Victorian Ticking Work
Originally published in Dictionary of Needlework
by S.F.A. Caulfield, 1882

Ticking Work is embroidery worked in imitation of the bright and elaborate embroideries executed in Arabia, Persia, and Turkey, and one which reproduces the gorgeous coloring for which they are celebrated, without the same amount of labor being expended.

Ticking Work Fig. 1
Figure No. 1
Click on picture to see more Ticking Work detail.


The work is intended to be bright and therefore is formed of bright colors, but these are selected with a due regard to their contrasts, and care is taken that they are such as would be found in Eastern embroideries, and not those obtained from aniline dyes, such as gas green, mauve, magenta, and startling blues.

Ticking work is used for summer carriage rugs, garden chairs, banner screens, couvrepieds, parasol covers, and such small articles as mats, bags, and cushions, and it is made with ordinary blue and white Ticking, or white and grey Ticking, or with French Ticking, which is woven with bright lines of red and orange colors, instead of being only of subdued tints.

Besides the Ticking, which is used as a foundation, bright colored ribbons, braids, and ribbon velvet, varying from half an inch to an inch in width, are required; also narrow gold braids and purse silk of many colors. For very narrow work, such as is required for needlecases and other small articles, what is known as Breton ribbon and China ribbon are used, as these are woven in quarter inch widths.

The braids or ribbons are sewn down at intervals upon the Ticking, following the lines woven in it, so as to allow of the foundation appearing between them; they are then secured either with narrow gold braid stitched down to each edge, or they are edged with lines of stitches worked in the purse silks, and finished off in the center with Embroidery Stitches.

The Ticking left exposed is also embellished with Embroidery Stitches, and there is no limit to the variety of stitches or color that can be blended together in one piece of work. Black velvet and dark velvets add considerably to the effect by their use, as do the gold braids and gold twist, but odd lengths of ribbon and braid will make very good patterns of Ticking Work.

Fig. 1, shown above, shows the general effect of a number of lines of Ticking covered with fancy stitches.

To work Fig. 1: Select a gray and white Ticking, and to cover up the gray lines sew on a dark blue velvet strip, then a maroon or ruby velvet strip, a dark green ribbon or braid, a scarlet braid, a bronze braid, a blue braid and a scarlet braid, edge each of these upon both sides with a narrow silk braid of an old gold color (not yellow).

Work upon the velvet strips in old gold silk with French Knots, and work Satin Stitch made as a cross. Work a line of Herringbone Stitch in pale blue silk upon the white lines of Ticking between the velvets, which repeat between the green and scarlet braid and the blue and scarlet braid; work the eight pointed stars in scarlet black silk, and make the black silk stars upon the scarlet and braid.

Figs. 2 and 3 (below) give some of the combinations of stitches that can be worked upon one or several pieces of silk or braid.

Ticking Work Fig. 2
Figure No. 2
Click on picture to see more Ticking Work detail.


To work Fig. 2: This ticking work pattern is worked upon Ticking woven in narrow lines; the center part made upon a colored braid an inch and a half in width, and the side lines over the Ticking lines. Work the side lines in scarlet silk and in Herringbone Stitch, and for the center commence at the line marked a in the illustration.

Make two long Buttonhole Stitches, one-eighth of an inch apart, and then two more of the same length, with a loose loop between, at the distance of half an inch from the first two. Repeat these two Buttonholes down one side, and then upon the other side, and make the long loops always opposite each other. Fasten the thread off securely, and commence again at the spot marked b.

Overcast the two Buttonholes at that place together, and then run the needle under the work to c, where Overcast the two long loops (one from each side) together. Then make the two lines upon each side of this center spot with Satin Stitch, and work the two Buttonholes together above the c. Repeat to the end of the row.

Take a different colored silk or thread, and work in the center of the pattern a line of Tête de Boeuf Stitches, putting one stitch into each vacant spot, as shown by the letter d. With the same colored silk, Run the outer lines of the pattern marked e, and secure these lines by passing them through the two Buttonhole Stitches.

Use three colored silks for this ticking work design, two in the center pattern and one for the Herringbone.

Ticking Work Fig. 3
Figure No. 3
Click on picture to see more Ticking Work detail.


To work Fig. 3: This is worked either upon bright French ticking or upon broad ribbon of a bright color. The scroll designs upon each side of the center match each other in color; work them in Point Russe and French Knots.

Work the scroll in bronze silk, and the wreath in gold colored silk. For the center, which is upon the white part of the Ticking, make the Vandyke lines edging it in blue, red, and green, the sprays in red, and the rosette, and diamond, in deep ruby, with pale blue lines as centers.

Many other patterns can be found for Ticking Work. Although the patterns may be quite dissimilar, the work is always bright and colorful.

Note: This article has been edited for use on this site

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