Traditional Schwalm Bodice (D) Embroidery


The embroidery of the dyed-to-blue Schwalm bodice (D) is extravagant. The picture shows the entire border in a photomontage.
1_16-2017The linen used has a 23/cm thread count, thus it is very fine. The border design is 18 cm wide, making it especially large for a bodice embroidery.
2_16-2017Initials and small ornaments were worked both at the bottom and at the top of the border. Only openwork filling patterns were worked in the motifs.
3_16-2017One can note that Coral Knot stitches were used but only rarely. Only tendrils and some stems were worked with Coral Knot stitches. And only three shapes at the top middle have Coral Knot outlines; the center shape was outlined with two rows of Coral Knot stitches. The Chain stitch outline is missing in this motif. Stems worked with Chain stitches are clearly visible. The rounded leaves are worked with Blanket stitches.

Looking closer to the design, it looks a little bit awkward and heavy.
4_16-2017The shape in the top middle was filled with an openwork pattern without a Cable stitch grid being worked first. A zigzag Rose stitch pattern was worked, but the pattern was not centered in the motif.
5_16-2017The circle motifs to the left and right of the top center shape are not true circles. It is remarkable that the thick stem is outlined with two Coral Knot lines and that these lines merge into the outline of the shape. Usually motifs are outlined separately, and the stems are attached. An additional row of Chain stitches inward of the Coral Knot stitches is missing.
The circle motif was outlined with Blanket stitch knife points. The shape was filled with a Rose stitch openwork filling pattern without a Cable stitch grid.
6_16-2017There is an odd shape at the top right and top left of the design; I suspect these should be tulip motifs. These are naive representations. The shape is outlined with one row of Chain stitches and Blanket stitch knife points or Blanket stitch scallops. The motif is filled with an openwork pattern. It is remarkable that parts of a Cable stitch grid alternate with sections of Rose stitches that were worked without a Cable stitch grid. The zigzag line of Rose stitches was worked on the Cable stitch grid – all other Rose stitches were worked without a Cable stitch grid.
7_16-2017At the side of the middle section of the border, there is a motif combination that looks like it was meant to be a cloverleaf. The center circle connects four similar shapes. The center circle is outlined with one row of Chain stitches and Blanket stitch scallops. It is filled with a Rose stitch openwork pattern without a Cable stitch grid. Three of the surrounding “leaves” are outlined with one row of Chain stitches and Blanket stitch half-eyelet scallops, whereas the fourth “leaf” is outlined with two rows of Chain stitches. Opposite shapes are filled the same – the openwork pattern showing the squares is a Rose stitch pattern embroidered on a Cable stitch grid. Whereas the openwork pattern showing the rhombi is a Rose stitch pattern without a Cable stitch grid.

Conspicuous is the arrangement of the tendrils; here they have been haphazardly placed. The tendrils on the same arrangement on the opposite side of the border have been placed with more intention and care.
8_16-2017Between the two “cloverleaves” there is an arrangement of four circles with a small tulip between.
9_16-2017The circles are outlined with one row of Chain stitches and Blanket stitch half-eyelet scallops. The tulip is outlined with two rows of Chain stitches. The bottom circles are embroidered with a Rose stitch openwork pattern without a Cable stitch grid, whereas the two upper circles are worked with Rose stitch openwork patterns with a Cable stitch grid. Although the tulip in the center is very small, it is embroidered with alternating rows of Cable stitches and Rose stitches.
10_16-2017There is a heart motif in the center of the bottom section of the border design; it is flanked by big leaves. Hearts – turned upside down – are situated above each of the leaves. All hearts are outlined with one row of Chain stitches and Blanket stitch half-eyelet scallops, whereas the leaves are outlined with two rows of Chain stitches. The filling patterns in the upside down hearts have been worked without a Cable stitch grid. The center heart shows a combination of rows of Rose stitches and rows of Cable stitches. The smaller hearts were embroidered with Rose stitches only. The openwork pattern in the leaves is made with a Cable stitch grid filled with a Rose stitch pattern. Distinctive tendrils are worked in the remaining areas between the motifs.
11_16_2017The last motifs at the bottom sides of the border design are tulip shapes – outlined with one row of Chain stitches and, where the room was wide enough, Blanket stitch half-eyelet scallops. The shapes were filled with an openwork Rose stitch pattern with a Cable stitch grid.
Looking again at the photomontage, it is striking how inconsistently the border was embroidered. In some areas the left side looks more orderly and balanced, in other areas the embroidery is more consistent on the right side. Unfortunately I did not find a year, but I think it was made about 1850.
Embroidered on such a fine linen fabric (23/cm thread count!) without the possibility of electric lighting, eyeglasses, or magnifier, it is a work of art that radiates the charm of traditional hand embroidery.

Carefully studying the details, we can learn a lot.

Hare Circle Dance


In Germany, the Easter rabbit places the Easter eggs into hidden nests. And so it is not surprising that my Easter projects feature not only Easter egg shapes but also hare motifs. I asked my graphic designer for a design, and she came up with several wreaths. I decided on a circle dance with crouching hares – all running in the same direction.
1_14-2017Crouching hare shapes are easy and fun to embroider. The ears and legs can be worked with Satin stitches, and the head-body section – with no small or pointed areas – can be easily and creatively embellished with various filling patterns.
2_14-2017I decided to alternate openwork filling patterns with Limet filling patterns. When working openwork, I withdrew threads and worked filling patterns in the entire head-body area.
3_14-2017Whereas when working the Limet filling patterns, the head area remained unembroidered.
4_14-2017Each of the sixteen hares got a different filling pattern. Many well-suited small openwork filling patterns can be found in my book “Openwork Pattern Samplers.”
5_14-2017For the Limet filling patterns, I exclusively used small square eyelet patterns that can be found in my Limetrosen I and Limetrosen II books. Alternating the more prominent square eyelet patterns with the more flat and open openwork patterns makes for an interesting contrast.

By the way, the eggs shown in the above pictures (except the first image) are blown out chicken eggs that have been coloured and etched. The outline designs can be found in my booklet Easter Eggs – decorated with motifs of Schwalm Whitework made by a scratch technique. The wreath I embroidered has an internal diameter of 26 cm. The tea cloth measures 52 cm X 52 cm. The linen used has a 16/cm thread count. It is possible to enlarge the design a little bit.

Here is one more nice and easy project that – because of the many possible variations – you’ll really enjoy embroidering.
6_14-2017The design is available as a download for €8. The document includes the entire design reduced (to be enlarged at your local copy shop) and as a quarter design in the original size. Please email me with your request.

Coloured Easter Eggs


As already mentioned, Easter eggs are especially suited for trying out different patterns. And square eyelet patterns are perfect for egg shapes.

Here I will show that the patterns are not only well suited to whitework or Schwalm whitework but also to other embroidery techniques that use coloured threads to attractively fill shapes.
1_13-2017Easter eggs are embroidered in different sizes (the first steps can be found here – please see images 2–5) and cut out after finishing. This allows one to create different arrangements as the mood and decor dictate. I used linen with a 13.5/cm thread count and two strands of the six-strand embroidery floss.
2_13-2017I used different colours and different filling patterns – that made embroidering a real pleasure. I was always excited to see the patterns develop. It was fun to “paint” the eggs so differently with striped (horizontal, vertical, diagonal), dotted, or zigzag patterns.
3_13-2017The cut eggs are especially suited to various arrangements. For example, one can arrange eggs in spring-like colours in a straight line.
4_13-2017Or if one prefers water colours, it is no problem to find attractive arrangements using only those colours
5_13-2017in straight lines
6_13-2017or circles.
7_13-2017The combinations of colour and arrangement are endless: green combined with blue …
8_3-2017or green combined with lilac …
9_13-2017colours matching special decorations, here yellow and orange …
10_13-2017or here green and beige …
11_13-2017of course blue and white always look fresh.
12_13-2017As you can see these embroidered Easter eggs are manifestly combinable and adaptable. With only a little imagination, they are easily assembled into yet another new arrangement.
13_13-2017Making a colourful arrangement is not only fun with eye-catching results but also a good way to use
up leftover threads!

Most of the square eyelet patterns seen in the pictures above can be found in my books Limetrosen I and Limetrosen II.

Jessica Grimm has used these patterns – different and very interesting – to variegate her fishes.

An Easter Egg Border


Easter eggs are especially suited for trying out different patterns. Because of the rounded shape without small or pointed areas, the arrangement of the pattern at the edges is easy to work. I wanted a border design, but there were so many issues to consider: Which sizes of eggs create a nice balance? Which shapes are best? How tall should they be? How should they be angled? I preferred to ask an artist; Artist Gudrun Hartwig designed this special Easter border.

The border shows Easter eggs lying in the grass. Some Easter eggs lie on the straight of grain and some on the bias. I decided to decorate the edges of a square tea cloth with the border. It measures 75 cm X 75 cm.
1_12-2017To simulate grass, I used “Trachtenstitch” (see Fancy Hems pages 14–16).
2_12-2017Each of the fifty-four eggs got its own special pattern. This was a real pleasure to stitch. I used exclusively square eyelet patterns, most can be found in my Limetrosen I book. The patterns in Limetrosen I are perfect for the egg shapes. And the variety of patterns in the book is vast – there are patterns for small shapes and big shapes, patterns appropriate for working on the straight of grain and on the bias. There are even some patterns for slanting shapes.
3_12-2017The Easter eggs can be decorated with striped patterns
4_12-2017or with dots.
5_12-2017The Limetrosen patterns use more thread than many other stitches. But the effect of the threads, dense and lying in different directions on top of the fabric, is very pleasant indeed. Chiaroscuro – the interplay of light and shadow – makes the border beautiful, although is is unadorned. My tea cloth is eye catching. The whitework is timeless; it complements all kinds of crockery, flowers, and contemporary decorations.

Limetrosen I – Improved German Edition and New English Edition


Every time I stitch a pattern, I consider how to rearrange stitches so that a new pattern is created.
This habit began many years ago and was the impetus behind my big sampler (2.70 m X 1.70 m). I began this project in 1996 creating it pattern by pattern. In 1998, having embroidered nearly every day of the intervening years and when my fabric had no remaining space, I finished the sampler.
1_25.03.2017I embroidered only for my own pleasure; coming up with new patterns motivated and empowered me.
2_25.03.2017During this time I did not harbor any thought of publishing the patterns –this came later. At the time I had very little experience with computer text programs. And programs for editing images were absolutely foreign to me. I had to invest a huge amount of time and energy in learning these programs before tackling such a project and bringing it to fruition.
3_25.03.2017Then I had to organize my thoughts and determine how to best present all that I wanted share.
Because I got to know that many embroiderers were not fully able to transform graphics into steps of working, I mostly avoided writing schematic instructions. I realized that step-by-step pictures were needed. Unfortunately, I had not taken step pictures while stitching my sampler – all these had to be made now. When the end of the project was in sight, I found a printer with an acceptable price/quality ratio. And because I had decided to handle sales myself, I had to store at home lots of boxes of books.
4_25.03.2017Since then more than eighteen years have passed. When, a couple months ago, the 1998 version of the book sold out, I thought to be content and not reprint. But requests and inquiries for a new edition induced me at last to tackle the project again – after all the patterns are beautiful and most are unique not to be found in other publications.
5_25.03.2017Working on this project again, I have come to realize that the first edition was not at all optimal. The stitches shown for illustrative purposes were too small. The patterns stitched with white threads were not always clearly recognizable. Also, the instructions were not always clear enough for the embroiderer to reproduce the pattern.
6_25.03.2017So I sat down and embroidered all steps for working again – this time with blue threads for better clarification. More than 2000 step pictures were taken! At all times I had to keep so much in mind:
After which stitch should I stop to take the next picture? Did the needle tip get cropped out of the photograph?
7_25.03.2017Is the background dark for a good contrast, or did the excess linen inadvertently fold behind the open grid?
8_25.03.2017Is the camera held so that the cut-and-withdrawn-thread grid looks perfectly squared? Is there a dark cloud in the sky or is the sun shining too brightly at this moment?
9_25.03.2017Although I always took the pictures during the daytime and used various image editing programs, I could not get all pictures absolutely uniform. Also I learned that although the edited images looked nice on my screen, they often looked different when they were printed. In the end 1032 pictures found a place in my new book.

When the pictures had to be combined with the text, I stopped short of resigning. Why did the pictures not hold the place I gave them? Why did the line distance change automatically? Why was there all at once a typeface I had not chosen? And then my PC crashed, because the document with so many pictures got too big for the random access memory. And, and, and . . .


Pattern pages in comparison – left: page of the first edition, right: of the new edition

But it is not my nature to give up so quickly. If I accept a challenge, by all means I try to rise to it. So, with frustration reduced by many walks in the fresh air, I went on! After many months and countless hours of hard work, the new edition is finished.
The layout has been changed. Useless text was deleted to make room for many step pictures. The text that was kept was deemed the most necessary.
The introduction has been improved: substantially enhanced with more comprehensive text and all explanations illustrated with pictures. addition, two overviews were placed at the front of the publication: large thumbnails of the reduced white embroidered patterns,
12_englisch_25.03.2017and large thumbnails of the blue embroidered examples (most in their original size). These overviews are very valuable because these patterns are not only well suited to whitework or Schwalm whitework but also to other embroidery techniques requiring white or coloured threads to attractively fill shapes.
13_englisch_25.03.2017In addition, there is an overview of the specific pattern sections used throughout the book. The referenced samples are enlarged and in blue. This overview helps in understanding how the individual names came about, but it might also motivate the readers to create their own patterns using the individual sections.

Many embroiderers have asked for an English edition of this book. I am now happy to announce that Limetrosen I – a book filled with unique filling patterns based on the Square Eyelet, an abundance of images, and illustrated instructions is now available.

Limetrosen I
Square Eyelet Filling Patterns
illustrated with step-by-step instructions
81 pages
1032 images
text: English
67 filling patterns
thumbnail overview
plastic comb binding


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


Luzine Happel - Logo