Design Transfer – Test 5

I liked the method with the blue paper transfer, only I found the somewhat jittery and shaky lines not optimal. So I tried a similar method using a prick needle.

My pricking needle has only a short tip that tapers off very strongly at the end. Placed on a relatively solid surface and then pierced,

the marks obtained with it appeared very weak. But even on a softer surface, the marking points were not clearer with this needle.

So I made another attempt, which I will now explain in more detail.

The linen marked on the horizontal and vertical center axis was placed on a non-slip surface – a tablecloth pad – and positioned so that the marking lines were really at right angles.

Sufficiently large blue paper for the desired pattern was laid over it and fixed with removable adhesive tape.

The pattern sheet was placed over it, matching the markings on the linen, and also attached

The paper was perforated along the lines with a slightly thicker tapestry needle.

The linen then had a clearly recognizable outline pattern,

which in my opinion turned out to be a bit more exact than the same pattern traced with a pen (here on different linen qualities).

However, the effort is more elaborate – it takes longer to prick all of the many points. Pricking is more relaxed for the hand, as you don’t have to press firmly and pull on at the same time. For the eyes, however, working with the prick needle is more strenuous.

Natural Coloured Linen of the Übelhör Linen Mill

Unfortunately the Weddigen company no longer weaves natural coloured linen. For some special projects I looked for another source.

The Übelhör linen mill from Austria weaves a natural coloured linen. It is pure linen, but durable pressed (i.e., processed to resist wrinkles).This linen comes in two different thread counts – 14/cm and 16/cm. It is nearly evenweave.

The linen is not as heavy as the linen I commonly use. The fabric has a pleasant, soft feel. Meanwhile I embroidered a couple of projects using the 16/cm thread count linen. Embroidering it is nice. Thread withdrawing is easy, but one has to be careful that not further thread slips out then the wanted thread part or the weave of the remaining fabric gets damages.

The advantage of this linen is its durable pressing. This makes it unsusceptible to creases. It should not get a laundry of more than 60° C. However, after the first wash I got a slight shock: Although only washed lukewarm by hand, gently squeezed out and immediately spread out to dry flat, many wrinkles appeared. Sprayed with a little “ironing aid”, the linen became perfectly smooth during ironing.

In the near future I will show details of one of my projects worked on this linen.

Design Transfer – Test 4

In my 4th test I used a traditional method that is still used in some courses today: the transfer of patterns using blueprint paper.

For this I used blue carbon paper from the Kores company. Black paper is not suitable because the lines cannot be washed out.

Since I hadn’t used this method for a very long time and wasn’t sure whether the blue lines of today’s paper could be washed out, I first tried it without embroidery. Lines of various intensities were traced on a remnant of linen.

In the short laundery with lukewarm water, the weaker lines disappeared immediately. A very slight shimmer remained from the stronger lines, which is barely noticeable on the natural-coloured linen.

Encouraged by this, I made further attempts. The blueprint paper – large enough for the design area – was positioned on the linen marked with Running stitch lines, and attached with removable tape.

The sheet with the design – here 90 g tracing paper – was placed on top meeting the marking lines and also attached with removable tape.

For my first attempt – see below – I chose a medium-soft surface. Also, I didn’t press very hard when tracing the lines. This made the outlines appear rather weak. Nevertheless, I was able to recognize them until the end and to embroider along them. The pen did not drill its way through the design paper. If you use thinner paper with the design on it, you can prevent it from breaking through by putting a piece of a thin transparent folder over it.

In some places the outlines ran clearly next to the embroidery.

After a short hand-warm laundry with mild detergent and a little rubbing, the lines were only vaguely visible.

After drying, they were completely gone.

On my second attempt, I worked on a hard surface and pressed very hard. As a result, I felt the many small jumps again while recording, which were caused by the constant up and down of the pen tip when crossing the fabric threads. That had a disruptive effect on the lines, which in some places seem quite wobbly.

Overall, however, I was very satisfied with the result – the lines are fine and yet clearly visible.

To see if the lines smudge or fade over time, against all common practice, I almost completely finished the embroidery before working on the last branch.

The outlines had lost none of their clarity.

Before washing, one could clearly see the lines not covered by the embroidery in some places.

After a short hand-warm wash with mild detergent, the lines have disappeared without a trace.

The transfer of a design using blue carbon paper is therefore quite possible. However, I have only tested this method here on natural coloured, durable pressed linen. A test on white linen is still pending.

Application Submitted

In Germany, unfortunately no longer lots of embroiderers practice Schwalm whitework. Many of them are of retirement age or advanced retirement age. Joungs are hard to find. Therefore, not only I see the continued existence in Germany of this typical regional handicraft at risk. Other embroiderers from all over Germany are also of the opinion with me that Schwalm whitework urgently needs a new impulse. They have encouraged me to do something in this direction.

In order to give new impetus to the interest in it and to draw the attention of a wider public to this multi-layered and thus unique technique, I have submitted an application for the registration of Schwalm whitework in the nationwide directory of intangible cultural heritage to the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts.

My decades of intensive study of the combination of different embroidery techniques developed in the Schwalm and my conviction of their uniqueness as well as my concern about the decline of this cultural asset have led me to take this step.

Two renowned experts supported my application.

In April next year, it will become clear whether this application will be one of the (up to four) proposals that the State of Hesse will submit to the Secretariat of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Design Transfer – Test 3

In the near future, I want to address the different ways in which embroidered pillowcases are made.

Old hand-woven linen is best for embroidering pillowcases because it is not susceptible to creasing. Now I have been looking for an alternative for the embroiderers in countries where one cannot fall back on “household linen”. At the weaving mill Übelhör I found what I was looking for with durable pressed natural coloured linen.

My preferred method of transferring patterns onto the linen is ironing them on with a DEKA iron-on transfer pen. However, it requires heat. The durable pressed linen, however, cannot withstand great heat. So I looked for other transfer solutions.

During my exhibition in September there was enough opportunity to exchange ideas about the different transfer methods used by the embroiderers. I’ll test some of them over time. Here is my experiment with a non-permanent pen from Staedtler. In contrast to the FriXion rollerball pen from Pilot, the colour can be completely washed out and does not reappear later.

Caution! I have just received a call from an embroiderer who has worked with the pen several times. She reports that the composition of the ink has been changed and the colour of the newer pens can no longer be washed out. So please check on a small test piece before embroidering whether the colour of your pen can be washed out or not.

With the help of a light pad, the pattern was transferred to the linen. The natural tone of the linen is swallowing light much more than white linen, and will not allow the design lines to show through without bright lightning.

The constant up and down of the pen point crossing the threads made my lines a little bit wobbly. This I found it disturbing.

The lines turned out fine and clear, the colour is strong and lasts until the end. The pen is available in many other colours – I just happened to have a green one on hand – and also in different widths. “F” should be the most suitable for the design transfer.

After embroidering, I put the motif in lukewarm water, and the colour immediately dissolved.

After a short time, the soap suds was coloured green.

Only a very short rubbing was necessary to wash the last remains of the ink from the linen.

The result was a clean fabric from which the outlines could be completely washed out in a very short time. If the wobbles weren’t created while tracing, this would be a perfect way to transfer designs.