See What My Readers Have Embroidered

At the beginning of the year, Yasuko Kobayashi from Japan sent me pictures of her Easter eggs. She worked many of them them following the instructions in my booklet Embroiderd Easter Eggs. She presented them on her blog
If there is interest in learning how to work such eggs, I will provide a weekend class in March 2020. Please email me with your request.

In 2019, Monika Müller from Germany worked projects in my lesson books. With great skill she mastered the Tulip wreath of lesson #2.

Monika then did an excellent job in working a sampler that was presented in lesson #4.
She crowned it with her initials and the year and then framed it. The finished project is an eye catcher.

Bettina Konhäuser from Germany was very busy embroidering this year.
She first worked a parade

of different pillowcases.

By the way, I am preparing a new exhibition in which pillowcases will be in abundance. Look forward to an announcement this summer.

Bettina learned to make thread buttons.

She used the handmade buttons to close the pillowcases.

Bettina also worked a door hanging with a pretty and elaborate needle-weaving hem and a whitework. The center motifs have various filling patterns from my books and my blog.

Cynthia Russell from United States used a design from Stickereien and filling Patterns from several of my pattern books – Wickelstiche, Limetrosen I, Openwork Needle-weaving Patterns, and Stars to create a beautiful table runner.

All her stitches turned out excellently.

Margrit Michaux from France featured the Happel Hearts in a new and lovely project; the hearts decorate individual gift bags!

She also worked a small table runner. She told me that she is a novice to Schwalm whitework, but her work looks like that of someone with much more experience. Her work looks perfect for a beginner. Nevertheless she is searching for a class she can take. Does anyone know of a course not too far away from 88100 France?

Sandra Meredith-Neve from United States worked the elaborate long horizontal bird border. Her stitches and her filling patterns turned out excellently. The runner is gorgeous. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get such a long piece – the border itself is 2.14 m long – into one photo. She made an extravagant home decoration that is always admired.

Another lady sent me pictures of her gorgeous sampler cloth.

She made the division per my book Openwork Pattern Samplers. Then she used several of my pattern books to fill the – I count 61 in all! – squares. In the end she got a stunning and absolutely unique piece. She wrote, “I am so proud of my work, wanted to share it with you.”

It is most impressive that she worked a beautiful and elaborate edging on such a long hem. The edging is from my instructions for A Wide hem with a folded Peahole Edging. She deserves admiration for such an accomplishment.

Thanks a million to those who gave me permission to feature their projects in this blog post.
I take pride in everyone’s accomplishments using my publictions.

Many more people work along my descriptions and instructions. However, not all want to share their work nor have the time to embroider many hours. Please don’t be discouraged: smaller pieces can turn out very pretty and I enjoy the feedback. It shows that my instructions are clear enough to work without the help from outside. It verifies that my method is the right way. And all this motivates and encourages me, makes me happy, and is the best pay for my hard work.
Searching for classes in Germany and the nearby countries was not very successful. Many course instructors stopped teaching already, others are old; their end of teaching is foreseeable. Therefore it is important to have precise written instructions such as those found in my books.

Angel No. 25

December always comes faster than you think. So here is the first idea for Christmastime decorations. Last year´s Advent Calendar surprised readers with twenty-four different angel figures. However, the Angels – Advent Calendar 2018 booklet includes twenty-seven nice basic designs in all; here I present one more of those beautiful angels.

The design measures about 13 cm X 17 cm. It is stitched on handwoven linen with a 17/cm thread count.

The prominent curly hairstyle you know already from my article “Follow-up of the Angels Meeting (2).”

The wings were embroidered with the pattern Scales (Limetrosen I).

The sleeve was filled with Rose stitches that match the Rose stitches in the filling pattern of the dress.

The dress was filled with Double Stars with 4 X 3 Satin Stitches and Rhombi of Four Rose Stitches – pattern 19 (Stars)

The notes on the sheet of music are made with Lazy Daisy and Straight stitches.

To make the face a little more prominent (unfortunately there is a weave flaw directly on the outline of the face), I placed a piece of fleece under the face section, quilted it to the linen along the outline, and trimmed it close to the stitching.

One more pillowcase is finished and waiting for the December decoration.

A Very Special Easter Egg

The artist Gudrun Hartwig created an extravagant, interesting, and spring-like design within an egg shape. Here a pillowcase is decorated with this embroidery.

Flowers, spiral branches, and sprigs

sprout out of the tree. They show the power and beauty of nature awakening.

A pair of birds

finds housing there.

It is an extravagant design that guarantees both fun in the embroidering and plenty of room for practicing different stitches and stitch elements like tendrils, forks, and eyelets.

Pillow with a Heart Design

For this year´s Valentine´s Day I present a very special pillowcase. The big heart is filled with an openwork figural pattern.

Figural patterns are a common part of Schwalm whitework filling patterns. You will learn more about this special type of filling pattern in future articles this year.

This pattern is very special because it conforms to the heart shape. The heart outline has to be established first. Unfortunately, the linen used for the example is not an evenweave; it has a thread count of 17/18 in the height and 13/14 in the width.

But how does one get it the correct size for the design? There are three different possibilities.

1. The easiest way is to adjust the design matching it to the openwork grid of the inner heart after it is established.

2. The second way is to count the threads to determine the size of the needed section:
The design measures 50 squares along the vertical center axis from the top point to the lower point of the heart and 40 squares along half the horizontal axis directly below the top point of the heart. One square needs 4 fabric threads; this means you have to count from the top point of the heart downwards 200 threads and from the top point to the left or to the right 160 threads. I recommend adding 8 threads each time you count out a section just to be safe. Mark all three points and measure the distance. Adjust your heart design to be the required size, and transfer it to the linen.

3. The third way is calculating:
Count your linen threads precisely and calculate the needed measurement. For example, for a linen with a thread count of 13.5/cm, you need 200 (208) threads in the height – 200 ÷ 13.5 = 14.81 cm (208 ÷ 13.5 = 15.41 cm). So, the inside of the heart shape should measure about 15.5 cm from the top point to the bottom point.
You need 160 (168) threads for half of the width – 160 ÷ 13.5 = 11.85 cm (168 ÷ 13.5 = 12.44 cm). So inside of the heart shape from the top point to one side should measure about 12.5 cm.

Because I think evenweave linen with a thread count of 13.5 is well-suited for openwork, I added the required size for this linen in the pdf document, which also includes a chart of the design.

First, all prep work is done: transferring; working stems, tendrils, and the pair of outlines with Coral Knot stitches; embroidering leaves, scallops, and half-eyelet scallops with Blanket stitches; working interlaced Herringbone stitches between the two outlines; and stitching Chain stitches inside the inner outline.

The openwork grid is established by cutting 2, leaving 2 – starting directly below the top point of the heart.

Now the grid needs to be secured. In the example, the grid is secured with Single Faggot stitches (Openwork Pattern Samplers). (Commonly openwork grids in Schwalm whitework are made with Cable stitches, but Single Faggot stitches make the pattern appear more clearly, and this is important for such a pattern.)
It is good to have a hoop wide enough for stretching the entire pattern into it.

Using needle-weaving stitches – in the example all the needle weaving is done vertically (i.e., from bottom to top and back again) – and occasional Rose stitches, embroider the pattern into the grid following the provided chart or your adjusted chart.

Finished as a pillowcase and filled with a coloured inlay, the pillow develops a special charm.

My Needle-Weaving Band Sampler

While preparing to teach this summer, I worked a sampler consisting of thirty-one different needle-weaving bands with very different patterns. My students thought it gorgeous.

The picture below shows the entire sampler. Because I cannot show overly long pictures on my blog, I sized a picture of the entire sampler to internet standards to give you a visual of the length to width ratio. The finished piece, hemmed and laundered, measures 28 cm X 170 cm!

This sampler was worked on Weddigen linen with 13.5 threads per centimeter. The linen was cut to measure 40 cm X 183 cm. I used coton à broder No. 16 (16 skeins), No. 30 (5 skeins), and Anchor embroidery floss No. 888 (1 skein).

Tall bands alternate with small bands. Examples of all pattern categories were worked – A-patterns, one-piece block patterns, two-piece block patterns, two-piece block patterns with spiders, mirrored patterns. In addition divided patterns and needle weaving with wrapped bundles patterns were embroidered.

A huge collection of 193 – yes, 193! – beautiful patterns are found in my book Schwalm Needle-Weaving Bands (coming soon).

All needle-weaving bands were worked over seventy-two bundles. It is advisable to choose a 72 (or a divisor or multiple of 72) bundle section for a band sampler because 72 is divisible without a remainder by many numbers, namely 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36. So, all one-piece block, all mirrored, and all divided patterns that have segments with these bundle numbers can be worked easily.

The bands were worked up to the hem, and the cut thread ends are hidden in the hem.

Perhaps this option looks less elaborate than securing the band ends with Blanket stitches, but there are some issues that make working Blanket stitches a little challenging. The thread ends have to be basted in place so to not hinder needle weaving, and later they have to be trimmed to match the width of the fold. (The hem is folded 1 cm. And if the thread ends are trimmed to fall within the fold section, they are not visible. If the thread ends are longer, they are visible through the fabric; they are not visible lying on top of two layers of fabric.)

If the large gaps at the band ends – established in the course of needle weaving the pattern – are too obtrusive, they can be closed with small stitches meeting the level of the units from the back after the hemming is finished.

A Cross stitch crown and initials were stitched in the space remaining at the top of the sampler.

Crowning an elaborate piece is common in the Schwalm. Not all linen fabrics are woven densely enough to work Satin stitch crowns (see Schwalm Crowns and Grand Schwalm Crowns), but traditional Schwalm embroidery also provides a wide range of Cross stitch crowns. They can be found in Traditional Figural Patterns – charts for numbers, initials, birds and other animals, flowers, flowerpots, manikins, stars, ornaments, and others.

The year, hours of working, and some small Cross stitch ornaments were added below the needle-weaving bands.

It is always good to include the year in which a piece was worked. And it is common in the Schwalm to add small Cross stitch ornaments to numbers and letters.

I think it is also good to add the approximate hours (German: Stunden, abbreviation: Std) spent doing the embroidery. It is useful to the embroiderer when looking to the piece years later and can help people (now or in the future) understand its complexity and perhaps rate its value.

Even keeping the option open to cut the linen shorter at any time, I at first thought myself crazy to start such an elaborate piece with the goal to finish it within a few weeks. But after embroidering the first few bands, it was like an addiction. Every free minute I sat down to stitch. Weaving the stitches is so relaxing. It is similar to knitting socks; I could calm down and unwind while stitching.

So I can recommend a needle-weaving project to all people wanting to take life at a slower pace.

Are you interested in working such an eye-catching embroidery for your own home? Instructions, explained in great detail, for working needle-weaving bands and the different pattern categories are found in Schwalm Whitework Lesson #4 – Needle-Weaving Bands Sampler and Fancy Hems.