Did you ever hear of a stitch called the blanket stitch? It is very useful for decoration. We can make some attractive gifts if we know how to make it. Would you like to try to-day ?

Did you ever notice how pretty some verandas look in summer time? Mrs Stark of Pleasant Valley has a very attractive, cosy porch. Yours can look pretty, too, if you will give thought and a little time to it. You can plant some pretty vines as the girls did at the Ellen H. Richards house. The cucumber grows wild and can be transplanted. Perhaps in the attic you can find an old table, which will do to hold your sewing things. Can you make a cover for it? Perhaps you can make a porch cushion, too. The blanket stitch (Fig. 82) will be useful for both.

Fig. 82.   The blanket stitch.

Fig. 82. - The blanket stitch.

Did you ever see a material called Russian crash?

It is made in Russia, of coarse linen, and is often woven in the fields. It is not very wide, 16 or 18 inches only. It is light brown in color. If you cannot get the crash, perhaps you have some grain or feed bags which will do. You can dip them in coffee to stain them light brown, as Marjorie Allen did when she made a cover for the porch table. A piece 1 1/2 yards long and from 16 to 20 inches wide will make a good-sized table runner to throw over the old table on the porch. If you use the old bags and the edges are not selvedges, turn them with one turning 1/2 inch wide all around the edges, and baste.

How can you finish the edge of a table runner?

You can make the blanket stitch close together around the edge. A heavy mercerized cotton thread can be used for the stitch, and will look well if it is brown in color to harmonize with the linen or bag. The blanket stitch is used generally for blanket edges which are not hemmed. It is a stitch to prevent material from fraying, and is taken on the edge of material. When the cloth is not very heavy, one turning can be made to give firmness to the edge. This is not necessary on blankets or on heavy materials. The stitch is worked from left to right. The edge of the cloth is held towards the worker. Start with a few running stitches and bring the needle up near the edge. Have the thread under the thumb. Insert the needle any depth desired and point needle at right angles to the edge of the cloth, towards the worker. The needle should come up under the edge and through the loop made by the thread. The thread will be carried along the edge as the stitches are made. In finishing a thread, take small tiny stitches on the wrong side. In starting a new thread, bring it up through the last loop at the edge. On some materials the stitches can be 1/4 or 1/2 of an inch apart, or taken very close together as we do when we work on white linen and scallop the edges. The stitches can be 1/4 or 1/2 or even an inch deep, and they can be arranged to form a pattern. In the picture you will see that the stitches are arranged in blocks - twelve low ones 1/4 of an inch, and 12 of 3/4 of an inch. They can also be arranged to form stairs ascending and descending with a difference of 1/8 of an inch in the depth of each stitch. Suppose you plan to make the block pattern of the blanket stitch all around the edge of the table runner.

Now, can you make a porch cushion? The porch cushion (Fig. 83) can be made of a strip of crash or of a piece of bagging, 1 yard long and 16 inches wide. Hem one end with a 1 inch hem and the other with a 1/2 inch hem, turning both to wrong side. Fold so that the 1 inch hem overlaps the 1/2 inch hem. Pin carefully. This makes a kind of envelope and it can be filled later with a cushion of bran or excelsior or feathers. Fold so that the overlapping of hems comes about 4 inches from one end of the cushion. After folding and pinning, baste carefully through the two thicknesses of material. Work the blanket stitch all around four sides with the heavy brown linen or cotton thread. Use the same block pattern as for the table cover. The cushion is kept closed with three or four snaps sewed on the hems. These cushions can be made any size for hammock or for porch use. Mrs. Stark liked Mollie's so well that she made a whole set for her porch, and used old bags for this purpose.

Can you think of any pretty articles to make for the fair or for surprise gifts on which the blanket stitch can be used? Have you ever scalloped the edges of doilies with plain scallop? The white linen can be cut in circles to fit the size of the plates and the edge marked in scallops by using a spool. The stitch is exactly the same, but the stitches are taken very close together and cover the two lines of the marked scallop which indicate the depth. Doilies are very useful instead of a tablecloth. They are easily laundered and save the heavy washing. A bare wooden table which is kept clean and oiled is very attractive when set with doilies. (See Food and Health, page 73). Can you make a set sometime as a surprise for mother's Christmas gift?

Fig. 83.   The porch cushion, showing the blanket stitch in block pattern, and the opening near one end.

Fig. 83. - The porch cushion, showing the blanket stitch in block pattern, and the opening near one end.

Fig. 84.   Blanket stitch made close together for a scalloped edge.

Fig. 84. - Blanket stitch made close together for a scalloped edge.

Pincushion tops, bureau covers, table covers, tray covers, centerpieces, can all be made with this useful stitch.

Exercises And Problems

1. Draw a picture on the blackboard of the blanket stitch.

2. Bring to school some article on which the blanket stitch is used in some way. Have an exhibit of all the articles brought.