From the Heart

I am happy to announce that one of my Schwalm whitework projects has made it into the world-class magazine Inspirations – the world’s most beautiful needlework.

My cushion with a typical Schwalm motif was professionally presented and beautifully brought to life on the pages of the magazine.

The pattern was named From the Heart. Embroidered with white thread on natural coloured linen, it creates a magnificent effect.

The typical motifs of basket, heart, tulip and circle were effectively filled with simple, openwork and Limet withdrawn-thread patterns and needlelace. Tendrils and small leaves fill in the gaps.

Detailed instructions can be found in the magazine. Best of all, Inspirations has put together a kit. With the right materials, one can easily start embroidering such a project.

If you ever get a chance to visit Adelaide, be sure to take the opportunity to look around and to shop at the Bobbin Tree store – a great treasure trove for any needlework enthusiast.

How did the Coral Knot Stitches get into the Schwalm?

A significant feature of what we nowadays understand as Schwalm whitework are the Coral Knot stitches.

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In the Schwalm I did not discover the earliest Coral Knot stitches in whitework, but in a red embroidered crown. The embroidery shows the year 1787.

The Coral Knot stitches were worked as stems and around the withdrawn-thread patterns.

The appropriate whitework border consists of a wide openwork band that has been decorated with Needle-weaving, Rose and Cable stitches.

In Schwalm whitework I found the earliest Coral Knot stitches on a bedcovering from 1793. Here, too, the crown is embroidered in red and has Coral Knot stitches. But Coral Knot stitches were also used in the adjacent whitework – for outlining the withdrawn-thread patterns, for stems and tendrils.

Both textiles are exhibited in the Museum der Schwalm in Ziegenhain.

But how did the Coral Knot stitches get into the Schwalm?

In a treatise by Agnes Geihseder on the history of embroidery
I found information that in the 17th century, among other stitches, Coral Knots became a method used at that time.

But neither the peasant embroidery in the Czech Republic nor the early Hedebo embroidery in Denmark, both of which show similarities with Schwalm whitework, did not use Coral Knot stitches.

So far I have not found any indication of how the Coral Knot stitch got into the Schwalm.
Maybe you can help: In which regions of Europe were Coral Knot stitches part of regional embroidery before 1780?

Schwalm Whitework and Golden Yellow (1)

The colour gold and golden yellow in combination with Schwalm whitework has a long tradition. Because mainly gold tones were used to design the crowns.

Nowadays, the warm colour is also used for Christmas embroidery.

Its sparing use accents elements,

sets highlights,

ensures a harmonious rounding off and supports the effect of specific points.

Rarely, a delicate gold tone is used more lavishly, as here in the nativity scene.

All outlines and most of the filling patterns are embroidered in gold.

Patterns from the early Schwalm whitework were used as well as simple and Limet withdrawn thread patterns. The patterns of early Schwalm whitework, which do not require thread pulling, are particularly suitable for designing small areas.

Some single designs were embroidered in two colors in some areas of the robes of the Wise Men.

Merry Christmas!

Schwalm Whitework and Blue (5)

Heavy, blue and white damask linen with different patterns was also woven in the Schwalm (e.g. see background fabric here).
It was used for bed linen (last three pictures), bed and window curtains and tablecloths.

During a visit to the Schwalm Museum a few years ago, Gertrude Vorwerk discovered a remaining lot of such linen with the so-called “tree pattern”. She immediately bought up the entire stock.

First she made curtains (to be seen in the picture on bottom) and embroidered a corresponding swag with Schwalm motifs. She then used parts of the fabric to create a matching bedspread. In combination with hand-woven white linen embroidered in Schwalm whitework, she created a beautiful, huge bedcovering for a double bed.

The center features a popular crown motif, complemented by the embroiderer’s initials. A narrow strip of damask fabric was attached around it. For this she used the striped part of the pattern, which is also used as the edging.

The next strip, which is embroidered and arranged in a square, shows a circumferential wave motif. This stripe has been bordered with a slightly wider stripe of the damask weave.

An even wider stripe followed – embroidered with an elaborate whitework border.

A particular challenge was the continuation of the embroidery over the attachment seams. Gertrude mastered this brilliantly.

Another very wide strip of damask fabric was followed by an unembroidered strip of white linen, bordered with a narrow strip of damask linen.

It took Gertrude about 3 years to embroider her favorite patterns onto the old linen. In connection with the blue and white damask linen, a very unusual and unique blanket was created, which the embroiderer enjoys looking at every day.

Thank you for sharing!

Schwalm Whitework and Blue (1)
Schwalm Whitework and Blue (2)
Schwalm Whitework and Blue (3)
Schwalm Whitework and Blue (4)