Schwalm whitework embroidery is often used to adorn tablecloths, table runners, and household linens of various kinds. Besides the beautiful and lace-like embroidery featured on Schwalm pieces, Schwalm work often depends upon the finishing of the embroidered piece with a fancy hem. A couple months ago, I introduced you to Luzine Happel’s thorough book on Schwalm embroidery – Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework – which was newly translated into English. Today, I want to show you her latest book translated into English, Fancy Hems.
Fancy Hems is a book that any needleworker interested in drawn thread embroidery or whitework would find interesting, informative, and useful. It is not merely for folks interested in Schwalm embroidery in particular. The techniques explained in the book are suited to any kind of drawn thread work, really.
Like Luzine’s Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework, Fancy Hems is a self-published book.
Within its pages, you will find step-by-step instructions for creating the fancy openwork and drawn thread hems that often accompany Schwalm embroidery.
The instructions are cleary photographed, so that you can follow each step of embroidery. And the English text is clear and precise.
The book begins with simpler fancy hems and works its way slowly to more complex hems.
Featured throughout the book are pictures of magnificent embroidery that has been “finished” with the addition of a beautiful hem. Each type of hem is thoroughly explained and demonstrated in the book.
Watching the intricate designs of the hems unfold before your eyes, though the photos, is amazing – Luzine makes it look so simple! And because her instructions are good, creating a unqiue and intricate embellished hem area does become relatively simple.
All the basics are discussed, by the way, before venturing into the more complex embellishment. So, if working something like the above drawn thread bars featured in the text, you not only learn how to embellish the bars, but you learn the basics of how to create the bars in the first place – a nice tidbit of instruction for those interested in drawn thread work in general.
The types of hems featured in the book range from narrower bars to composite hems, made up of a variety of different “bars” stacked together, as in this magificent piece below:
Wouldn’t it be something to finish the edge of a tea cloth like this? It’s amazing, isn’t it?
In the most recent issue of Piecework Magazine (Sept. / Oct. 2009), a one-page article focus on an embroidery guild group in Canada who began working through the Fancy Hems book, each creating their own fancily-hemmed cloth. I think that would be a fun and challenging group project – to take a book like this and have each person compile their own “stack” of hemming motifs. I was glad to see that article in Piecework.
But even more than that, I was so happy to see Luzine’s newly-translated book, which will certainly become The Definitive Guide to drawn-thread fancy hems.
If you’re interested in obtaining a copy of this book, feel free to contact Luzine via e-mail. She takes Paypal, which makes ordering from Germany very easy.
I have to thank Luzine for sending me the book, which was quickly followed by a real treasure chest of Schwalm related instructional and inspirational books – and some linen! Oh, linen! How I love linen! Thank you, Luzine!
Luzine has actually self-published a whole slew of books in German on Schwalm embroidery, and I do eventually want to show you all of them. They are amazing – and So Thorough! A few are in English, but most are in German. Still, the step-by-step photos make the books accessible even for those of us who don’t speak or read German. In the meantime, though, if you are looking for books on filling stitches for Schwalm work or drawn thread embroidery, you can ask Luzine what she has available. One of her books instructs on 175 (yes, 175! – that’s a LOT!) filling patterns. It’s amazing!
She also has a really nice book of Schwalm patterns for a variety of projects. I’m really looking forward to making use of it. The more I look at Schwalm work, the more I fall in love with it! And she’s got some really pretty patterns in this book. I’ll review that one a bit later, in detail, so you can see what it looks like. And she included some little books from the Schwalm Museum in Germany – they’re full of clear black and white photos of various Schwalm pieces. Oh, if I could just reproduce them for you here! I think you’d be in awe of the work!
The thing that really attracts me about Schwalm whitework is that, though it is predominantly whitework, the techniques involved spill over into so many other areas of surface embroidery, while at the same time integrating extensive drawn thread and pulled thread techniques. I think that’s why I had so much fun with my Schwalm chicken and pomegranate on my whitework sampler.
And what about my Schwalm project that’s currently underway (taken from Luzine’s Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework)? Well, I did indeed make the switch from another project so that I can focus on the Schwalm project during my 15-minute sessions, and I have enjoyed working on it in spurts. I actually accomplished a good bit of stitching on Wednesday afternoon of this week, which was nice for a change! I’ve finished the buttonhole stitching on one motif, and I’m ready to move on to the chain stitching, before starting the filling. I’m having fun with it – I’ll update you with progress photos soon!
In the meantime, if you’re interested in any of Luzine’s books, drop her an e-mail.
Have a terrific Friday!