Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (36)

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (36)

Now the strips with the border text are also ready – embroidered, boiled, and roughly ironed they are waiting for further processing.

In order to make the edge of the large sampler stiffer and more stable, I want to underlay the fabrics used there with thin fusible fleece.

Grit Kovacs kindly provided me with four different qualities for testing. I wasn’t even aware that there were so many very different types of non-woven fusible interlining for this purpose. Now I could thoroughly test them.

All qualities are from Vlieseline, a brand of the group Freudenberg Performance Materials.

Fusible interlining H250
The fusible interlining H250 is the most stable of all four products and has the most substantial feel. The fleece fibers are felted in all directions. The fixing layer is flat with the adhesive slightly uneven. The fleece is washable up to 60 degrees.

Fusible interlining H200
Interlining H200 is much thinner than H250. The fibers are arranged more in one direction. As a result, the hand is different – across the grain it feels smooth, along the grain it feels much more coarse. The barely visible fixing layer is applied in tiny dots.

Fusible interlining G405
Fusible fleece G405 is just as thin as H200. It has a very soft feel. Similar to the H200, the fibers tend to run in one direction. The fixing layer is applied in tiny dots. It is washable up to 40 degrees.

Fusible Woven interlining G700
Vlieseline G700 is a heavy-weight, fusible woven insert made of pure cotton. The feel is not quite as soft as that of G405, but it can still be described as soft. The barely visible fixing layer is applied over the entire surface.

For my test series, I cut four pre-washed pieces of the materials (cotton and linen) used in the sampler and ironed on the different fleeces. With the cotton fleece G700, this also worked without any problems at a slightly higher iron temperature. There were difficulties with G405; the temperature had to be lowered.

The adhesion between all interfacings and the fabric are stable.

First, I folded each fabric once and smoothed out the folds with my fingers. With H250 the wrinkles popped open again immediately. It was similar, but not quite as pronounced with H200. In G405 the folds remained the best. G700 brought a medium result.

Then I did a crease test by crumpling the pieces together using the same force and for about the same time.

The fabric stabilized with G700 showed the least creases, the one with G405 the heaviest creases. The two fabrics stabilized with H250 and H200 were in the midfield, with H250 wrinkling slightly more than H200.

During the subsequent ironing, the creases in all the cotton fabrics disappeared more easily than in the linen. G700 (because there were fewer creases beforehand) performed best here ahead of H250.

A stretch test showed that G700, G405 and H200 – with decreasing intensity in the order of the items listed – are slightly stretchable on both the diagonal to the grain

and along the grain. Only H250 was fully stable.

A final wash test should bring final clarity, even though laundering later will be only a very minor concern.

To do this and to better identify changes, I cut the test strips into two parts and only laundered one part each.

After washing in a little more than lukewarm water and drying them flat, all qualities, except G405, wavered – especially in connection with the linen.

The non-wovens H200

and H250 showed bumps, especially in the area of the linen.

The fusible interlining G405 remained relatively smooth,

and the fusible interlining G700 remained completely smooth.

After ironing at medium heat, the surfaces of the H250 and G405 were smooth again, while the H200 and G700 remained slightly wavy in the area of the linen.

H200 and H250 showed no shrinkage, while G700 suffered a minimal amount and G405 (picture below) a clearly visible amount of shrinkage. The cover fabrics had already been boiled beforehand and thus were pre-shrunk. The current shrinkage is therefore due to the fleece.

G405 showed a clear tendency to detach after laundering,

which was also observed to a weaker degree with H200 and H250. Only the G700 remained fully adhered.

Taking all these test results into account, I decided to use the G700 woven cotton fusible interlining for the sampler’s edges.

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (35)

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (35)

Thanks to precise preparation and assistance holding the large amount of fabric during machine sewing, the inner part of the sampler is now completely assembled. It measures 1.90 m X 3.08 m.

But before it can be hung up, an edge fastening must be attached.

An explanatory inscription will be integrated into this border design. Since my vision for the sampler is that it should travel around the world, it makes more sense to keep this text in English.
I decided on the following text:





The letters will be in three different sizes: the largest for the headline, the middle for the two lines that will be placed on the left and right of the embroidery, and the smallest for the long explanatory text at the bottom of the sampler.

I chose to work the letters with cross stitches – the most common type of lettering in the Schwalm. However, the usual Schwalm characters are very heavily decorated, and that makes them difficult to read. So I decided to use modified Schwalm characters that are less ornate.

Common in the Schwalm, the crosses are usually embroidered over 3 X 3 fabric threads.

For the sampler, the smallest letters will be worked with one cross per chart square, the middle with 2 X 2 crosses, and the largest with 4 X 4 crosses each.

Two strands of 6-ply stranded cotton will be used for this embroidery. I chose Anchor colour No. 888 – the most widely used colour for working Schwalm crowns and a shade darker than the colour of the connecting strips. And I chose a linen with a 13.5/cm thread count as the base material.

There are 12,074 crosses in the entire border text and thus 24,148 stitches that have to be made (all done on a densely woven linen, which is very fine for counted embroidery). After trying things out with the aids available to me, such as a spectacle attachment and a small magnifying lamp, I bought another, more flexible, magnifying lamp.

Now the final work can be done quickly. But only after the many stitches are embroidered first!

A “Look through the Keyhole”

As 2020 comes to an end, I would like to give you a “look through the keyhole.” Perhaps you can guess what blog posts are in the works for the next few weeks.

For now I wish you the best for the coming year – may the COVID-19 pandemic soon get under control. Stay healthy, take much pleasure in Schwalm whitework, and enjoy each and every stitch!

Happy New Year!

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (34)

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (34)

Before the ten columns of the sampler could be sewn together, the connecting strips had to be cut first. Since I didn’t want any pieced strips, they were cut at their full length along the warp direction of the fabric. The back strips were marked and ironed.

The long seams were again prepared very carefully by clipping and then basting. (Every now and then when sewing with the machine the upper thread breaks or the bobbin thread comes to an end without my noticing it immediately. Therefore, it is good to have securely joined the fabric layers with short basting stitches.)

Sewing on the machine went relatively quickly. After a few hours I had already joined several columns together. Actually, I wanted to quit working for that day. But it was a sunny day, and I prefer to work in bright natural light rather than with electric lighting. So I decided to take advantage of it and kept working for a while. Then it happened: I was probably losing concentration, and so I incorrectly sewed a back strip – with the front facing downward!

To make matters worse, this column had a lot of loosely woven edges, which I had connected to the strip with additional zigzag stitches. I found it impossible to remove the many hundreds of small stitches. Leaving the strip upside down would have made the hand seam very difficult, because it is not easy to flip an already strongly ironed fold. So what should I do? I put the piece aside to have time to consider.

The next day the solution was there. The strip was carefully cut through close to the seam so that the wrongly sewn fabric could be pulled out from under the seam and removed. A new strip was attached with another seam close to the first on the back. This hurdle was cleared too!

The long hand seams were also a bit of a challenge. The columns were placed on the table with the connecting strips on the edge. As the seam progressed, the book to raise the tabletop was pushed further and my chair moved further. It was a little tedious but workable.

The downward-hanging columns were rolled up and pinned so they wouldn’t hang on the floor.

In the process my patience was put to the test. The constantly knotting thread made it impossible to work quickly. When I was angry about it, I often stabbed my finger and had to be careful not to get a drop of blood on the sampler.

With each additional column, the quantity of fabric increased – making the overall weight heavier. The heavy weight of the fabric made it more difficult to control under the sewing machine’s presser foot. Therefore, I first put together two parts of five columns each. In the end all the ten culomns all together weighed a total of 2170 grams.

I will need someone to assist me in sewing the two pieces together.

I’m also thinking about the final ironing …

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (33)

Global Schwalm Sampler – Update (33)

I also have to make decisions when putting the last column together. An embroidery with a leaf motif measures 26 cm x 25 cm. In my opinion – and I also think the embroiderer feels the same – the leaf should be arranged with the axis rising from left to right. That would mean a width of only 25 cm is available for this column, and all other embroideries would have to be reduced to fit this width.

But then I would have difficulties with other pieces that do not allow for my cutting away any additional fabric.

So I decide on a width of 26 cm and place the leaf motif with the leaf axis rising from the bottom right to the top left.

There were a few other things to consider as well. And once I didn’t pay attention and sewed on a motif upside down! Fortunately, I quickly noticed my error and so only one seam had to be reworked. Finally, the last column was ready.

Now the big moment came: all the columns were carefully attached to the wall with pins

to get a first impression of the overall picture.

Of course, the white background is annoying and the lighting is completely inadequate, but the structure is easy to see.

With a coloured background fabric temporarily placed behind, the details stand out much better.

The widest column is arranged in the middle. To keep the areas to the left and right of it the same size, five narrower columns had to be arranged on one side and four wider columns on the other. The missing vertical strips still make the right side appear less subdivided.

In order to get a better visual impression of the final overall picture, the sampler image was edited to include vertical lines

and then also a border around it.

That changes the impression enormously. (The subdivisions look somewhat crooked because the columns are not yet connected to each other. They have only been attached at the top and so turn slightly towards the bottom.)
I’ve tried to fit all 92 embroideries seamlessly into the rectangle, and in that I’ve succeeded.

I tried to either let the horizontal connection strips of the individual columns line up with those of the adjacent column or to give them a clear offset. And I strove to evenly distribute large and small embroideries as well as the different colour nuances and motifs. However, it was not always possible to achieve all my self-imposed requirements at all times.

The arrangement of the individual columns is checked once again: the image printed and cut into strips gave the impression of a different possible order. The result: the arrangement remains as it is!

In order to test whether the individual columns stretch due to their own weight influenced by the different fabrics, I made a small mark on the wall at the bottom of each column. After several days I could see that none of the columns had stretched even minimally.

So I can now sew the columns together without any further worries.