Thursday, 11 February 2016

17 January 1880 - 'My Workbasket - Ornamental Work for Clever Fingers'

I don't know whose workbasket exactly. There are over 60 listed contributors to the 1880-81 volume.  And for the record, I didn't transcribe this wrong - there were two items called Fig.4 in this article, the sofa cushion and the fancy crochet edging.

A cheap plaited straw basket may be made exceedingly pretty by the addition of a trimming composed of eight pointed scallops, cut out of any piece of coloured beige or light cloth. The size round the top must be ascertained, and divided into eight parts, which will give the width required for each scallop. These scallops can be braided with bright contrasting colours. The pattern should be traced on tissue paper, and tacked on the cloth; the braiding is then an easy matter and the paper can be pulled away when the work is finished. The scallops should have a narrow band of black, or some dark suitable shade of cloth or velvet, sewn round the edge, leaving the same width of cloth beyond, worked with a braid on each edge, and pattern of cross-stitching in netting-silk. After attaching the scallops to the basket, a full ruche of satin ribbon is fastened round the top with a cord formed of twisted braids or wool. The tassels are made of wool with knitted silk tops. The handles of the basket are better made of string, as they are stronger than straw, and can be easily covered with ribbons, or strips of cloth, and recovered when shabby. Strings of the same ribbon as the ruche are stitched on at the handles and tied across the basket.

The box is made of cardboard. Cut the board into six pieces, 5in in length, and 3in in depth; cover them with blue or any coloured satin to match the toilet. The inside is slightly wadded. Sew four parts together, and add another  for the bottom of the box; the sixth part forms the lid, the outside of which is covered with a pattern embroidered on canvas, and well wadded. The edge is trimmed with ribbon leaves and a thick cord to match. A frill of satin ribbon is neatly sewn on the upper edges of the box, and hangs loose at the bottom. The box is mounted on four gilt balls.


This bag is made of ecru-coloured canvas, and de laine or merino to match; the bottom is a round of canvas 18in in circumference, to which the bag of merino is fastened. The lower part of the page is covered half way up by six pieces of the canvas cut in rounded scallops embroidered with narrow woollen braid in blue or violet. A closely-plaited ruche of blue de laine or fine merino trims each scallop. The bag is finished with a frill, and drawn with ribbons to match the ruches.


The novel and effective band of embroidery on this cushion will be welcomed by our young friends who are fond of velvet, and corded with a thick twist of yellow and bronze. The tassels should match the colour of the cushion, and have good silk tops firmly sewn on each corner.


1st row - Make a chain of nine stitches, miss one loop on braid, draw the thread through the second loop, repeat to the length of edging required.

2nd row* - Make nine stitches; work into centre stitch of first nine chain in last row, repeat; make two chain stitches and eight treble into the stitches of the third nine chain in first row* repeat to end.

3rd row* - Commence on centre stitch of nine chain in second row. Work nine chain into next loop make three chain, work eight treble into treble of second row, with one chain between each two chain, work into centre stitch of following loop*; repeat.

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