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needlework, work done with a needle, either plain sewing, mending, or ornamental work such as embroidery, quilting, smocking, hemstitching, fagoting, some kinds of lace making (see lace), patchwork, and appliqué. Knitting, crocheting (see crochet work), netting, and tatting are also classified as needlework, being done with specialized needles or, as in netting and tatting, with shuttles. Many of the processes used are ancient, and some have several uses, such as the darning stitch employed in mending, embroidery, and lace making. Patchwork or appliqué, consisting of a cut or pieced design of one fabric applied to the surface of another, was used in ancient Egypt and India.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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