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Vintage Embroidery Materials and Wool Descriptions

All care has been given to present this pattern in the original form. KnitHeaven is not responsible for errors.


(Picture above from, "The Shepherd's Fairy" Chapter 1, in "The Girl's Own Paper," October, 1886)

source for Embroidery Materials and Wool Descriptions below:

"Enquire Within Upon Everything"



1860.  Materials

Every sort of embroidery material may be used for embroidering upon. The most common are muslin, cambric, velvet, satin, cloth, and leather.

1861.  Application

The simplest style of embroidery is that termed Application,—that is, where the pattern is in one material, laid on another which forms the ground. In this way muslin is worked on net, velvet is laid on cloth, or on another velvet, and cretonne designs cut out and laid on another material, the edges being either sewed over, or ornamented with fancy cord, braid, gold thread, or any other appropriate material.
1862.  Braiding

Another very easy style of ornamentation is that known as braiding. Children's dresses are worked with narrow silk or worsted braid, the latter being also used for ladies' aprons, flounces, &c. Gold and silver braid enter largely into various sorts of decorated needlework, and the Victoria braid, of cotton, which has something of the appearance of satin stitch, is generally known.
1863.  Stitches in Braiding

There is considerable art required to achieve putting on the Victoria braid evenly and firmly. The stitches should be taken across the braid. This makes it lie flat.
1864.  Elaborate Embroidery

But the most elaborate kinds of embroidery are those which represent flowers, fruit, and other devices on any material; and these may be divided into white and coloured embroidery.
1865.  Broderie Anglaise

White embroidery, or embroidery on muslin, is used for a great variety of articles of ladies' dress. The simplest is termed Broderie Anglaise. In this style, the pattern is either in satin stitch, or from left to right, formed of holes cut out of the muslin, and sewed over with embroidery cotton. The great art in working broderie is to make the holes all of the same size, and to take the stitches closely and regular.
1866.  Satin Stitch

Satin stitch is a smooth raised work, used for leaves, flowers, &c. It is done by first tracing the outlines accurately with soft cotton, then taking stitches from point to point of the part to be raised, so as to have the greatest thickness of cotton in the centre, and sewing it over, in stitches taken close together, but slightly slanting, and completely across the part outlined. The veining of leaves is generally formed by taking the stitches from the vein to the edge, first on one side and then on the other. The borders of embroidered muslin collars, &c., are usually finished with buttonhole stitch, worked either the width of an ordinary buttonhole, or in long stitches, and raised like satin stitch. Eyelet holes are made by piercing round holes with a stiletto, and sewing them round.
1867.  Fancy Stitches

There are many fancy stitches introduced into muslin work, but these require to be practically taught.
1868.  Frame for Embroidery

The kind of frame on which muslin is most easily worked, consists of two hoops of wood, about eight inches in diameter. One is rather smaller than the other. On it the muslin is stretched, and the larger one being slipped over it, and fitting tightly, keeps the muslin in its place.
1869.  Embroidery on Satin, &c.

Satin and velvet are embroidered in coloured silks, gold and silver bullion, pearls, &c. A very fashionable style is the work with ombre or shaded silks.
1870.  Netting Silk in Embroidery

The most delicate kinds of embroidery are worked with fine netting silk, one strand of which is drawn out. This makes the silk appear softer and richer.
1871.  Shading in Silks

It requires considerable care to work well with ombre silks, to avoid incorrect shading. Nature should be followed as closely as possible. Not only must the form be carefully preserved, but the lights and shades must be disposed in an artistic manner. For instance: the point of a leaf is never the darkest part, nor should the lower leaves and flowers of a group of the same kind be light.
1872.  Materials used in Embroidery and Canvas Work

The materials for canvas work and embroidery may be classed under the names of wool, silk, chenille, and braid; beads, straw, and a variety of other fancy materials, are also brought into use. A knowledge of the proper mode of using them, and the varieties of each which are made, is one of the most useful things it is possible for the amateur needle-woman to become acquainted with. We will, therefore, take them in their order.

1873.  Wool

German wool (or Berlin wool, as it is commonly called) is the most beautiful material manufactured for canvas-work. The vast variety of shades, the exquisite tints produced, the softness and evenness of the fabric, are beyond all praise. We speak of Berlin wool as it ought to be; for no article is more frequently of inferior quality. From damp, or bad packing, or many other causes, it is frequently crushed and injured, and in that state is not fit to be used for good work. Berlin wool is supposed to be all dyed, as well as made, abroad; at present a large proportion is entirely produced in our own country, which is little, if at all, inferior to the foreign. Berlin wool is made only in two sizes, 4-thread and 8-thread; unless the latter is specified in directions, the other is always implied.

Berlin wools are either dyed in one colour, or in shades of the same colour, or (very rarely) in shades of several colours. Technically, a silk or wool dyed in shades of the same colour, going gradually from light to dark, and from dark to light again, is termed an ombre, or shaded wool or silk, whereas chine is the term employed when there are several colours used. There are, also, what are called short and long shades; that is, in the former the entire shades, from the lightest to the lightest again, will occur within a short space, a yard or so; whereas, in long shades the gradation is much more gradually made.

We notice these apparently trifling differences that readers may comprehend the importance of obtaining precisely the proper materials for each design. If we prescribe a certain article, it is because it and no other will give the effect. Transparent, white, or silver beads are usually worked with white silk, but clear glass beads, threaded on cerise silk, produce a peculiarly rich effect by the coloured silk shining through transparent glass. The silk used must be extremely fine, as the beads vary much in size. A change of material, which might appear of no consequence whatever, would completely spoil the effect of the design.

1874.  Fleecy Wool

Fleecy wool is the sort of wool used for jackets and other large articles. Some of the tints are quite as brilliant as those of Berlin wool. It is made in 3, 4, 6, 8, and 12 threads, and is much cheaper than German wool. It does very well for grounding large pieces of canvas work.
1875.  Shetland Wool

Shetland wool is very fine and soft, is much used, and prized for shawls and neckties and for veils.
1876.  Eis Wool

A pure German wool of silky brightness, is used for the same purpose as Shetland wool excepting for veils. It is also used instead of silk for embroidering on velvet, as tea cosies, &c.
1877.  Andalusian Wool

Andalusian wool is a medium wool, less thick than Berlin wool, is used for cuffs and shawls.
1878.  Other kinds of Wool

There are also other names given to wools by the vendors or manufacturers of them: for instance, "The Peacock Wool" and "The Coral Wool" are trade marks, and not particular wools.
1879.  Scotch Fingering Wool

Scotch fingering wool is used for knitting stockings and socks, and gentlemen's kilt hose.
1880.  Thin Lambs' Wool and Wheeling Yarn

Scotch yarns, used principally for children's socks and stockings.
1881.  Merino Wool

Merino wool is the produce of a Spanish breed of sheep. The wool was introduced into this country about the close of the last century. George III. was a great patron of this breed. French Merino is made from this peculiariy soft wool; so also Berlin wool, used for canvas embroidery.
1882.  Angola Wool

The produce of an African breed of sheep; is a soft hairy wool. Is used for making Angola shawls and gloves, valued for their extreme softness and warmth. These were popular till the cotton manufacturers introduced a very poor imitation make entirely of cotton.
1883.  Camel-hair Wool

Camel-hair wool is the production of the llama, or al-lama, a native of South America. This ruminant animal resembles in its nature, but not in its form, a camel. The back and sides of the llama are clothed with fine long woolly hairs, becoming smooth, silky, and shining towards the tips, the general colours being of a uniform bright brown. The native Indians use it in the manufacture of stuffs, ropes, bags, and mats.
1884.  Alpaca

Al-Paco produces the alpaca wool. This creature is also a species of camel, though different in shape. Cavier regarded the paco as a variety of the llama; so also the vicugua. The llama is generally used as a beast of burden, while the former are used chiefly for their flesh and wool.



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