To decorate the home for Christmas with a beautiful tree is, for us, a centuries old and cherished tradition.
For you, I do not present the usual fir tree, but a very special holiday tree …
I have always been fascinated with the stylized birds seen in the examples of traditional Schwalm whitework. They are simple line drawings with abstract details, but there is such variety in both the representation of the bird and its details. So, not only was the dove, as a symbol for freedom, drawn and embroidered, but also the sparrow, representing fertility. Besides these are the swallow, rooster, woodpecker, hoopoe, wren, duck and peacock and, of course, there are others not so easily identified. To be so documented in Schwalm whitework, it seems that all birds were interesting to, or played a roll in the Schwalm wives´ lives.
Viewing my collection of different traditional bird-motifs, I got the idea to place as many as possible of them into a typical Schwalm tree of life design and to also incorporate a typical Schwalm crown in it.
I am not deficient in ideas, but unfortunately I do not have a gift for drawing. So, I hired an artist to create a tree according to my vision. I got a beautiful drawing. Unfortunately, this artist is not also an embroiderer, so her draft would not easily translate to whitework without appropriate adaptations. I then engaged an experienced embroiderer and designer to rework the concept and make it usable for Schwalm whitework. She did it with great success. Finally, I forwarded her hand drawing to a graphic artist for a last fine-tuning.
I now offer the gorgeous result as a downloadable file which contains 1 page with the complete design, 2 pages with the design enlarged 162 %, and 4 pages with the design enlarged 213 % (which I used for my framed project). It is also possible to create more sizes by re-sizing to your specifications.
For those who would, additionally, like to know how I worked my example, I offer a 2nd option.
This option includes both the design download (as described above), and an 11-page document outlining the order of working, which stitches I used (but not detailed stitch instructions since these are available in my books), and many close-up photographs that will further aid you in working the project.
This design is suitable for many things: for practicing your techniques as a sampler, or it can be transformed into a beautiful wall hanging, curtains, pillows or table runners.
Are you as excited as I about this very special design? I think you deserve to give yourself a little Christmas gift …
I wish you a Merry Christmas!