Historical Schwalm Whitework and Machine-Made Lace

Schwalm people often considered ready-made items more valuable than precious hand-made items. So they liked to add machine-made lace to their elaborate and finely embroidered cushions, bed coverings, and door hangings.

Especially popular were the so-called bell borders that edged some projects.

These were fine machine-made cotton lace bands combined with prominent and fancy knotted fringes.

A door hanging from 1845 with a cross stitch crown,


a tall whitework border with openwork needleweaving bands in the middle part,


and, at the bottom, more openwork pattern bands bordered with double Peahole and Four-Sided stitch hems on top and on bottom got a bell border for its bottom edging.


An old bed covering with a grand Schwalm crown, elaborate needleweaving hems, and bobbin lace inserts


got an edging of machine-made lace.


Also a bed covering from about 1860 – unique and elaborately embroidered –


got such a machine-made edging.


This piece, from 1839, and more outstanding examples of the finest whitework embroidery combined with machine-made lace can be found in the museum of Holzburg. This small village museum is always worth a visit.


Besides these machine-made lace edgings, the Schwalm people often inserted machine-made lace bands between hand embroidery.
On the pincushion in the image below, the machine-made band is bordered by needleweaving hems on both sides.


A bed covering shows a cross stitch crown, many different hem patterns, inserted machine-made lace,


and two kinds of machine-made lace edging.


The museum in Holzburg has an interesting bed covering on display. It is elaborately embroidered with elements of early Schwalm whitework and boasts a grand Schwalm crown showing the year 1822.


Additionally, it is decorated with an inserted band of machine-made lace and machine-made lace edging. I was kindly allowed to show these images on my blog. The partial details cannot show the full spendor of the exhibit, but one can get an idea of the magnificence. The museum welcomes every visitor interested in the details of such selected works.

2 Comments
  1. your research is absolutely awesome, thanks for sharing

    • Thank you, Méri.
      For me it is a fun to find traditional Schwalm whitework pieces and to have the chance to examine their details. The investigations always throw up interesting facts. Too good to keep it for myself only.

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