This section is from the book "Progressive Lessons In The Art and Practice of Needlework", by Catherine F. Johnson. Also available from Amazon: Progressive Lessons In The Art And Practice Of Needlework.
In this year a pleasing arrangement can be made from their drawing lessons (Fig. 77) for a design to embroider in couching, French knot, and outline-stitch, not alone for ornament, but to lead the pupil to study the grace and beauty of designs for that kind of needlework which will make a garment or any article to which it is applied more beautiful, thus carrying into ornament what has been learned for actual use, such as hemstitching, darning, herringbone stitch, etc.
Fig. 77. - Design for embroidery from a drawing lesson.
Embroidery darning is for ornament and is worked on the right side of the cloth. It is made with straight edges and without loops.
The stitch is the same as that used in darning a thin place which is not yet worn into holes.
Couching is fastening a cord on a piece of work by oversewing or by embroidery edging stitches; it is used only in ornamental work
To make a French knot, fasten the thread with a rolled knot on the under side; then bring the needle to the upper side, pulling the thread through the cloth. Hold it by the left thumb down to the cloth at nearly an inch from this place, and pass the needle alternately under and over the thread from above to below between this place and the thumb, pointing it toward the thumb. Turn the needle back and pass it perpendicularly through to the under side as near as possible to the place where the thread comes up, then draw the thread through, not too tight.
With heavy worsted there should be but one twist, with silk or cotton two or more twists about the needle, according to the size of the knot required. This French knot is used only for embroidery.
Outline-stitch is the stitch with which designs are outlined, and is also used to fill in on some kinds of embroidery.
To make outline stitch, the work should be held so that the line to be embroidered runs from the person. Fasten the thread by three running stitches along this line; with the needle pointing toward the chest, draw the thread through until but two stitches remain in the cloth; this leaves the end on the under side. Now carry the needle 1/8 in. backward over these stitches, and take up on it four threads along the line of the design with the needle still pointing toward the chest, and the loop of the thread held to the right of the line. Draw the needle through, and carry it backward another 1/8 in. along the line of the design, and continue as before; and so on. At points or corners the ingenuity of the worker must be exercised in deciding how to shorten the stitch, and where to put the needle through so as to preserve the outline.
Fig. 78. - Couching.
When a large design is made, or worked on coarse material, a longer stitch is made.