Welcome to my blog about Home Arts Needlecraft Magazine! I "discovered" this publication about 2 years ago and fell in love with it to the extent that I had to start collecting issues as I ran across them. The magazine began publication with its September, 1909 premier issue, and continued through March, 1941. It has been interesting to follow the changes through the 30 plus years the magazine was published. It is a great source for needlework, fashion, recipes and short stories. Through my journey of sharing my issues online, I hope to discover a pattern of what was popular in different forms of needlecraft over the 3 decades. I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I am (so far!) enjoying posting articles and projects from the issues. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Three Handsome Centerpieces

By Harriet Clement Wheeler
January, 1912
page 9

      Entirely distinct as to the character of design and work, it is yet very difficult to decide which of the centerpieces shown is the most attractive.  Every housekeeper will be likely to want them all; and they come just in the nick of time for the holiday dinner-table – on which we always want to use something that is entirely new, and as beautiful as we can manage to have it.  Simple, yet striking and most effective is the pine-cone motif.  While this design is particularly suited to living-room or library use, it may well be given a place wherever a centerpiece is needed.  The model is on gray linen, and the embroidery is done entirely in reddish-brown floss, the sections of the cones in satin-stitch, the needles and other outline work in stem-stitch.  The edge is buttonholed with the same floss, and one at all accustomed to the use of the needle in a decorative way should be able to complete this pleasing twenty-four-inch centerpiece in a day of comparatively steady work.
      An extra finish which would add much to the attractiveness of this piece would be a border of heavy Cluny lace matching the linen in color, and with portions of the work threaded in with the floss used for the embroidery.  The lace may be handmade, crocheted or knitted, if one prefers, using a thread of gray or natural-color linen as coarse as No. 25 or No. 30.  Many very charming designs of lace for this purpose have been presented in Needlecraft.
      The lace border may be worked directly on the linen; but, since it will probably outwear the embroidery, it is wiser to work on a chain, baste smoothly to the edge of the centerpiece, and buttonhole around.  However, the decision regarding this may well be left to the discretion of the worker herself.  If desired, a regular scalloped edge may be applied, traced from some other centerpiece, the buttonholing being deep and well padded.
      While the original is in color, as stated, this design may be very effectively carried out in white work, using rather heavy material, as befits the motif.  As a rule, however, the brown floss on gray or cream-color linen will be particularly admired.  Instead of one color, several shades of brown may be used with charming effect.  The piece is sure to give satisfaction, in any case, since it requires very little expenditure of time and labor, and is most pleasing.
      Another simple design, yet artistic and graceful in the extreme, is that of the thistle; and never was it more attractively applied than in the present instance.  Of solid work, save for the tiny cut=out spaces separating the sections of scallop, the piece gives the effect of Mountmellick embroidery, rich and heavy; yet the stitches are of the simplest order and with little variation.  The slender, sharply serrate leaves are in long-and-short-stitch, with the central veining in outline-stitch.  The cup of the thistle consists of tiny points in satin-stitch, while the flower is in outline – the close lines radiating from the top of the cup.  No other stitches are used save those indicated, and the buttonholing of the edges and spaces.  The latter are filled with twisted bars, crossing from end to end and side to side, with a tiny wheel woven around the knot which holds them at the center.
      The buttonholing of the border is padded, and the stitches deeply set, this adding to the heavy appearance of the work as a whole.  The piece is one that may be undertaken by the merest novice in stitchery with every assurance of success.  It may also be done in colors or color on gray linen, choosing green for leaves and thistle-cups, and pink for the blooms, with green, differing in shade, for the border.  Every housekeeper likes to have several centerpieces in color for use as required, especially in the living-room; and the manufacturers have brought out, and are still adding to, the assortment of silk-finished cottons, in colors as soft and lovely that it is a delight to use them.  While silk floss, because of its rich lustre and the fineness and variety of its shading, will always hold its own established place in the realm of needlecraft, it is no longer the only material for colored embroidery.  Cotton and linen threads – the latter possessing a permanent lustre, scarcely surpassed by silk – are eminently suited to the majority of bold, conventional designs, and the rather coarse, heavy fabrics which are favored at the present time, and bid fair to not only retain their popularity but extend it for months to come.
      Madeira embroidery needs no word of commendation.  To say that “solid-and eyelet” work is “holding its own” in the heart of the fancy-work devotee is to put the case very conservatively indeed; rather, it is steadily strengthening its claim on feminine favor.  New stitcheries come and go, while this simple, durable, beautiful work is with us always.  Fresh designs are constantly being brought out, and the centerpiece illustrated is a charming example of the crafts-woman’s art.  True, it embodies the ubiquitous daisy, always a favorite motif in this class of needlework with the  graceful sprays in satin-stitch; but the arrangement is very attractive, while the irregular scallops, with the row of eyelets just within, do away with any suggestion of monotony.
      Many needleworkers seem to think it a waste of time to first outline a design with running-stitch, but this inference is a mistaken one, particularly as regards the eyelets.  Not only does this help to keep the line true and even, but serves as a padding or cord over which to work the eyelet- or over-and-over-stitch.  And while the round eyelets may be padded sufficiently by the single row of running-stitches, the long or pear-shaped ones require a heavier cord.  For this, after having run the outline as directed, whip this with a second row of cotton, passing the needle under each running-stitch, and catching it also into a thread or two of the cloth that lies beneath.  In these long eyelets, cut a crosswise incision, from end to end and side to side, not quite to the outline.  Turn under the little tabs or segments of linen thus formed, making other similar slashes if necessary to enable you to fold them back smoothly, and then work over and over the cording or outline, neither leaving a space between the stitches nor allowing them to overlap. A little practice will be necessary in order to make a perfectly symmetrical eyelet, but one should be satisfied with no other.  The circular eyelets may be punched with a stiletto, unless extremely large, when they should be treated in the manner indicated.  When finished, clip away any bits of linen that extend beyond the cording on the wrong side.
      Outline the stems in the way directed for the pear-shaped eyelets, and work over and over with a slightly slanting stitch, taking into a minute portion of the cloth beneath, so as to form a smooth cord.  This is the true stem-stitch.
      To pad the scalloped edge, use either outline- or back-stitch, or chain-stitch, keeping in line with the edge so that the buttonhole-stitches will cross the padding at right angles.  Do not trim nor cut out a buttonholed edge until the work is entirely completed and has been laundered; having followed this advice once, you will readily perceive the wisdom of it.
No. 25 D.  Perforated stamping-pattern, 25 cents.  Transfer-pattern, 10 cents.  Stamped on gray linen, 50 cents.
No. 26 D.  Perforated stamping-pattern, 25 cents.  Transfer-pattern, 10 cents.  Stamped on either gray or white linen, 50 cents.
No. 27 D. Perforated stamping-pattern, 25 cents.  Transfer-pattern, 10 cents.  Stamped on linen, 30 cents.

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