Transition from Early to Later Schwalm Whitework (2)

Transition from Early to Later Schwalm Whitework (2)

The second of my treasures from the transitional period between early and later Schwalm whitework is also no longer in its original condition. It was a parade cushion border but has been changed into a table runner.

The piece is worked on old handwoven linen with a 19/cm thread count. The motif border measures 14 cm X 80 cm. It is bordered on top and on bottom by a 5.5 cm high nine-unit needle-weaving band with a Peahole hem on both sides.

This piece also shows only a slight combination of both styles of Schwalm whitework. In contrast to the border from 1804 this border is very densely embroidered. Every small space is filled with stitches.

All large motifs were filled with openwork patterns, but many of the smaller motifs were filled with patterns without withdrawing threads. (Smaller shapes were common in early Schwalm whitework, whereas larger shapes were preferred in the later style. The larger the shapes, the more difficult it is to fill them with early patterns.)

The center shows a design of a heart with three big tulips, two circles, and two shapes adapted in their form to the remaining space. Theses two shapes have Rose stitch patterns; all other shapes have needle-weaving patterns, whereas the two center shapes have figured needle-weaving patterns.

A flower and a flowerpot bordered by big birds can be seen to the left and to the right of the center design. Smaller shapes without thread withdrawing and filled with early patterns are seen interspersed between the larger motifs.

There are hearts filled with leaves,

or flowers,

or Satin stitches only.

And there is a small tulip filled with a pattern made with pairs of Blanket stitches.

The same pattern made with pairs of Blanket stitches is found in hearts on the bottom left

and the bottom right of the border. Whereas there is only one large heart on the left, there are two smaller hearts on the right (unfortunately, a section of the embroidery is hidden by the seam made during repurposing).
As you can see, the design is not really symmetric. Three of the birds have a relatively vertical position while the fourth’s position is nearly horizontal.

In this example Coral Knot stitches and Chain stitches were worked, but no Stem stitches. Many small tendrils are found. The outlines were embroidered using one or two rows of Chain stitches, and with one row of Coral Knot stitches and an additional row of Chain stitches. Additional outlining was made with 2 short-2 long, Blanket stitch points, half-eyelet scallops, Satin stitch points and interlaced Straight stitches (see Schwalm Curved Lines, Narrow Borders, and Ornamental Stitches).

Interlaced Straight stitches are found not only as outlining, like here around the circle,

but also as decorative stitches, like these on the neck of the bird,

or on top of the tulip.

The needle-weaving figures of the different shapes did not turn out well.

A rarely seen openwork Rose stitch pattern was embroidered in the middle part of the flower pot.

In this example, we see some elements that are typical of early Schwalm whitework: in all there are seventeen small motifs without thread withdrawing. Five of these are filled with patterns made with pairs of Blanket stitches, four with Satin stitches, four with Blanket stitch leaves, two with Blanket stitch eyelets and interlaced Straight stitches, and two with small flowers (and tendrils).

Transition from Early to Later Schwalm Whitework (1)

About two hundred years ago, early Schwalm Whitework gradually transitioned to the later style of Schwalm whitework. The transition took place over a relatively short amount of time. Unsurprisingly, since the Schwalm region is narrow and the transitional period was short, it is difficult to find traditional examples with a combination of both.

A customer who loves both early and later patterns asked for historical examples from the transitional period containing both. I was able to find three pieces in my collection that have a slight combination. I will show these treasures on my blog over time; here is the first. Unfortunately, it is no longer in its original condition. Because of the width, I think it was once used as a door hanging.

The piece is worked on linen with a 19/cm thread count. The border in all measures 20 cm X 36 cm; the embroidery only has a height of 16 cm. The embroidery is bordered with two different needle-weaving hems – one with spiders and the other without.

The year 1804, Cross stitch initials, and small Cross stitch ornaments are all additions. Unfortunately, threads dyed yellow or gold fade sooner than threads dyed other colours. In the enlargement I can see the initials AKRHSI separated by ornaments, two birds,

and ANO 1804.

It is notable that no Coral Knot stitches and no Chain stitches were worked. The outlines were embroidered using wide Stem stitches, Eyelash stitches, and Satin and Blanket stitch scallops.

Stems were also embroidered with wide Stem stitches. Some stems were made with a double line filled with Herringbone stitches, as was common in early Schwalm whitework. Leaves were worked with Blanket stitches. No tendrils were stitched.

The only filling pattern without thread withdrawing is found in the two areas on the left and on the right of the center motif.

It is made with pairs of Blanket stitches. The Blanket stitches are not lying on top of the fabric; rather, they are stitched through the linen.

The six circles were filled with two different patterns of needlelace.

All other motifs were filled with openwork patterns.

The above motif shows a Rose stitch pattern in an openwork Cable stitch grid.

The center motif also has an openwork pattern, but without a Cable stitch grid. Rose stitches and Four-Sided stitches create the pattern.

I have never before seen an openwork pattern made with a combination of Rose and Four-Sided stitches.

The small heart was filled with the same pattern, but thread withdrawing was made by cutting 3 – leaving 3.

The large heart in the center was filled with a Rose stitch pattern in openwork without a Cable stitch grid.

Also without a Cable stitch grid, rows of Rose stitches alternate with rows of Cable stitches.

The last motif shows a Rose stitch pattern worked in an openwork Cable stitch grid.

In this example, we see a couple of elements that are typical of early Schwalm whitework: wide stem stitches instead of Coral Knot stitches for the outlining and the stems, double-line stems filled with Herringbone stitches. In addition, there is an absence of tendrils and one filling pattern without thread withdrawing.

Design for Practice Exercises

The artist Gudrun Hartwig designed one more beautiful small design for practicing Coral Knot stitches, tendrils, forks, and Blanket stitch eyelets.

The design is transferred to the linen (here: 20/cm thread count). Using coton à broder No. 20 Coral Knot stitches are worked. It is best to start with the tendril.

Start working a branch anywhere on the design. Do not secure the beginning tail of the thread, but let 10 cm of thread remain on the front of the fabric. (Keeping the beginning tail of the thread on the front instead of the back of the fabric ensures that it will not be caught in the stitches.)

Work the first section of the branch. Work a somewhat wider Coral Knot stitch directly after passing the fork.

Continue working in the established way until reaching the next fork. Again work a somewhat wider stitch and continue in the established way.

Reaching the end of the line, on the back secure the working thread in the stitches just worked to arrive back at the fork.

From there work the offshoot.

Now thread the beginning tail of the thread, bring it to the back of the fabric, and slide it through the stitches to the fork.

From there work the offshoot and secure the thread.

Working this way, all forks turned out well.

Using coton à broder No. 25 work the Blanket stitch eyelets.

Since the back side is relatively tidy,

I used this piece to make a two-sided ornament per Cindy Russell’s instructions. My circle cutter has at last leaped into action!

See what my readers have embroidered in 2017!

At the beginning of 2017, I received a picture from Yoko Miyamoto from Japan. Since 2017 is the year of the cock, she embroidered a nice picture of a weathercock. Isn´t it beautiful?
Cocks, hens, and birds were popular designs with my readers this year.
Bettina Limburger from Germany sent me a picture of her Easter “tree.” It is lovely with a couple of embroidered eggs made in natural colours from my 24 small designs.
Marina Pastushenko from Turkey and her friend Kate Vasilieva amaze me with their perfectly embroidered variations of French Hens.
Both speak Russian and now teach Schwalm whitewotk in Russia! They also attend a craft fair in Moscow and show Schwalm embroidery there.
Their Russian-speaking students know very little about Schwalm embroidery, but they already love it! Also, the projects of their students are worth seeing.
I am particularly impressed with the work of Cindy Russell from the United States. First, she sent me a beautiful two-sided ornament of a Happel Heart.
She wrote, “In preparation (practice, practice!) before doing a large Schwalm piece, I´ve been working on a series of heart ornaments. They are admired by everyone who sees them, and they are very fun to do.”
I have never seen such a finishing technique before, so I asked her how she did it. She told me, and at once I ordered a circle cutter – I am ashamed to admit that so far it is unpacked!
Cindy not only gave me directions, but she also promised to make a clean and clear description.
She d i d!
Some weeks later I received the document, and what a document it is – the steps are explained exactly and with great detail accompanied with clear pictures.
She gave me permission to publish the pdf document on my blog so that all of you can easily download it for free. Hasn’t Cindy given us a very special present for the start of the New Year?
She wrote, “If anyone has questions they are welcome to ask.”
Her email-adress is included on the downloadable document.

A hearty “Thank You” to Cindy and all the others for sending pictures of their progress. And thanks a million to those who gave me permission to feature their projects in this blog post.
To all I wish limber fingers, keen eyesight, and plenty of time for the most beautiful stitching moments.

Happy New Year!

Advent Calendar 2017 – in summary

Here is an overview of all the Advent Calendar 2017 designs and projects.

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 1

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 2

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 3

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 4

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 5

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 6

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 7

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 8

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 9

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 10

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 11

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 12

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 13

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 14

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 15

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 16

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 17

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 18

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 19

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 20

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 21

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 22

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 23

Advent Calendar 2017 – No. 24

Aren´t they beautiful?

It was a lot of fun to embroider all the different small designs. Having barely started, they were already finished. Different linens, different threads, different stitches, and different patterns made the process exciting.

Although in the beginning I wondered if I would get twenty-four good ideas for presenting the embroideries, I ended up with more ideas than I needed.

Embroidering was fun, yes, but finishing the projects was sometimes a little bit challenging. This was because I had only my ideas and no patterns or instructions. Of course there were easy-to-assemble projects: the cover for the sliding box, the flat bags, and the cover for books. And the easiest to finish were the picture, the ornament, the label, the cover for the box lid, and the bookmark. Some projects were easy but more elaborate because of the hemming, for example, the cover for a glass jar.

I spent some time considering how to close the covers of the cylindrical boxes and glasses. I wanted to be able to wash and iron them, so I tried a hook and loop fastener, but this was too bulky for the smaller projects. So in the end I chose to sew the ends of the covers together with Whip stitches.

I encountered challenges when sewing and mounting the cover for the pyramid, filling the heart, and lining the stocking. But slow and steady wins the race! With patience I ended up with good results for all my projects.

But you don’t have to be as ambitious as I. Making only pictures, or covers for sliding boxes, or ornaments is a perfectly good idea. After finishing one such project, it’s easy to finish the remaining pieces.

These are my ideas, and you’re welcome to use them as you wish. But perhaps you have another idea for using these precious designs? I really look forward to receiving photos of your realizations!


Luzine Happel
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