Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (15)

Two more magnificent animal motifs were contributed to the Global Schwalm Sampler – both with a reference to the home of the respective embroiderer.

An embroiderer, who wishes to remain anonymous, has donated an excellently worked contribution to the joint project. She chose a finch as the subject of her piece – the sparrow is a traditional motif of Schwalm white work and symbolizes fertility.

This week’s other contribution comes from Rita Tilbrooke from Australia. She chose to embroider a unique motif to represent her homeland: a cute seahorse. She did an excellent job of converting the pattern into effective embroidery by choosing suitable stitches.

She wrote: “Sea horses are found in the waters around South Australia and we discovered some when on holiday in Port Lincoln a few years ago. They are unusual as it is the male who bears the babies and expels them through the valve on its abdomen.”

You can see more contributions in Update 14.

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (14)

Today I can present eight new contributions.

Six Italian friends who are passionate embroiderers sent their lovely contributions together. Their names are Piera Tavano, Fausta Galantucci, Maria Grazia Callerio, Rosa Cavallaro, Rosaria Coppino, Maura Fragonara.

They all used the same fabric measurement, but some oriented their designs one way and others another way.
They all chose the same main motifs but designed them very differently. The arrangements of stitches are also varied. So six similar, but unique, charming embroideries were established.



Piera wrote – roughly translated: “We are a group of embroiderers, and we live in Novara, a town located in northern Italy.
We are fond of embroidery, and we really like Schwalm whitework because it is very elegant and impressive.
When we read about the project, which was presented in March on Luzine´s blog, we immediately thought to participate.
Despite the difficulties of seeing one another and moving around the city, we managed to find a way to prepare 6 linen pieces to be embroidered and got to work.
We chose a heart motif and filled it with an openwork pattern because we thought to come out of this dark period with emotion and love, and we would find the light again. Tulips have given us faith in God and into the future, while buttercups will eventually give us back the meaning of life beyond pain and suffering.
We hope that our contributions will arrive in time to be included in the beautiful project.”



Siamo un gruppo di ricamatrici e abitiamo a Novara, una città che si trova nel Nord Italia.
Siamo appasionate di ricamo e ci piace moltissimo il Ricamo d´Assia perchè è molto elegante ed evocativo.
Quando abbiamo letto del suo progetto che ha presentato a Marzo sul suo blog, abbiamo subito pensato di partecipare.
Nonostante le difficoltà che c´erano di vederci e di spostarci in città, siamo riuscite a trovare il modo per preparare 6 piastrelle da ricamare e ci siamo messe all´opera.
Abbiamo pensato di usare il cuore lavorato a rete perchè con sentimento e amore usciremo da questo periodo buio e ritroveremo la luce. I tulipani ci hanno regalato la fede in Dio e nel futuro mentre i ranuncoli alla fine ci potranno restituire il senso della vita oltre il dolore e la sofferenza.
Speriamo che le nostre piastrelle arrivino in tempo utile per essere incluse nel suo bellissimo progetto.




Hedwig Clausmeyer from Germany already contributed pieces #7 and #31–#35.

This time she donated two pretty little stars as possible space fillers, but they are too good for that purpose.

You can see more contributions in Update 13.

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (13)

So many beautiful, unique, imaginative, and lovingly made embroideries have already arrived.

I was once again thrilled to receive four new contributions to the Global Schwalm Sampler last week.

See for yourself.

Fumie Suzuki from Japan designed a gorgeous piece. She runs an exclusive embroidery studio in Shinagawa, Tokyo. I enjoyed visiting her website very much. It was fun to look at the many interesting pictures of her perfect embroideries and to take my time clicking from one subject to the next.

She wrote: “I usually don’t use heart motif when I design for Schwalm embroidery. Because I don’t like my piece being too sweet. However, in the work for this project, I wanted to express the gathering of hearts from many countries and the gathering of love from many countries. So I decided to make a piece only with the heart motif. This was a challenge for me. Many hearts are hidden, please look for them! 
I sincerely hope that the world will be full of love and return to a calm. 
Thank you so much for participating in this project.”


Marina Pastushenko from Turkey also contributed a very special and fine embroidery. Of course her tulip will make a nice addition to all the beautiful pieces in the Global Schwalm Sampler.

She wrote: “Since I currently live in Turkey, I took my inspiration from Iznik pottery, traditional Turkish ceramics named after the town Iznik in western Anatolia. I chose the tulip as it is a classic shape in Schwalm embroidery as well as an iconic symbol of Turkey.

I always wanted to stitch an Iznik-style tulip for its beautiful shape and cobalt blue colour. May be one day I will do it in traditional blue but this time I decided to do it white on white. I really enjoyed choosing different patterns from the endless varieties of filling stitches.”

Joy Hakanson from Queensland pictured a koala – next to the kangaroo it is the most widespread symbol of her home country, Australia.

She wrote: “2020 has been a year with a difference. I have spent the time of isolation in my garden and embroidery.
It is with pleasure that I have joined your Covid19 project, I have chosen our Koala, tree living mammal, native to Australia. I have not done a great deal in Schwalm, as you can tell by my stitches. However, I have enjoyed the challenge.”

Marlene Lambert from Australia was inspired to embroider an emblem of New South Wales – a Waratah.

She wrote: “During the lockdown I have walked, talked, gardened, read, cleaned and stitched. I also took time to enjoy my environment and was grateful for more time to embroider and am happy to contribute to your project. I have stitched a small waratah flower. The Waratah ia a native of parts of South Eastern Australia (Telopea Speciosissima). It produces spectacular cones of vivid usually red flowers the leaves are leathery dark green. It is the emblem of the State of New South Wales of Australia. Waratah is an aboriginal word meaning „beautiful“. The botanical name Telopea is derived from the Greek word Telopos meaning “seen from a distance” hence the red colour of the flower stood out in the bush.
Looking forward to seeing the end result if this wonderful idea.”

You can see more contributions in Update 12.

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (12)

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (12)

After receiving so many beautiful large pieces, I was pleased when a couple of somewhat smaller embroideries recently arrived. I desperately need them to fill the developing gaps between.

So far I have received contributions from Germany, Sweden, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and the United States. Announced are additional pieces from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Turkey – actually enough contributions to create a large sampler.

But what about the remaining – especially the European – countries? Is there no one from these nations willing to contribute? Representation from Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, and all the other missing countries would be most welcome. And a small piece with a simple motif would be quite sufficient.

Today I can present seven new contributions to the Global Schwalm Sampler.

Karin Shaw from the United States designed a very special and unique piece. Born in Germany and now living in Texas, she wanted bring a part of both in her embroidery.

She wrote – roughly translated: “With my piece I wanted to show the merging of two cultures: First, the typical symbols of the state in which I live (the Texas star and the prickly pear with flower), coupled with part of my original home, namely a traditional embroidery from Germany.”

From Siegrid Heidenreich of Germany, a nice butterfly fluttered into my house. She is one of my earliest customers, and I was delighted to get her contribution after a long time of not having heard from her. Her embroidery speaks for itself.

She learned of the Global Schwalm Sampler from her daughter Grit and wanted to be part immediately. Grit is the one who promised professional help in finishing the sampler. She also makes advertising for the sampler project. Thank you, Grit!

#31 – #35
Hedwig Clausmeyer from Germany already contributed piece #7.
She saw the note on my blog and decided to send five more small nice embroideries that I can use very well – leaves, pretty fantasy flowers, and a cute little snail.

Thank you for the support with these additional gifts!

You can see more contributions in Update 11.

GSS – Considerations for Assembling

Considerations for Assembling

The time to assemble the contributed pieces for the Global Schwalm Sampler (GSS) approaches, and I often think about the best way to join the separate linen pieces. Now I want to share my thoughts with you.

When I got the idea of collecting embroideries for a sampler, I thought it would be easy to sew all of them together with a sewing machine. But very soon I was assailed with doubts, and so I started testing different methods.

Preliminary consideration:
So far I have nearly ten different linens – densely woven fabric and that with a very loose weave, fine and more coarse linen, handwoven and machine-made fabric – all in very different sizes and colours (bright white, off white, and natural gray).

If the pieces are laid right sides together and sewn together, the seam allowance is visible through the fabric – especially seen through the less densely woven linens.

The finished piece would need a lining to cover the seam allowances on the back.

If an underlay of coloured fabric (thin cotton fabric) is used,

the preparatory work of basting both layers exactly together is painstaking and time consuming.

Sewn right sides together, the seam allowance is not seen through the fabric.

The filling patterns become, from the coloured background, more clear and striking in appearance.

However, the piece would need a lining to cover the seam allowances on the back.

A matter of concern is using two different fabrics – linen and cotton. Especially in larger pieces, it might happen that the fabrics, at some later time, react differently to climate conditions. Perhaps the linen will stretch out a little.

Same as in step 2, an underlay can be made with a thin fleece instead of cotton fabric.

Sewn right sides together, the seam allowance is not seen through the fabric.

Because of the fleece, the piece gets some more body, and the appearance of the embroidery is good.

The piece would need a lining to cover the seam allowances on the back.

In contrast to the underlay of cotton fabric, I do not have concerns about the linen stretching out of shape. However, with a fleece added, it is no longer the embroidery itself.

To ensure the integrity of the embroidery without unpleasant seam allowances showing through to the right side, I cut a strip of coloured cotton fabric (a white linen strip would be also possible) – two times the width of my sewing machine foot.

The strip and one edge of embroidery are sewn right sides together – along the line of one quarter of the strip width.

Then the opposite edge of the strip and the edge of the adjoining embroidery are sewn right sides together – again along the line of one quarter of the strip width.

Both seam allowances are then ironed to lie under the strip.

The embroidery keeps its own character. Strips (either print or unicolour) between the embroidered pieces look like a frame for each piece.

But this method will also require a lining to cover the seam allowances on the back.

So I looked for one more way and tried a flat felled seam.

The final result is that the seam looks clean on both the back and the front side.

I thought it was a good possibility for assembling the contributions until I considered the bulk created when crossing seams!

The seams – all sewn in the same way – get much too bulky at the intersections.

A thread – one centimeter from the edge – was withdrawn on both pieces to be assembled.

Both pieces – right sides up – were laid edge on edge and sewn with elastic (stepped zigzag) stitches.

The flat seam was covered with a double row of Herringbone stitches.

The withdrawn thread line enables easy working of the Herringbone stitches – but withdrawing a thread from an already boiled fabric is difficult. Also, the width chosen in this example is a little too much.

So I made another trial choosing exactly the width of my machine stitches – 0.7 cm.

This time I used coloured thread for the herringbone stitches. I used Anchor 888, which is commonly used to work Schwalm crowns. Perhaps a somewhat lighter golden tone would be better, but I will be using the darker gold to work an inscription for the Global Schwalm Sampler using Cross stitches (letters on a large cloth with too light a colour would not be very readable), and my current thought is to use only one colour. I think using the darker shade here is okay.

Also, I made some tests with curved lines in single Herringbone stitch rows

and in double Herringbone stitch rows.

Both curved lines did not turn out satisfactorily, so I can give up testing more curved lines.

The width of the stitches is okay for both working and appearance. However, I don’t really like the Herringbone stitches for this application – I find them a little too busy. Perhaps it is because this sample is such a short piece.

Assembling is okay because the final sampler will not need a lining – the seam is clean on both sides. Also, the embroidery keeps its own character.

Please leave a comment to share your thoughts on these different ways to finish the sampler. And if you have an idea that I haven’t considered, please share that, too!