AMONG the many accomplishments that women can acquire, there is none in which it is so important to be thorough as in plain needlework, which is the foundation of all other kinds of work that are done with the needle. The time devoted to practising simple hemming is well spent, for when once proficient in the simplest stitches, the more difficult ones encountered in other kinds of fancy work can be easily surmounted.
Plain neodlework is alway3 beautiful when it is well done. An export in fine needlework is never unemployed.
Always choose the best makes of steel needles; it is false economy to buy cheap articles. A needle should be slightly thicker than the size of the thread used, in order that the hole made by it will allow the thread to pass through the fabric without force. A correct needleful is about 18 to 20 inches long, and unless required for tacking, a longer length should not be taken.
It is important to know that cotton or silks should not be broken but cut, and the end that is next to the reel Is the one to pass through the eye of the needle. If this is always done, cotton will neither split, nor wear badly; and there is a decided difference in the appearance of fine work when the cotton is sown in properly, and when it is used anyhow, first in one direction, then in another.
Knots should never be made in any kind of needlework. The end of the cotton must be mado fast by passing it through the material somewhere in the lino of stitching, so that the first few stitohc3 can be worked over it and so mado secure. It is necessary also to make sure that the end of a length of cotton is firmly fixed. This can be done in the samo way by stitching over it when the next length is taken in the needle.
Knots mado in cotton or silk are liable to break off, resulting in the first stitch boing loosened; knots give an untidy appearance to the wrong side of the work, and are never permitted in perfect needlework.
Stitches should not be pulled tightly, for this reason: cotton, thread, silk and wool will always shrink when washed, and if the stitches are drawn up too tightly, a puckered effect will result, which, when smoothed straight, will cause the stitehes to break.
A steel thimble with plated lining is the ideal one to use, as silver thimbles are not always pitted enough to keep tha neeib from slipping