Present day Schwalm whitework involves drawn thread stitches,but the 18th century Schwalm was a surface embroidery technique with lot of interlacing and weaving involved. Last week I received a book from Germany titled "Early Schwalm Whitework" authored by Luzine Happel. I googled to find information about the embroidery technique but there was absolutely nothing.
Does anyone know more about this form of whitework? I've posted the pictures of the embroidery (from the book) in my blog. I was wondering how the transition from surface embroidery to drawn thread happened. A picture of a worked piece is attached.
I am interested in why this area had their own type of embroidery. Was it influenced by the people that settled there. If it resembles Hedebo from Denmark, as Margaret has informed us, did that type of embroidery undergo the same type of change? Could it be that the fabrics changed? It would be interesting to learn the time period the change occured over. All so very interesting.
Here is an interesting link that has a photo captioned "Hedebo or Schwalm". The caption leads one to believe the 2 are one in the same.
Another interesting site:
Quote from above link::
Schwalm embroidery was done by peasant women, in their spare time, and made for personal use. They decorated blouses, skirts, aporns, but mostly household linen, the dowry of the girls. Linen was the fabric and the yarn, too, in modern times DMC 16, 20, 25, 30.. Patterns are combinations of traditional elements.
Schwalm Embroidery is beautiful work. I like it, enjoy doing it from time to time (I grew up about 100km from Schwalm). But with all it's beauty, it is far from lace, while Dresden embroidery has the character of lace. The roots of Schwalm embroidery are dark - there is a second small area in Hessen not far from the Schwalm, where a similar tradition exists. How did a technique like that come to a (really poor) rural area, spread among the female population and develop and keep regional characteristics? Fascinating questions..
Thanks Deb...Below is another bit of info I got from a fellow embroiderer... History is interesting,right? :)
What I remember of the history is that the earlier pieces were done having no withdrawn threads. Rather, they were worked on a type of netting....in an effort to replicate the finer laces sold by the traveling "salesmen" who were peddling this all over Europe. It wasn't until after the finer looms were invented and linen fabric could be made in a much more consistently even weave that it was decided by someone to attempt to withdraw the horizontal and vertical threads in an even pattern or 'grid'. This was to replace the earlier netting. The lacing stitches were done on this grid. The remaining whitework surface embroidery stitches are reminiscent of those used in Hardanger and Hedebo from the Scandinavian countries.
I read on one of the links that those that were doing the finer, for the higher class, embroidery worked with thin cotton and silk. Maybe the Schwalm workers withdrew threads and did pulled thread work to simulate that thinner more fragile work?
Thank you so much for the information Deepa. I love the white on white embroidery also. Do they use different stitches or just regular embroidery stitches. Some of it looks very raised.
I do a lot of flowers.Some are brazilian embroidery and some are surface embroidery :)
Schwalm embroidery is a white on white embroidery(meaning stitch with white threads on white fabric) ,and Schwalm is a place in Germany where it originated hence it is called Schwalm white work. It is a drawn thread embroidery which creates a kind of lacy look on the fabric.
The pulled thread-drawn thread group here on stitchinfingers has several members interested in Schwalm. And we have had discussions in the past about it. I suggest you look at that group, and go through its discussions. I think there may be some answers there.
Another think you could do: look at the light gray bar across the top of the page. Near the right hand edge is a search slot that operates only on stitchinfingers. Type in schwalm and it will show links to every photo and discussion which contains that word. That will narrow down the pages you have to look at.