Butterfly Motifs

Butterfly Motifs

So far I have not discovered any butterfly motifs in traditional Schwalm whitework designs. Butterflies started showing up in Schwalm designs only in the course of the last few years. The shapes of the butterflies are extremely diverse, and the design options are almost limitless; this is what makes them so interesting for embroidery. They can be combined with flowers and leaves or be used as individual motifs with excellent results either way.

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (1)

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (1)

The first contribution comes from Germany. Elisabeth Baumgart was immediately attracted to the idea of a collective sampler.

She wrote:
“Even though I rarely embroider Schwalm whitework, I still want to be part of the great community effort!
It has become a small, simple motif and is supposed to represent a blossom.”

Coral Knot stitches, small leaves, and Blanket stitch eyelets as well as a Rose stitch Limet filling pattern decorate her nice and well done project.

The beginning has been made. Many more embroideries will follow soon!

Please remember that everyone is invited to participate. Your piece does not need to be elaborate, nor do you need to be an experienced embroiderer. The charm of the finished sampler will come from combining all contributions that arrive from all corners of the world.

One can find more contributions in Update (3).


Easter is fast approaching, and celebrations this year will probably be very different from those of years past.

Easter customs are different worldwide. In Germany, the Easter rabbit places the Easter eggs into hidden nests.
In addition, rabbits are indigenous to many countries around the world. They were also widespread in the Schwalm. So why shouldn’t we integrate a rabbit motif into Schwalm embroidery?

Christa Waldmann designed a pattern:

You can download the design here:

A different, smaller design can be found in the article Hare Circle Dance.

Slightly modified I embroidered this new motif twice.

One rabbit body got a Limet grid

and was filled with the 2 pattern.

The mirrored counterpart was decorated with an openwork pattern.

Diagonal Cross Filling – French Variation/“half” (Openwork Pattern Samplers) was chosen.

Since the ears are very narrow, they were initially only edged with Coral Knot stitches. Then the thread withdrawing was made for a simple withdrawn thread pattern.

Wave stitches were embroidered.

Then Chain stitches for outlining and wrapped Chain stitches for dividing were worked.

Today the pair of rabbits greets you.

How about designing a complete rabbit family?

A Chain of Repeating Elements (2)

In the previous article I showed the spiral of Herta Schneider embroidered by Monika Wegener. One can change the design or add additional elements. half-eyelet scallops, 2 short-2 long stitches und Eyelash stitches are only some options.

Elements repeated in a row were also part of many Schwalm embroideries of the past, as the pictures of traditional pieces show.

In a piece from 1804 there is a row of Herringbone stitches, bordered with Stem stitches.

A work from 1827 includes staggered and mirrored Blanket stitch half-eyelet scallops along a row of Chain stitches.

A pillow case from 1842 has a line of undivided leaves on both sides of a Coral Knot stitch row,

a line of rounded leaves (representing feathers), and

rows of alternating tendrils and rounded leaves.

On a piece from 1866, there are leaves – arranged like tulips –

and we see them again alternating with tendrils.

Embroidery on a sleeve cuff embroidery 1895 shows leaves – arranged like hearts – alternating with tendrils.

The embroidery on the same sleeve cuff contains a row of Coral Knot stitch elements.

A very old bed covering with early Schwalm whitework is decorated with a row of tendrils along a curved line.

Of course, there could certainly be many more examples.

With these suggestions and a little imagination you can develop your own creations. I am happy to provide you with two basic spirals –

let your creativity shine!

I look forward to seeing your designs!