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.
The next hurdle – the transfer of the complete pattern onto the cotton background done with a fine permanent pen – was no problem.
Having a good drawing is one thing but transforming this without guidelines into embroidery is something different.
Which 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.
In 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.
At 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.
Not 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.
The picture above shows the stitching completed, the picture below shows the same motive quilted.
Much more visible is the difference on the picture of the gazebo.
The embroidered and quilted areas appear relief-like.
For 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.
Between them were variegated threads which she used to create leaves effectively,
as shown in the detail photo of the tree top.
The complete picture is unobtrusive but expressive – a tightrope walk, only performed by an absolute master.
A piece of such a size cannot be shown properly in a blog article.
It is better to see this as an original.
A 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).
Discover more of the beautiful details by looking at the following pictures.
The floral arch above the garden gate,
the garden gate with parts of the fence,
the house with the stepping stones,
or the corner block.
All 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.