This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
IN stitching for domestic embroidery, if one succeeds in getting a good effect, generally the result is acceptable. In church work, on the contrary, to be acceptable, not only the effect must be faultless, but also must the execution, while the design itself must be in strict accordance with the canons of the church. The old embroideries, especially of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, show us what has been clone in this way, and how high has always been the standard.
Ecclesiastical embroidery is "solid," and should always be done in a frame; the ground material should be the finest butchers' linen, and should be stretched drum-tight. Church vestments, hangings, and clothes should be handled in one of two ways: they should either be thrown over the stretched linen and the work done through both materials, or the embroidery should be done directly on the linen and transferred. In the latter case the butchers' linen should be of a closer weave and have a substantial body.
A firm standing-frame is convenient, but a strong square one well braced on a table is often the most manageable, especially for large work and pieces which take much time, because it can be laid aside in a position where it need not have constant jars, which are very detrimental to the tension. The most practical and altogether satisfactory frame is one consisting of two beams four feet long, one and a half to two inches wide, and one inch thick. This inch edge should be rounded and the two sides should be flat. The beams should have oval holes two inches long cut through the rounded edges, through which the two cross slats should be passed. The slats should be made three feet long, about two inches wide, and half an inch thick; they should be cut crossways of the wood, in order to stand the strain. Oak, or some hard, well-seasoned wood, is needed for them, but pine is better for the beams, as it is light to handle. The slats should be perforated with a double row of gimlet holes placed alternately. When the slats are put through the beams, smooth nails or pegs should be inserted in these holes at the corners. Of course, the tighter the material is stretched, the firmer the frame will be as it is drawn in against the pegs. A strip of listing may be tacked along the upper sides of the beams, and the material to be stretched may be over-sewed on to it, then the slats inserted, and so the material is stretched in one direction. The other two edges of the linen should be corded with hemp twine. Perforate the linen along the inner side of the cord with holes about two inches apart. They may be punched in with the scissor or stiletto. Now lace the linen to the frame with hemp cord by threading the cord through the perforations and winding it over the slats alternately. Secure it very firmly at the four corners. The stretching will come, of course, as you lace the second side, which is the fourth of the square.
It will be seen at once that it is necessary to have the linen several inches smaller than the frame, in order to have room for stretching. A stronger purchase can be got on the frame by slipping the slats through a few inches, so as to bring the frame longer on the beam sides than its width along the slats. Supposing the beams are four feet long, they may have slat holes a foot and a half from opposite ends, as well as at the ends, in order that the frame can be made small when desired. All four sides may be laced, instead of sewing two to the listing, when a piece of linen not more than one yard by eighteen or twenty inches is to be used; but you cannot make large pieces as firm in this way. Instead of punching a row of holes along the corded edges, a bale needle may be used to carry the twine. Large holes are likely to tear out; so this is the better way, as well as a much quicker one. To sew the linen to the listing, turn its edge one-half inch deep and whip it over to the listing with a waxed cord carried by a small sail needle. One needs to be very careful when using such a needle, as it may easily go through the hand unless one uses the sail-maker's palm-thimble. It should be grasped like an awl rather than as a needle.
Even a very firm frame is likely to wring as the tension is gradually increased, but by placing heavy weights on the corners as you secure it to the table, or by tying one coiner clown to the table and weighting the diagonal one which is outside the support, you can force the frame flat. This still more increases the tension, but it must be done gradually, or cord or stitches may give way. If a stiff foundation is required it should be brushed Over with starch water.
The material is now ready for work; if the embroidery is to be transferred, the silks and instruments may be spread out on the surface con venient to the hand. If, on the other hand, the embroidery is to be done directly upon the fabric to be decorated, cover a space of the linen a few inches larger than the design with paste. The paste may be made of Hour; it should be fairly thick and have a little powdered resin stirred into it. When it is perfectly smooth, coat the linen with it, and rub it well in. Be sure it is even, and that there are no lumps left. Lay the silk or satin over this surface and cover it with tissue paper before pressing it close. The paste will not strike through, if it is smooth and not too moist. Flat weights or books should be laid over the surface until it is perfectly dry. It is best to let them remain for several hours. A few stitches taken round the edges will secure the material, so that no accidental pull will separate it from the lining.
When the embroidery is finished, it should be well pasted on the back. It is best to put on the paste with the fingers, as the brush or cloth does not distribute it evenly, or rub it down, so there can be no clanger of its coming through.
L. B. Wilson. (To be concluded.)
Embroidered Book-cover. Designed by M. L. Macomber.
Pyrogravure, or "Poker=work."