Filling Pattern – No. 547

category: openwork filling pattern with Cable stitch grid
linen used: 13.5/cm thread count
threads used: coton à broder No. 30 for the Cable stitches and No. 20 for the Rose stitches
stitches used: Rose stitches
center: intersection of pairs of threads
one pattern segment: 28 threads

First, establish an openwork grid with an intersection of pairs of threads in the center by cutting 2, leaving 2 both vertically and horizontally.

Stabilize the established grid with Single Faggot stitches worked from the back side of the fabric. Please remember that Single Faggot stitch worked on the back side will look like Cable stitch viewed from the front.

Work a square of 2 X 2 Rose stitches around the center intersection – counterclockwise and starting on the bottom right. After completing the square of Rose stitches, bring the needle up in the square diagonal to the lower left corner.

From there work a diagonal row of Rose stitches upward to the left.

Turn the piece and work a second diagonal row parallel and with a distance of five empty squares between – counted in a straight line.

Complete the first row, and work rows of Rose stitches perpendicular to the first and running directly along the corners of the center square.

Crossing previously worked rows, slide the working thread on the back through the already established stitches.

Work a second row beside and outward to the first.

Do the same to all four rows.

*Work two single rows with a distance of five empty squares between (counted in a straight line) to the right and to the left of one pair of the established rows.

Please note: my sampler square will get an edge border of Satin stitches. Of course, this edge border should normally be worked first – before withdrawing the threads. In this way, the edge border can be worked much more easily, and the working threads of the Single Faggot stitches can be secured there. I was pressed for time when working the steps in preparation to share them with you, and in my haste I skipped this important step. The picture at the end of this article shows the sample with the border. It was very difficult to get the stitches to look nice and orderly! So, please do not follow my example, but take the time to stitch an edge border first.

Start working a single row perpendicular to the just worked row, but this time include working squares of 2 X 2 Rose stitches into the established rhombus sections. Therefore bring the needle up in the square diagonal to the top left

and work a square of 2 X 2 Rose stitches.

On the way back to the Rose stitch row, slide the working thread through the already established stitches.

Continue working the Rose stitch row including a square of 2 X 2 Rose stitches in every second rhombus section.

Do the same on the opposite side.

Work a second row of Rose stitches beside and outward to each of the four rows.*

Continue working the same steps (*)

until the entire shape is filled.

This pattern is especially charming in wider motifs. This motif was embroidered by Sylvia Sellmaier. Thanks to her for allowing to show her work.

How to Work a Schwalm Cap

To make a Schwalm cap one needs, beside much patience, skills and some materials: a template for a cap, some linen fabric or other strong fabric, and silk threads in the desired colours. Here a cap matching the green costume is shown.

To be able to show the progress of a faithful reproduction, a traditional cap was unstitched. Photos were taken while reworking; they are now shown in the reverse order.

As explained in the article Traditional Craftsmanship – The Colour Embroiderer, the template is secured with some stitches on the ground fabric layers and then embroidered with silk threads. The stitching is dense.

Small remaining parts between the template sections are filled with Satin stitches. Stain stitches in different lengths are also used to cover the edges to establish an even oval shape.

The ground fabric is trimmed closely to the edge stitches.

In many caps of the green costume, a green silk fabric or Damest is fitted between the template and the ground fabric – here a red-brown fabric is used as an interlayer.

The picture below shows a section of the embroidered cap bottom from the back side.

For securing the cap bottom edge, a folded strip of green Damest is fastened with Whip stitches.

The ends of the band are overlapped and sewn together.

The picture below shows the back of this step.

To neaten the inner edge, a coarse linen strip – made of four parts and in the width of the desired height of the cap – is fastened with Whip stitches to the back side of the cap bottom.

After it is attached, it is then flipped to form the cap sides.

The picture below shows the outside edge.

So that the cap wall gets the needed stiffness, more layers of coarse linen or other coarse fabric are cut to a matching size,

laid against the outer side of the sewn linen strip,

and pushed closely toward the green band.

The layers are sewn together with different rows of Running stitches.

To ease the fabric a little bit so that the cap wall gets its tapered shape, some rows of Running stitches are worked with thick thread at the bottom edge.

The open short sides

are pulled together

and closed using Whip stitches.

The different layers are held together at the bottom edge with Whip stitches.

The green band is pulled down,

closed at the sides, and secured to the cap wall with different rows of Running stitches.

The center of one long side at the bottom edge gets a small point. (The point indicates the front of the cap to the wearer.)

The outside of the cap wall is covered with black silk or – as seen here – with black satin.

The black cover is made with four parts cut somewhat smaller than the bottom. First they are secured with fine stitches at the edge of the cap bottom.

And then – always centered – they are sewn closed at the short

and the long sides.

The small point on the one side is made to be especially prominent.

The black fabric is folded inward and secured.

A typical Schwalm cap is finished.

With matching pinned bands, the Kappenschnüre, a decorative ensemble of the Schwalm costume accessories, is established.

I have been asked … (1)

Embroiderers have asked me questions regarding the stitch used to stabilize the openwork grid.

They want to know why the stitch in Schwalm whitework is worked on the bias

and not on the straight of grain, as it is done in some other embroidery types. (For some embroiderers it would be much easier to work the stitch on the straight of grain; errors caused by trying to hold the correct diagonal line could be avoided.)

Working horizontal and vertical rows would establish the same effect – wrapping once around each pair of threads and creating a double half cross on top of the intersections of the pairs of threads.

So, why is it done on the bias in the Schwalm?

My response:

As Schwalm whitework became more and more important, professional embroiderers were always looking for faster and more economical ways of doing their work. Then, when theses embroiderers passed on their embroidery knowledge, it was natural for them to teach the streamlined techniques they had developed. Remember that this knowledge was only available by being passed down from teacher to student. And over the years, this way of working found its way into the doctrine of Schwalm whitework.

Back in Schwalm whitework’s heyday, it was common to work openwork filling patterns nearly exclusively. Time was precious, and openwork consists of mainly two different steps of working: stabilizing the grid with Cable stitches, and filling the grid with patterns using Rose stitches, Needle-Weaving stitches, or others. Working these two different steps is time consuming.

Working the stitches on the bias enables the embroiderer to create a couple of different patterns without working a complete openwork grid first. If the stitch is worked in diagonal rows, other stitches – also in diagonal rows – can be easily worked beside to create different patterns. Working this way saves time. Not all patterns can be worked this way, only those with diagonal strips. But the Schwalm embroiderer always added such diagonal striped patterns, as many examples show:
Traditional Schwalm Whitework
Traditional Schwalm Bodice (D) Embroidery
Traditional Schwalm Bodice (B) Embroidery
The Filling Patterns of theTraditional Schwalm Bodice A

The Cable stitches (Single Faggot stitches) can be combined with Rose stitches; Diagonal Cross stitches; Double Diagonal Cross stitches; Diagonal Cross Filling–French Variation; Diagonal Cross Filling–French Variation, wrong side up; Diagonal Cross Filling–French Variation, “half”; Diagonal Cross Filling–French Variation, “half with a gap”; Diagonal Cross Filling–French Variation, “vertical half.” (See all these stitches in Openwork Pattern Samplers.)

One can find more variations by changing the number of the worked rows each stitch.

Summer Work

Now and then my exhibits need to be laundered; they collect dust being displayed in the exhibition for so many months, and above all the summer sun caused them to yellow in some parts. I took advantage of the summer break to take them home for washing and ironing.

Viewing the various items waving in the wind on the clotheslines in my garden, I was once again awestruck by the trove of wonderful and diverse embroideries made over the years.

I enjoy my summer life – relaxing, embroidering, and gardening. But I am always thinking about how I might inspire Schwalm whitework enthusiasts. I look forward to sharing with you the next big project that is in the works. And I also look forward to welcoming interested visitors to my exhibition.

Filling Pattern – No. 546

category: Limet-Filling pattern
linen used: 13.5/cm thread count
threads used: coton à broder No. 20
stitches used: Easy Eyelet stitches and Rose stitches
longitudinal axis: withdrawn thread line
one pattern segment = 16 threads

First, establish a Limet grid with a withdrawn thread line as the longitudinal axis by cutting 1, leaving 3, vertically and horizontally.

Work one row of Easy Eyelet stitches along the longitudinal axis.

Work one vertical row of Rose stitches next to the Easy Eyelet row.

Always alternate working one row of Easy Eyelet stitches and Rose stitches until one half of the shape is filled.

Working from the already embroidered section, fill the remaining section.

Another pattern, suited also for smaller areas, is established.


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


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