This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
Valuable hints for testing the quality of silk are given by an expert, writing in an American paper. He says: "The first thing to do with your sample is to try and tear it, both lengthwise and crosswise. If it gives way readily in either direction, be sure either that the dye has destroyed the strength, or that the thread is composed in part of what is technically known as silk waste. Pure silk, properly dyed, is the strongest known fibre. Nearly all the cheaper dyes, particularly the dark and black ones, have a basis of metallic salts that eat into and weaken what they colour. Next test the firmness of weave by scraping diagonally across the fabric with the thumb-nail. If it is durable and worth buying, the threads will not slip for any amount of manipulation. Otherwise, the thumb-nail will soon make a space of loose threads as big as itself. After that ravel out a bit of the silk and look carefully at the quality of both warp and woof. Sometimes a pure silk warp has heavily loaded woof. At others, especially in satin weaves, so much of the woof as comes on the surface is of pure silk, with inferior backing. The pure silk, unloaded, is of a lively lustre and very soft to the touch. If the lustre has been artificially produced, the fibre feels harsh and brittle. If it is silk, but loaded with metallic dye, the fibre looks
Harebell: Semi-natural Treatment for Decoration.
(See page 156.) like cotton, but is somewhat softer. Another test of quality is to pull out threads both ways and try their strength between your ringers. That is, catch them with both hands about an inch apart, give a quick outward jerk, and note the force necessary to break them. Then try to tear the silk along the lines that the threads came out of. If it parts so difficultly that there are puckers along the tear, it is proof that it will wear decently well."
The most valuable of the tests for either weighting or adulteration of fibre is to burn a fragment of the sample, and also some ravellings of it. " If it is pure and properly dyed, it will take fire with difficulty, even when held directly in flame. It will go out almost as soon as the .flame is withdrawn, leaving ashes that are nearly jet black. On the other hand, weighted silk is almost dangerously inflammable. It takes fire readily, and once burning, will smoulder through the piece, leaving ashes that keep the shape of the cloth and are of a light yellowish-red colour. If there is cotton mixed with the fibre, the smell of the smoke will betray it. The requisites of a thoroughly good silk are strength, smoothness, lustre, and richness, without weight, no matter how thick the texture. Adulteration invariably causes a harsh feeling. In heavy weaves, such as brocade, it is particularly important to see that the foundation is of sound, firm silk, as otherwise the fabric will not repay the cost of making." The writer, of course, refers especially to silks that are sold as "dress goods." For drapery and upholstery, one seldom wants to buy pure silk; a well-made mixed silken and woollen fabric will not only usually last longer than pure silk when applied to furniture, but it will hang better when used for curtains or portieres.
Harebell in Nature. By Jean W. Inglis.
To Paint Nasturtiums upon China, tint the blossoms with orange yellow; shade with jonquil yellow and grass green. Outline and vein the flowers with capucine red, the leaves and stems with brown green. Paint the upper sides of the leaves with grass green, leaving the veins lighter than the body of the leaf. Tint the leaves that turn their under side apple green; vein and shade with sepia. Paint the stems also with apple green; shade them with yellow brown and mixing yellow.
The best gum mastic, dissolved in turpentine, makes a picture varnish equal to any that can be bought. You can prepare it in a bottle, and for a few shillings provide a supply that will last a year.
Oct the best mastic. There are two qualities, and the poorer is as worthless as the other is excellent.
It is well to keep small sketches and drawings in a scrap album, which should be made of well calendered, heavy white paper. They should be smoothly pasted in, with a liberal allowance of margin. Many artists preserve their odds and ends in this way, and the books make delightfully interesting collections. There is a mysterious tendency on the part of little sketches to lose themselves out of portfolios.
TurkiSH rugs in the quieter patterns hung around a studio wall make an admirable background for pictures. Like old tapestry, they afford a rich and harmonious surface, which is in sympathy with any brighter or fresher object which may be brought in contrast with it.
The summer is the time to prepare material tor future decorative painting or design, by making studies of appropriate subjects in flowers and fruit as they come into season. None but those who possess such data can really appreciate the value of a portfolio tilled with intelligent and truthful studies from the woods, the field, and the orchard.
It is worth knowing that there is a paste which will hold one piece of silk or other stuff to another without sewing. It is easily made. Let powdered resin dissolve in alcohol to form a saturated solution; add of this a spoonful or a cupful as required to forty of boiling water, and stir into the mixture starch prepared from wheat Hour. With this paste one may may out the most elaborate designs in applique for window-curtains, portieres, and lambrequins, without the use of the needle, or a little embroidery maybe added for outlines and details with very good effect.
To preserve tapestries from moths and other insects, some French dealers steep them in absinthe for one or two days. An easier way is to sprinkle them with powdered naphthaline and roll them up in a linen cloth before putting them away for the summer. When taken out they should be hung in a current of air for a day or so before being again mounted in their place. In restoring old tapestries or embroideries, when wool or silk of exactly the same shades and tints cannot be obtained, use lighter shades, and when the needlework is finished it can be brought up to the required tone by painting with tapestry dyes.
Design For A Lady's Purse, In Embossed Leather. By Ellen Sparks.