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!

A Schwalm Spiral – a chain of repeating elements (1)   

Beside snail shells spirals can be seen in a variety of different places. Herta Schneider got the idea to use the spiral as a focal point for a design that incorporates small elements of Schwalm whitework to fill the areas between the big motifs. She “strung” these elements on a thread and laid the finished “chain” into a spiral.

Monika Wegener bought a design drawing from Herta Schneider and embroidered such a spiral. Her name and the year gracefully flow along the curved lines.

In addition to Blanket stitch eyelets many small leaves can be found – pointed and undivided

or pointed and curved.

Small hearts alternate with tendrils.

Knife points with Blanket stitches are also found.

I think this project not only turned out very nicely but was also a good way to practice small elements used in Schwalm whitework.

Snail Shells (2)

The second snail shell is a little bit larger then the first. It was also designed by the artist Gudrun Hartwig.

Here is the design:

Transferring the design one should keep in mind that it does not appear mirrored. The spirals of snail shells always turn counterclockwise.

Starting on the outside, I embroidered Chain stitches along the double spiral line. Coral Knot stitches were worked along the single spiral line.

Blanket stitches were worked over one half of the two-part elements. The mirrored halves were simply outlined with Stem stitches.

The undivided elements near the center were covered with Satin stitches.

This snail shell is also a suitable addition to a sampler.

Snail Shells (1)

Tendrils are a common and important design element. They are symbols of life cycles and stand for changes and transition.

Our lives are changing enormously at the moment.

The spiral of the snail shell reminds one of the spirals of tendrils.
Snails retreat into their homes in case of danger and do not stretch their feelers again until the threat seems to be over.

So what could be more perfect today than to embroider snail “houses.”
The artist Gudrun Hartwig drew different snail shell designs for me.

Here is one of those designs:

Transferring the design one should keep in mind that it does not appear mirrored. The spirals of snail shells always turn counterclockwise. Not all lines of the wall structure must be transferred; this will only be confusing when stitching. For orientation the main lines and the length of the lines are enough.

Starting on the outside, I embroidered Chain stitches along the spiral line.

Starting with heavier thread, I changed to finer thread after approximately each round. This enables one to work the center of the spiral exactly.

The fine lines of the wall texture were embroidered with Stem stitches using coton à broder No. 30.

Snail “houses”, snails, and other crawlers are well suited to be included into a sampler.

This example shows one possible way to depict a snail shell.

Another possibility will follow.

Easter Decoration 2018

Having a look around the shops, I found hangings decorated for Easter – simple to rework with a touch of embroidery.

They are made from wooden discs and wooden beads alternately strung on a rustic thread

with a metallic Easter egg randomly placed between.


Taking a thick branch from my garden and using a small saw and a thin drill bit, I easily got the required discs. I had some beads on hand.


I replaced the metallic eggs with small embroidered Easter eggs. I used the design presented here and embroidered white eggs using filling patterns No. 540


and “Kronjuwel” from the book Limetrosen II.
After boiling, the embroidery was heavily starched so that the cut piece holds its form.


I used a continuous white thread, because I found the big knots distracting,


and alternately strung beads, wooden discs, and embroidered Easter eggs on it.


Illuminated from behind, as when placed on a window, the embroidery takes on an especially beautiful effect.


One can create short hangings with only one egg or longer hangings with a couple of eggs.