Needlework is a term that is used to two classes of handcraft involving fabric. One is hand embroidery which is the adornment of a fabric by design worked in thread with the needle. The second class of needlework includes methods of forming a single thread or strand of threads into a loose-or tight-textured fabric. The best known of this method are knitting and crochet.
Hand embroidery silk fabric is one of the most interesting forms of stitchery. It uses needle and thread to create a variety of stitches on fabric. Many styles of embroidery exist. Some are used to make attractive design and decorate areas on a piece of cloth, usually linen. Other styles, particularly needlepoint and bargello, are used to fill in with pattern and openwork mesh canvass completely. Frames and hoops are required to hold the fabric in tension. Further requirements include embroidery needles,embroidery silk fabric, scissors, and colored thread generally silk or wool.
embroidery silk fabric stitches maybe functional like the stitches in non decorative sewing or they could be purely decorative. In appliqué work, contrasting and varying pieces of cloth maybe securely fixed to the foundation material with decorative stitches. In smocking, decorative stitches secure gathers of folds which have been previously created in the foundation material. Decorative stitches are known by such names as chain stitch, blanket stitch, featherstitch, French knot, satin stitch, Cross stitch, lazy-daisy and tent stitch or petite point. The thread typically used is silk, wool, cotton, or linen. Fine metallic wire and, in some 20th century work, synthetic filaments are also utilized. Heavy or precious threadlike gold threads are sometimes embedded, that is laid across the foundation fabric and tied to it by stitching with a separate thread. Some hand embroidery silk fabric techniques produced a basically flat surface while others produce design that creates a padded effect. In cutwork, small shapes are cut out of the foundation material and then the cut edges are embroidered. The vacant space from where the cut is made is often filled in with decorative stitches. In drawn work, certain threads of the warp, west, or both, are removed from the foundation, and the remaining threads are embroidered. Some types of hand embroidery are referred to by the kind of threads used such as crewel work which makes use of stitches in brightly colored worsted wool yarns on natural beige or bleached white linen. Other kinds of embroidery are referred to by the type of foundation material used such as gauze embroidery. These include filet embroidery which is done on a net like fabric and canvass work where the stitches are done onto course-or tight-textured canvass.
Hand embroidery was being done by people usually women long before its name was derived, by way of medieval French from the Anglo-Saxon word for “Edge”. The term was first referred to decoratively stitched borders on medieval church vestment and garment. Over time, the word also covered stitched decoration on textile fabric, as well as on leather, paper, among others. Although the invention of the first embroidery silk fabric machine in 1828 by the Alsatian Joseph Heilman made possible the mass production of embroidery, embroidery continues to be practiced as a handcraft in the same way it was in ancient times. Its historical function has also carried on, as embellishment for clothing, vestment, wall hanging, and domestic linen, as well as decoration for upholstery, domestic furnishing, and rugs.