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 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.

Testing an Ink Transfer Pen

Back in December, an embroiderer told me about a pen that she and her group members use for transferring designs. She highly recommended that I use it, too.
It is a rollerball pen with ink that disappears with the application of heat up to 65°C.

I decided to give it a try.

The pen is called FriXion Ball made by the Pilot Pen Company. It comes in different colours and different width. The middle width – 0.7 mm – is available in many local stores offering stationery, so I bought one of these and also some refill cartridges in blue.

For my test I used a small design and Weddigen linen #180.

I used a light pad to be able to see the design more easily through the fabric.

Slowly and carefully I drew lines along the design lines. For me – accustomed to using iron transfer pencils – it was a little slow and a bit arduous. The constant up and down of the pen point crossing the threads made my lines a little bit wobbly. (Perhaps more practice would help to improve this.)

However, the lines turned out fine and clear.

Embroidering along the lines was no problem.

Because it is said that higher temperatures will erase the design lines, I applied heat with the help of a hair dryer. After some seconds my piece was free of pen lines.

And after it was boiled for shrinking, dried, and ironed, I was very satisfied.

Normally the pencil is used for writing. And it may happen that sunshine will delete the written text by accident. The product specifications state that deleted lines will appear again in cooler temperatures: a short time in a freezer (-10°C) will help to restore the lines.

This is good to know in case the piece is taken outside on a warm and sunny day and the design lines disappear.

A finished piece of embroidery is seldom exposed to freezing temperatures. However, I did place my finished test piece into my freezer.

After a short time, blue lines appeared again.

This shows that the ink, although invisible, is still remaining on the linen.
I began to wonder about the damage the ink might cause linen and whether the lines would, in time, reappear in a different color (such as yellow or tan).

The lady who suggested the pen to me reported that her group has used it for more than two years and with no adverse effects. She also told me that the pens with a wider point ease transferring.

After careful consideration, I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this pen for transferring designs for white embroidery.

I will subject the pen to an endurance test in the near future, and I will be sure to share my results with you.

Linen and Threads Available Here

So that my customers can easily get the right material for Schwalm whitework, I have decided to offer for sale Weddigen linen, Anchor threads, and DEKA iron transfer pencils.

Producing high-quality linen becomes more and more difficult nowadays. Many widely known linen mills in Europe suspended their productions in the last years. I do not know how long the Weddigen linen mill will still weave. Weddigen produces the best linen suitable for Schwalm whitework. So I decided to store some rolls in different qualities. Some articles are only available in small quantities, so it is advisable to stock up on this wonderful linen before it is too late.

I offer four linen qualities in different widths and sometimes in different colours.

Here is an overview:

#160 (this is the linen I recommend for beginners)
13.5 threads per cm
34.29 threads per inch
width in meters: 1.85
net price/meter EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 34
gross price/meter EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 40.46

#925 (this is the most common linen for Schwalm whitework, called Alba Maxima in the United States)
16 threads per cm
40.64 threads per inch
width in meters: 2.30
Please see also my article about testing this linen #925, width 2.30m.
net price/meter EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 42.60
gross price/meter EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 50.69

width in meters: 1.85
net price/meter EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 34.40
gross price/meter EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 40.94

width in meters: 1.40
net price/meter EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 28.40
gross price/meter EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 33.80

#180 (this is a very fine pure warp linen)
20 threads per cm
50.8 threads per inch
width in meters: 1.85
Please see also my article about linen #180.
net price/meter EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 43
gross price/meter EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 51.17

#121 (this has an open texture appearance and is especially good for shadow work or, in Schwalm whitework, christening robes or curtains)
20 threads per cm
50.8 threads per inch
width in meters: 1.85
net price/meter EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 32
gross price/meter EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 38.08

Pictures for viewing the structure and counting the threads, and specifications such as special cuts, weight, and shipping prices are found in this document: Weddigen Linen_ English.

To round off my service, I also offer Anchor coton à broder threads colour 02 (off white) Nos. 16, 20, 25, and 30.
net price/skein EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 1.98
gross price/skein EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 2.36

and DEKA iron transfer pencils
net price/pencil EUR (customers outside the EU pay net price only): 3.36
gross price/pencil EUR (customers inside the EU pay 19% VAT on the net price): 4.00

Unfortunately, I cannot incorporate all these options in my online shop, so please email (leuchtbergverlag@aol.com) me with your request.

Testing Weddigen Linen #925

Linen is a natural product. The end product is only as good as the preliminary stages allow. And so it makes sense that each batch of material from the Weddigen linen mill is slightly different from previous ones. This is normal and to be expected.

Recently I received some linen that looked, at first sight, different – it had many small fluffs on the surface and also some scattered bits of fibers sticking out. And I experienced more typical linen slubs as in other batches of the same article with other width. This linen is article #925 with 16 threads per cm in a width of 2.30 m.

Slubs found in linen are usually no problem; they establish the typical character of the fabric. But what about the bits of fiber sticking out?

For a test I cut a small piece. When I cut along a fabric thread,

I immediately met a thread with a distinctive array of fluffs,

as seen in the detail image below.

I made a test to check the strength of the thread; pulling it to see if it would break, I was surprised to see that the thread held!

Looking closer I noticed that the fibers sticking out could be pushed back and forth along the length of the thread. Thus they had not been tightly spun into the thread. I picked them out and

tested the breaking strength again. The thread held, and it is seen in the picture below that the thread itself did not get thinner. This result was reassuring.

But what about the fiber ends sticking out of the fabric here and there?

They are easily picked out

without leaving damages in the fabric.

To test the stitching qualities, I transferred a small design (to be shown in a future article).

As already mentioned, the fiber ends sticking out are easily picked out.

But what about the slubs encountered while withdrawing the threads?

I withdrew threads to establish an openwork grid.

Both threads with slubs

could be withdrawn without any problem.

The established holes were slightly wider than the other holes,

but they were absorbed into the design when working the filling pattern. The number of fluffs in the established grid was not higher than those found in grids worked on other batches of the same article; in fact there were fewer.

In addition I withdrew a long thread near the edge; it broke less often than it does in other batches.

Final result:
Perceived minor defects were proved to be inconsequential. These are small blemishes that do not hinder usability. It seems that bits of fiber and fluff flying around during the spinning process were not sufficiently noticed. The result was that they became attached to the emerging threads. On the other hand the threads were spun a little bit tighter than usual. Tightly spun threads are easy to withdraw.

In my opinion this linen is perfectly safe and appropriate to use for Schwalm whitework. After laundering the small fluffs disappear, and the typical linen character is especially effective.