Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (52) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Schwalm Embroidery Photos & a Give-Away!


Amazon Books

Sometimes, photos of needlework can be the best source of inspiration for me. When I see a beautiful piece of needlework in a photo, it makes me….. well. It makes me want to DO something – to make something beautiful! But the fact o’ the matter is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the year to do all the needlework things I’d like to do! Do you ever feel that way? So, often, I content myself with looking at pictures. And along those lines, here are some photos of magnificent examples of Schwalm whitework embroidery.

These first two pieces belong to a friend, Joey, who helped Luzine Happel with the translation of two of her Schwalm embroidery books, Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework and Fancy Hems.

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery Tea Cloth

This first piece is a teacloth embroidered by Luzine. Isn’t it gorgeous? You can click on the photo for a closer view of it. The stitching is so stunning! Check out the variety of filling stitches!

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery Pillow

This second piece is a decorative pillow, with the Schwalm work covering a red pillow – which makes the whitework stand out beautifully. I had not considered finishing a whitework pillow this way, with a contrasting fabric behind the whitework, but it makes all the sense in the world if you really want to show off the whitework. Again, you can click on the photo for a larger version.

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery

The books above are published by the Museum der Schwalm in Germany. The books are a kind of photographic journal of the pieces that have been featured in the museum’s displays. Talk about inspiration!

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery

Here’s one piece featured in one of the books. Pretty, isn’t it? I don’t know if it’s exactly “traditional” Schwalm embroidery as far as design goes – the design seems a bit more contemporary. I like it a lot!

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery

A lampshade! I think I would love to have this in my house… but I can’t help wondering if it would stay this pristine? I’d feel obliged to put it under glass to keep the Kansas dust off it!

Yep, I do love to browse through these types of books!! They goad me into doing something with my needle and thread.

A Give-Away!

Now, speaking of Schwalm work (again), I’d like to give away another book. Joey sent me a copy of Fancy Hems, but since I already have one, I thought it would be a good opportunity to put this excellent book into some other keen stitcher’s hands.

You can read my thorough review of Fancy Hems here on Needle ‘n Thread, to see what the book is about. Note that it’s not just for stitchers interested in Schwalm whitework. Anyone interested in drawn thread or pulled thread embroidery will find this book useful and instructive.

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery

If you’d like to win this copy of Fancy Hems, here’s how the give-away works:

Leave a comment below (on this article, on the website – not via e-mail or on other posts), answering the following question:

If you could launch into a Schwalm project right now, assuming you have the materials and instructions at hand, what would you make?

Make sure you leave a name, even if you use the “anonymous” feature when posting your comment. I’ll draw for a winner on Wednesday, October 28th, by 5:30 am.

Best of luck!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(78) Comments

  1. Hello Mary,

    If I could launch into a Schwalm project, I would make 2 decorative pillows for my bedroom, 40cm x 30cm. I would choose a design with birds and vase of flowers.

    I currently use 2 made by my grand aunt; white with their initials, very traditionnal. As the fabric was damaged, I have used the embroidered part and added a black and white "squarred" bias.

    Thank you once again for your blog.
    kinds regards, Laetizia


  2. Oh Mary the book looks wonderful. Like you it is better for me to look at pics then anything else. If I had to pic it would be a tough one but I love the lampshade also.Thanks for all you do.

  3. Every time I see the title "Schwalm embroidery" I run quickly to read the post ant to see wonderful photos.
    It is coming colder every day here in Lithuania so as every year I knit at this period. But your posts can make some changes (and my mother will stay without new cardigan πŸ˜€ ). I want to stitch very much. And I have some linen which could suite for some drawn thread embroidery.
    Would it be clever to try Schwalm embroidery stitching some tablecloth? But I imagine some tablechoth with whitework flowers in the corners and all around could be some merezhka (I do not know, how it is called in English)

  4. I'd make a wedding gown for display that uses all of the laces techniques of Schwalm. I'd use the gown for exhibits and for teaching.

  5. What beautiful embroideries! Luzine's tablecloth is really a beauty!!!

    Since you've showed this book in your blog I'm thinking of it…
    As you may remember I'm following Luzine's pattern from Basic Principles and I do want to finish it before starting another project (don't know how long can I resist to Trish Burr's Red Poppy…)
    BUT I've already a linen towel (for one of my grandaughters) ready to make a fancy hem so… please count with me!
    And thank you!
    Hopimg you are recovered at all.

  6. What a neat book! I believe I would like to make a linen blouse and use a special hem design on the hem and the collar. I have some special table runners made within our family–I have always wanted to learn how to do this!

  7. I would love to do a lamp shade like the one pictured but in truth would probably tackle a pillowtop.

    Beautiful examples…thanks for sharing.


  8. Good morning, I would love to win this book and give it as a gift to a close friend who does this kind of work.
    If I were to try this I would make something very small at first, a little round or rectangle piece to place on top of an antique furniture piece.
    thank you for the drawing. Kathy

  9. Thank you for sharing the photos from the Schwalm book, the more I see it the more I want to do it, like you I love the lamp shade but in NC we have red clay for soil and ugh! I don't think I would want my shade to turn that color.

    I have so many things going, but it I started a new project it would be one from the Schwalm book, white on white is in a class all by itself. Barb

  10. This embroidery is beautiful and so inspiring. I am making an authentic-looking Czech costume for my daughter. I try to make them as close to authentic as possible, including taking hundreds of hours to hand embroider. One thing I have not reproduced is an authentic-looking petticoat. Since they don't show I have not taken much time on them. These pictures and this book has inspired me to make a REAL authentic-looking petticoat with whitework. Thanks so much for the tip and please enter my name in the drawing. Sharon Middlebrook of czechcostumes.blogspot.com.

  11. I'd love to be in the drawing for this fabulous looking book — especially as I'm getting ready to embark on some pulled thread (removed element) work soon, I think….

    What would I make? I love that pillow with the red behind and might consider something like that. Of course the lampshade is impressive, but I can't imagine it lasting in my house with two cats πŸ™‚

    Thank you for the morning eye-candy. It's made my Monday better already.

  12. After looking at those amazing pictures I don't know if my project would be a pillow with a colored background or a lampshade! Really lovely.

  13. Boo Mary!

    Hmmm…I would either make a table runner to use for the holidays or curtains.

    This technique is tedious but with patience and perseverance the end results are wonderful.

    Good luck everyone and Happy Halloween.

    Virginia-San Diego

  14. Mary,
    Thanks for all the time and effort you put into showing us beautiful pieces of embroidery and encouraging us to do them. I hope you are quite recovered from your recent illness.
    I am absolutely salivating over the pictures you showed in today's post and would love to start on something like any of them. I, however have not yet attempted Schwalm work so I would probably begin on a sampler to get my hand in it then attempt something more difficult. I would love to have the book as an incentive to get started.

  15. If I could start a project, it would probably be a baby daygown for my grandmother's "hope" chest. I can just see those fancy hems on a yoke and a dress hem. And, oh, by the way, my eyes are always bigger than my time to embroider, too. Sigh! Thanks for your generous offer.

  16. Mary, this is an opportunity like no other! At least for me, down here in Brazil, where buying books like that becomes kinda expensive. But here it is: if I had the materials at hand, and that pretty book as well, I would certainly try to do some table cloth for my dinner table. I think the work would look really beautiful on the glass (even if I can't accomplish to do it perfectly the first time!).

  17. Ohhh! Am I really the first commenter? I would love to have this book. . . all the more because we are looking at possibly doing a series of hemstitching programs for EGA chapter programs in the coming year.


  18. Hi Mary,
    The cutwork is just beautiful…I too like the lampshade but also would be afraid of dirt getting on it (a plastic cover would be a horrible thought!). If I did start this work, it would probably be a tea towel sampler with the various hems…it would make a nice gift. Thanks for the opportunity! Sheila from CA

  19. To answer the contest question, I would make a collar and cuffs for my 3 year old daughter's winter coat that I just completed. It's a formal gray flannel coat with black velvet accents and I think that a bit of Schwalm whitework would be set off beautifully on it.
    Fancy Hems would be extremely useful for me, as I'm on an handkerchief making/embroidering kick right now (holiday gifts) and it would be wonderful to have new and different hems to make for different people. As well as being able to make some lovely table linens for myself. πŸ˜‰
    I am so glad that I found your site Mary! It is a constant source of information and inspiration.

  20. Dear Mary,

    Yet another mouth-watering post. You have moved me a significant bit closer to that small tablecloth I have been wanting to make! If only my work would look as good as your fantastic photos! How can I refuse your offer for this giveaway? Please sign me up!


  21. Oh I would love to try my hand at some drawn thread work! I think I would try to do a small pillow just to get my feet wet; but I've always wanted to make something for a collar or yoke too. Please pick me!

  22. I have a 24" square table next to my sewing chair that is crying out for a cover of some sort. A Schwalm work piece would fit the bill perfectly and I have some fabric that I think will work nicely.
    Kris Curtis

  23. I love drawnthread work and have taken quite a few classes on this from a lady in Puerto Rico. Although it is not quite the same technique, it is a close cousin. I have made a small pincushion using Schwalmwork and loved the process and the result. I think I would probably use this book (along with drooling over the pictures periodically)to make a piece I could frame for the wall. I enjoy having some of my work displayed so I can enjoy it everyday.

    Carol D.

  24. I love the look of Schwalm but have never tried it, but I do a lot of hardanger and would love to learn/try a Schwalm project. So what would I make? Probably a table cloth, I'm a glutton for punishment.
    Debby Parker

  25. I love drawn threadwork and am just learning this form of fiber art. If I had all of the supplies right now, I would work on a table runner for my dining room table. It is in my entry way and a runner would really dress up the entrance.

  26. I was just married two weeks ago, and my new mother-in-law was so excited to have another "Mrs. M" in the family. I'd love to make her a monogrammed pillow for Chrsitmas and I think the Schwalm project would be perfect!

  27. I think just the cover of your book has inspired me to make a christening gown,bonnet and then a day gown for the new mommie in our family

  28. I have done about three pieces of drawn work, and have found them fun and challenging. The Schwalmwork is exquisite, so I would try something simple. I saw a website that had a "sun bonnet sue" that was worked in Schwalmwork instead of applique and it was stunning. So that would be my first choice!

  29. What a great giveaway…if I could pick a project I'd do curtains for our bedroom. Time consuming, of course, but gorgeous!

  30. Mary, you do such a great job with
    photographing needlework; it is
    so inspirational. I believe I
    would like to try Schwalm work
    on a small sewing bag that would
    hold my sewing necessities.

    Pat S.

  31. How beautiful the Schalm work is. I really like the curves. If I could do a piece I would create my own design for a small, 5 x 7 inch scissors keep for my sister. The design would be a couple of leaves coming off a stem with a diamond-shaped frame. When I saw the Fancy Hems image I thought one of those would surely work for the diamond-shaped frame. Don't know if any of those hems could go on the diagonal but would think so as some drawn thread work will easily follow a diagonal. Cara

  32. I would start on a bread cloth to be used as a tea cloth for my daughter. She loves to make a Tea for friends or stop at a Tea shop when we visit. This would hopefully be a small project to start with and would be appreciated.Thanks for teaching us new forms of embroidery.
    Karole King

  33. If I could start something right now, it would probably be that pillow. I love how the red comes through and shows off the white work.

    Oh, and I still have Kansas dust in my van from our trip down there to visit family πŸ™‚ My grandparents and my mom and stepdad both live on dirt roads two miles away from the main road, and we did a lot of driving while I was visiting πŸ™‚ That stuff never quite goes away πŸ˜€

  34. I have always loved whitework of any kind and dabbled in hardanger, schwalm, pulled and drawn thread. I read the article in our Guild magazine about the Chapter that made schawlm tablecloths using the borders book. I would love to do something like that.

    Your blog is an inspiration Mary and I look forward to reading and learning something new every day!

  35. Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing. If I could start a Schwam embroidery piece today, I'm sure it would be a pillow with lots of motifs and borders in openwork.


  36. Hi Mary
    Your photos are wonderful, and in particular I just love the pillow, so I guess if I was the lucky winner I would try and do a pillow. Thanks for such a lovely interesting site.
    Joan from Richmond B.C.

  37. The Schwalm work photos were magnificent! If I won I would make a new table runner for my newly remodeled kitchen.

    Colleen Lim

  38. If I could try it, I'd be making something to protect my dresser with schwalm in the center and elaborate borders.

    Now I have to go check out Carol D's blog because I learned some things down in Puerto Rico too πŸ˜€

  39. Thanks Mary for another interesting post. I would love to be able to make a bed spread but that might be taking on more then I could handle but it shore would look pretty.

  40. Such beautiful work! I love the drawn thread technique. I'd love to do something like the pillow cover in a frame with a colored fabric behind it. That red really sets it off! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures, and for the chance to win!

  41. What a wonderful book, I'd make a sampler so that i could use along with my other samplers to teach high school students an art that seems to have disappeared at School. My goal is to take embroidery of many forms back into the school learning program.


  42. The Schwalm work is beautiful. I would make a tablecloth for a table that seats 12 people. It would be my special treasure to take out only for special occasions.

    Betty Zarate

  43. Hello Mary,

    Thank you once again for the continued interest in this form of embroidery. I just can't get enough of it. If I were to win this lovely book, I would try to make a small afternoon teacloth from beautiful linen given to me as a gift.

    However, if I do not win, I am still looking at purchasing this book, if I could only get my emails to get delivered to Luzine's mailbox………

    Thanks again so much.

  44. The Schwalm embroidery is just beautiful. I would love to learn how and I would begin with something small like a pillow. Please add my name to the drawing!!!

  45. I am in awe of this type of work and will have to spend a lot of time reading up on it before I muster courage to give it a try. However, if I had to pick a project, it would have to be a lampshade (mainly because I took a workshop in lampshade making and really want to make more!).

  46. wow! this sort of thing just knocks me out. It is so, so different than anything you can buy in the stores! If I were to start a project right now, I would do something for my parents' anniversary.
    – Fran M.

  47. I would love to make a bed spread with matching drapes. I would put these over a blue comforter and under curtain that would match our paint!

    Nita Carroll

  48. Hi Mary, my husband's relatives from Englan are visiting next summer and I have been planning a tea for the ladies. When I saw the pictures of the Schwalm work the first thing I thought was how pretty a Schwalm table runner would be for a ladies tea. So, that would be my project. Debbie A. Fair Oaks, CA

  49. The Schwalm embroidery is stunning.
    I would make some pillows for a large chair in my living room. Everyone could see how beautiful the work is.
    Dixie C

  50. enjoy your posts…I look forward to getting your emails. I would love to win the book. Keep up doing what you are doing.

  51. Thanks Mary and Joey for the wonderful giveaway.

    Whitework in India is called Chikankari and is done on tunic style dresses or saris. If I were to start a Schwalm whitework project I will start a stole which can then be used with any outfit. I would embroider the edges with one of the many beautiful borders and then work the body of the fabric with the flower motif on the left hand corner of the second border on Page 17 that you have shown in your review.

  52. I would love to have a copy of that wonderful book on pulled and drawn thread edgings. I have done some Schwalm in classes with Donna Strader through EGA and I adore it. I remember seeing the first reference to it I had ever seen in the Anna magazine spring issue in the late 1980's or early 1990's. Anyway, I have sone several small pieces and am wanting to move on to a medium sized piece that can be used to as an insert on a small table clock that I have. There is a place for a stitchery to be put below (not behind) the clock face and it needs something lacy, MHO. So, that is where I would put the next Schwalm piece or pulled/drawn thread piece I do. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

  53. Yet another nice book you're giving away, Mary! I would make a little piece to fill in another one of the spaces on my living room walls full of different types of needlework.

  54. Hi Mary,
    Like you, I love to look at books on embroidery and I dream of doing some of the superb things I see, but unlike you, I haven't got the ability to turn some of my dreams into reality…. just haven't got the skills, although I'm working towards acquiring a little bit more expertise.

    If I could, I'd love to make a lampshade exactly like the one in the photograph. Think it is beautiful, but we have the same problem with dust as you seem to have…. it would look drab and grey within a few months, but one can dream….

  55. If I had instructions and the materials I would definately launch headfirst into gifts for my parents. There are a lot of spinners and weavers in my area and I just know that I could buy an evenweave wooly lap blanket. I know the principals for the fine work could apply to larger weaves. Also my parents (especially my mum) just cannot have enough snuggly warmth during the blustery winters by the sea.

    Also, truthfully, I would like to make myself a delightfully girly underskirt. πŸ™‚

  56. Hi Mary,

    I think I would make a table runner for our coffee table. Its the only thing that I regularly display embroidery on, and as long as my daughter doesn't take her textas (marker pens) anywhere near it, I think that Schwalm would look lovely there!


  57. Every time I see this type of embroidery I itch to grab a book to learn it.

    Given that Christmas is so close, if I were to start a project it would be some medium sized ornaments using the same method at the red pillow above. I would change the under color to a vibrant/royal blue and possibly introduce a small bit of silver into the overall design. (MIL will only have white, silver and blue for decorations.)

  58. Aloha Mary,
    With the help of this book, I would like to make beautiful altar cloths-credence table cloths for the Latin Mass I attend. Working white on white is a very calming experience. Living here in Hawaii has the advantage of natural sunlight which is great for doing this work. If you need to getaway from the cold, come visit.
    Kindest regards,
    Jacquelin I

  59. If I would throw caution to the wind and ignore the calls from all of my unfinished projects and start a Schwalm project right NOW I would do a small square to be used as a semi transparent layer in a window in the door. I love the white on white patterning and it would be just the right thing to cover up the window, let the light in but still give you the chance to catch a glimpse of the outside.
    Thank you for this generous chance of winning the book.

  60. Hi Mary, What beautiful work! If I would get this book, I would probably try a pillow or tablecloth. It's a great embroidery style. Thanks for sharing!

  61. What a wonderful give away Mary! The first Schwalm project I would try would be a small sampler..firstly, because I love samplers, and this would be a way to combine Schwalm with some other drawn work bands. I would love to have this book…thanks for the opportunity!

  62. What lovely work in all those photos! Quite inspiring.

    If I were to start a Schwalm piece, I would probably do something like the pillow cover you show with the red beneath (although I'd use a blue or green).

  63. Hi Mary, I have just started doing Schwalm and I am really taken with it. My first project would be to create a lampshade. I have been debating what to do with one that needs recovering. After seeing that gorgeous Schwalm lampshade my questions have all been answered. And my if mine could look remotely like the one on your site I would delighted. What a pleasure to live with. Many Thanks Judy

  64. I'm new to Schwalm but I have done pulled work. I'd start with something simple, perhaps one of the circle motifs shown in the pictures. Anything else would probably not get finished in a timely manner.

  65. I am new at this type of embroidery. I get your blog on my Kindle and I so wish that it was in color. So I get on my computer to see this Schwalm embroidery. How beautiful! The first thing that popped into my head that I would like to make would be a tablecloth and have the embroidery in the center and around the edge. But I would want the center to be circular or oval and large enough to be able to put a turkey platter in the middle of it and show off my beautiful Schwalm embroidery. See where I am going here?

    Thank you so much! Kris

  66. Please enter my name. I am currently saving up to get a couple of Luzine's books. I will begin with a table runner, then a dresser scarf. Next, tea towels, then a tablecloth. Thank you for all the work you put into this site.

  67. Hi Mary – If I were to start a project, I would finish the one I started about 5 years ago! Our needlework group in Anchorage decided to learn this technique, and the project is in my UFO pile…..either that, or I would design and make a Christmas ornament.

    Thanks for your generosity in giving away such neat goodies!

  68. Hi Mary, as I work through my Hardanger piece, I am beginning to enjoy cut work embroidery and learning to be not so afraid of spoiling my work as I once was. If I were to begin a Schwalm piece, it would be something small and possibly seasonal, like a bell, to hang on my Christmas tree

  69. Count me in as another person who thinks that lampshade is stunning. In fact, I have a lamp that needs a new shade, and I had been thinking about making one up, having seen some old embroidered candleshades that were much prettier than anything I see most places. Schwalm whitework would be the perfect solution, since it would give a beautiful glow to my room, without markedly dimming the bulb.

    Karen from Arcadia

  70. Dear Mary, I happened upon your website after embroidering a linen tablecloth with white and blues that I thought would be like Schwalm embroidery, but it wasn’t. I’ve been researching all day and will try again, learning from the past and pressing on. I like your website and the Schwalm book that you will award to one lucky person. I would like to make the lampshade and finish it with long white fringe — in Victorian-style for our new house that we strive to give a Victorian flavor. Thanks for all you do to help others learn and grow in fiber arts.

  71. If I could start a Schwalm embroidery project, my first would probably be an apron that I would wear at the 1750 re-enactments that I attend. I am starting to do a German persona for my business. i spin all my own yarn, then knit it or weave into time period items that I sell at over 20 various Living History Events. My ancestors are from Germany and I was born there too. So a German persona seems perfect for me. I want to make my clothing look more “German” from the 18th century, so I thought Schwalm embroidery would be perfect!
    Thanks for listening, Karen

  72. Hi Mary,
    The lampshade is just beautiful. If I need to start a project, that would be a headrest drape for my sofas in the living room. This would be a rich cream colour to go with my rosewood furniture.I have now a dream !!
    Thanks for the good work that you turn out.

  73. Ohhhhhhhh ce Bellissimo Libro! Io non sono capace ‘mami impegnio ad imparare .Mi piacerebe fare un stricia. anche se non vinco. vorei imparare troppo Belloooooooooooooooo

More Comments