Schwalm designs (9) – 2 short-2 long

As already mentioned in the Schwalm Designs – Scallops article, in Schwalm whitework the simple motifs are often enhanced with embellishment.

Although scallops are the most common outline embellishment of a simple motif, there are some other ways to decorate the shapes. A pattern called “2 short-2 long” is a common outline decoration in Schwalm whitework. Mostly circles, and often hearts, are decorated with this stitch; it is rarely seen on other shapes.

2 short-2 long outlining a circle shape on a parade pincushion from 1821

2 short-2 long outlining a circle shape on a parade pincushion from 1821

As the name implies, the pattern is established by alternating 2 short and 2 long stitches. The stitches are placed close together and even. The shorter stitches should have about half the length of the longer stitches or slightly more. When they are worked in a straight line, counting the fabric threads makes the pattern easy and perfectly even,
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as the enlargement shows.
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But the shapes of the Schwalm motifs are mostly curved, and working by eye is difficult. Often in Schwalm designs this decoration is pictured with lines as seen in the image below.
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But, when stitching, it is not good to have too many lines printed on the linen – if they are not perfectly drawn, it is distracting and unhelpful. It is good to have at least one additional marking line (for the longer stitches), and better to have two (one for the short and one for the long stitches) for keeping the stitch lengths constant.
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And to ensure that the stitches are always kept at a right angle to the outline, it is also helpful to have some additional guide marks – these at a right angle to the outline.
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On circles it is easy to place guide marks at a right angle to the outline. If you were to lengthen the guide mark, they would pass through the center point of the circle.
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For hearts or other shapes it is a little bit more difficult, but still doable with attention and a little tip.
Most important is to always rotate the piece while working so that the stitch is made horizontally from right to left. This allows greater control in placing the stitches at a right angle to the outline.
2 short-2 long outlining a heart motif; in the top right the stitches are not completely perpendicular to the outline

2 short-2 long outlining a heart motif; in the top right the stitches are not completely perpendicular to the outline

nearly perfect 2 short-2 long outlining of a heart motif

nearly perfect 2 short-2 long outlining of a heart motif

2 Comments
  1. Your needlework is fabulous and beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us. What type of pencil do you use to mark the guide lines? Thanks again,

    Shelia in Oklahoma

    • We mostly transfer the design by ironing. We use DEKA iron-on transfer pencil also for marking the guide lines. May be also a pen#2 can be used making a slightly line. Please test on a scrap piece of linen, if it is washed out easily later.

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