Crewels. - Never take more than about half the length of a skein in your needle. If a long needleful is used, it is not only wasteful, but liable to pull the work, and become frayed or knotted before you have used it all. Crewels manufactured with a twist are considered unsuitable. No doubt a twisted crewel wears better, but it tends to produce a hard appearance, and in the hands of an inexperienced worker the embroidery is rendered tight and severe by its use.
The colours in the best quality crewels are perfectly reliable, and will wash well, provided no soda or strong soaps are used.
Tapestry wool is more than twice the thickness of crewels. Useful for bold designs.
Arrasene.* - A species of worsted chenille, also useful for broad effects. It is made in silk as well, but is inferior to the worsted.
Flax Threads. - This is a production of comparatively recent date, which is glossy, even, good in colour, and durable. This thread has almost driven the old-fashioned ingrained cottons out of the field.
Silks. - That known as "bobbin silk," an untwisted floss, is mostly used for fine work.
* Faudel's Glace Chenille is recommended for general embroidery.
The D.M.C. flax threads. Barbour's linen thread and Peri-Lusta are all reliable.
See Maygrove & Co.'s., Corticelli and the D.M.C. lists.
Filo floss is easier to work, as it has a slight twist ; and the gloss is very beautiful. The silk for general purposes is called "embroidery silk." Purse silk is a tightly twisted kind, excellent in quality, and much used for ecclesiastical purposes.
Raw or Spun Silk. - A cream-coloured, soft, untwisted silk.
Filoselle is an inferior quality of silk ; nevertheless, it can be used for many different kinds of work. But when silk or satin grounds are employed, always work with the best silk.
Tussore. - A wild silk of India. Can be pr6duced for less than half the price of the cultivated silk of Italy, China, and Japan.
Gold and Silver Threads * etc.
There is a good deal of "Japanese gold thread" used both in ecclesiastical as well as domestic work at the present time. Where silk embroidery calls for a gold outline, the Japanese gold answers that purpose well. When the best gold is desired, the following list may be of some assistance:
Passing. - A bright, smooth thread.
* See George Kenning & Son's lists.
Tambour. - Like "passing," but finer.
Rough Purl. - Dull.
Smooth Purl. - Bright.
Check Purl. - Rough and sparkling.
Pearl Purl. - In effect like small beads strung together.
Bullion. - The larger sizes of "purl."
Plate. - A flat gold about 1/16 in. wide.
There are gold-twisted cords of various thicknesses.
Purl may be either in gold or silver. It is made in a series of continuous rings rather like a corkscrew. Can be cut at the required lengths, threaded on the needle, and fastened down as in bead work.
Plate is a narrow, flat piece of gold or silver, about 1/16 inch wide, and is stitched to the material by threads of silk, which pass over the metal.
Gold and Silver Passing and Tambour. - Fine kind of threads. Can either be used for working through the material, or laid and couched in the usual way.
Precious stones, pearls, beads, and disks of gold are skilfully used, but great care and judgment must be exercised in their application. The "Letter-bag" shown on Plate No. 17 has clusters of pearls and concave disks of gold applied in conjunction with gold threads.
Spangles and Sequins. - Sometimes of pure gold. There are a number of various coloured metal spangles and sequins.
Fabrics used as Grounds for Embroidery.
Linen. - Hand-made linens are the best. The textures are most beautiful, and, as a rule, the colours are good and in every way admirable for embroidery purposes. Among the ordinary machine-made linens there is no difficulty in finding all shades and qualities. When there is dressing in the linen, it is advisable to boil it well before commencing the embroidery. The unbleached linen known as "flax" is satisfactory as a ground for needlework, and the twilled linens, especially "Kirriemuir twill," are excellent for crewel work. Sail-cloth is a stout, yellow-coloured linen. Oatmeal linen is finer and of a greyer tint than oatcake linen. Smock linen is a strong, even, green fabric.
Serge, soft or super serge, carries embroidery well.
Cricketing flannel is a fine creamy colour.
soft, and can easily be worked in the hand.
Felt is used, but only very seldom, for altar-cloths and curtains.
Diagonal Cloth, for table linen, curtains, etc., is occasionally chosen by workers.
Genoese velvet is very rich in colour and quality for grounds. It should be "backed" with a cotton or linen lining if it is to be heavily embroidered. Velveteen is employed for some purposes, and Utrecht velvet at times for crewel or tapestry wool embroidery. Velvet-face cloth is a rich plain cloth, without gloss; suitable for altar-cloths.
Silks and satins are usually embroidered in a frame. Both are very beautiful as backgrounds, particularly the ribbed' and patterned silks, which are called into service for many kinds of embroidery.
Tussore and Corah silk grounds are very charming and delicate, but they will only carry light embroidery, in silk.
Silk Sheeting. - Of good quality, suitable for piano coverings, panels, etc. Can be embroidered in the hand.
Brocades are admirable for grounds. The patterned surface, if well chosen, gives a pleasant contrast to the embroidery.
There are also a number of silk and linen mixtures procurable which are suitable grounds for embroidery.
Dorneck. - A name given to an inferior kind of damask wrought of silk, wool, linen thread, and gold in Flanders. Towards the end of the fifteenth century it was used much for church furniture.
Cloth of Gold and Silver. - Chiefly used for heraldic and ecclesiastical embroidery.
Bandekin. - That sort of costly cloth-of-gold which took its famous name from Baghdad.
Samit or Examitur. - A six-thread silk stuff preciously interwoven with gold threads.