The Art of Needlework dates from the earliest record of the world's history, and has, also, from time immemorial been the support, comfort, or employment of women of every rank and age. Day by day, it increases its votaries, who enlarge and develop its various branches, so that any addition and assistance in teaching or learning Needlework will be welcomed by the Daughters of England, "wise of heart," who work diligently with their hands.
The recent introduction of Point Lace has brought a finer, and, apparently, more difficult class of fancy work into general favour. Ladies may now, however, confidently commence, with our patterns before them, to reproduce Antique laces; for care and patience, with a knowledge of Point Lace stitches, are alone required to perfect the beautiful work, which, as shown in existing specimens of exquisite Old Lace, constitute the chief glory of women's refined industry in past centuries.
INSTRUCTIONS in TATTING, in EMBROIDERY, in CROCHET, in KNITTING and NETTING, in BERLIN WOOL WORK, in POINT LACE, and GUIPURE D'ART are prefixed to the pages devoted to these separate branches of needlework. The whole work is interspersed with coloured and other Patterns in Point Lace, Guipure d'Art, Tatting, Embroidery, and Designs for Monograms and Initials for marking handkerchiefs and table-linen. The quantity of materials required for each class of work is also given with every pattern.
The idea of combining a series of minute and exact instructions in fancy needlework with useful patterns was conceived some years ago by one whose life was devoted to the inculcation of the practical duties of woman's life, and to assisting her sex in their daily work of HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT and REFINEMENT.
Her great wish was that her BOOK OF NEEDLEWORK should be as valuable in its way to her Countrywomen as her work upon Household Management was useful in showing the best mode of providing for the diurnal wants of families. Other hands have brought to a conclusion her original plans. The best attainable workers have contributed to this volume. Only those who knew the extent of the late Mrs. Beeton's design, will miss, in the pages now before them, "the touch of a vanished hand."
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