Traditional Schwalm Bodice (C) Embroidery


The traditional embroidery of the Schwalm bodice (C) is not as elabotae as the borders of the Schwalm bodice (A) and the Schwalm bodice (B). The linen used has a 21–24/cm thread count. The picture shows the entire border in a photomontage.
mieder_c_1The space between needlelace and needle-weaving band has a width of about 7 cm. The space is not entirely filled with a design border.
mieder_c_2A seven-unit A-pattern was worked as a needle-weaving band. For more information about needleweaving bands – the different kinds and the different ways of working – please look to my book Fancy Hems.
mieder_c_3The bottom edge of the sleeve cuff has a needlelace edging of three rows of pyramids inside single scallops with connected picots outlining the needlelace border.
Between the needle-weaving band and the needlelace, a strip of linen remains unembroidered, and a band was embroidered with Schwalm whitework. If you look closely, you will see you many tendrils between the motifs.
mieder_c_4The tulip was outlined with 2 short-2 long embellishment. The shape was filled with an openwork pattern (cut 2, leave 2) with a Cable stitch grid. Into the grid a needle weaving pattern was worked.
mieder_c_5The circle was outlined with knife points with Blanket stitches. The shape was filled with an openwork pattern (cut 2, leave 2) with a Cable stitch grid. Into the grid a needle weaving star pattern was worked. It is notable, that thick thread was used for the needle weaving and that the squares of the grid were not filled very well.

The star pattern is also suitable to work an other ornament for trimming the tree.
mieder_c_6The heart was outlined with Blanket stitch half-eyelet scallops.
The shape was filled with a Limet filling pattern with Satin stitch bars worked in a stair-step manner. It is noticable, that the center of all patterns is not worked mirrored. Whereas the both small leaves on bottom of the heart are worked mirrored. They are filled with an openwork pattern without a Cable stitch grid. Rose stitches were worked into the shapes. The spaces between the motifs were densely filled.

Tendrils – Practice Exercises (3)


One can practice stitching tendrils not only through abstract designs but also concrete or representational designs. The artist Gudrun Hartwig designed two different butterfly motifs especially for these practice exercises.

I chose a design size of 7.5 cm X 7.5 cm for decorating another pincushion.
spir3_1To work the double spirals, I began stitching at the turning point of each spiral to work one section first.
spir3_2Turning the piece, I then worked the remaining sections, up from the finished sections, toward their centers.
spir3_3The piece is washed – please wash gently so that the fabric edges do not fray – starched, and ironed.
After ironing – to iron I laid a dry towel on the ironing board and placed the embroidery right side down onto the towel – the lines emerge especially beautiful.
spir3_4Then, the piece is sewn, filled, and secured.
Another nice little pincushion is finished. But what does one do with all the pincushions? Here they are displayed on a tray; perhaps seasonal decorations or items matching the motif could be added.
For example I displayed the pincushion of the second practice exercise with some blue accessories, because the design makes me think of water and waves.
spir3_5Moving the butterfly pincushion to the focus of the display, I decided to add some flowers.
spir3_6The possibilities are endless – let your imagination run wild! At all events the tray with the pincushions is an eye-catcher enticing visitors to have a closer look and to discuss.

And for embroiderers having fun working representational double spirals, here is one more design:
spir3_7Both the artist’s hand-drawn renditions and the cleaner computer graphics are presented here. It is a matter of taste which to use – I chose to work from the original.

Tendrils – Practice Exercises (2)


Today, I present some very special practice exercises. Looking for designs that would be suitable for practicing stitching tendrils, I got the idea to ask an artist. I was really surprised and delighted to receive designs from Gudrun Hartwig! She also designed the fabulous Fairy Tale creations on my blog. I asked her for square designs measuring 10 cm X 10 cm. As requested, one can work the designs with or without the square outline.
spir2_1To make another pincushion, I stitched a design without the square outline. First, I used two different thread weights – No. 16 and No. 20. A third – thicker – thread would be good for working tendrils with differing thicknesses. So I also used a No. 12 thread.
spir2_2My finished project is very special, isn’t it?
spir2_3Here are some more stunning designs; they will allow you to make unique projects while practicing stitching tendrils.

Tendrils – Practice Exercises (1)


“Practice make perfect” when it comes to stitching tendrils. Presented here are two similar designs to make two different projects – perfect for learning to stitch tendrils.
spir1_1The first design measures 7.5 cm X 7.5 cm. The design is transferred to a piece of linen measuring 14 cm X 26 cm. A pincushion will be worked. The first steps can be found here, and the finishing steps can be found here. (One can also work such a pincushion using two pieces of fabric each measuring 14 cm X 14 cm.)
spir1_2For my example, I used a fine handwoven linen and coton à broder No. 16 for all the Coral knot stitches.
(You will notice that a circle design on a piece of fabric stretched in a hoop will be no longer be a true circle. This doesn`t matter because it will return to a circle in the end.)
spir1_3Since the focus is to practice stitching tendrils, a filling pattern for the shape in the center or for the ring is not absolutely necessary. However, the ring with only Coral Knot lines is not prominent enough. So, using coton à broder No. 20, Chain stitches are worked next to the Coral Knot lines.
spir1_4The piece is washed – please wash gently so that the fabric edges will not fray – starched, and ironed.
spir1_5Then, the piece is sewn, filled, and secured.
A nice little pincushion is finished.
spir1_6For the second project – an ornament – the design is shrunk so that it fits into a ring with a diameter of about 7.5 cm. The inner circle is deleted so that the center can accommodate a filling pattern.
spir1_7Coton à broder No. 16 is used for Coral Knot stitches, No. 20 for Blanket stitches and for Chain stitches. At the outside edge, Coral Knot stitches are worked along the inner line. Chain stitches are worked a small distance outside these Coral Knot stitches. The outside Chain stitches are covered with densely worked Blanket stitches between the outline and the Coral Knot line.
spir1_8Using coton à broder No. 16 all remaining Coral Knot stitches are worked, and using coton à broder
No. 30 Chain stitches are worked directly inside the Coral Knot stitches of the center circle. The shape is filled with an openwork Cable stitch grid. For detailed descriptions please refer to my books Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework, Openwork Pattern Samplers or Ornaments (lesson #3). Openwork is nice for an ornament and pleasantly contrasts with the outside ring with the tendrils.
spir1_9After finishing, the embroidered piece is washed (boiled), starched, and ironed.
spir1_10Then, the circle is cut.
The result is one more nice ornament for trimming the tree.
spir1_11This design is also nice for decorating a long, small pattern band with a couple of similar patterns.
spir1_12I hope you enjoy these practice exercises!

How to Work Tendrils


The tendril is a common and popular pattern element of Schwalm whitework. Often very distinctive examples are used.
Spir_0To be able to stitch tendrils neatly and orderly, an exact pattern is needed. The line drawing below has an original size of approximately 2 cm X 2 cm.
Spir_1Ideally, the exact line is transferred to the linen.
Spir_2The stitching of tendrils always begins at the straight end and progresses inward along the curved line to the center. Tendrils should never be worked with too fine a thread. Depending on the thread count of the linen, coton à broder No. 16 or No. 20 would be ideal.
Spir_3While working the Coral Knot stitches, always rotate the piece stitch-by-stitch
Spir_4so that the needle is always perpendicular to the tendril line. This helps the embroiderer to follow the curve exactly.
Spir_5If the thread gets short – which can happen when working large tendrils – take the needle to the back directly after the last knot,
Spir_6and secure the thread in the back of some stitches. Fasten the new thread in the same way.
Spir_7Bring the needle up – a tiny step back – directly near, or better yet through, the just ended thread. In this way, the transition is nearly invisible.
Spir_8Do not end the Coral Knot stitches at the center in a straight line. After the very last Coral Knot stitch, take the needle to the back with a small inward stitch.
Spir_9This makes a nice tight curl in the center of the tendril.
Spir_10Even unwashed and unironed the tendril looks well done!


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