It is not everyone, however, who has the gift and the brains to bend to her use the forms of flower, leaf, or seed pod, and, while observing certain conventions, obtain a result which is suitable for embroidery.
This highest form of pattern-making requires considerable skill, and it is for those who are not gifted in this way that this article is written.
Most people can copy with pencil and pen simple forms im-mediately before them, so that for the woman who wishes to embroider from Nature the work is not difficult, and there will be a certain freshness of colouring and veracity in line that gives to Nature embroidery an undeniable charm.
The Brilliant Colour of Freshly Gathered Flowers
The handful of sweet-peas that is gathered from the garden may be laid on the table and sketched on to a piece of linen. Then, while the colours are fresh and bright, the bag of silks should be brought out, and the many shades carefully matched. If some harmonies are wanting, it is easy to take the flower to a shop and get a colour as near to Nature's painting as possible.
A fine example of skilled needlecraft. The application of love-in-a-mist as a design for embroidering a tablecloth
A group of iris and foliage. An excellent study for a needlework panel
The worker who has not had much experience might begin with a single blossom, such as a pansy. This can be repeated at regular intervals, so that a surface powdered with the flowers will be obtained. The effect is excellent, with comparatively little effort in drawing.
With such a pattern the colour of the flower might be varied, and purple, mauve, yellow, orange, and tawny brown introduced with good effect.
How the iris can be adapted successfully for a decorative piece of needlework. This design shows the value of careful selection on the part of the worker.
The tender message of the "pensee " always makes it a suitable embellishment for a gift, while tiny editions of the flower give us the wild pansy and old-fashioned viola to perfection.
Wild flowers, such as the blue cornflower, wild rose, or blazing poppy, are good subjects for copying with the needle, and serve as permanent reminders of a pleasant ramble in a country field or lane.
A spray of apple blossom is a subject which lends itself to beautiful reproduction
Only a skilled embroideress should attempt a bunch of flowers in needlework, for very careful drawing is necessary to obtain the grouped yet not too crowded effect.
A large mass of colours and stitches is very apt to look muddled, and the art of not seeing too much is one to be acquired with practice.
To know how to omit unessential details, and the lines and shades which are there, but which are unnecessary for the success of the pattern, can only be learnt by considerable practice, and it is certainly better for the beginner to confine herself at first to single-blossom work.
This advice applies also to embroidering garlands or wreaths. It is a somewhat difficult matter from Nature, and should not be attempted without previous' knowledge of drawing. If a garland design is required, single blossoms, such as forget-me-nots, or single leaves, such as the pointed bay or rounded laurel, can be worked, each leaf overlapping the former one slightly, so that a formal garland effect is obtained.
Sprays treated in the natural manner can be embroidered in garland form. The richly tinted Virginia creeper, with its green, orange-rose, and deep reds, would be handsome, while blackberry, wild rose, or briony can be worked with good effect.
It is better to have an iris blossom only one inch in size, and with a four-inch stalk, and leaves, than a full-sized flower and only a small, short stalk. The example illustrated shows this clearly worked on a piece of linen, nine inches long and three and a half in width.
Love-in-a-mist is a very pretty, old-fashioned flower. Its grey-green foliage and pale blue petalled centre make a very pretty and unusual colouring for the elaborate tablecloth in the illustration.
Apple blossom is so beautiful that it is welcome with its pink and white suggestion of spring freshness, and loveliest when embroidered -in its natural colours on a blue Roman satin background, which suggests the sky against which we see it growing.
In such choice of details lies the success of Nature embroidery, and it helps to make this work a very pleasant hobby.
A study of apple blossom from nature, embroidered in colour upon a blue background