Plate No. 66
Fig. 43. - Taken from a piece of Indian work in beetle's wings and silver thread. The jewelled effect of beetle-wings in this border suggests possibilities with the use of blues, purples, and bottle-green silks.
They would all have to be the same relative weight of colour. The small oblong disks could be worked in satin stitch, in floss silk, or some very smooth, glossy, and untwisted silk. The introduction of the aluminium thread would give the effect of the silver, but it is rather duller, and does not tarnish.
Fig. 44 is a counter-change pattern from an old applique stole of crimson velvet and yellow satin outlined in gold. From Mexico, Spanish, seventeenth century.
Fig. 45. - Details given of a border worked in satin stitch, fine silk gimp, and French knots. Italian, sixteenth century.
Fig. 46 is a very simple example of counterchange ornaments.
Plate No. 66.
Plate No. 67.
Examples from Chinese work
Plate No. 67.
Figs. 47, 48, and 49 are all taken from Chinese work, and show their rigid method of shading in blocks.
Fig 47 is termed "encroaching shading." In it the stitches are all evenly lengthened beyond the amount visible in the finished work ; the following row is then taken up into the previous stitches (dove-tailed), so that a raised line (following the outline in shape) is made, which only on close examination proves not to be corded underneath.
Fig. 48 is an example of shading done entirely with French knots (on the same principle as the reproduction of the Chinese rose on page 249); the dotted lines show the area of each different colour. The outline is in fine gold, and, if carefully followed, it will be seen that it is so cleverly managed as to necessitate no break through the whole flower.
Fig. 49 is given to show how the Chinese use the change of direction of their stitches in this block-shading to give variety; also to emphasise the value of voiding - that is, leaving the ground to show all round each petal and mass in a manner which is rather similar to the use of ties in stencilling.
Plate No. 68.
For getting the full value of the gloss and brilliancy of the silks the system adopted in the working of what is known as "laid work" cannot be beaten. This form of embroidery has, however, one great drawback - it is not very strong, and if the surface to be covered by the work is large, it will not wear well. There is a beautifully preserved example of laid work in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see reproduction of chalice veil on Plate No. 42) which proves that, when well sewn, it can with care be made to last for a long time.
Plate No. 68.
Fig. 50. - Plain couching on "laid embroidery." First lay the threads evenly from side to side of the space to be filled. The needle, after passing through the material - at the edge or boundary of the leaf or flower form - is brought up again, not quite close, but at a distance to allow an intermediate stitch being taken backwards, thus laying the threads alternately first, third, second, fourth, and so on; in this way you get a better hold at each end of the line than when laid consecutively. As the leaf or form curves your lines of laid work will gradually follow, opening a little at one end and closing a little at the other. When the layer is complete, threads are laid across at pleasant and fairly regular intervals, following or suggesting the growth (as in this example). These threads are fixed down by stitches from the back (couched).
Fig. 51. - Couching for outline or edging applique. A thick strand of filoselle, double crewel, tapestry wool, or narrow ribbon, as the worker may choose, is laid on the surface of the material and stitched at regular intervals by threads crossing at right angles and holding it down.
Fig. 52. - Gold * carried over string, and couched on both sides of the string with coloured silk.
Fig. 53. - Silk twist over string, couched.
*. Embroidery in gold was by the Romans attributed to the Phrygians. It was therefore called Opus Phrygium.
The twist is laid down two strands together, and is stretched across on each side of the string. This makes a pleasing border. One string, for variety, is thicker than the other.
Fig. 54. Diaper Couching. - Gold, silk cords, purse silk, or even untwisted silk may be used for laying down. By varying the position of the fastening stitches a number of simple patterns may be produced.
Fig. 55. Basket Stitch. - Rows of padding, in the form of cotton, cord, or macrame string, are first laid across the surface of the material and securely fixed down. Gold threads are then placed across them, two at a time, which are stitched down over the padding - usually two rows of these (making four gold threads together). Then the next two rows are treated as brick stitch, and fastened exactly between the previous stitchings. Strong silk must be used, or horse-tail rubbed with beeswax, for stitching down the gold. Basket stitch is one of the most ancient methods of couching. It is very handsome and ornamental.
Plate No. 69.
Fig. 56. - Disk of gold thread couched with red silk. The play of light on the gold when wound round in this fashion gives a jewel-like appearance. In the illustration on
Plate No. 18 it will be seen that the whole of the background is patterned with little disks of gold in spiral fashion.
Plate No. 69.
Figs. 57, 58, 59, and 60 represent four borders which are worked in gold passing. For figs. 57 and 58 macrame string is sewn firmly along the lines of the design; the string must never cross, but be cut off and begun again. The double passing is laid backwards and forwards the whole width of the border, and stitched firmly with waxed horse-tail each side of the strings. For fig. 59 the centres are padded with a soft cotton called stuffing cotton, and in fig. 60 the design is cut out in cardboard tacked down in its place and the gold laid across, and stitched down on each side, as over string in the other figures.