This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The hangings illustrated on pages 206, 207 are intended especially for Trinity Sunday, and for the seasons when green is used. The silk employed for the foundation of the altar antependium is generally woven with a design, and for green this is especially advisable, as it is a colour which is not generally very satisfactory on a plain surface. The superfrontal will look richer if of velvet of a green of slightly darker tone; or, if preferred, it may be worked on plain gros-grain silk, as the surface exposed will be less than on the frontal.
The medallion in the centre is intended to be of a very-dark red-ribbed silk - not the ecclesiastical red used for altar hangings, but something much more sombre; and the border of conventional fleurs-de-lis surrounding it of velvet of the same deep tone of red, almost maroon. The design for the medallion should be marked out on the silk, which should be previously backed with a linen affording sufficient steadiness to hold the heavy gold work; and the velvet, which has been also previously backed by pasting, having been marked out, the fleurs-de-lis must be cut out with sharp scissors and fixed in their places by pins, and then sewn down firmly all along the edges. It will be best to arrange this ornament round the edge of the medallion first, extending the base of the fleurs a little beyond the design, as it appears when finished, so as to give greater firmness in sewing them on to the linen, which, of course, has been previously tightly and carefully framed. The silk must now be pinned down with the greatest care and sewn over with the finest herring-bone stitch over the bases of the fleurs-de-lis. The cross, the crown, and the Alpha and Omega must now be worked separately upon stout linen. They should be all traced at once, so that one operation of framing will be sufficient. Within the outline of the cross a second outline must be traced at a distance of about half an inch; this space is to be filled in with couchings of dead gold-coloured silk laid closely side by side, and stitched across at regular intervals by silk of the same colour, or slightly darker in tint. These stitchings across may either be done by laying threads across the couched lines at regular intervals, or by simple stitchings, as preferred; but great care should be taken with the intersections at the arms and outside corners of the cross. This being completed, the centre is to be worked in brick-stitch, the gold threads being laid down two at a time and fastened with a stitch at right angles of red twist silk, not too coarse. The stitchings across alternate; those in the second line coming exactly half way between those of the first, so as to give the appearance of brick-work. Here also great neatness will be required in laying the gold threads at the intersections of the cross. They ought to be "passing" and not Japanese gold, so that they may be carried through the linen, and thus more neatly finished. If expense is a great object, the real gold thread cannot be used, very fine Japanese gold must be used, and four threads in place of two taken for each line of brick, as the fine thread is more easy to manage in the turnings than coarse.
In working with Japanese gold, it must always be remembered to give it a twist with the fingers as it is turned, or the paper with which the thread is covered will show a gap.
The Greek letters and the crown should be worked in the same manner, but omitting the silk couchings, and using brick-stitch of gold thread only. The crown might be enriched with jewels worked in satin-stitch of silk, in red and green, at the base, between two thick lines of gold thread stitched down. The crown itself would probably look richest if worked in feather-stitch in silk, radiating outward toward the top, and then enriched in the centre of each leaf with gold thread worked over the silk.
When these detached ornaments are all finished they must be well pasted at the back, and left till quite dry; then cut out, leaving a very narrow margin beyond the gold, and applied on the medallion of red silk, which has been already prepared for them. When the whole have been firmly sewn on over the edges, the rays springing from the cross must be couched in with gold thread, and then each portion of the design finished with a couched line of gold cord sewn down with red silk. An outer couching of dark red chenille will add great richness and throw up the ornament with very good effect. The fleurs-de-lis must not be finished until the whole of the medallion is applied to the frontal, which is best done after the rest of the design has been worked, the exact position of the medallion being marked on the silk at the same time that the rest of the design is traced.
The frontal should not need backing if the silk-is a good one, but if it is at all thin it will certainly be necessary. The stalk running throughout the design should be worked in gold-coloured silks, toning into bronze green and browns, the thorns being of the golden hue; the same silks may be used for the buds and for the calyx leaflets showing behind the roses. The whole of the foliage should be outlined with gold thread or with a couching of thick gold-coloured silk; the former will be most effective, the leaves themselves worked with couching of fine Japanese gold thread or gold-coloured silk laid across in straight lines, leaving sufficient space between each thread for the ground to be distinctly seen through. If worked with silk, veinings of gold thread should be worked on after the leaf is finished.
The roses must be worked in feather-stitch of silk in tones of red, not too deep, and inclining as much as possible to a broken hue of terra-cotta. The choice of this tone must depend on the red used for the ground and applique of the centre medallion; but the ecclesiastical green being rather a strong one, it will be necessary, in selecting
Altar Frontal And Superfrontal For Trinity • By Sarah Wynfield Rhodes
Details Of An Altar Frontal For Trinity
For the Complete Design by Sarah Wynfield Rhodes see opposite page For treatment see page 205 the light reds to be used for the flowers, to take into consideration the golds and bronzes used in the foliage, and the deep reds used in the medallion. In a design so purely conventional as this, the spent seeds of the roses may be worked in red or pinkish tones if the harmony seems to require it, though they should properly be of gold colour. The seeds must be worked on the roses after the embroidery is finished with gold thread, and may be finished either with small spangles or with French knots of the gold thread.
When the frontal is all finished, the centre must be placed on it before it is unframed, stitched on and couched round the edge of the fleurs-de-lis with gold cord, and, if desired, with an outer couching of dark red chenille to lift it from the ground.
The whole will then be lined with stiff linen and with silk or some other lining, and finished off at the top, leaving the linen to project an inch or so to fasten on to the altar. The fringe may be of gold, or if, as is likely, a balance of red is still required, it may de spaced with dark red. A spaced fringe, however, is apt to give a patchy appearance at a little distance, and rarely looks so well as a self-coloured one.
As the fringe is laid upon the frontal, not sewn at the edge, allowance must be made for this, in striking the centre, for placing the medallion and the scroll design midway between the bottom of the fringe of the superfrontal, and the top of that on the cloth itself.
The superfrontal may be worked, as I have said, on plain ribbed silk or even on velvet. The directions for working the frontal will apply to it, but the reds may be a little more marked, certainly working all the buds in deep reds, as we have not the centre medallion to give us relief, as in the frontal. The top of the altar should be of the figured silk used for the ground of the frontal, and if lined with thin linen or Holland it will give it greater substance, and make it wear better.