Application Needs to be Revised

Since I submitted my application for the Schwalm whitework to be included in the nationwide register of intangible cultural heritage at the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art in November 2021, I have heard nothing more about it.

But now there is news.

I was recently surprised by a letter from the independent expert committee for intangible cultural heritage at the German Commission for UNESCO in Bonn.

My application was not immediately rejected, but was put on hold for revision because some positions were not sufficiently worked out.
I will be given the opportunity to revise my application on these points. I consider the chance of having the Schwalm whitework included in the nationwide register of intangible cultural heritage with a revised application form to be high.

Before doing so, however, the points raised must be considered more intensively. In this way, the statements on the planned conservation measures are to be formulated more precisely and the supporting groups are to be more closely involved in the application process.

For this I need your help.

The application form states, among other things:
9. Existing and planned measures for the preservation and creative transmission of the intangible cultural heritage
Please describe which measures have been or will be implemented by the sponsors of the cultural form in order to ensure the continued existence of the intangible cultural heritage and which measures are planned for the future. Conservation measures serve to raise awareness, to promote, to pass on, in particular through school and extracurricular education, to identify, document, research, enhance and revitalize various aspects of cultural heritage.

I have mentioned a few aspects that I do not want to mention here, so as not to influence you. Because there are definitely other options.

Please let me know – if possible in a comment on this blog post – whether you are already active in conservation measures for Schwalm whitework or would like to become active in the future and what these activities look like (e.g. leading embroidery groups, giving courses , to hold demonstrations at markets, festivals, etc., to meet migrants or vulnerable groups to embroider creatively, to bring embroidery closer to children… much more is conceivable.)

I would also be interested to know how interested and committed the younger, digital generation is to Schwalm whitework. Are there embroiderers who exchange ideas via social media or who are active as influencers in this area?

I would be very happy about active participation. It would ultimately help to pay more attention to the technique that is so important for us embroiderers and to carry it further.

Thank you in advance for your feedback

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As luck would have it, I was surprised a second time yesterday. Thanks to the article in the Inspirations Newsletter, another important module for the necessary explanations is given. I am very grateful for that.

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If you want to know what an application form looks like, you can have a look at it here:

Needle-Weaving Bands

Needle-weaving hems and needle-weaving bands have a long tradition in Schwalm whitework.

They are available in a wide variety of designs, with narrow or wide pattern segments and in a wide variety of heights. In my documentation Schwalm Needle-Weaving Bands I have already shown 193 (!) different patterns . There are always new variants to discover. Of course, with a little skill, you can also create your own patterns.

The combined needle-weaving patterns, as you can see here in pictures 5 and 6, are also very interesting for me.

I found a very interesting needle-weaving band pattern of this category on one of my handed down collection pieces.
The middle band consists of a two-piece block pattern with spiders, the top and bottom bands are formed by a mirrored A-pattern.

(Information on the individual categories and detailed descriptions of the working methods can be found in Lesson #4 – Needle-Weaving Band Sampler.)

This needle-waeving band appears to contain an error. Although each of the three bands put together is worked in an even rhythm, the pattern segments of the middle part and those of bottom respective top part are of different widths. This results in mismatches in the overall appearance of the pattern.

If you pick out the individual segments – the pattern part that is constantly repeated – you will see that the segments of the upper and lower part each consist of 18 bundles, but those of the middle part only consist of 12 bundles.

Also, I noticed that the middle part was formed with extremely low units. Nowadays the height of a unit is usually set at 4 mm. Such fixed rules did not apply in the past. But I had never encountered such low units as in the middle part of the example shown here.

That encouraged me to try it out and combine it further. I was often surprised at how different the effect of the individual pattern combinations turned out. Eleven examples can be seen in my documentation Schwalm Needle-Weaving Bands. But there are many more.

I quickly embroidered a few samples. First I embroidered the pattern of the middle part with units reduced to 2 mm.

Then I placed an A-pattern, also reduced in unit height, but with only one row of holes between the triangles, next to it. I’m also considering whether to add a peahole or just a Four-Sided stitch to the finished needle-weaving band.

In another attempt, I stretched out the middle pattern a bit and worked a total of 14 bundles per pattern segment. Next to it I have placed a side part over the full unit height of 4 mm, but shortened to a pattern segment of 14 bundles and with two rows of holes; in such a way that the zigzag lines meet the spider parts.

By reducing the top pattern segment to 14 bundles, the base of the triangles extends over 8 bundles. I didn’t really like the combination with the below block of 12 bundles.
So I kept trying.

I will present one of the patterns that emerged in the blog post after next.

Didn’t you feel like playing with different possible combinations to find out new patterns?

Filling Pattern – No. 569

category: openwork filling pattern without Cable stitch grid
linen used: 13.5/cm thread count
threads used: coton à broder No. 20 for the Rose and the Satin stitches
stitches used: Rose and Satin stitches
center: intersection of withdrawn thread lines (square)
one pattern segment: 18 threads

The filling pattern shown here is a practice exercise only. Here you can see it used in a shape.
First, establish an openwork grid with a square (an intersection of withdrawn thread lines) in the center by cutting 2, leaving 2 both vertically and horizontally.

At a distance of one empty square below the center square, begin to embroider rose stitches in a diagonal row to the top left.

Turn the work and embroider a second row at a distance of three empty squares – counted in a horizontal row – parallel to the first.

Further parallel rows are embroidered at the same distance until the entire area is filled.

Then work a Rose stitch in the square to the right below the center square. Then bring the needle up in the center square.

Wrap the right pair of threads on the square from right to left,

three times in all.

After the third stitch, move the needle under the intersection of threads to the square above the center.

From there wrap the upper pair of threads of the center square from bottom to top, again a total of three times.

After the third stitch, move the needle under the intersection of threads to the next square diagonally to the top left.

From there work a Rose stitch again, starting with the stitch to the left.

In the established way alternately work one Rose stitch and 2 x 3 Satin stitches.

Turn the work 180° and embroider in the established way three Satin stitches over the remaining free vertical

and three Satin stitches over the remaining free horizontal thread pair.

After the third stitch, move the needle undercrossing the Rose stitch into the next empty square.

In this way work 2 x 3 Satin stitches over the remaining free pairs of threads until the row is filled.

The other remaining free rows are embroidered in the established way, making sure that the rose stitches of the adjacent rows are in one line.

(A similar, but slightly more nondescript, pattern can be achieved by working the Rose stitch grid into a Cable stitch grid. This saves the need for Satin stitches, but requires securing the entire grid with Cable stitches first. I’ve browsed through my vast collection of patterns to show you the difference. Unfortunately, not a single pattern worked in this way was included.)

Colourful Schwalm Embroidery

At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s there was a phase in which Schwalm embroidery was colourful. Not in pastel tones, but in strong, sometimes even bright colours. At the time, Aenne Burda Verlag also made some suggestions for colorful Schwalm embroidery in several issues of its magazine Anna. The embroiderers were happy to take up these ideas. Own designs were also implemented in colour. The rustic style matched the furnishing style of the time.

Two shades of red as well as brown, green and golden yellow were chosen for the wall hanging seen here – embroidered by Irmgard Mengel.

The tightly, hand-woven linen made it possible to set the stitches precisely, as can be seen impressively not only with the leaves.

The high thread count of the linen allowed the effective embroidery of filling patterns,

which in this example were all worked with white thread.

The filling pattern embroidered into the tulip caught my attention. I will describe this pattern in the next blog post.

The edge was decorated with Four-Sided stitches and “Trachtenstich”-Costume stitch, and at the bottom with additional double Herringbone stitches.

With the changing taste of the time, these colourful embroidery mostly disappeared in cupboards and chests or were even completely disposed of. People found their way back to the nobler-looking, timeless and original whitework. Today, however, I’m noticing a slight trend towards a desire for subtle colourfulness.

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.