The samplers so far discussed bring us, with the exception of Darning, Satin-stitch, and some stitches presently to be mentioned, practically to the end of the stitches, deserving to be so called, generally in use.
By combining two or more stitches endless complications may be made; and there may be occasions when, for one purpose or another, it may be necessary, as well as amusing, to invent them. In this way stitches are also sometimes worked upon stitches, as shown on the sampler, Illustration 32 (Interlacing-Stitch Sampler. F). You will see, on referring to the back of it (33), that only the white silk is worked into the stuff: the dark threads are surface work only. There is no end to such possible INTER-LACINGS. Those on the sampler do not need much explanation ; but it may be as well to say that A starts with crewel-stitching; B and C with back-stitching; D with chain-stitching; E with darning or running; F, G, and H with varieties of herring-bone-stitch; J with Oriental - stitch; and K with feather-stitch. It is not difficult by following the interlacings of the darker threads to detect the surface work upon the white. C and G undergo a second course of interlacing.
The danger of splitting the first stitches in working the inter-lacing ones, is avoided by passing the needle eye first through them.
Other surface work, sometimes called Lace-stitch, is illustrated in the sampler, Illustration 34 (Surface-Stitch Sampler). There is really no limit to patterns of this kind. Some are better worked in a frame, but that is very much a matter of personal practice.
In the Surface Darning at H (34) long threads are first carried from edge to edge of the square, there only piercing the stuff, and then darned across by other stitches, again only piercing it at the edges. An oblique version of this is given at C (34). The Lace Button-holing at B (34) is worked as follows - Buttonhole three stitches into the stuff from left to right, not quite close together, and further on three more; then, working from right to left, make three buttonhole stitches into the thread connecting the stitch groups; but do not stitch into the stuff except at the ends of the rows. The last row must, of course, be worked into the stuff again.
The Working Of F On Interlacing-Stitch Sampler
To Work H
To Work B
Net Passing, as at F (34), is not very differently worked from A, only it is much more open. The first row of horizontal stitches is crossed by two opposite rows of oblique stitches, which are made to interlace.
The square at G is worked by first making rows of short upright stitches worked into the stuff, and then threading loose stitches through them.
The square at D is worked on the open lattice shown; the solid parts are produced by interlacing stitches from side to side, starting at the angle.
In the square at E (Japanese Darning) horizontal lines are first darned, and then zigzag lines are worked between them, much as in G; but, as they penetrate the material, this is scarcely a surface stitch.
The horizontal lines at top and bottom of the square at A are back-stitching, the intermediate ones simply long threads carried from one side to the other; they are laced together by lines looped round them.
The band at K is merely surface buttonholing over a series of slanting stitches.
The band at J is buttonhole stitching wide apart, the bars filled in with surface crewel-stitch.
To Work F
To Work G
To Work D
To Work A
To Work L
To Work K
To Work J
Most delicate surface stitching occurs in Illustration 35 (Lace Or Surface Stitch), the fine net being worked only from edge to edge of the spaces it fills, and not elsewhere entering the stuff; which accounts for most of it being worn away. The flower or scroll-work is substantial embroidery, worked through the stuff. The delicate network of fine stitching, which once covered the whole of the background, is neither more nor less than a floating gossamer of lacework. One cannot deny that this is embroidery, though it has to be admitted that lace-stitches are employed in it.
Stern embroiderers would like to deny it. Of course it is frivolous, and in a sense flimsy, but it is also delicate and dainty to a degree. It is suited only to dress, and that of the most exquisite kind. A French marquise of the Regency might have worn it, and possibly did wear it, with entire propriety - if the word is not out of keeping with the period.
The frailty of this kind of thing is too obvious to need mention, and that, of course, is a strong argument against it.
All attempt to give separate names to diapers of this kind, whether worked upon the surface or into the stuff, is futile. They ought not even to be called stitches, being, in fact, neither more nor less than stitch patterns, to which there is no possible limit, unless it be the limit of human invention. Every ingenious workwoman will find out patterns of her own more or less. They are very useful for filling in surfaces (pattern or background) which it may be inexpedient to work more solidly.
The greater part of such patterns are geometric (Illustrations 35 and 73), following, that is to say, the mesh of the material, and making no secret of it. On Illustration 3 (Stitching On A Square Mesh), where, by the way, the relation of stitch to stuff is obvious, you see very plainly how the rectangular diaperings are built up geometrically on the square lines of the mesh, as was practically inevitable working on such a ground. In any case, however, preceptible weaving lines facilitate the setting out of geometric diaper.
The choice of stitch patterns of this kind is inevitably left to the needlewoman. The utmost a designer need do is to indicate on his drawing that a " full," " open," or " intermediate" diaper is to be used. Still, the alternation of lighter and heavier diapers should be planned and not left altogether to impulse, though the pattern may be. Moreover, there is room for the exercise of considerable taste in the choice of simpler or more elaborate patterns, freer or more geometric. Many a time the shape of the space to be filled, as well as its extent, will suggest the appropriate ornament. The diaper design is not, of course, drawn on the stuff, but points of guidance may be indicated through a kind of fine stencil plate, supposing the weave of the stuff not to be plain enough to go by.
The patterns used for background diapering need not, as a rule, be intrinsically so interesting as those which diaper the design itself, nor are they usually so full. They take more often the form of spot or sprig patterns, not continuous, in which the geometric construction need not be obvious. Nor is it necessary. In either case the prime object of the stitching is not so much to make ornamental patterns as to give a tint to the stuff without entirely hiding it; and the worker chooses a lighter or heavier diaper according to the tint required.
For a background, simple darning more or less open, in stitches not too regular, is often the best solution of the difficulty. The effect of the ground colour grinning through is delightful.
In white work the purpose of the stitching is to give texture.