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!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Grape Centerpiece in Punched-Embroidery

By Addie M. Bodwell
November 1912, page 1
Every housekeeper will appreciate the beautiful centerpiece presented herewith.  Certainly nothing could be handsomer for placing under a big bowl of fruit, on the Thanksgiving dining-table; and we all enjoy making something new and particularly attractive in time for the November holiday.  At first glance, because of its elaborate appearance, it would seem that a great deal of work is necessary to bring the piece to completion; but this is not so.  The design in one that produces a maximum effect with a minimum of time and labor, and one will be surprised no less than pleased to see how rapidly it may be executed.  A few minutes now and then, as even a very busy woman finds time to catch up her work for a “stitch or tow,” very soon show most encouraging results.  It is really wonderful how much may be accomplished in the way of decorative needlework if a piece is kept at hand, and spare moments employed on it – just as a bit of “play-time.”

The solid embroidery is first done, in well padded satin-stitch.  In working the grapes, as well as the leaves and oval forms, take care that the padding-stitches are laid in a contrary direction to those which cover them.  This is very essential, since if both sets of stitches cross in the same way, they are very apt to separate, when the piece is laundered, giving a rough, uneven appearance to the work, and showing the fabric beneath,  Take ___  padding-stitches next to  the stamped line, or within it, and let the covering stitches extend over or cover the line.  The latter must be very true, following the line exactly; a great deal of the beauty of any piece of work depends upon the careful observance of this rule.  Leaves or any form that is longer than wide, are padded lengthwise, the covering-stitches being taken across; circles have the padding stitches taken, as stated, in one direction, the covering-stitches crossing them at right angles.  In working grapes, too, it must be remembered that all the covering-stitches in a single cluster should run in the same direction.  Should each grape be worked regardless of its companions, the hot-or-miss effect produced will be far from pleasing.  It makes little difference whether the stitches are taken across or up and down – although most workers prefer to take them lengthwise of the cluster; but the rule that all should be alike is hard and fast.  Remember, too, that the padding should be done as carefully as the outer work; if the best results are expected one cannot afford to slight the foundation.

In working the leaves, whether in long-and-short- or satin-stitch – and one method is not less attractive than the other – care must be taken to keep the outline of the leaf perfect.  The veining is done in outline- or stem-stitch, and the stems invariably in the latter.  First run the lines intended for stems with short stitches, then whip this row with padding-cotton.  Work over and over the padded line in satin-stitch, taking up very little of the material; you will thus get the effect of a smooth cord, raised from the surface, and adding to the richness of your work, as an ordinary outline-stitch can never do.

Having completed the solid embroidery, and buttonholed the edge of the centerpiece, you are ready to commence the punched work, or background.  This has been so explicitly described that further details seem quite needless.  It is not at all difficult, the main question being just how to work around or fill in certain portions of a design which has many curves and irregular spaces; but this knowledge is something that comes to one as the work progresses.  The first instructions were for working first in one direction throughout, and then the other; but frequently, when surrounding a leaf or other form of irregular contour, it is better to finish as you go – that is, to work the tiny squares both ways; and many prefer to do this in all the work.  Punched-embroidery simply surrounds each tiny square of the material – four or six threads each way – wit stitches, one on each side, taken twice in the same place, and drawn tightly enough to keep the opening made by the large needle. 

Another problem which the beginner sometimes feels unable to solve is how best to fasten the working-thread.  It is needless to say that a knot should never be made, either when commencing or fastening off a thread.  To begin, use a sewing-needle, pushing the latter along under the embroidery to the point where the punched-work is to begin, and fastening with a close buttonhole-knot; finish in the same way.  When it is necessary to add a new thread, join the end to that of the thread you have been using, with a flat, firm knot, which may be drawn underneath as you work, and will not be visible.

If it is desired, the beautiful centerpiece illustrated – which, by the way, measures twenty inches – may be worked in colors, using purple or deep violet for the grapes and green for the leaves and stems.  The white work is very lovely, however and one is not apt to tire of it.  Having the design, too,, one may use it for a much larger centerpiece, alternating the motifs, or, if preferred, using the grape cluster with leaf each side for opposite sides of the piece, as in the model, and placing between them two of the clusters without leaves.  The ingenious woman, too, who enjoys “working out” designs for herself, giving them a touch of her own individuality, will be able to arrange the same motif as a scarf-end or border for a teatable-cover.  Have the motifs traced on small pieces of paper, and when they have been satisfactorily placed or arranged, use  impression-paper to transfer them to a square or circle of white paper of the desired  size; the entire design thus provided may be easily transferred to the material, and is ready for the needleworker.  A wise housekeeper, whose own home is overflowing with pretty and useful things, and who always has a bit of decorative needlework to share with a  friend, says that she always “takes off” the design of any stamped article which she purchases or receives for other source.  These designs she applies to different pieces, sometimes combining two or more of the same general character, or using but a portion of one or another, as may be required, with the result that her work has an individuality rarely found in the production of amateurs.  The study is a very fascinating one, too, and practice has made her so expert that, with no instruction whatever in free-hand drawing, she is able to provide an entire luncheon-set, or linens for dining-room or bedroom, from a single piece.

No. 151 D.  Transfer-pattern, 15 cents.  Perforated patterns, 30 cents.  Stamped on 24-inch heavy punch-linen, 50 cents.

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