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Summer Work

Now and then my exhibits need to be laundered; they collect dust being displayed in the exhibition for so many months, and above all the summer sun caused them to yellow in some parts. I took advantage of the summer break to take them home for washing and ironing.

Viewing the various items waving in the wind on the clotheslines in my garden, I was once again awestruck by the trove of wonderful and diverse embroideries made over the years.

I enjoy my summer life – relaxing, embroidering, and gardening. But I am always thinking about how I might inspire Schwalm whitework enthusiasts. I look forward to sharing with you the next big project that is in the works. And I also look forward to welcoming interested visitors to my exhibition.

Filling Pattern – No. 546

category: Limet-Filling pattern
linen used: 13.5/cm thread count
threads used: coton à broder No. 20
stitches used: Easy Eyelet stitches and Rose stitches
longitudinal axis: withdrawn thread line
one pattern segment = 16 threads

First, establish a Limet grid with a withdrawn thread line as the longitudinal axis by cutting 1, leaving 3, vertically and horizontally.

Work one row of Easy Eyelet stitches along the longitudinal axis.

Work one vertical row of Rose stitches next to the Easy Eyelet row.

Always alternate working one row of Easy Eyelet stitches and Rose stitches until one half of the shape is filled.

Working from the already embroidered section, fill the remaining section.

Another pattern, suited also for smaller areas, is established.

Schwalm Whitsun Custom – “Pfingstmännchen” and “Pfingstbügel”

The Whitsun custom in the Schwalm is a custom of demand. The children of a village move in a parade from house to house demanding small donations.

The course varies from village to village a little bit, and over the decades small changes to the custom have come about. However, the essence of it remains the same.

On Whitsun Monday, the boys of a village go to the forest. There, one of them is bound with fresh green branches, grass, and moss to be transformed into the Pfingstmännchen (Whitsun manikin).

The whole body is wrapped with branches and greenery. Only small ports allow the boy to look out.

Movement with the thick and heavy framework was cumbersome, but all had fun in it.

It was a special privilege to be the Pfingstmännchen.

The girls of the village brought their most beautiful silk ribbons to a seamstress to decorate a fanciful Pfingstbügel (Whitsun frame). The Pfingstbügel is a half-circle shield that is perched on top of a center staff

or on two side staffs used for carrying. Often the bottom parts of the staffs were decorated with carved or coloured designs or wrapped with ribbons.

One side of the shield is decorated with red bands,

the other side with green bands.

Often a diagonal cross, made of two bands, is an additional decoration. A small flower bouquet is fastened on top.

Wearing their festive costumes and carrying small Schwalm baskets, the girls walk to the forest to fetch the boys.

The girl with the Pfingstbügel is the leader. It is a special privilege to hold the shield. Going out of the village, the red side of the shield is facing forward.

Together with the Pfingstmännchen, they go back to the village to start their parade. Coming back to the village, the green side of the shield is facing forward. It symbolizes the awakening and “greening” of nature.

Dr. Andreas Scheller took the photo below circa 1940.

Back in the village, the children, along with the Pfingstmännchen, go from house to house to collect small donations. Traditionally, donations are eggs, bacon, sweets, and coins. The children recite jingles or sing folk songs.

Following the procession, pancakes are made using the eggs, and all the children have a nice meal together.

A Visit from Hong Kong

Some time ago a lady from Hong Kong visited my exhibition and took a workshop with me. Mimi Chan is a perfect stitcher and interested in all kinds of embroidery. She graduated with distinction from the Royal School of Needlework in the United Kingdom with a diploma in technical hand embroidery. She attained the highest mark ever in the school!

She tours all over the world to learn different regional techniques. At home she teaches all she has learned during her travels in her TOUR Embroidery classes.
After learning about Schwalm whitework, she contacted me to arrange a visit. She had never before worked this technique, but she was familiar with most of the single stitches. So she quickly learned a lot.

She worked through a couple of my books, always showing in short practices that there would be no problem to finish the single subjects on her own.

In the Fall she will return to learn the remaining contents; I’m certain she will leave being a perfect Schwalm embroiderer.

She enjoyed viewing my exhibits, which show the many different possibilities Schwalm whitework provides. She took pictures and created a video, which she put on YouTube and Facebook.

And so, through Mimi, beautiful Schwalm whitework is introduced to another part of the world.

An Easy Eyelet Stitch

Looking at the stitches of Schwalm whitework embroideries, I discovered a new (to me) stitch. It is yet again another example of Schwalm embroiderers’ ingenuity. I immediately set out to try it; in this article, I will share the results of my efforts with you.

The stitch is worked on a Limet grid – cut 1, leave 3. Similar to the Rose stitch, it is a stitch worked in four steps originating from a center. But this stitch is not worked with Blanket stitches; it is worked with Satin stitches. In addition, it is worked counterclockwise instead of clockwise. I did not find a name for this stitch, so I will call it Easy Eyelet stitch.

Instructions for left-handers can be found at the end of this article.

Bring the needle up one square from the bottom (center).

*Cross over one square down, insert the needle and bring it up again in the center hole.

Cross over one square to the right, insert the needle and bring it up again in the center hole. Tighten thread.

Cross over one square up, insert the needle and bring it up again in the center hole. Tighten thread.

Cross over one square to the left, insert the needle and bring it up in the next center hole – one square diagonally right up.*

Start working the steps (*) again. The first step of this stitch shares the same space as the third step of the previously worked stitch. (The threads will lie closely next to each other in the same space.)

The rows are worked from bottom to top. Each hole of the longitudinal axis is a center of a stitch. Tighten the thread so that a distinct hole is made.

Nice open center holes are established.
One row of this stitch can be combined with rows of other stitches – for example Satin stitch bars – to create beautiful striped patterns.
If you want to work a second row, turn the piece 180° and work a second row beside the first.

When working side-by-side rows of this stitch, the working thread will naturally share spaces occupied by previously worked stitches. In these cases, the stitches will lie closely next to each other in the same space.

Two rows of this stitch can be combined with rows of other stitches – for example Satin stitch bars – to create a pattern.
But more rows should not be used. Working row beside row to fill an entire shape establishes the same pattern as Double Crosses – in straight rows/wrong side up (Openwork Pattern Samplers), and this pattern – for filling an entire shape – can be worked much more quickly.

But worked from the back side, the Easy Eyelet stitch can establish a nice pattern for small areas.

The stitches lying alternately straight and at a slant give a unique effect.

Instructions for the left-hander:

*Cross over one square down, insert the needle and bring it up again in the center hole.

Cross over one square to the left, insert the needle and bring it up again in the center hole. Tighten thread.

Cross over one square up, insert the needle and bring it up again in the center hole. Tighten thread.

Cross over one square to the right, insert the needle and bring it up in the next center hole – one square diagonally left up.*

Start working the steps (*) again. The first step of this stitch shares the same space as the third step of the previously worked stitch. (The stitches will lie closely next to each other in the same space.)

The rows are worked from bottom to top. Each hole of the longitudinal axis is a center of a stitch. Tighten thread.

One row of this stitch can be combined with rows of other stitches – for example Satin stitch bars – to create beautiful striped patterns.
If you want to work a second row, turn the piece 180° and work a second row beside the first.

Contact

Luzine Happel
Am Schindeleich 43
37269 Eschwege
Deutschland
Telefon: 05651-32233
Website: www.luzine-happel.de
E-Mail: leuchtbergverlag@aol.com

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