Table Border. Designed by Mr. Walter Crane. For solid embroidery in crewel or silk.

No. 13 .—Border. Designed by Miss Mary Herbert, R.S.A.N. For crewel or silk embroidery, either in outline or solid.

Satins and Silks

Satins and Silks  can only be embroidered in a frame. Furniture satins of stout make, with cotton backs, may be used without backing; but ordinary dress satins require to have a thin cotton or linen backing to bear the strains of the work and framing. Nothing is more beautiful than a rich white satin for a dress embroidered in coloured silks.

For fans, a very fine, closely woven satin is necessary, as it will not fold evenly unless the satin is thin; and yet it must be rich enough to sustain the fine embroidery, without pulling, or looking poor. A special kind of satin is made for the manufacture of fans, and none other is available.

Silk Sheeting ” of good quality, “Satin de Chine ” and other silk-faced materials of the same class, may either be embroidered in the hand, or framed; but for large pieces of work a frame is essential. These materials are suitable for curtains, counterpanes, piano coverings, or panels, and indeed for almost any purpose. The finer qualities are very beautiful for dresses, as they take rich and graceful folds, and carry embroidery well.

Tussore and Corah Silks  are charming for summer dresses, light chair-back covers, or embroidered window blinds. They will only bear light embroidering in silk or filoselle.

Within the last year successful experiments have been made in dyeing these Indian silks in England. The exact shades which we admire so much in the old Oriental embroideries have been reproduced, with the additional advantage of being perfectly fast in colour.

Nothing can be more charming as lining for table-covers, screens, curtains, &c.; and they are rather less expensive than other lining silks.

The fabrics known as Plain Tapestries  are a mixture of silk and cotton, manufactured in imitation of the handworked backgrounds so frequent in ancient embroideries—especially Venetian. Almost all the varieties of Opus Pulvinarium, or cushion stitch, have been reproduced in these woven fabrics.

Brocatine  is a silk-faced material, woven to imitate couched embroidery. The silk is thrown to the surface and is tied with cotton threads from the back.

As ground for embroidery it has an excellent effect.

Cottons and Woollens

Velveteen , if of good quality, makes an excellent ground for screen panels, chair-covers, portières, curtains, borders, &c. It can be worked in the hand if the embroidery be not too heavy or large in style.

Utrecht Velvet  is only suitable for coarse crewel or tapestry wool embroidery. It is fit for curtain dados or wide borderings.

Velvet Cloth  is a rich plain cloth, finished without any gloss. It is a good ground for embroidery, either for curtains or altar-cloths. It is two yards wide.

Felt  is sometimes used for the same purposes, but does not wear nearly so well, and is difficult to work.

Diagonal Cloth  can be worked either in the hand or frame, although it is always much better in the latter. It is used for table-covers, curtains, chair-seats, &c.

Serge  is usually made thirty-six inches wide. It has long been in favour for curtains, small table-covers, dresses, &c. It can now be obtained at the school fifty-four inches wide, in many shades.

Soft or Super Serge , also fifty-four inches wide, is an excellent material, much superior in appearance to diagonal cloth, or to the ordinary rough serge. It takes embroidery well.

Cricketing flannel  is used for coverlets for cots, children's dresses, and many other purposes. It is of a beautiful creamy colour, and is a good ground for fine crewel or silk embroidery. It need not be worked in a frame.

Genoa or Lyons Velvet  makes a beautiful ground for embroidery; but it can only be worked in a frame, and requires to be “backed” with a thin cotton or linen lining, if it is to sustain any mass of embroidery. For small articles, such as sachets or casket-covers, when the work is fine and small, the backing is not necessary. Screen panels of velvet, worked wholly in crewels, or with crewel brightened with silk, are very effective. Three-piled velvet is the best for working upon, but is so expensive that it is seldom asked for.

Silk Velvet Plush  (a new material) can only be used in frame work, and must be backed. It is useful in “appliqué” from the many beautiful tones of colour it takes. As a ground for silk or gold embroidery it is also very good.

Frames and Framing

Before proceeding to describe the various stitches used in frame embroidery, we will say a few words as to the frame itself, the manner of stretching the material in it, and the best and least fatiguing method of working at it.

The essential parts of an embroidery frame are: first, the bars, which have stout webbing nailed along them, and mortice holes at the ends; second, the stretchers, which are usually flat pieces of wood, furnished with holes at the ends to allow of their being fastened by metal pegs into the mortice holes of the bars when the work is stretched.

In some cases the stretchers are fastened into the bars by strong iron screws, which are held by nuts.

Framing

In choosing a frame for a piece of embroidery we must see that the webbing attached to the sides of the bar is long enough to take the work in one direction. Begin by sewing the edge of the material closely with strong linen thread on to this webbing. If the work is too long to be put into the frame at one time (as in the case of borders for curtains, table-covers, &c.), all but the portion about to be worked should be rolled round one bar of the frame, putting silver paper and a piece of wadding between the material and the wood, so as to prevent its being marked.

The stretchers should then be put in and secured with the metal pegs.

A piece of the webbing having been previously stitched on to the sides of the material, it should now be braced with twine by means of a packing needle, passing the string over the stretchers between each stitch taken in the webbing, and, finally, drawing up the bracing until the material is strained evenly and tightly in the frame. If the fabric is one which stretches easily, the bracings should not be drawn too tightly.

For small pieces of work a deal hand-frame, morticed at the corners, will suffice, and this may be rested on the table before the worker, being held in its position by two heavy leaden weights, covered with leather or baize, in order to prevent them from slipping. It should be raised off the table to a convenient height, thus saving the worker from stooping over her frame, which tires the eyes, and causes the blood to flow to the head.

There is no doubt that a well-made standing-frame is a great convenience, as its position need not be disturbed, and it can be easily covered up and put aside when not in use. It requires, however, to be very well made, and should, if possible, be of oak or mahogany, or it will warp and get out of order. It must also be well weighted to keep it steady.

For a large piece of work it is necessary to have a long heavy frame with wooden trestles, on which to rest it. The trestles should be made so as to enable the frame to be raised or lowered at will.

A new frame has recently been invented and is sold by the Royal School, which, being made with hinges and small upright pins, holds the ends of the material firmly, so that it can be rolled round and round the bar of the frame without the trouble of sewing it on to the webbing.

When a frame is not in use, care should be taken that it does not become warped from being kept in too dry or too hot a place, as it is then difficult to frame the work satisfactorily.

It will be found useful to have a small basket, lined with holland or silk, fastened to the side of the frame, to hold the silks, thimbles, scissors, &c., needed for the work. Two thimbles should be used, one on each hand, and the best are old silver or gold ones, with all the roughness worn off, or ivory or vulcanite.

The worker ought to wear a large apron with a bib to save her dress, and a pair of linen sleeves to prevent the cuffs from fraying or soiling her work.

Surgeon's bent scissors are useful for frame embroidery, but they are not necessary, as ordinary sharp-pointed scissors will answer every purpose.

When silk, satin, or velvet is not strong enough to bear the strain of framing and embroidering, it must be backed with a fine cotton or linen lining. The “backing” in this case is first framed, as described above, and the velvet or satin must then be laid on it, and first fastened down with pins; then sewn down with herringbone stitch, taking care that it is kept perfectly even with the thread of the “backing,” and not allowed to wrinkle or blister.

It is most important that a worker should learn to use equally both hands, keeping the right hand above the frame till the arm is tired, then letting the left take its place while the right goes below.

A cover should be made large enough to envelop both the upper and under portions of the work, and to be fastened down to the sides, so as to protect it from dust when it is not being used, and during work it should be kept over the portion of the embroidery not actually in hand.

Lastly, a good light should be chosen, so as not to try the eyes.

Many materials can only be embroidered in a frame, and most work is best so done. A greater variety of stitches is possible, and on the stretched flat surface the worker can see the whole picture at once, and judge of the effect of the colours and shading as she carries out the design. It is the difference between drawing on stretched or crumpled paper.

“Couching,” Or Laid Embroidery

This name is properly applied to all forms of embroidery in which the threads of crewel, silk, or gold are laid on the surface, and stitched on to it by threads coming from the back of the material. Under this head may be classed as varieties the ordinary “laid backgrounds,” “diaper couchings,” “brick stitch,” “basket stitch,” and the various forms of stuffed couchings which are found in ancient embroideries. Couching outlines are usually thick strands of double crewel, tapestry wool, filoselle, cord, or narrow ribbon laid down and stitched at regular intervals by threads crossing the couching line at right angles. They are used for coarse outline work, or for finishing the edges of appliqué.

Plain Couching , or “Laid Embroidery.”—The threads are first laid evenly and straight from side to side of the space to be filled in, whether in the direction of warp or woof depends on the pattern; the needle being passed through to the back, and brought up again not quite close, but at a sufficient distance to allow of an intermediate stitch being taken backwards; thus the threads would be laid alternately first, third, second, fourth, and so on. This gives a better purchase at each end than if they were laid consecutively in a straight line. If the line slants much, it is not necessary to alternate the rows. When the layer is complete, threads of metal, or of the same or different colour and texture, are laid across at regular intervals, and are fixed down by stitches from the back.

Example of plain couching

No. 11.—Plain Couching.

The beauty of this work depends upon its regularity.

This kind of embroidery, which we find amongst the old Spanish, Cretan, and Italian specimens, is very useful where broad, flat effects without shading are required; but unless it is very closely stitched down, it is not durableif there is any risk of its being exposed to rough usage. It is possible to obtain very fine effects of colour in this style of work, as was seen in the old Venetian curtains transferred and copied for Louisa, Lady Ashburton. These were shown at the time of the Exhibition of Ancient Needlework at the School in 1878.

Ancient embroidery can be beautifully restored by grounding in “laid work,” instead of transferring it where the ground is frayed, and the work is worthy of preservation. It must be stretched on a new backing, the frayed material carefully cut away, and the new ground couched as we have described.

In other varieties of couching, under which come the many forms of diapering, the threads are “laid” in the same manner as for ordinary couching; but in place of laying couching lines across these, the threads of the first layer are simply stitched down from the back, frequently with threads of another colour.

Net-patterned Couching.—The fastening stitches are placed diagonally instead of at right angles, forming a network, and are kept in place by a cross-stitch at each intersection.

This style of couching was commonly used as a ground in ecclesiastical work of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Brick Stitch.—The threads are laid down two together, and are stitched across at regular intervals. The next two threads are then placed together by the side, the fastening stitches being taken at the same distance from each other, but so as to occur exactly between the previous couplings. Thus giving the effect of brickwork.

Diaper Couchings.—By varying the position of the fastening stitches different patterns may be produced, such as diagonal crossings, diamonds, zigzags, curves, &c.

No. 12.—Three Illustrations of Diaper Couchings.

They are properly all gold stitches; but purse silk, thin cord, or even untwisted silk may be used.

A wonderful example of the many varieties of diapering is to be seen in the South Kensington Museum, No. 689. It is modern Belgian work, executed for the Paris Exhibition of 1867. As a specimen of fine and beautiful diapering in gold, this could scarcely be surpassed.

Basket Stitch  is one of the richest and most ornamental of these ancient modes of couching. Rows of “stuffing,” manufactured in the form of soft cotton cord, are laid across the pattern and firmly secured. Across these are placed gold threads, two at a time, and these are stitched down over each two rows of stuffing. The two gold threads are turned at the edge of the pattern, and brought back close to the last, and fastened in the same way. Three double rows of gold may be stitched over the same two rows of stuffing.

The next three rows must be treated as brick stitch, and fastened exactly between the previous stitchings, and so on, until the whole space to be worked is closely covered with what appears to be a golden wicker-work.

Strong silk must be used for the stitching.

Example of basket stitch

No. 13.—Basket Stitch.

The Spanish School of Embroidery has always been famed for its excellence in this style, and has never lost the art. The “Embroiderers of the King,” as they are called, still turn out splendid specimens of this heavy and elaborate work, which are used for the gorgeous trappings of the horses of the nobility on gala days and state occasions.

A beautiful specimen was exhibited at the Royal School of Art-Needlework, in 1878, by the Countess Brownlow, of an altar-hanging, entirely worked in basket stitch, in gold on white satin, and a modern example is still to be seen at the School in a large counterpane, which was worked for the Philadelphia Exhibition from an ancient one also belonging to Lady Brownlow.

The Spanish embroiderers used these forms of couching over stuffing with coloured silks as well as gold, and produced wonderfully rich effects. One quilt exhibited by Mrs. Alfred Morrison in 1878 was a marvel of colouring and workmanship.

Basket stitch is mostly used now for church embroidery, or for small articles of luxury, such as ornamental pockets, caskets, &c.

Diapering is generally employed in the drapery of small figures, and in ecclesiastical work.

Many fabrics are manufactured in imitation of the older diapered backgrounds, and are largely used to replace them. Among these are the material known as silk brocatine, and several kinds of cloth of gold mentioned in our list of materials.

Cut Work Or Appliqué

Decorative cut work is of infinite variety, but may be divided into two groups, “inlaid appliqué” and “onlaid appliqué.”

Inlaid ” appliqué consists in tracing the same pattern on two different fabrics, say a gold cloth and a crimson velvet; then cutting both out carefully, and inlaying the gold flowers into the crimson velvet ground, and the crimson flowers into the gold ground.

This kind of work may be seen constantly in Italian rooms of the seventeenth century, and the alternate breadths of crimson and gold give a very fine effect as of pilasters, and in general are enriched by a valance applied at the top, and a plain border at the bottom.

The inlaid  part is sewn down with thread, and covered with cord or couchings of floss silk. Sometimes narrow ribbons or fine strips of cut silk are stitched over the edges to keep them down flat.

Onlaid  appliqué” is done by cutting out the pattern in one or many coloured materials, and laying it down on an intact ground of another material. Parts are often shaded with a brush, high lights and details worked in with stitches of silk, and sometimes whole flowers or figures are embroidered, cut out, and couched down. This sort of work is extremely amusing, and gives scope to much play of fancy and ingenuity, and when artistically composed it is sometimes very beautiful.

Another style of “onlaid appliqué” is only worked in solid outlines, laid down in ribbon or cord, sometimes in both. This was much in vogue in the time of Queen Anne, and for a hundred years after.

Appliqué in progress in a frame

No. 20.

The ribbon, very soft and thick, sometimes figured, sometimes plain, was manufactured with a stout thread on each side, which could be drawn, and so regulate the ribbon and enable it to follow the flow of the pattern.

The German, French, and Italians often enriched this style of work with a flower, embroidered and applied thrown in here and there. Very small fringes also were introduced into the pattern, or arabesqued.

“Cut work,” like the appellation “Feather stitch,” has a totally different meaning when it is given to white embroidery, and it has nothing to do with appliqué, but takes its name from the fact that the pattern is mostly cut or punched out, and then edged with button-hole or plain overlaid stitch.

In working appliqué it is best, although not absolutely necessary, to have the design traced on the material to be used as a ground, which must then be framed as for ordinary embroidery. A copy of the design must be made on tracing-paper, and the outlines carefully pricked out with a needle or pin, laying the paper on several folds of flannel or cloth for greater convenience in pricking.

A pad, made of a long strip of flannel about four inches wide, rolled very tightly, must be made ready, and some pounce made of about equal quantities of finely powdered charcoal and pipe-clay. The leaf or scroll which is wanted for the work must now be selected, and the pricked design laid face downwards on the fabric which is to be applied. The flannel pad must be dipped in the pounce and rubbed well into the outlines of the pricked design, which must be held firmly in its place with the left hand. On lifting the tracing-paper, the design will be found to be marked out on the material distinctly enough for it to be cut out with a sharp pair of scissors. The pounce can afterwards be dusted off.

The leaf or scroll having been thus cut out must be fastened in its place on the design with small pins, and then carefully sewn down. The edges are then finished off by stitches of embroidery or by a couching line (see  page 39 ). The stems are frequently worked in with stem stitching or couching, and the leaves enriched by large veinings of crewel or silk work, or in conventional designs, with some of the many varieties of herringboning.

Gold Embroidery  on velvet or satin grounds requires to be worked on a strong even linen, and then cut out and applied in the same manner as ordinary appliqué. Where a particularly rich and raised effect is required any embroidery may be treated in this manner. It is of course more troublesome, but quite repays the labour spent upon it by the increased beauty of the work.

The transfer of old embroideries on to a new ground is usually done by appliqué, although we have already described a better process at page 39 .

In transferring old needlework it is necessary to cut away the ground close to the edge of the embroidery. It is then placed on the new material, which has been previously framed, and the outline tacked down. The best way of finishing is then to work in the edges with silks dyed exactly to match  the colours in the old work. If properly done, it is impossible to discover which are old and which new stitches, and only by examining the back, that the work has been transferred at all.

We used the words “dyed to match ” advisedly, as it is impossible otherwise to procure new silks which will correspond with the old.

Embroidery transferred in this manner is as good as it was in its first days, and in many cases is much better, for time often has the same mellowing and beautifying effect in embroideries as in paintings.

A less expensive, but also a much less charming, method is to edge the old embroidery after applying it to the new ground with a cord or line of couching.

With this treatment it is, however, always easy to perceive that the work has been transferred.

For almost all kinds of appliqué it is necessary to back the material; and it is done in this manner:—

A piece of thin cotton or linen fabric is stretched tightly on to a board with tacks or drawing-pins. It is then covered smoothly, and completely, with paste. The wrong side of the velvet, satin, serge, or whatever is to be used in the work, is then pressed firmly down on the pasted surface with the hands, and then left to dry.

In giving the foregoing account of the most typical stitches, we hope we have succeeded in showing the principle on which each should be worked. They form the basis of all embroidery, and their numerous modifications cannot be fully discussed in the limit we have prescribed to ourselves. It is sufficient to observe that the instruction we have tried to impart is that which it is absolutely necessary for the needleworker to master thoroughly before she attempts to cope with the artistic element of her work. That it is a creative art is undoubted, for no two pieces of embroidery are alike unless executed by the same hand, and from the same design.

For the advanced artist there is a store of instruction in the fine collection at South Kensington, which, seen by the light of Dr. Rock's invaluable “Catalogue of Textile Fabrics,” is an education in itself, of which the ethnological as well as the artistic interest cannot be over-estimated, and it is within the reach of all who can find time to bestow upon it.

Stretching and Finishing

Always avoid using an iron to embroidery. It flattens the work, and is apt to injure the colour. For embroidery on linen, unless very badly done, it will be found quite sufficient to stretch the work as tightly as possible with white tacks or drawing-pins on a clean board, and damp it evenly with a sponge. Leave it until quite dry, and then unfasten it, and, if necessary, comb out the fringe. If it is new work, it should not be fringed until after it has been stretched.

For crewel work on cloth or serge, it is sometimes necessary to rub a little shoemaker's paste on to the back of the embroidery, while it is tightly stretched. When pasting can be avoided, it is always better to do without it; but it serves to steady the work in some cases, and makes it wear better. Unless it is absolutely necessary, it is better not to paste the back of screen panels, whatever may be the materials on which they are worked; but more especially satin or velvet, as it interferes with the straining of the work by the cabinet-maker.


We give a recipe for Embroidery Paste , which is said to be excellent:—Three and a half spoonfuls of flour, and as much powdered resin as will lie on a half-penny. Mix these well and smoothly with half a pint of water, and pour it into an iron saucepan. Put in one teaspoonful of essence of cloves, and go on stirring till it boils. Let it boil for five minutes, and turn it into a gallipot to cool.

N.B.—Let the gallipot have in it a muslin bag: the water can then be drained out from time to time, and the paste will be much better.

Cleaning

Good crewels will always wash or clean without injury; but the cheap and inferior worsteds will not do so. Ordinary crewel work on linen may be washed at home, by plunging it into a lather made by water in which bran has been boiled, or even with simple soap-suds, so long as no soda or washing-powder is used. It should be carefully rinsed without wringing, and hung up to dry. When almost dry, it may be stretched out with drawing-pins on a board, and will not require ironing.

Embroidery on cloth or serge may often be cleaned with benzoline, applied with a piece of clean flannel; but in any case, where a piece of work is much soiled, or in the case of fine d'oyleys, it is safer to send it to the cleaner's.

Messrs. Pullar and Son, Perth Dye Works, are very successful in cleaning all kinds of embroidery without injuring it.

In many cases it may be well dyed—the silk in which the design is worked always showing a different shade from the ground.