This section is from the book "Text-Book On Domestic Art", by Carrie Crane Ingalls. Also available from Amazon: Textbook On Domestic Art: With Illustrations And Drafts.
It must be worked or woven on a solid background, which distinguishes it from tapestry or lace. It is spoken of in the Old Testament by Moses, and the church shows the first examples obtainable of embroidery, thus giving it place before painting. The earliest work was done on canvas with the cross stitch, and the Egyptians, Persians, Grecians and Romans became skilled in this art, altho Asia Minor claims the invention of embroidery.
At the beginning of the Christian era, the work took the form of holy images, being illustrations of the Old and New Testament stories. Instead of these being worked with the cross stitch, the feather or plumage stitch was used.
Women of all ranks were interested in this work and later men became adept with the needle. In England, the Copes, many of which are preserved in the museums, are wonderful and beautiful examples of this art. In the 13th century, the chain stitch became the method of working out design, while the 20th century has adopted all varieties, with a preference for the satin stitch.
Every country shows its individuality in its mode of work, and accordingly derives its name, - as French or satin, Irish or Mountmellick, Madeira or eyelet, Danish or hedebo and hard-anger, Austrian, Hungarian, Roumanian, Italian or cut work, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and others.
The classification between plain and ornamental stitches should be thoroughly understood, and the application of embroidery in preference to outline and solid work must be suited to the textile it is to embellish. Simplicity in design, regularity of stitches, and harmony of colors include and demand care and thought.
The correlation between the drawing course for the designs necessary to be embroidered, should be here introduced, giving the pupil a wider range and an added interest in her work.