Needle-Weaving Bands

Needle-weaving hems and needle-weaving bands have a long tradition in Schwalm whitework.

They are available in a wide variety of designs, with narrow or wide pattern segments and in a wide variety of heights. In my documentation Schwalm Needle-Weaving Bands I have already shown 193 (!) different patterns . There are always new variants to discover. Of course, with a little skill, you can also create your own patterns.

The combined needle-weaving patterns, as you can see here in pictures 5 and 6, are also very interesting for me.

I found a very interesting needle-weaving band pattern of this category on one of my handed down collection pieces.
The middle band consists of a two-piece block pattern with spiders, the top and bottom bands are formed by a mirrored A-pattern.

(Information on the individual categories and detailed descriptions of the working methods can be found in Lesson #4 – Needle-Weaving Band Sampler.)

This needle-waeving band appears to contain an error. Although each of the three bands put together is worked in an even rhythm, the pattern segments of the middle part and those of bottom respective top part are of different widths. This results in mismatches in the overall appearance of the pattern.

If you pick out the individual segments – the pattern part that is constantly repeated – you will see that the segments of the upper and lower part each consist of 18 bundles, but those of the middle part only consist of 12 bundles.

Also, I noticed that the middle part was formed with extremely low units. Nowadays the height of a unit is usually set at 4 mm. Such fixed rules did not apply in the past. But I had never encountered such low units as in the middle part of the example shown here.

That encouraged me to try it out and combine it further. I was often surprised at how different the effect of the individual pattern combinations turned out. Eleven examples can be seen in my documentation Schwalm Needle-Weaving Bands. But there are many more.

I quickly embroidered a few samples. First I embroidered the pattern of the middle part with units reduced to 2 mm.

Then I placed an A-pattern, also reduced in unit height, but with only one row of holes between the triangles, next to it. I’m also considering whether to add a peahole or just a Four-Sided stitch to the finished needle-weaving band.

In another attempt, I stretched out the middle pattern a bit and worked a total of 14 bundles per pattern segment. Next to it I have placed a side part over the full unit height of 4 mm, but shortened to a pattern segment of 14 bundles and with two rows of holes; in such a way that the zigzag lines meet the spider parts.

By reducing the top pattern segment to 14 bundles, the base of the triangles extends over 8 bundles. I didn’t really like the combination with the below block of 12 bundles.
So I kept trying.

I will present one of the patterns that emerged in the blog post after next.

Didn’t you feel like playing with different possible combinations to find out new patterns?

Closures of Pillowcases (5)

Gertrude Vorwerk presented an attractive and individual variant for a pillow closure. Her unusual version with a decorative ribbon arranged at the top looks very appealing and shows great creativity.

She wrote: “Belatedly on your blog with the special pillow closures, I want to show you my version. It’s from 1997 and I had no idea how to sew pillowcases. I only started embroidering in 1996, that’s what happened!

Since I didn’t know how to close the pillow – I certainly didn’t have enough fabric – I came up with the idea of ​​designing the edge like this. The blue ribbon was lying around in my gift ribbon box, it was perfect for the pillow. I think it’s wonderful that I had a similar idea back then.”

Many thanks for sending the pictures!

More embroideries by Gertrude Vorwerk can be found here and here.

Closures of Pillowcases (4)

The hand-woven linen for the sofa cushion cover 2 was only 76 cm wide. I didn’t want to cut the pillow out of the length of the linen though to save on fabric. As a result, only a minimal edge strip was available to close the pillow. A hem would not have been possible.

However, since the cut has firm selvages on both small sides, the fabric was only folded in the width of the selvage after the side seams were closed. The closure was made similar to that shown under closures of pillowcases (3).

In the area of the side seams, buttonhole stitches hold the folded selvage in position, while the punctures of the needlelace Buttonhole stitch scallops do the same for the remaining closure.

Closures of Pillowcases (3)

The embroidery of sofa cushion cover 1 is washed to remove the outlines and to shrink the fabric to its final extension. Then the linen is ironed in order to be able to measure it exactly. It is then cut to the required size. Here you can cut away different amounts of excess fabric on the short sides in order to have the embroidery placed in the middle of the front part.

The next steps for closing this pillow have already been explained in Closures of Pillowcases (1) – pictures 3 to 8.

This time, however, the pillow is not to be sewn close, but provided with needlelace scallops.

To do this, the hem edges are marked at the desired even distances (here 1.4 cm – it shouldn’t be less) and also consistently on the front and back. To do this, start in the middle and end 2 – 3 cm before reaching the side seams.

Using coton à broder thread No. 16, add simple Buttonhole stitch scallops to the edge.

The cover is ironed again and pulled over a pillow.

Finally, a cord or flat band (at least three times the width of the pillow) is slid through the scallops and pulled together. To do this, it is best to fold the band once in the middle and start on one side of the pillow by pulling the two ends through alternately.

Depending on the size in which you work the needlelace scallops,

which band to use

and how much you tighten the braid, different effects arise.

In any case, this type of closure is decorative.

The closure can be opened again at any time simply by pulling the band out. So it is no wonder that this type of closure was used very often in the Schwalm.

Sofa Cushion Cover 1 (B)

After the linen has been cut and the outines have been transferred to the fabric, the embroidery work can begin. I was too hesitant on my first attempt at design transfer using blue paper. The lines are not very distinctive. Therefore, to be on the safe side, the parts that are particularly important in terms of precise work, such as the bird’s heads and legs, are embroidered very early on, when the outlines are still clearly visible and the embroidery can be implemented very precisely.

The lines of the bird heads are traced with wrapped Chain stitches (coton à broder No. 20). These stitches have a similar effect to Coral Knot stitches, but are a bit more bulky. Here it is important that the Chain stitches are embroidered first – the wrapping can also be done later.

Beaks, bird legs and eyes, small leaves and pomegranate blossoms are embroidered with Satin stitches. Optionally, coton à broder No. 25 or two strands of 6-ply stranded cotton can be used. Stranded cotton has the advantage that the two threads lie next to each other and thus cover the area better than a thread twisted together, but the disadvantage that they shift against each other and the thread tension is not always the same. To avoid this, from time to time while embroidering you have to let the needle slide down to the fabric, bring both strands of thread away from the fabric into the same tension and then push the needle back into its embroidery position.

To taper the thick stems toward the end, start with wrapped chain stitches, then continue the line first with wide stem stitches and finally with single stem stitches (coton à broder No. 16).

The thin stems can be stitched with Coral Knot stitches or with simple Stem stitches.
All areas – apart from those within the plumage – in which threads are withdrawn are first surrounded with Coral knot stitches (coton à broder No. 16).

The plumage of the birds is depicted with different stitches: Stem stitch diamonds with Satin stitch dots or Chain stitches in the middle,

Satin stitch arches and rows of Blanket stitches indicate the wings. The tail feather is worked out with wing stitches.

One bird’s belly is worked using Wave stitches (simple thread withdrawing 3:1 and coton à broder No. 25),

the other using Honeycomb Darning stitches.

The middle parts of the bird heads are embroidered with small Wave stitches over 2 threads (simple thread withdrawing 2:1 and coton à broder No. 25).

The top of the head and neck are decorated with curved lines (coton à broder No. 16).

The middle parts of the large pomegranates (Limet thread withdrawing 3:1 and coton à broder No. 25) are embroidered with Diagonal Cross stitches, the side parts are filled with Chain stitches (coton à broder No. 16). (Chain stitches next to Coral Knots always make them appear more harmonious.)

The small pomegranates and the small leaf motifs get a 2:1 thread withdrawing.

They are filled with Cable stitches or Single Faggot stitches (coton à broder No. 30).

The large leaf motifs get an openwork thread withdrawing 2:2. They are worked out using Cable stitches (coton à broder No. 30). The leaf veins can be indicated with wrapped Chain stitches (coton à broder No. 16).

The embroidery is finished – the work can be washed.

It’s obvious that many of my stitches look a little wobbly. After laundry and careful ironing they look much better.

The second step is done, the pattern is embroidered.
You can find out how to proceed in the next post.