Coloured Easter Eggs

As already mentioned, Easter eggs are especially suited for trying out different patterns. And square eyelet patterns are perfect for egg shapes.

Here I will show that the patterns are not only well suited to whitework or Schwalm whitework but also to other embroidery techniques that use coloured threads to attractively fill shapes.
1_13-2017Easter eggs are embroidered in different sizes (the first steps can be found here – please see images 2–5) and cut out after finishing. This allows one to create different arrangements as the mood and decor dictate. I used linen with a 13.5/cm thread count and two strands of the six-strand embroidery floss.
2_13-2017I used different colours and different filling patterns – that made embroidering a real pleasure. I was always excited to see the patterns develop. It was fun to “paint” the eggs so differently with striped (horizontal, vertical, diagonal), dotted, or zigzag patterns.
3_13-2017The cut eggs are especially suited to various arrangements. For example, one can arrange eggs in spring-like colours in a straight line.
4_13-2017Or if one prefers water colours, it is no problem to find attractive arrangements using only those colours
5_13-2017in straight lines
6_13-2017or circles.
7_13-2017The combinations of colour and arrangement are endless: green combined with blue …
8_3-2017or green combined with lilac …
9_13-2017colours matching special decorations, here yellow and orange …
10_13-2017or here green and beige …
11_13-2017of course blue and white always look fresh.
12_13-2017As you can see these embroidered Easter eggs are manifestly combinable and adaptable. With only a little imagination, they are easily assembled into yet another new arrangement.
13_13-2017Making a colourful arrangement is not only fun with eye-catching results but also a good way to use
up leftover threads!

Most of the square eyelet patterns seen in the pictures above can be found in my books Limetrosen I and Limetrosen II.

Jessica Grimm has used these patterns – different and very interesting – to variegate her fishes.

An Easter Egg Border

Easter eggs are especially suited for trying out different patterns. Because of the rounded shape without small or pointed areas, the arrangement of the pattern at the edges is easy to work. I wanted a border design, but there were so many issues to consider: Which sizes of eggs create a nice balance? Which shapes are best? How tall should they be? How should they be angled? I preferred to ask an artist; Artist Gudrun Hartwig designed this special Easter border.

The border shows Easter eggs lying in the grass. Some Easter eggs lie on the straight of grain and some on the bias. I decided to decorate the edges of a square tea cloth with the border. It measures 75 cm X 75 cm.
1_12-2017To simulate grass, I used “Trachtenstitch” (see Fancy Hems pages 14–16).
2_12-2017Each of the fifty-four eggs got its own special pattern. This was a real pleasure to stitch. I used exclusively square eyelet patterns, most can be found in my Limetrosen I book. The patterns in Limetrosen I are perfect for the egg shapes. And the variety of patterns in the book is vast – there are patterns for small shapes and big shapes, patterns appropriate for working on the straight of grain and on the bias. There are even some patterns for slanting shapes.
3_12-2017The Easter eggs can be decorated with striped patterns
4_12-2017or with dots.
5_12-2017The Limetrosen patterns use more thread than many other stitches. But the effect of the threads, dense and lying in different directions on top of the fabric, is very pleasant indeed. Chiaroscuro – the interplay of light and shadow – makes the border beautiful, although is is unadorned. My tea cloth is eye catching. The whitework is timeless; it complements all kinds of crockery, flowers, and contemporary decorations.

An Easter Egg

A simple oval design with a double line (Here: external measurements 8 cm X 5.28 cm)
was ironed on Weddigen linen, 13.5/cm thread count.
OE_2Coton à broder No. 16 is used for the Coral Knot stitches, No. 20 for both the Blanket stitches and the filling pattern, and No. 25 for the Chain stitches.
Coral Knot stitches are worked along the inner line.
OE_3Chain stitches are worked directly inside the Coral Knot stitches.
OE_4Chain stitches are worked a small distance outside the Coral Knot stitches. The outside Chain stitches are covered with densely worked Blanket stitches between the outline and the Coral Knot line.
OE_5The shape was filled with pattern “478”.
Starting in the middle, alternate withdrawing 1 vertical thread and leaving 2 vertical threads.
OE_7Start at the center (red marked)
OE_8always alternate working four blocks of Satin stitches and 5 Rose stitches.
OE_9The first row is finished up from the already worked section.
OE_10After finishing, the embroidered piece is washed (boiled), starched and ironed. Then, the egg is cut.
OE_11If needed, such closely trimmed embroidery can be washed and ironed – quick and easy – at any time, but never spun in a washing machine!
OE_12Whether you choose to place the egg on a surface, to hang it, or to mount it in a frame, cutting out the embroidery opens up manifold ways for decorations.

Happy Easter!

A Prize-Winning Easter Egg

In March 2013 I posted an article about Easter Eggs embroidered with Schwalm Whitework motifs. At the same time, I published the leaflet “Embroidered Easter Eggs” which contains a more detailed description, and the download-item “24 small designs” which contains additional designs.
Based on this material many beautifully embroidered and excellently finished Easter eggs have been worked in the meantime.
I wish to share with you special Easter Eggs made by Donna Finley from the U.S. One of her perfectly worked Schwalm eggs won a Blue Ribbon at the Marlyand State Fair.

Congratulations, Donna!

She wrote to me:
“I thought you might be interested to know that my adaption of your Schwalm Easter egg idea won a blue ribbon at the Maryland (USA) State Fair this month [August 2014]. It was my first time entering anything in any fair, so I am especially grateful for your inspirations and instructions.

I originally made a set of five eggs, most using the pretty heart-and-tulip design from your blog. I did purchase more designs from you, however, and it was one of those that won. …. I used wooden eggs from a general crafts store, which gave the finished pieces a lovely heft, and ¼” gimp when I failed to find readily available velvet ribbon… .”
May these brilliant results motivate you to try this technique.

Thanks for sharing, Donna!

Easter Eggs using a wax-resist method

To create Easter eggs with intricate wax-resist designs as worked in the region surrounding Marburg in Hessia requires a lot of practice and an exacting attention to detail. These elaborate Easter eggs are not meant to be eaten, instead they become precious keepsakes.

Nevertheless we like to decorate our Easter eggs, which will be eaten after the hunt, using a traditional wax-resist method.
Therefore pure beeswax is needed as well as a tool to apply the melted wax. Well-known Ukrainian Easter eggs use a tool called a “kitska”. Also a “tjanting” could be used, but to handle these tools (kitska or tjanting) needs much more practice than the simple pin-tool. We improvise with equipment we have at hand. We simply use a pin with a largish head and stick it into any handle such as a wooden stick or something else.
For melting the wax we use an old fragrance oil burner – a small tin can is also suitable.
Because the eggs are for eating, they have to be boiled. Burst eggs are sorted out. Patterns will be more pronounced on white eggshells, and more subdued on brown eggshells.

The eggs should cool after boiling. A warm-to-the-touch condition is best for working with this material.

We melt the beeswax and dip the drawing tool into the melted wax.
The egg is held in the left hand (for right-handed people). Working with quick movements, a dot or a drop-shaped line is drawn onto the egg.
For every new dot or line, the drawing tool needs to be dipped into the wax again.

The variety of patterns made by dots and drop-shaped lines only, is enormous. Here is a small selection.
After decorating the egg, it is laid in a cold or up to moderate warm dye bath. A too warm dye bath allows the wax to melt.
We like to use onion skins for dying.
A large amount of onion skins are put in a pot and boiled until the dye bath becomes dark brown; it must cool before proceeding. The decorated eggs are placed in the moderately warm or cold dye bath and remains there until the desired color intensity is achieved. The dyed eggs are dried. The wax can remain on the eggshell or it can be removed carefully by holding the egg over a candle flame until the wax glistens and then wiping the melted wax quickly with a paper towel.

The egg is rubbed with bacon to bring it to shine.

Have fun decorating and hunting for Easter eggs!