This work may have the appearance of being somewhat fragile, but in reality it wears well, and there are many purposes for which it can be applied, and the Oriental effect obtained is quite unlike any other kind of needlework.
The seeds employed are melon, obtainable in the summer time; vegetable marrow, which can be obtained in winter; and hollyhock, to be gathered in the late summer. Pretty effects can also be obtained with hemlock seeds.
When collecting the marrow seeds, it is not necessary to wash them, but each seed should be wiped separately from the pulp. Place them on a rug or tray to dry in the wind, but if dried before a fire, great care should be taken that the heat is not too intense.
When thoroughly dry, the seeds will cast a thin, clear skin, and doubtless this will also occur during the process of working, but it will be found to separate quite freely, thus causing very little trouble.
When drying the hollyhock seeds, it will be observed that some of them turn almost
No. 2. Marrow seeds arranged to overlap each other form an effective flower spray black, while others dry pale, and full of shade. The discoloured and imperfect seeds should at once be thrown away, and only the perfect ones retained.
These seeds are not susceptible to splitting by heat, and, in consequence, can be used for gas or lamp shades.
The best and most effective results are gained when varying shades in coloured silks are employed, thus there is an opportunity to use up silks left over from previous work. The chief colours suggested for the stems, are green and brown, as they are nearly always safe in harmonising with practically any flower.
No. 1 shows an illustration of a border suitable for a bookshelf, using marrow seeds.
Many workers will be able to draw their own patterns, but those who are unable to do so will experience no difficulty if transfer designs are procured. These can be bought for a few pence at a fancy work or draper's shop. Transfers of sprays of a running nature are the most pleasing to the eye, and are therefore to be recommended.
After the length and width of the material has been arranged, and the pattern selected traced or stamped thereon, place the seeds in position by a few stitches of silk, one at the top of the seed, two at each side, and one firmly in the centre of the bottom.
When a sufficient quantity of seeds have been fixed in their places to each flower, at the end of every stitch make another short one of a deeper colour, and add a French knot of a contrasting colour. Each flower should be worked in a different shade of silk.
From the centre of the flower, and between each petal, make a long stitch, with French knots at the ends of different coloured silks. The middle of the flower is filled in with French knots and a tuft of silk formed of loops.
The stems are done in the ordinary stem stitch, two shades of green being used, the top line dark green, and the bottom line with green of a paler shade.
The bottom edge of the material is folded over once only, and the edge is buttonhole-stitched with a dark green silk. This stitching should not be done too closely, and one stitch is made alternately longer than the other. French knots of contrasting colours are made at the end of each stitch,
No. 3. A charming design for hollyhock seeds, the soft colouring of which harmonises most artistically with a dark green or black background. A few stitches of crimson silk in the centre of two or three of the clusters is an improvement the purl edge of the buttonhole-stitching coming, of course, at the entire edge of the border.
No. 4. Another suggestion for utilising hollyhock seeds
The fringe can be made any depth on to a narrow strip of material, then stitched on to the back of the border; or it can be carried up into the thickness of the double cloth and securely fastened.
The small seeds are hollyhock, and are very strong, the edge being double, giving them the appearance of a buttonhole-stitch.
Although the strands should not appear deficient, they should not be placed too closely together, and each one should have full play.
A close silk machine-twist is required, and a very fine needle. Make a firm knot at the end of the silk, then thread a bead; run the needle up the seed, between the double edge, bringing the needle out by the small cut that will be observed. Thread another bead, and then a marrow seed, bead, hollyhock seed, bead, holly-lock seed, bead, marrow seed; continue in this way, with a bead between each seed, until the length required is attained, then carefully fasten off.
If the shelves are not too wide apart, the top shelf would look well, and prove very convenient, if the border consisted of a fringe of six or eight strands at the ends only, reaching to the lower shelf. Should the shelves be too wide, the strands could be of different lengths of, say, alternate twos or threes, to form a definite link with the others. The edges of a glass cabinet would look extremely pretty done in this manner.
No. 2.-The marrow seeds in this case do not require stitching at the edge. The centre stitch is begun about three-sixteenths of an inch from the top of the seed, and is passed through at the bottom. Two more stitches are made at each side of the centre one, and each stitch is arranged a little below the other.
It is composed of the hollyhock seed, which could easily be worked on silk. Bring the needle up at the small opening in the seed, then take the needle down again through the rise in the seed. The leaves are sewn with green and brown silk to match the stems; and the blossoms should have a tuft of silk in the centre of a contrasting colour.
No. 4.-Hollyhock seeds closely overlapping in rounds form this quaint flower. A few stitches of crimson silk, with a central French knot of yellow, gives a charming contrast to the fawn colour of the seeds. The spray is completed by working the stem in shaded green silks, with single seeds, and a group of five to represent buds.
In the next example (No. 5) hollyhock seeds also form the tiny sprays, the centre stitches of silk in the groups of five seeds being in various colours, such as crimson, orange, pale blue, white, pink, and so on. When worked on a dark green background such sprays are most effective, or can be utilised separately for filling in spaces in other designs.
To be continued.
No. 5. Tiny sprays of hollyhock seeds that form a scattered design, or could be employed separately