Sampler by Bärbel Kophamel

In 2013, a very special sampler cloth was made by Bärbel Kophamel.

She worked on very fine handwoven linen using dense stitches. This combination made outlines and leaves prominent.

By chance she found this linen piece at an antique market. She loved the feel of the fabric very much and enjoyed embroidering on it. From the onset she had no real plan. She began her sampler cloth in the center, adding all the elements that she was interested in.

Step by step she worked ornaments,

borders, and hems,

adding needle-weaving and openwork bands until the entire cloth was filled.

She embroidered creative filling patterns.

She finished the cloth by adding a crown, her initials, and the year. Because she did not like colours in combination with whitework, she embroidered the crown in white.

Bärbel Kophamel has stitched four different samplers in all. I am grateful to her for allowing me to share this beautiful and unique sampler with you today. Perhaps we will be able to have a look at another one of her lovely projects in the future.

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.

A Cozy for Candies

When I was young, it was common to make cozies for dinner rolls. Looking for a nice little project using needlelace, I remembered those cozies. I want to make a small one for sweets. Of course, the candy must be wrapped to be displayed in a linen cozy.

I decided to have the outside layer a little bit wider. So, using a tool (such as small plates), trace on 20/cm thread count linen – with some excess fabric between – one circle with a diameter of 18 cm and two circles each with a diameter of 16 cm. It is important that the linen is completely free of any wrinkles before drawing the circles.
cozy_1To prevent the fabric from fraying, the edges are secured. Directly inside each line, work a row of Chain stitches using coton à broder No. 30. The Chain stitches are covered with densely worked Blanket stitches using coton à broder No. 20.
cozy_2The linen is boiled, ironed, and cut. It is best to start working the needlelace (simple Buttonhole stitch scallops, using coton à broder No. 16) on one of the smaller circles, which will become the inside layer, because any unevenness will be nearly invisible later. Decide the width of the desired needlelace and mark the entire edge. For my cozy, I chose a width of 1.4 cm. To mark the scallop placements, I used a transfer pencil because its colour will easily disappear when the piece is washed. Simple Buttonhole stitch scallops are also worked on the second small circle. The outside layer’s edging should be somewhat more prominent, so double Buttonhole stitch scallops are worked on the larger circle. Here I chose a width of 2 cm.
cozy_3For more information – more patterns and detailed working instructions – please refer to my booklet Schwalm Needlelace edge decorations.
Please notice that the needlelace scallops are attached to the loops of the Blanket stitches.
cozy_4This makes the back side neat and tidy.
cozy_5When all three doilies are finished, they need to be ironed again.
cozy_6Using the transfer pencil, the middle circle is divided (marked on the right side) into 12 even sections.
cozy_7The inside circle is divided (marked on the back side) into 6 even sections.
cozy_8Right sides facing up, center the middle circle on top of outer circle (the larger circle). Using a sewing machine, sew these to circles together on every second line from edge to edge.
cozy_9The inner circle is placed on top of the two joined circles, right sides together, so that the unstitched marks of the middle circle and the marks of the inner circle are matching.
cozy_10The middle and the inner circles are sewn together along the marked lines. Begin stitching from the outer edge inwards; you will not be able to reach all the way to the center with your sewing machine.
cozy_11The piece is gently washed again to remove all the marks.
cozy_12The piece is starched very well and ironed.

Using the twister a thin cord is made. It is threaded through the middle scallop of each section of the top layer.
cozy_13The cord is drawn and tied into a bow. (If you prefer something less obtrusive, you can use an embroidery thread, delicate ribbon, or even sew in some small snaps to draw and hold the cozy together.)
cozy_14Even unfilled this project is an eye catcher.
cozy_15Filled with some wrapped candies it will be the star of every party table. Also it is a nice gift.
cozy_16To accommodate larger sweets, like Ferrero Rocher balls, the circles should have a diameter that is approximately 2-3 cm wider. The picture below shows how the larger candies look a bit too crowded in the cozy as described in this article.
cozy_17Embroidering needlelace is really easy, and having a little project makes practicing it fun. With needlelace one can easily add extra beauty to needlework. So, please don’t be afraid – give it a try!

Tendrils – Practice Exercises (3)

One can practice stitching tendrils not only through abstract designs but also concrete or representational designs. The artist Gudrun Hartwig designed two different butterfly motifs especially for these practice exercises.

I chose a design size of 7.5 cm X 7.5 cm for decorating another pincushion.
To work the double spirals, I began stitching at the turning point of each spiral to work one section first.
spir3_2Turning the piece, I then worked the remaining sections, up from the finished sections, toward their centers.
spir3_3The piece is washed – please wash gently so that the fabric edges do not fray – starched, and ironed.
After ironing – to iron I laid a dry towel on the ironing board and placed the embroidery right side down onto the towel – the lines emerge especially beautiful.
spir3_4Then, the piece is sewn, filled, and secured.
Another nice little pincushion is finished. But what does one do with all the pincushions? Here they are displayed on a tray; perhaps seasonal decorations or items matching the motif could be added.
For example I displayed the pincushion of the second practice exercise with some blue accessories, because the design makes me think of water and waves.
spir3_5Moving the butterfly pincushion to the focus of the display, I decided to add some flowers.
spir3_6The possibilities are endless – let your imagination run wild! At all events the tray with the pincushions is an eye-catcher enticing visitors to have a closer look and to discuss.

And for embroiderers having fun working representational double spirals, here is one more design:
spir3_7Both the artist’s hand-drawn renditions and the cleaner computer graphics are presented here. It is a matter of taste which to use – I chose to work from the original.

Tendrils – Practice Exercises (2)

Today, I present some very special practice exercises. Looking for designs that would be suitable for practicing stitching tendrils, I got the idea to ask an artist. I was really surprised and delighted to receive designs from Gudrun Hartwig! She also designed the fabulous Fairy Tale creations on my blog. I asked her for square designs measuring 10 cm X 10 cm. As requested, one can work the designs with or without the square outline.
To make another pincushion, I stitched a design without the square outline. First, I used two different thread weights – No. 16 and No. 20. A third – thicker – thread would be good for working tendrils with differing thicknesses. So I also used a No. 12 thread.
spir2_2My finished project is very special, isn’t it?
spir2_3Here are some more stunning designs; they will allow you to make unique projects while practicing stitching tendrils.