Swallow-tail Butterflies - Appliqued on to Linen Butterflies can be Effectively Reproduced
Of all Nature's beauties, the butterfly is perhaps one of the rarest and most delicate specimens. It is probable that few needlewomen have thought of embroidering these exquisite creatures upon satin mats, to decorate a dinner-table or a dainty polished table in the drawing-room, on which a specimen-glass containing a choice blossom may be placed without fear of injuring the polished surface of the wood.
Long strips of linen may be embroidered for the toilet-table, or for the top of a mantelshelf, or for the centre of the table when the usual cloth is discarded, all embellished with "butterfly" designs.
The butterflies on the satin mats are truly beautiful and artistic possessions when they are embroidered direct from the actual butterfly. It becomes a fascinating task to copy their shape, colouring, and minute veining, not with a brush and paint, but with a needle and a delicious riot of colour, which we may find in embroidery silks of to-day.
Four such mats form a pretty arrangement for a dinner-table, placed in the centre of the table, either facing each other or in diamond shape. Four silver vases containing maidenhair fern complete the charming tout' ensemble. Three-quarters of a yard of satin makes four mats, which can be easily cut in the round shape by placing a plate the required size of the mat on the satin and drawing a circle round it with a pencil. Cut each mat out of the satin, but it is best not to cut it completely round the pencilled circle until the embroidery is completed, as satin has a tendency to fray at the edges.
For the butterflies one can choose one's favourite specimens. The "Red Admiral" is always to the fore, with its exquisite reds, yellows, and blues. First of all sketch the shape of the butterfly on to the satin mat. The embroidery silks literally become the palette, for the embroid-eress will require a good range of varied colourings when she undertakes the decoration of satin mats with the radiant glories of the butterfly's wing. But, in spite of this fact, no great quantity of silk is required. She may discover amongst her collection of embroidery silks ample material to draw upon, and thus use up old treasures. At the same time, the actual colouring of the butterfly should be interpreted faithfully.
A charming butterfly design that may be worked on linen to form a toilet-cloth or table-centre where the usual table-cloth is discarded
Begin by embroidering the butterfly (Fig. 1) at the top of the left hand side of the wing, using satin-stitch in rows, so that the groups of stitches realistically follow the definite shape of the markings of the butterfly's wings. It facilitates matters if several needles are employed, they can be threaded with strands of red, yellow, blue, and black silk, also with the dark browns which will form the larger portion of the wings. The needles can be placed in a pincushion and used as required.
For working the top row of the wing there will be several stitches in chocolate colour, then yellow, blue, dark red, yellow, blue, and dull chocolate, which shows the advan-tages of having needles all ready threaded. As required they can be replenished, and placed in the pincushion until they are again called into use. When the wing is covered with the markings, in rows of satin-stitch, the wing is veined in a darker shade of brown, using the stem-stitch, which is worked between the rows of satin-stitch in circular lines, from the edges of the wing to the portion of the wing where it joins the body.
Fig. 1. One of a set of mats on which butterflies are embroidered in natural colouring, The "Red Admiral" is here shown with its exquisite shades of red, yellow, and blue. The success of the work will depend upon the fidelity with which Nature is copied
The body is worked in shades of golden brown in satin - stitch, with touches of yellow at the top. It is both outlined and veined right across the body in black.
Another pretty mat (Fig. 2) may be made by working the butterfly in shades of dull green, yellow, and orange. The green silk is worked in satin-stitch all round each wing. The centres of the wings are worked in satin-stitch in orange or flame colour, and yellow with touches of brown. The veining is carried out in a darker green, with occasional French knots and fancy stitchings, to accentuate the actual markings of the butterfly. The head is worked in chocolate with touches of black and yellow, the body in chocolate with veinings of yellow and black.
Above this a smaller butterfly flutters, the wings are worked in two shades of yellow, and beneath this French knots are worked in two shades of turquoise, whilst the centres of the wings are worked in brown with veinings of black and gold.
The tortoise-shell butterfly
(Fig. 3) makes a charming scheme of decoration, for each of the four mats should have different butterflies to grace their shimmering surface. The butterfly is worked all around its edges in satin-stitch in dull blue with touches of yellow. Then follow the rows of satin-stitch in black, yellow, red, brown, and flame colour, each row of stitching imitating the colouring of the butterfly. Near this a smaller yellow butterfly hovers, worked in yellow, chocolate, and green. A blue butterfly disports itself above this brilliant creature.
Fig. 2. The large butterfly is worked in shades of dull green, yellow, and orange, and the smaller insect in two shades of yellow with French knots of turquoise; the centre of its wings are brown with veinings of black and gold
S w a 11 o w-t a i l butterflies (Fig. 4) are delightful specimens, from which the em-broideress may glean many secrets of form and colour. The wings are worked in exquisite shades of yellow and gold with touches of blue and red. Two small butterflies worked respectively in blue and tortoiseshell make a pretty finish to the mat. When the embroidery is completed, the round circles of satin must be cut out accurately, and lined with a soft glace silk. A silk lace makes a charming adornment to the edges of the mats, especially when completed with rows of feather-stitching worked in white mallard floss.
For those who do not desire closely to follow the handiwork of Nature, very effective butterfly work can be carried out in various coloured linens, which are appliqued on to holland or white linen. The wings and body are cut out in mauve and orange - coloured linen. It is ap-pliqued on to the holland or linen in black silk or D.m.c. Coton Perle, the wings and body first of all having been pasted or neatly stitched on to the linen background. The veining is carried out in dull brown, with fancy stitches and
French knots around the outer edge. Long and short - stitch is worked effectively in pale gold colour, either silk or mercerised em-broidery cottons being used for this purpose.
Fig. 3. The tortoiseshell butterfly is worked in satin-stitch in blue, yellow, black, red, brown, and flame colour. The smaller butterfly is worked in yellow, chocolate, and green, the smallest in blue
A butterfly cut out in blue linen is effective when veined in shades of gold; and pale pink, with an outer edging of black French knots, looks delightful. Pink French knots have a charm also when worked under the black stem-stitch outline.
In the case of the articles described, two or, at most, three butterflies will be found sufficient for the piece of work in question; but for a larger article, such as a cushion-cover, or a baby's cot cover, a charming and original effect could be obtained by embroidering a circle or a flight of these exquisite insects.
The form of the article will determine which of these two schemes is the more appropriate. Some of the moths and butterflies, also, afford examples of beautiful soft tints, and a piece of pearl-grey or dove-coloured satin worked with small moths of similar or blending shades would make a very artistic and beautiful possession.
Fig. 4. The swallow-tail butterfly depicted above is worked in shades of yellow and gold with touches of blue and red. The other butterflies are carried out respectively in tortoiseshell and blue