It is often asked what size needle to use. I have covered that in an article on needles, however, I found it interesting what Victorian ladies were instructed to utilize. I hope you find it interesting, too.
Please Note: The following article was written in Corticelli Home Needlework, 1898, and were edited for use on this site. Some, if not most, of the products are not available at this time.
By Mlle. G. Corsini
Many ladies who embroider frequently complain that wash silk does not
work smoothly, that the silk snarls or ravels, making a bad-looking
piece of work, without saying anything about trying one's patience.
"Now, what makes my silk snarl? " is heard only too often. They
frequently assign the cause of the trouble to the silk, when, in reality
it is the fault of the needle they are using.
Some teachers recommend the use of an ordinary sewing needle with a round eye, but I prefer the long eye or "Crewel" needle. If you want to do fine work, shading closely, and are using double (two threads of) Corticelli Filo Silk, use a No. 8 "Crewel" needle. For single (one thread of) Corticelli Filo Silk use a No. 9 or a No. 10 needle, depending on the material upon which you are working.
Generally speaking, use a No. 10 needle, especially for bolting cloth, Chinese linen, or grass linen. Corticelli Persian Floss requires a No. 8 needle. In working Corticelli Etching Silk choose a No. 7 needle. For Corticelli Roman Floss use a No. 6 needle. Use a No. 3 or a No. 6 needle for Corticelli Rope Silk.
Harper's Queen Crewel Needles are the best, and I advise all needleworkers to insist upon having them.
By following the above instructions there will be no excuse for unsatisfactory working of Corticelli Silk.
Note. — If you cannot buy the needles you want in your city, send six cents to the Nonotuck Silk Company, Bridge street, Florence, Mass., and they will send you four Queen Crewel needles each, of sizes 7, 9, and 10.
I find it interesting how much may have change since the original publication of an article on the subject of needlework and, even more so, how often some information remains the same. Now, if only the price could have remained the same!
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