has been given to present this pattern in the original form.
is not responsible for errors.
MATERIALS AND IMPLEMENTS FOR WORKING.
MATERIALS FOR PLAIN NEEDLEWORK.
The subject of this chapter is one to which it is hardly possible to pay
too much attention; since, on the judicious selection of materials,
depends, to a vast extent, the success of that prudent and
well-regulated economy, which is so essential to the welfare and
prosperity of every family. On this account, we have thought it right to
place before our readers the following observations, which should be
carefully attended to, as of the utmost importance. In purchasing goods,
be careful to examine the quality; and, if not experienced in such
matters, take with you an experienced friend. Cheap goods generally
prove the dearest in the end. The following rules may assist you in this
respect, if under the necessity of relying upon your own judgment. Be
careful, in purchasing articles, such as linen, calico, &c., for a
specific purpose, to have it the proper width. A great deal of waste may
be incurred, by inattention to this important direction.
Calico is often so dressed up, as to make it extremely difficult to
ascertain its real quality: hence, it is best to buy it undressed. It
should be soft, and free from specks. It is of various widths, and of
almost all prices. A good article, at a medium price, will be found
cheapest in the end.
Linen is of various qualities. That which is called Suffolk hemp is
considered the best. Irish linen is also in great repute. But you must
be careful to escape imposition; as there are plenty of imitations,
which are good for nothing.
Muslin Checks are much used for caps, &c., and are of various qualities.
You may form a good judgment of these, by observing the thin places
between the checks and the threads; if the former be good, and the
latter even, they may generally be relied on.
Blue Checks.—These may be procured either of cotton or linen; but the
linen ones, though highest in price, are cheapest in the end: they will
wear double the length of time that the cotton ones will.
Prints.—Give a good price, if you wish to secure a good article. Some
colors, as red, pink, lilac, bright brown, buff, and blue, wear well;
green, violet, and some other colors are very liable to fade. The best
way is to procure a patch, and wash half of it. This will test the
color, and may prevent much disappointment.
Flannels.—The Welsh flannels are generally preferred, as those that are
the most durable. Lancashire flannels are cheapest, but are far inferior
in quality. You may know the one from the other by the color: the
flannels of Lancashire are of a yellowish hue; those of Wales are a kind
of bluish gray tint.
Woollen Cloths.—These vary exceedingly, as to quality. The low-priced
ones are not worth half the purchase money. Good woollen cloth is
smooth, and has a good nap. If the sample shown you, be destitute of
these qualities, have nothing to do with it, unless you want to be
Stuffs.—The quality of these is sometimes very difficult to detect.
Holding them up to the light is a good plan. You should also be
particular as to the dyeing, as that is sometimes very indifferently
managed, and the stuff is dashed. Black dye is liable to injure the
material. Low-priced stuffs are rarely good for anything.
Crape.—This is often damaged in the dying. You should spread it over a
white surface before you purchase it, as by that means, the blemishes in
the material, if any, will be more likely to appear.
Silks.—These are, if good, costly; and great care should be exercised
in selecting them. They should not be too stiff, as in that case they
are liable to crack; and on the other hand, they should not be too thin,
as that kind is liable to tear almost as soon as paper. A medium
thickness and stiffness is the best. If plain, you must be careful that
there are no stains or specks in them; and if figured, it is advisable
to have the pattern equally good on both sides. This will enhance the
price at first, but you will find it to be good economy afterward. In
silks that are to be sold cheap, a kind of camel’s hair is frequently
introduced. This may be detected by pulling a piece of the suspected
silk cross ways, and if camel’s hair be mixed with it, it will spring
with a kind of whirring sound. This should be attended to.
Satin.—It is of various qualities and prices. The best is soft and
thick. When used for trimmings, it should be cut the cross way, as it
then looks better, and has a much richer appearance than when put on
These general observations will be of great use, and should be well
impressed upon the memory, so as readily to be called into exercise when
In making up linen, thread is much preferable to cotton. Sewing-silk
should be folded up neatly in wash leather, and colored threads and
cotton in paper, as the air and light are likely to injure them.
Buttons, hooks and eyes, and all metal implements, when not in use,
should be kept folded up; as exposure to the air not only tarnishes
them, but is likely to injure them in a variety of ways.
MATERIALS FOR FANCY NEEDLEWORK.
Canvas (coarse) eighteen threads to the inch. Work in cross stitch with
double wool. This is proper for a foot-stool, sofa-pillow, &c.
Canvas (very coarse) ten threads to the inch. Work in cross stitch, over
one thread, with single wool. If used for grounding, work in two
threads. This will accelerate the work, and look equally well.
Silk Leaves.—If no grounding is required, work in tent stitch. The
pattern should be large in proportion to the fineness of the material.
The finer the canvas, the larger the pattern.
Color.—An attention to shade is of the utmost consequence; as on this,
in an eminent degree, depends the perfection of the work. The shades
must be so chosen, as to blend into each other, or all harmony of
coloring will be destroyed. The canvas must be more distinct in tent
stitch than in cross stitch, or rather more strongly contrasted,
especially in the dark shades of flowers: without attention to this
point, a good resemblance of nature cannot be obtained.
Wool, (English and German) white, black, and various colors.—Two,
three, four, five, or six shades of each color, as the nature of the
work may require. The same observation applies to silk and cotton, in
cases where those materials are used.
Split wool, for mosaic work.
Silk. Split silk. Floss. Half twist. Deckers. China silk. Fine purse
Cotton, of various kinds.
Gold twist. Silver thread. Chenille.
Beads. Thick and transparent gold. Bright and burnt steel. Silver
Canvas, called bolting, for bead work.
SCALE OF CANVASES.
MATERIALS FOR EMBROIDERY.
Silk, satin, velvet, and cloth.
MATERIALS FOR KNITTING, NETTING, AND CROCHET.
Silk.—This material is extensively used in the various productions of
which we are about to treat. The kinds usually employed in Knitting,
Netting, and Crochet, are purse silk, or twist; coarse and fine netting
silk; second sized purse twist; plain silk; China silk; extra fine, and
finest netting silk; second sized netting silk; coarse and fine
chenille, and crochet silk. These are so well known that it would be a
waste of time to describe them in detail. They are of a great variety of
colors, and of different qualities; some sorts being much more durable,
both in fabric and color, than others. No young lady should trust, at
first, to her own judgment in making the selection: but a little
attention will soon render her a proficient in the art of choosing the
most profitable materials. The China silks of the French surpass all
others, of that kind, with which we are acquainted, both as to the
nature of tints, and the brilliancy of the various dyes and shades.
Wool.—This is of various colors and shades; German wool, single, and
double; Hamburgh wool, fleecy, of three, four, five, six, seven, and
eight threads; embroidery fleecy Shetland wool; English wool, coarse
yarn, for mitts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF WOOLS.
German wool is the produce of the merino breed, in its highest state of
cultivation, and is the best sheep’s wool we possess. The merino fleece
is brought to the greatest perfection in Saxony, and the adjacent
states. It is chiefly manufactured for the purposes of needle-work, &c.,
at Gotha; the dyeing of it is performed at Berlin, and in other parts of
Germany. The wools of Germany are, in fineness and softness, much,
superior to those of Spain. The wool is prepared in various sizes, and
for some kinds of work, may be split with great advantage. A large
quantity is imported into this country in a raw state, and is dyed and
manufactured here. Some of this is equal to the wools prepared in
Germany, as to quality; but the brilliancy of the color will not bear
comparison. This remark does not extend to the black German wool,
prepared in this country, and which is far superior to that prepared on
the continent. Much wool, of a very superior quality is annually
prepared for the market; and so great is its resemblance to a superior
article, that it requires much attention, and an experienced eye, to
detect the fraud. English wool, or what is often called embroidery wool,
is much harsher than that of Germany; yet it is of a very superior kind,
and much to be preferred for some kinds of work. The dye of several
colors of English lamb’s wool is equal to that of the best dyes of
Germany; especially scarlet and some of the shades of blue, green, and
gold color, which for brilliancy and permanency, may justly claim
equality with the most finished productions of the continental states.
Worsted is another description of our native produce, and is extensively
used for a great variety of useful purposes, which are familiar to every
one. A great portion of the needle-work of the last century was done in
a fine kind of worsted, called CREWELS: and some specimens still remain,
which do great credit to the venerable grandames of the present
generation. Yarn is a coarse kind of worsted, much employed in making
garden nets, and for various other purposes. Fleecy (English) is
manufactured from the Leicestershire breed, and is much used in knitting
and netting: it is of two qualities; both varying in size, from an
eighth to a quarter of an inch in diameter. They are made up of threads,
varying from two to twelve, and are both equally good. They are applied
to crochet as well as to the other descriptions of work named. German
fleecy, thought but little used, is much superior to that of this
country. Hamburgh wool is an excellent article, but has not hitherto
been much in request. Great care is necessary, in selecting wool of good
quality: but let the young novice give to the subject her best
attention; and should she find herself sometimes deceived, still
persevere, remembering that “practice makes perfect.”
Cotton, of various sizes, as numbered from one to six, or higher if
required. In the choice of this material, much care is needed, not only
in the selection of colors and shades, but also to ascertain if the
color has been stained with a permanent dye.
Down.—This is sometimes used for stuffing knitted cushions, muffs, &c.,
and is too well known to need any description here.
Gold and Silver Thread and Cord.—The precious metals are now very
generally employed in the ornamental parts of all kinds of fancy work.
Gold and silver threads consists of a thread of silk, round which is
spun an exceedingly fine wire of the metal required. For gold, silver or
copper gilt wire is employed, as pure gold could not be so easily
wrought. These threads can be employed in almost any way which the taste
of the fair artist may induce her to devise. Besides the thread, gold
and silver cord is also in much demand, and looks extremely beautiful,
when employed with taste and judgment. This material is a twist, and is
composed of different quantities of threads, according to the thickness
required. Much care is required in working with it, or the beauty of the
material will be spoilt. It is much used in crochet, and without due
attention, the point of the needle is liable to catch the cord, and to
break the wire, which would entirely destroy the beauty of the
Beads.—These beautiful fabrications of art, are composed of gold,
silver, polished steel, and glass. There is also a beautiful sort called
garnet beads, with gold points. All these can be procured at any of the
establishments for the sale of fancy articles, and are to be employed as
the judgment or fancy may direct. The gold beads are used in making all
kinds of knitting, netting, and crochet, and look well either by
themselves, or when in connection with those of the other materials
named. Glass beads, may be procured of any variety of color, and when in
combination with gold, silver, or steel, form a beautiful relief.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR FANCY NEEDLEWORK.
Frames. Cross stitch needles. Sewing needles. Meshes, of various
sizes—at least three. Chenille Needles. Pair of long sharp-pointed
scissors. Cartridge Paper. Tissue Paper. A fine piercer. Seam piercer.
Camel’s hair brushes.
Mixture of white lead and gum water, to draw patterns for dark
Mixture of stone blue and gum water, for light colors.
Black lead pencils.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR KNITTING.
Needles of various sizes. The Nos. referred to are those of the knitting
needle gauge. Needles pointed at either end, for Turkish knitting.
Ivory, or wooden pins, for knitting a biroche. A knitting sheath, &c.,
to be fastened on the waist of the knitter, toward the right hand, for
the purpose of keeping the needle in a steady and proper position.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR NETTING.
A pin or mesh, on which to form the loops. A needle called a netting
needle, formed into a kind of fork, with two prongs at each end. The
ends of the prongs meet and form a blunt point, not fastened like the
eye of a common needle, but left open, that the thread or twine may pass
between them, and be wound upon the needle. The prongs are brought to a
point, in order that the needle may pass through a small loop without
interruption. Twine to form foundations. A fine long darning needle for
bead work. Meshes of various, sizes from No. 1 to 11. Flat meshes, and
ivory meshes; also of various sizes. The gauge is the same as that for
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR CROCHET.
Ivory crochet needles of various sizes. Steel crochet needles. Rug
needles and a pair of long sharp pointed scissors. These implements
should be disposed in a regular and orderly manner, as should also the
materials for working. Order and regularity are matters but too
frequently neglected in the gay and buoyant season of youth; and this
fault, which is the parent of so much annoyance in after life, is but
too generally overlooked by those whose duty it is to correct these
incipient seeds of future mischief. No pursuit should be entered into by
the young, without having some moral end in view, and this is especially
needful to be observed in cases, where at first sight, it might appear a
matter of indifference, whether the pursuit was one of utility, or of
mere relaxation. We earnestly entreat our young friends, never to
forget, that even our amusements may be rendered an acceptable sacrifice
to their heavenly Father, if they assiduously endeavor to make the
habits they form in their seasons of relaxation from graver studies,
conduce to the development of the higher faculties of their nature, and
subordinate preparations for a more exalted state of being, than any
which this transitory scene can of itself present to their
contemplation and pursuits. Dyer, speaking of Tapestry, has beautifully