A Retrospective and Looking Forward to 2015

At the end of a year, it is enjoyable to pause and to reflect upon the events of the past 12 months.
Although the holiday season is a busy time, I was able to take some time to relax and think back; I would like to share with you my retrospective. And then, I will give you a little hint of what I have planned for 2015.

A highlight of 2014 was my exhibition. Exhibiting Schwalm whitework, and doing so, keeping a rich tradition alive, has always been a goal of mine. I am proud to have now mounted two exhibitions, and happy to have a dedicated space to display this needle art. I always look forward to welcoming visitors!

In 2014, I chose monthly small projects, precursors of true Schwalm whitework, to provide a unifying theme for my blog. Through these small projects, I was able to teach how to use filling patterns effectively in different shapes. In addition, I introduced many different filling patterns; I wrote about the Schwalm costumes and traditional craftsmanship, and about the materials and equipment used in Schwalm whitework; and I shared valuable tips about Schwalm designs. I worked hard to keep my blog interesting for you, my dear readers.

Next year, for my blog, I will continue to build on the foundation I have established. However, the projects will become somewhat more elaborate. And I am thinking of an “ideas” workshop through which I will try to motivate and inspire you to create your own individual whitework.

I also begin to work on a new and big exhibition of Schwalm whitework. I envision many themes and I have a lot of ideas for pretty new designs. I hope to see the project to fruition — perhaps by Autumn 2015, but Autumn 2016 might be more realistic.

Rest assured, you will read about all of these right here! In January I will take a break from blogging, but will be back in February.

For now, I wish you all the best for the coming year; take much pleasure in Schwalm whitework and enjoy each and every stitch!


Trimming the Christmas Tree in White

This year I will trim the tree in white. Working such small projects throughout the year resulted in a trove of ornaments which, in turn, allows me to decorate luxuriantly and diversely.

The items with Openwork patterns, such as this snowball from the January seasonal tablecloth, are specially well suited for trimming the tree because the light showing through creates such a fantastic effect.

Christmas Tree Decorations 1
However, all others also look very nice. Do you recognize them?
Christmas Tree Decorations 2
I want to say “Thank you” to Joey, my English editor. Only her work makes it possible for me to reach the English-speaking world.

I want to say “Thank you” to all who have purchased one or more of my books or other items. Your patronage lifts my spirits and allows me to keep my blog vibrant, interesting, and packed full of free lessons and projects.

I want to say “Thank you” to all who follow my blog and offer kind and encouraging words.

To all of you I wish a

Merry Christmas!

Tablecloth for all Seasons – December: Cones

Fir cone and pine cone are the small projects for December.
I settled on the following shapes:
Originally the pine cone shape measures approx. 6.5 cm in the width and 8.5 cm in the height.
Cones_02Originally the fir cone shape measures approx. 13 cm in the width and 4.5 cm in the height.

First, the line drawing has to be transferred onto paper using an iron transfer pencil, and then transferred to Weddigen linen, 13.5/cm thread count.

The shapes need a Blanket stitch edge for securing the fabric from fraying.
So, Coral Knot stitches are worked along the innermost lines using Coton à broder No. 20.
Cones_03For the fir cone shape, using Coton à broder No. 20 for both, Chain stitches are worked a small distance outside the Coral Knot stitches. The Chain stitches are covered with densely worked Blanket stitches.
Cones_04For the pine cone shape, using Coton à broder No. 20 dense Blanket stitches are worked between the Coral Knot line and the pointed outline. Following the pointed outline, the Blanket stitches are worked as pointed half-eyelet scallops.

Using Coton à broder No. 30 Chain stitches are worked directly inside the Coral Knot stitches.

Both shapes were filled with Limet- filling patterns.


For the fir cone I chose pattern “Muscheln” (Limetrosen II, page 21).
Cones_07For the pine cone I chose pattern “Zapfen” (Limetrosen I, page 73).
Cones_08After finishing, the embroidered pieces were washed (boiled), starched and ironed. Then, the cones were cut. If needed, such closely trimmed embroidery can be washed and ironed – quickly and easily – at any time, but never spun in a washing machine!
Cones_10In addition to adorning a tablecloth, the cones can also be used for autumnal decoration
Cones_11or trimming the holiday tree.

Exhibition Catalogue 2011

Exhibition Catalogue 2011 “The Art of Schwalm Whitework”

It happened that some of my English speaking customers got the German version of my exhibition catalogue 2011. They were so enthusiastic about it and gave me so much grateful feedback that I decided to translate the text from German to English. The catalogue document is not only a picture book, but it also contains descriptions of the exhibits — often including the measurements of the designs, valuable particulars and information, and where to find more detailed descriptions and instructions.

Up to now, I have not offered the catalogue in my online shop; with its 142 pages, it is not economical to ship. So I have decided to make the catalogue downloadable. Putting together the 297 excellent pictures and close-up photos was a lot of work, but I believe it has turned out to be a worthwhile document. (Please note that some of the pictures can also be found on my website or in my books.)

Now, after some months of preparatory work, it is finished and ready to present to you!

Perhaps one might think that downloading a document consisting of 6 different large files is a bit onerous. But consider this: you will be able to see 142 examples of traditional and brilliant contemporary Schwalm whitework in the comfort of your own home. Compare this to traveling to a foreign country and staying in strange environments, all which are not only expensive, but also very strenuous. The exhibition online catalogue is a trove of wonderful designs and information.

Don’t forget that having the document on your computer screen enables you to zoom in and to look carefully at each small detail!

Why not give yourself a Christmas gift? Only a few minutes for downloading will yield many hours comfortably looking through the pages and getting inspired!

The Art of Schwalm Whitework - Exhibition Catalogue 2011

The Art of Schwalm Whitework – Exhibition Catalogue 2011

  • documentation of the 2011 exhibition in Eschwege, Germany
  • Text: English
  • Pages: 142, many excellent pictures and close-up photos showing details

Consists mainly of Schwalm Whitework. One will find both extravagant historical pieces and elaborate contemporary projects. Included are examples of all types of Schwalm Whitework.
One can find Easter motifs and Christmas embroideries, as well as an elaborately worked Christening robe. Pattern samplers as well as modern whitework complete the collection.
Finally, each exhibit is described in detail.

For those who do not mind paying high shipping costs, and who prefer to have a printed version, I also offer the same document as a paper product.

An Ornament for Trimming the Tree

The finished ornament measures 10 cm x 10 cm. The working area of the linen is 22 cm x 12 cm, but because it is absolutely necessary to use an embroidery hoop for this project, you will need a piece of linen large enough to easily mount in an embroidery hoop. So, if necessary, cut the linen a little larger and trim it after the embroidery is finished.

A circle motif with a diameter of 6.5 cm is transferred to the right side of one end of the linen.
Position the circle so that the center of the circle will be at least 6 cm from three edges of the linen.
Using coton à broder No. 20 work Coral Knot stitches along the circle line. Using coton à broder No. 25 work half-eyelet scallops, and using coton à broder No. 30 work one row of Chain stitches inside the Coral Knot stitches. Then withdraw threads and embroider a filling pattern. In this example, filling pattern 470 was chosen.

After finishing the embroidery, the piece is washed, starched and ironed.
On the backside, out from the center of the circle, a distance of 5 cm is measured on all four sides on the straight of grain. A square, measuring 10 cm x 10 cm, and placed on the straight of grain, is marked with a pencil.
2_BaumschmuckFold the linen, right sides together, on the marked line.
3_BaumschmuckSew the left and right sides along the marked lines, and trim to 1 cm.
4_BaumschmuckSeam allowances are opened and pressed.
5_BaumschmuckInside is turned out and the piece is ironed once more.
The ornament is filled with Poly-Fil or wadding. So that the Openwork pattern becomes more effective, it was underlaid with a coloured fabric.
6_BaumschmuckThe remaining seam allowance is folded inside. The opening is sewn shut.
7_BaumschmuckUsing cotton crochet thread a cord is twisted very tightly. Starting at one corner and on the backside, the cord is first sewn to two edges of the ornament. Notice, some centimeters of the cord end should remain in the beginning (this will form the tassel).
8_BaumschmuckAt the corner opposite to the beginning corner, a hanging loop is created. The cord is attached to the two remaining edges.
9_BaumschmuckWhen the starting point is reached, finish by wrapping – using crochet thread – the cord ends a number of times. The thread end is secured.
10_BaumschmuckWrap the loop in the same way.
11_BaumschmuckThe ends of the cord are trimmed.
12_BaumschmuckThe cord is un-twisted, so that a tassel is created.
13_BaumschmuckThe finished ornament is ready to decorate the tree. It is also a lovely gift.