Because darning on huckabuck is so quickly and easily done, and so simple that it may be undertaken by wee maids just commencing to use the needle in a decorative way, it has always been popular. The great drawback has been that one must use huck, or goods of similar weave having the overshot threads under which to pass the needle in darning, thus limiting the field to fabrics of certain width and color – linen huck being practically the only available material. As in every phase of human activity, however, so it is with needlecraft; the demand is a certain forerunner of supply. And so our embroidery-designers are mow giving us pillows, centerpieces, scarfs and other household fittings, on the favorite gray linen or crash which is so eminently suited to living-room or library use, and with the background stamped for wide-space darning. This is the simplest thing in the world to do. Bring the needle up at the beginning of one of the little straight lines on the surface – usually from one fourth to three-eighths inch in length, put it down at the end of the line, so that the stamping is perfectly covered, pass it beneath to the beginning of the next line, again bring it up, and repeat. It is simply a long running-stitch, very rapidly executed and most effective as a background.
The only stitch used in addition to this is the outline- or etching-stitch, with which every needleworker is familiar, since it is one of the first taught a beginner. All of the lines which serve to define the design are followed with this stitch – the outlining of leaves, petals and stems, and the veining of leaves. From description given it will be readily understood that a large and really handsome piece of work may be completed in a few hours.
The three designs illustrated serve admirably for the living-room, since the finished articles are no less attractive than serviceable. The material is ramie linen, soft-gray in tone, which brings out the coloring beautifully. The stamped pieces may be had tinted or plain – that is, without the tinting – and many prefer them so, the work being the same in either case. Or one may easily do her own tinting. Stretch the fabric smoothly on a flat surface, placing a sheet of blotting-paper or several layers of newspaper between it and the table or drawing-board; thin the tube paint with turpentine, adding a little gasoline, and with a small, rather stiff brush, apply just enough of the mixed paint to stain or color the design, shading darker or lighter in some places. Take, for example, the attractive rose centerpiece: tint the roses red, darkening the center and back of petals slightly, the leaves green, shading lighter toward the edges, and the stems brown. Take care to not let the paint extend or spread over the stamped line, which may be easily prevented by taking up a very little paint at a time and working first along the outlines, bringing the brush from the line toward the center. It is an excellent plan to first try the paint on a bit of the material; remember, too, that if gasoline naptha is used there must be neither fire nor artificial light in the room where you are working.
Having finished the tinting, there remains only the outlining of the design and the darning in of the background, which is first done in order that the outlining may cover the ends of darning-stitches.
It will be noted that in the centerpiece – which is twenty-four inches in diameter when completed, exclusive of the border – the roses and leaves are merely outlined, and the background alone darned. In the scarf and pillow the darning-stitch is used also in leaves, flowers, grapes and stems, employing the color of floss with which each part is outlined. Golden brown is used for the background, and a slightly darker shade for the stems and – in the pillow – for the scroll surrounding the flora motif, red for roses and poppies – with just a touch of black at the center – green for leaves and purple for the grapes; and the result is not at all crude or sketchy in effect, as might be reasonably imagined because of so little time and work being expended, but artistic and pleasing. There is opportunity for the exercise of individual talent, too, in the tinting or shading of the different motifs.
The scarf is eighteen by fifty inches – just the right size for the reading-table – and the oblong pillow of usual dimensions, sixteen by twenty-two inches. It is needless to suggest that the embroidery-material is a heavy, soft-twisted floss, which aids greatly in the rapid accomplishment of the work; every stitch shows.
No. 332D. Perforated stamping-pattern, 25 cents. Tranfer-pattern, 10 cents. Stamped with design tinted, on linene, with plain back to match, 65 cents.
No. 333D. Perforated stamping-pattern, 25 cents. Tranfer-pattern, 10 cents. Stamped with design tinted, on 27-inch linene, 75 cents.
No. 334D. Perforated stamping-pattern, 25 cents. Transfer-patterns for two ends, 15 cents. Stamped with design tinted on linene 18x50inches, 90 cents.