Waltraud’s unique Artwork


Below is an article translated into English by Helmut and Waltraud Kater (German expats now living in Australia). Please enjoy reading about Waltraud’s wonderful embroidery and quilting projects.

For some years I have been in contact with Waltraud and Helmut Kater from Wagga Wagga in Australia. Waltraud is a gifted quilter and highly talented embroiderer. The enthusiasm for her hobbies leaves her little time for internet activities and for this Helmut is keeping me informed and provides me with interesting news.

I got the first impression of Waltraud´s artistry when I received a couple of photos of a masterpiece in the making. Waltraud is creating a king size quilt. She is embroidering it with a variety of patterns in white and soft pastel tones. Finally it will be hand quilted.


A small sample of Waltraud´s big quilt

As Waltraud’s grandchildren value the abilities and skills of Oma she promised the four grandchildren one quilt each. For this she interrupted the work on her masterpiece and begun to work on the quilts for the kids. Right now I have received photos of the recently stitched and quilted artwork.

Usually I am principally involved in the Schwalm – Schwalm traditional costume, Schwalm White Embroidery and everything related to it. However the individual use of various embroidery and filling stitches on textile background ties different embroidery techniques together. Waltraud´s stitched quilt is so unique, so felicitous and so beautiful that I have to present the quilt here. May be that someone gets an idea or motivation for White Embroidery out of it.


Waltraud´s quilt for Anneliese

The quilt is for the bed of granddaughter Anneliese. That explains the size of 2.2 by 2.4 metres.
Waltraud used light lilac shadow play fabric and some pattern books where the granddaughter chose some segments. Waltraud transferred these segments onto paper and combined them with other motives. She was moving the groups of segments back and forward until the motives matched her imagination

Sample of playing with motifs

Waltraud liked using motives out of the colouring book “Secret Garden” by Johanna Basford, for example just the well out of the round motive.
4_WQThe next hurdle – the transfer of the complete pattern onto the cotton background done with a fine permanent pen – was no problem.
5_WQHaving a good drawing is one thing but transforming this without guidelines into embroidery is something different.
6_WQWhich threads will be the perfect ones? Which colours on the whole? Which part should lighter or darker? Which thickness of thread shall be used? What kind of stitches will be used and where?
Which areas shall be covered with filling stitches or just with single decorative stitches or where will be just the contours stitched? With all these questions the embroiderer is on her own and has to use her vision, talent, empathy and daring to deal with the challenges.
7_WQIn May 2015 Waltraud and Helmut visited their home country Germany (they migrated to Australia a few years ago to follow their children). They also came to Eschwege. At that time I could see the first stitches of that just started embroidery.
8_WQAt this time I was not able to imagine the finished result. Almost every day Waltraud embroidered and quilted, and now – after just 18 months – a big and beautiful artwork has emerged out of a little embroidery.
9_WQNot only the embroidery is perfect, also the quilting patterns are unique: the leaves falling from the tree, the pebbles at the well or at the gazebo, the whole impression of the quilt is amazingly beautiful! There are no words to describe the admirable one of a kind Waltraud has created.
For quilting Waltraud used cotton threads and pattern from various sources. The combination of the pattern and the many details has been created by her.

The following pictures show how the quilting raises the stitching.
10_WQ_Madchen mit Giesskanne ungequiltetThe picture above shows the stitching completed, the picture below shows the same motive quilted.
11_WQMuch more visible is the difference on the picture of the gazebo.
12_WQ_Gartenlaube ungequiltetThe embroidered and quilted areas appear relief-like.
13_WQFor embroidering Waltraud used threads of more than 70 colours. To embody the easiness of objects like dragonflies or butterflies with the material she used silk sowing thread 50 weight for spiders and all flying objects. For all other embroideries she chose hand dyed pearl threads 12 and solid coloured pearl threads 16.
14_WQBetween them were variegated threads which she used to create leaves effectively,
15_WQas shown in the detail photo of the tree top.
16_WQThe complete picture is unobtrusive but expressive – a tightrope walk, only performed by an absolute master.
17_WQA piece of such a size cannot be shown properly in a blog article.
18_WQIt is better to see this as an original.
19_WQA unique quilt has been created where the granddaughter can always find new details. (By the way, the quilt can be machine washed at wool cycle if really necessary. For drying it has to lie flat with the embroidery facing down).
20_WQDiscover more of the beautiful details by looking at the following pictures.
21_WQThe floral arch above the garden gate,
22_WQthe garden gate with parts of the fence,
23_WQthe house with the stepping stones,
24_WQor the corner block.
25_WQAll lovingly and elaborate details show the pleasure in the hobby and the skills in designing.

Unfortunately the art of embroidery in the world has not the value it deserves. Waltraud is a real artist in embroidery and is contributing with her skills that this art is more focused on and more appreciated.

May Waltraud have the strength for a long period to create and complete other big artworks (they also can be smaller). Hopefully we can see her masterpiece in White. We will be happy.

If you have any question or would like to communicate with Waltraud and Helmut you can contact them via email on

New Service: Free Pattern Archive


New Year brings new luck. This old proverb also applies, in a modified way, to my readers when they visit my website in 2017. I’m happy to announce innovations helpful to the embroiderer.

My website now provides a new service – line-drawn designs for free downloading!

My enterprising webmaster came up with the clever idea of creating a special download page. On that page one can easily download for free designs in the correct size. For the purpose he has developed a small symbol.
This symbol, seen in conjunction with a line-drawn design, means that you can download the design by clicking on the symbol. Here is how the page will look.
My always thoughtful editor suggested to me that the page I created with the many small pictures, although it is beautiful, would use too much expensive ink/toner for the user who only wants to print the line drawing.

So, a second page, with only the line-drawn designs, was added.
And the best: so that all are easily found, a new overview has been installed. It is similar to the blog archive with thumbnails. On the right side of my blog page you can find a second band with moving pictures. Clicking on this opens the blog archive for all free patterns.
I hope these innovations will make your embroidery time more productive and enjoyable.

See What My Readers Have Embroidered in 2016!


To the wind up the year I would like to present some embroidered projects that my blog readers worked. The following pictures were sent to me over the last 12 months.
Yasuko Kobayashi from Japan worked, with the help of my books Openwork Pattern Samplers and Motif Antique Wreath, her beautiful tea cloth with the traditional wreath design.
Also, she perfectly embroidered, using pure silk thread, a design from one of my Crown books.
She then framed it to hang on the wall – wonderful!
Monika Müller from Germany stitched a Happel Heart and then heavily padded it and the surrounding linen before framing. She used my instrustions for left-handers and was able to achieve this pretty result all by herself.
Monika also mounted traditional Schwalm whitework in contemporary frames thus creating extravagant displays. The patterns from 24 small designs are well suited not only for Easter eggs but also for many other nice small projects.
Estelle Benedetti from France also worked a Happel Heart project. With the instructions from my lesson #1 booklet to guide her, she was able to embroider it completely on her own.
She put it into a display glass to use it as a coaster. She wrote: I followed your explanations and I’m pretty satisfied with the result. Schwalm is an embroidery very pleasant to do.
Bettina Limburger from Germany got the idea to combine vintage wood with old linen. In Bavaria she found old weathered larch boards with heart cutouts. Handwoven linen came from Hessia. She embroidered the linen with heart shapes using filling patterns published on my blog. She mounted the finished embroidery on the back of the boards. Now a duet of traditional materials, skillfully enhanced with her own embroidery, decorates her rooms.
She also picked up on my idea of the slate hearts. However, she made the idea her own by distorting the embroidered heart that is displayed on the slate heart.
Andrea Brinkmann from Germany needed, on short notice, a wedding ring cushion. She came up with the perfect and beautiful idea to work two hearts staggered and to embroider them with matching patterns.
Isn’t it nice?
Gertrude Vorwerk from Germany emailed me a picture of her elegant and perfectly worked doily.
One can see that the filling stitches are reminiscent of my plait wreath doily.
Ursula F. Roeser from Ouro Preto in Brazil embroidered Happel Hearts as preproduction models. In the near future, the students of a beginner class will work them. They will use a fabric called “Cânhamo”, a hemp “linen” common in Brazil. Ursula is member and founder of the women’s association ASA (Associação das Senhoras Artesãs de Ouro Preto).
Cathy Snider from the United States sent me a picture of her beautiful Tulip Wreath project. She was able to work this project on her own with only the aid of the instructions in my lesson #2 booklet. Last year she took a class in Eschwege learning the first steps of Schwalm whitework. Now she teaches Beginning Schwalm embroidery using my Happel Hearts lesson #1 booklet.
Yoko Miyamoto from Japan was busy stitching for her daughter´s wedding. She likes to show her happiness to everyone, so she sent me the photo. The picture shows the not yet, but almost finished piece. Isn’t it lovely?
And another picture just arrived: Lee Chaeyoun from South Korea worked a cozy using the instructions posted on my blog and the instructions included in my needlelace booklet. Due to not fully understanding the language, she worked mostly by following the pictures! She can be very pleased with the result of her first cozy.
Carol Stacey from South Australia – teacher and purchasing officer for the Embroiderer´s Guild library – prepared a lovely bag to work the same projects with her students. She used – with my permission – my blog-description of the heart pattern 446.
The ten members of the embroidery group of Yasuko Kobayashi recently displayed their pretty results in an exhibition in Yokohama, Japan. Among the projects were some, inspired by my crown books, very finely stitched with silk threads.

And last but not least are the projects embroidered by Heloise de Oliveira Pastore from Campinas, Brazil. Per my request, she would work a delicate handkerchief using a one of the wreath designs of my Advent calendar. In the end she worked two different projects interpreting the design in different ways.
For both pieces she used regular linen cambric, however for the handkerchief she used finer fabric than for the doily.
On the doily she embroidered a single motif in the corner opposite to the wreath. It looks very tasteful.
For the delicate handkerchief she used a smaller design than for the doily. And she worked a fine filling pattern into the narrow spaces.
An eminently felicitous interpretation!
She wrote: I certainly had a great time embroidering them.
Thank you, Heloise!

As you can see, the readers of my blog get ideas and inspiration from my posts and publications. In the end, they put their personal creative touches into all they make! I look forward to seeing more of your projects in the months to come. And perhaps next year your special project will be featured on my blog.
Thanks a million to those who gave me permission to feature their projects in this blog post.

And to all I wish limber fingers, keen eyesight, and plenty of time for the most beautiful stitching moments.

Happy New Year!

Advent Calendar 2016 – No. 24







The outline pattern for this wreath can be found in 12 Delicate Wreath Designs – Set 2.

If you take pleasure in working a more elaborate poinsettia flower (design diameter about 18 cm), here is my suggestion. Irmgard Mengel prints the below design on 16/cm (or 40/inch) thread count linen. If you are interested, please email me (


I would be delighted if you enjoyed this advent calendar.


Merry Christmas!

Advent Calendar 2016 – No. 23







The outline pattern for this wreath can be found in 12 Delicate Wreath Designs – Set 2.


Luzine Happel
Am Schindeleich 43
37269 Eschwege
Telefon: 05651-32233


Luzine Happel - Logo