Embroidery may be looked at from more points of view than it would be possible in a book like this to take up seriously. Merely to hover round the subject and glance casually at it would serve no useful purpose. It may be as well, therefore, to define our standpoint: we look at the art from its practical side, not, of course, neglecting the artistic, for the practical use of embroidery is to be beautiful.
The custom has been, since woman learnt to kill time with the needle, to think of embroidery too much as an idle accomplishment. It is more than that. At the very least it is a handicraft: at the best it is an art. This contention may be to take it rather seriously; but if one esteemed it less it would hardly be worth writing about, and the book, when written, would not be worth the attention of students of embroidery, needleworkers, and designers of needlework to whom it is addressed. It sets forth to show what decorative stitching is, how it is done, and what it can do. It is illustrated by samplers of stitches; by diagrams, to explain the way stitches are done; and by examples of old and modern work, to show the artistic application of the stitches.
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