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Textiles (E) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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EMBROIDERY: The art of producing ornamental patterns by needlework on any fabric which can be sewed over. It dates from the earliest times, and arrived in Europe from the nations of the East. The greatest perfection in European embroidery came in medieval times, and the most highly appreciated examples are of English origin. The fabrics principally used in embroidery work are linen, silks, satins, velvets and flannels. The materials employed are colored worsted yarns (crewels), and silk. Some of the principal stitches are the chain or tambour-stitch, the button-hole stitch, the feather-stitch and the Berlin-work stitch. A distinct class of embroidery consists of applique or cut-work, in which designs of different materials and colors are cut out and sewed down on the surface of the fabric to be ornamented. A pattern entirely covering the underlying material, or nearly so, would be described as needlework (q.v.).


ENGLISH TEXTILES: By the end of the 18th century English mechanics by their inventions had revolutionized textile manufacturing and had turned it from a hand industry to one run by power. This gave England great advantages over other manufacturing countries, and the secret of the designs of these new machines was carefully guarded. The earlier inventions of Hargreaves, Crornpton and Arkwright needed but the power loom to make them effective in a large way, and Cartwright provided that in 1785. From that day to the present time Manchester, England, has been a leader in textile production. See SPINNING.