Traditional Schwalm Cross Stitch Sampler

Embroidering Schwalm whitework samplers was and is popular and common, as I have shown in various previous articles. But Schwalm women also created Cross stitch samplers in addition to whitework samplers.

In the Schwalm, Cross stitch was used to complete whitework – to mark the the linen with initials and years, to separate initials with small square ornaments, to round out grand Satin stitch crowns with small embellishments, or to develop single-stitch crowns.
Some examples are found in my articles “Historical Schwalm Whitework and Machine-Made Lace” and “Schwalm Costume – The White Aprons”.

Besides letters, numbers, and different small square elements; hearts, tulips, and small crowns played a major role. Baskets, stars, and trees of life were also represented. But there were also other embroidered elements that were important in the daily life of these women. Most important were the many different bird motifs.

Because of their motifs, Schwalm Cross stitch samplers are different from samplers of other regions.

I succeeded in finding a very special – because of its especially colourful palette – traditional Schwalm Cross stitch sampler. And I would like to share it with you. The small cloth measures 28 cm high X 29 cm wide. The sampler’s stitch count is 168 wide by 137 high. It was worked on loosely woven linen with 13–14 threads per centimeter.

Presuming your interest in embroidering, I made an enlarged, clear, and coloured chart – divided into 30 sections.

I tried to find the original colours, but not all of the old colours are available today. I have included both Anchor and DMC colours that match the closest. A complete chart with a foldout colour key can be found in the back of the booklet.

Schwalm Cross Stitch Sampler

15 Pages
text: English
file size: 5.116 MB+
file size 426 KB
item price: €15 (including 19 % sales tax), €12.61 for customers outside the EU

Is this sampler missing from your collection? No problem, you can order it now. The document is available as a file for downloading.

Lesson #3 – Openwork Circle Design Ornaments

Of the three types of withdrawn-thread patterns (simple, Limet, and openwork) in Schwalm whitework, openwork is the most important and richly diverse group. This is because shapes can not only be filled with endless patterns but also with figured patterns. The variety of figured patterns is vast – in addition to hearts, tulips and stars, birds and manikin are found. However, one can also find other animals and crowns. The Schwalm embroiderer loved diversification and liked to combine all the different possibilities.

Openwork patterns are especially durable because the embroiderer usually embroidered the shape twice – once for securing the grid with Cable stitches and again when working a pattern using Rose or needle-weaving stitches into the established grid. Learning to embroider openwork patterns is a little bit more arduous. But having learned the basic principles, countless and very different creative possibilities are opened up.

linienförmige Anordnung | arrangement in a straight line
The Ornament project is a continuation of the Happel Hearts project. It provides the opportunity to practice Coral Knot, Chain, and Blanket stitches that you learned in lesson #1, and it introduces new techniques and challenges:

1. Design transfer of a circle design
2. Thread withdrawal for an openwork grid with a square in the center
3. Working a Cable stitch grid
4. Openwork filling stitch: needle weaving
5. Working from a filling pattern chart
6. Openwork filling stitch: Rose stitch
7. Finishing
8. Thread withdrawal for an openwork grid with an intersection of bundled threads in the center

In addition, you will
• create your own different edge embellishment in basic star pattern charts,
• create your own star pattern chart,
• study more different pattern charts,
• study more embroidered star patterns.

The main focus of this lesson is to introduce Schwalm whitework’s third type of withdrawn-thread patterns – openwork patterns. (Simple withdrawn-thread filling patterns and Limet-Filling patterns have already been covered in lesson #1 and in lesson #2 respectively.)

In this lesson you have to establish an openwork grid, stabilize it with Cable stitches, and fill it with different figured patterns using needle weaving and Rose stitches. In the end, excess fabric is cut away.

Other finishing possibilities are square ornaments, coasters, and bands.

The project is small, but there is so much to learn!
Everything you need is included in the kit #1. Did you order it already?
To save you shipping costs, I made this document downloadable. Of course, a printed version is available upon request; should you prefer this option, please email me.

Schwalm Whitework
Lesson #3
Openwork Circle Design Ornaments
31 pages
more than100 images
text: English
21.95 MB file size
item price: € 20 (including 19 % sales tax), 16,81 € for customers outside the EU


Advent Calendar 2017

Since last year’s Advent calendar for whitework was so very well received, I decided to again prepare new embroideries for the first twenty-four days of December. I asked my designer for matching designs, and she came up with gingerbread figures, nuts, and many other designs often associated with Christmastime, but this was not what I wanted. I had in mind nice little Schwalm-typical motifs suitable for creating an advent calendar. So she started anew, and the results exceeded my expectations. I liked the designs very much.

The designs do not share the same aspect ratio, but that should cause little concern.

One might choose to use them to work, for example, only small bags, ornaments, or some other item. To show the wide variety of possibilities,
I decided to make twenty-four different small pieces – presenting one every day, beginning on 01 December. Please look forward to them!

You will see that most of the projects and the motifs are appropriate for anytime of the year.

So, if you would like to work them yourself, I offer the different designs here. Included are twentyfour different designs and two variants as well as a pattern for a stocking.

All designs come in at least three different sizes – some for delicate work and the others for more comfortable embroidering.

Best of all I made a modular design system in which all the designs with a comfortable and matching size can be cut out as cards to be arranged into a design for an Advent calendar, a sampler, a long band, a two-row table runner, or …

24 Designs + 1 Stocking Pattern
Advent Calendar 2017
line drawings in several sizes each
43 pages
8.08 MB file size
Text: English
24.00 EUR
download here

Of course it is also possible to get this publication as a printed booklet for the same price plus shipping charges. This option is not shown in my online shop, so please email me with your request.

Schwalm Whitework – Apron Square Designs

Deeply impressed by the beauty of the apron square designs and the number of wonderful patterns that can be created using the same main motifs over and over again, I looked for a way to modify and then apply these designs to contemporary whitework designs. With the help of my designer, I have produced seven beautiful square designs. I have shown a variation of one in a previous article. It is a design axially symmetric; all others are centrically symmetric.

The designs measure 18 cm X 18 cm each, but it is possible to enlarge them. They are pretty made up as pillowcases, square doilies, and table runners. I am using five of the designs on each side to embroider a large tablecloth. Unfortunately it is not yet finished, so I cannot show a picture.
However, it looks like it will turn out very pretty. In addition to the pillowcase I showed in the previous article, I could finish six more square pillowcases using the centrically symmetric apron square designs.
The designs are beautiful.
The shapes are large enough to accommodate a variety of filling stitches or patterns. And the added Satin stitch embroidery makes a nice contrast to the drawn thread work areas.
Did I whet your appetite for more beautiful Schwalm-inspired designs?
I now offer the 7 designs + 1 design variation as a document for downloading.

Apron Square Designs
line-drawn designs
8 pages
7 + 1 designs in a size of 18 cm X 18 cm
2,28 MB file size
item price: €25 (including 19 % sales tax), 21.01 € for customer outside the EU
download here

Lovely Delicate Wreath Designs

Asking my design artist for small patterns for practicing leaves, tendrils, eyelets, and other small shapes used in Schwalm whitework, she came up with a couple of delicate wreath designs. While embroidering some of them, and since I know that many embroiderers share my love of these delicate wreath designs, I got the idea to offer them to you. I have decided to show the designs in a way appropriate to the season – via an Advent calendar!

Advent calendars are a traditional German custom established in the middle of the 19th century, and they are now common in most Christian communities. They help to shorten the long wait for Christmas and to increase the anticipation. Advent calendars were at first simply twenty-four lines drawn on the wall, one for each day from December first to the twenty-fourth, and the children could delete one every day. Later the Advent calendar evolved into many other forms – pictures, small chocolate pieces, candies, little tales, and many others.

I will help to mark your days and to increase your anticipation by showing you my embroidered delicate wreaths – one every day, beginning on 01 December. Please look forward to them!

And if you want to work them yourself, I offer here the twenty-four different designs, some with winter or Christmas motifs, and some with motifs appropriate for anytime of the year.

Not everybody is interested in all the designs. So, I made two downloadable documents – one with a collection of somewhat simpler and easy-to-work examples and one with a collection of more elaborate designs.

All designs come in different sizes. Set 1 shows each design in diameters of approximately 5 cm, 8 cm and 10 cm, and six of the designs additionally in diameter of 12 cm. Set 2 shows each design in diameters of approximately 5 cm, 8 cm, 10 cm and 12 cm, and one design additionally in diameter of 19 cm. The smallest ones are for people who love to do tiny work. They have to be embroidered on very fine and densely woven linen. The examples shown in the December posts have mostly been embroidered using one of the middle sizes. I used 19/21/cm thread count handwoven linen and coton à broder No. 20 and No. 25. Stitching the somewhat larger – but still delicate – sizes is more comfortable. For the larger design size, 16/cm or 40/inch thread count linen should be used.
In the documents one can also find some helpful tips, that offer brief explanations of how to embroider the different shapes. One will also find detailed images of embroidered examples that illustrate the tips.


12 Delicate Wreath Designs
Set 1

15 pages in all
12 pages with 42 line drawings
3 pages with illustrated tips
2.52 MB file size
text: English
12.00 EUR
download here


12 Delicate Wreath Designs
Set 2

22 pages in all
17 pages with 49 line drawings
5 pages with illustrated tips
5.93 MB file size
text: English
18.00 EUR
download here

Of course it is also possible to get this publication as a printed booklet for the same price plus shipping charges. This option is not shown in my online shop, so please email me with your request.