This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
IN a previous issue of the Magazine, in relation to the care and handling of embroidery threads, and of filo-floss in particular, some hints were given for guarding against roughing the silks. Judging from letters received on the subject from several of our readers, it would seem that possibly too much importance may have been attached to the precautions that were suggested. As a matter of fact, a slight roughing of the silk is not always detrimental; sometimes the stitches blend and lie together the better for it. It is even permissible, when the silk seems wiry, to roll the skein between the palms of the hands a little to loosen the twist. But as the stitches are laid with silk loosened either accidentally or purposely, they should be blended, and any fuzz laid by scratching the needle through them in the direction they have taken from top to bottom, just as you would lay gathers in a ruffle. The advantage of this little point can hardly be overestimated. It restores the gloss to the silk by smoothing it and makes the surface perfect. It is, however, necessary that the stitches should be of equal tension in order that this may be done successfully. In making any correction, always use the needle; never put the fingers on embroidery.
Hold the needle between the thumb and forefinger - not too tight. Tightened fingers have the same effect on a piece of embroidery that they have on the piano. You want a "legato touch" - even and true, as in music - without any cramping of the muscles of the hands and wrists, which draws the work. The thread should not be held by the hand at all, but should fly free from the needle's eye. There is little danger of roughing if this rule is observed.
Sewing needles are preferable to crewel needles for silk; a small eye carries and keeps the silk in better order than the oblong one, which lets it move. The best size for embroidery on heavy silks or linens is No. 7; for lawns, No. 9. A needle finer than 9 has an eye too small to part the ground material sufficiently, and should not be used, because the gloss of the silk thread is lost unless the needle makes a space large enough to carry it through easily.
Embroidered Sermon Case. By G. May Shepherd.
(For suggestions for treatment, see page 105.)