Mary Corbet

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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

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Schwalm Embroidery: Update and a Give-Away!


Amazon Books

Just to convince you that I do still pick up a needle and thread now and then and do some stitching, I thought I’d give you an update on the Schwalm embroidery project I’m working on. The project comes from Basic Principles of Schwalm Embroidery by Luzine Happel, and although it seems as if I began the project a hundred years ago, I haven’t gotten very far on it! So, to make up for the lack of noteworthy progress in stitching, I think I’ll throw in a give-away!

First, the Schwalm whitework project! I’ve managed to get through the first two steps on one side of the square in the middle of the teacloth.

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery project underway

Woe is me! I know that looks just awful – a wrinkled mess! I don’t want to iron it until I’ve finished the stitching and washed it because the transfer marks might set.

So far, I’ve outlined in coral stitch and I’ve done all the buttonhole scallops and wheels.

Not very impressive. *sigh*

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery project underway

I worked this mostly in hand (without a hoop). I think this lends to the general wrinkled appearance of the linen!

When working the buttonhole scallops, at first I progressed without a hoop, and it went ok, but I found it wasn’t so easy to manipulate that much fabric while trying to work the scallops. I ended up wadding the linen up in one hand while stitching with the other.

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery project underway

Eventually, though, I decided to hoop the project up for the rest of the scallops and wheels. Stitching the scallops with a hoop seemed much easier!

Schwalm Whitework Embroidery project underway

I enjoyed stitching this part of the project. If I had all four sides of the square done, it would’ve been nice to keep going and going on buttonhole scallops and circles. It’s a fun stitch! But my design has faded too much on the other three sides of the square, so I can’t really do anything on those parts until I re-transfer the design.

So that’s my progress right now on this project.

Now, for a give-away!

Thanks to Joey, who sent me an extra copy of Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework, I am offering this book to an interested reader who wants to try (or improve upon) techniques of Schwalm embroidery. Schwalm is a beautiful form of whitework, and the stitches learned in the technique can be widely applied to other embroidery styles.

If you’re interested in owning your own copy of this superb book, leave a comment below (on this post, on the website) letting me know you’re interested in the book. Please make sure you sign your name to the comment, even if you use the “Anonymous” feature.

The give-away deadline is Monday, October 12, 2009, at 5:30 am CST.

If all goes as planned tomorrow, I’m going to spend Friday evening making some serious progress on this piece! I want to get to the point of drawing out the threads for the center fillings – wish me luck!


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(115) Comments

  1. Mary,
    Your work is always so beautiful, even if the linen is a little wrinkled. I love white work. I've only done a little of it, but I do love it. It's so romantic and clean to me. I could probably spend hours just looking at it. There's so much variety too!
    Good luck on the rest of your project!

  2. Mary,

    Thank you for always giving so freely of your time. I am so looking forward to seeing how this piece progresses.

    I love whitework, and if it is my turn to be chosen, I would welcome this publication with open arms.

    I am also extremely keen to purchase the book on hems. I am having difficulty getting emails through to Luzine.

    Thank you.

  3. I plan on "someday"!! doing some Schwalm whitework. So the wonderful book giveaway could possibly give me the incentive I need to get it going!
    Annie in VA.

  4. Hi there Mary,

    As someone who doesn't regularly embroider ( does smocking, bullions and monograms count?)I have done a little whitework but need to extend my knowledge of stitches.

    I love white work and do a lot of white on white, not being into lots of colour or busy patterns! lol.

    Your sample is showing lots of stitches I have never seen and would love to try. To be proficient one day would be wonderful, but quite a challenge I think for a relative novice in embroidery work.

    Thanks for showing everything up close, it helps so so much.

  5. I would *love* a copy of this book! Schwalmwork is so beautiful, and I think I would really like to explore this type of needlework.

    Carolyn Otterness

  6. WOW! Just gorgeous work. Would love to win this book and learn how to do this beautiful stitching. Thanks for all your sharing of your knowledge, designs and great giveaways.
    Barbara in TN
    P.S. Am first commenter? Uh oh – that's not a good sign! lol

  7. Mary, it sounds great. I am learning diferent forms of whitework at the moment. I have some books, but most my experiments come from searching nice examples in the internet (very often without explication how to do the stitches). It would be great to get such a book, because at the moment I do not have any money for stitching books.

  8. WOW, Mary, this is absolutely beautiful and I love the stitches. I'd love to learn how to make these stitches and would love to own that book! Keep you the good work and thanks for sharing with us. I want to be able to make something like that one day.

    Nancy Lee, Middlesboro, KY

  9. I've only ever tried Dresden lace, Schwalm's fancy cousin. But I'd love to study the differences between the two techniques from such a great book, so my name is in the hat, too.


  10. I don't know what happened, but this time it worked. I just love what you have done so far, wrinkles and all. I would really love to have the book on Schwalm work.

    Amber Rutz

  11. Mary, I love white embroidery and am attempting my very first piece right now — I'm embroidering an "antique" hand towel that I purchased at a flea market. I don't have any books on the topic and would love to own this book so that I could learn the techniques and continue to embroidery in white! Judy K

  12. I'd love to have the book! I learned about whitework from you, so it seems only fitting 🙂 Wrinkled or not, your stitching looks great and I hope I can do that some day. The first time I read a post on your site about whitework, I made myself NOT buy the book 🙂 but I did go and buy 10 skeins of white Floche a Broder from Hedgehog Handwoks! You know, just in case. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing!

  13. I've been wanting to order this book since you mentioned a month or so ago…I would LOVE it if I won it! What a generous soul you are in addition to being a masterful embroiderer.

    The buttonhole scallops have inspired me to try them on my next project…

  14. those scallops are beautiful. And since starting to follow your blog I've gotten the itch to try different things. I'd love to win the Schwalm book.

  15. Dear Mary, as with all you share, this piece of needlework is absolutely gorgeous. I have always admired whitework but just simply have not tried it. I would love to be considered as the new owner of your give away book.

  16. I like the way your buttonhole scallops came out, Mary. I'd love to learn more about Schwalm embroidery. Please count me in. Debbie in J-m.

  17. Dear Mary,
    Your work always soooo beautiful.. however you blame it.. I don't feel like taking my eyes off it.. And wish u very good luck.. waiting for the updates.. I would be very happy to join your give away lucky list.. hoping to be lucky this time..
    Deepa Sethuraj

  18. I read your comments about Luzine Happel's book and it would be really useful for learning the Schwalm technique. It is great to see how your work is progressing …and to get the tips about using a hoop etc.

  19. I love those wheels and scallops. Beautifully done. Great photos, too, showing everything so nice and close. Whitework uses some of the greatest stitches. I'd love to be included in your giveaway. Looking forward to more updates on the piece, too.

    Kandy Fling

  20. Mary, I think the piece looks amazing! Wrinkles and all!
    This type of embroidery is just what I need to learn…I have been looking for something that I could use for curtains (not just a border around curtains, but the whole curtain body)
    I'd love to get my hands on that book so I could get started! 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing you progress on your project.

    Have fun, Marlon

  21. Schwalm Whitework is gorgeous. Another form of needlework that proves how beautiful white-on-white embroidery can be.
    This has a joyful look to it, as opposed to the delicacy of pure pulled work and stateliness of broderie anglaise. Gosh, I hope I win it!

  22. OOOOH loving the little buttonhole scallops, how cute!

    I would love to try my hand at Schwalm whieteork, i like that the variety is in the stitches employed unlike my other love silk shading where variety is found in the colours.

  23. It is beautiful and the scallops and wheels just look fun to do although I've never done any.

    My question for you is what fabric are you using? Looking at the close-ups, it's such a wonderful evenweave that would be excellent for many things. I'm not adding my name to the list for the book because I'm already up to my eyeballs in patterns and books. I'm just an observer right now.

  24. As others have said, the work you've done so far is beautiful. You may not think you've got much there, but every stitch is lovely. I've recently gotten to a point where I can finally begin to try some serious embroidery work. I would love to have the book, as whitework is a form I have always been interested in and wanted to try, but have no idea how to do so beautifully. I also have no stores in my little town where I can peruse such books to know what might be good or useful seeing you recommend something makes me think it would be helpful.
    Amy, upstate NY

  25. Your stitching is so even and beautiful. What kind of thread are you using? I am hoping to own both this book and the one on hems at some point. Thanks for your generous offer on a head start!

  26. I love the look of the white on white. I hope to make a valance for my kitchen window with white embroidery some day. Thanks for posting yours–it's very inspiring! Karen in Breezy Point

  27. Your work is so beautiful Mary. Thanks for sharing so much information and variety with us! I would love to win this book so I could try to learn this technique. Whitework is so elegant.

  28. Not very impressive? Hah! It looks pretty darned impressive to me! Whitework appeals to me because it IS only one colour and the beauty of it rests with the stitchery. I'm a bookaholic (and actually go so far as to have read every single needlework book I own), so of course I have to throw my name in for the draw! Thanks Mary!

  29. Mary,
    Your work is so wonderful on the Schwalm piece. I would love to add the book to my small collection, I think I would enjoy the buttonhole stitching too.

    Thanks for your wonderful website!

  30. That is so pretty 🙂 I wish my embroidery were as even as yours. I would love to learn how to do white work, and this design is so pretty I might have to do that one first 🙂


  31. I enjoy all the different types of embroidery you talk about. You are an inspiration to all of us. I am getting ready to start a new project and would love to have the book as I have never tried this form of whitework.
    Sandy Breuer

  32. Mary, even wrinkled your work shines!Your work is like a good book; the story stays in my head,calling me back to it when I have to put it down.A good writer gives new facts,knowledge,and emotions to the reader.You do the very same thing with all the wonderful new embroidery styles,techniques,patterns, threads,etc. I would love to have a new challenge with schwalm work.Keep up the great work!
    Karole King

  33. I think it's beautiful. Schwalm is on my list of things to learn since I love whitework…I could figure out the basics but books definitely help!

    Obviously I'm doing too much crafting for work lately. The buttonhole scallop closeup looks like a crochet edging I've been doing 😀

    Please enter me, and I'm looking forward to some update pics. Good luck on drawing out those threads, but I doubt you'll need it 😉


  34. It does not look like a wrinkled mess to me. I love the look of those little buttonhole stitch flowers. I have not tried Schwalmwork but would love to try something new. Beautiful as always.

  35. This is such a beautiful technique!! I would love to learn it and win the giveaway. Please, count me in!!

    Catherine from Quebec

  36. Your white work is very nice. I have tried a little ww and would like to try some of those buttonhole stitch scallops. Please include me in your draw.
    Melisa Bakos

  37. I think whitework is my favorite kind of embroidery, simply because I am fascinated by the variations of texture and the play of light and shadow that can be accomplished by simple tone-on-tone work.

    I've never tried Schwalm embroidery, though, despite my Grandfather's German heritage, and it would be a delight to honor his contribution to my family by learning more about the patterns and shapes his sisters and mother probably took for granted. If they made anything as beautiful as what you are working, it would be rewarding indeed!

    Karen from Arcadia

  38. I would love to take part. This needlework is beautiful, and I would love to have a go. The white on white is so striking

  39. What I love about your website and emails is that they remind me that there is more to needlework than cross stitch, needlepoint, and outline embroidery. This is really beautiful and your closeups convinced me it is doable!!! So put me on the book giveaway list.

  40. I'm very interested in learning this technique. I have never done it before but am up for the challenge. I would love to own a copy of the book. Thank you for sharing all these interesting techniques and sharing all the beautiful books and projects. I look forward to receiving you email news.

  41. Hi Mary,
    I have not done much whitework of any kind and have never done any Schwalm work. Your piece is lovely and something that I would really like to try. I do love books and would love to win a copy, it would be put to good use. Happy stitching.
    Richmond B.C.

  42. Your project looks beautiful. I would love to learn how to do that. Please let me put my name in the hat for the drawing.
    Debby Parker, Kalispell, MT

  43. Mary, Your embroidery is superb as always. You have actually got me interested in Whitework and I have got myself the A-Z book of Whitework. Your giveaway is a book that I would love to have.

  44. I love the look of schwalm, but I've never tried it. Would love to have a good book to go by. Thanks, Mary, for all you do.

    Lin Taylor, Bradenton, FL

  45. Those scallops look beautiful! You've given me another stitch idea for my cq's 🙂

    I first read about Schwalm Embroidery in the Nov/Dec 1997 issue of Piecework. It fascinated me but realistically I probably won't ever get into it (too many other ideas and techniques are already in the queue!)

    Don't enter my name on this giveaway, I just wanted to let you know this was a great post with terrific pictures! Like I said, I will definitely use the scalloped wheel idea 🙂

  46. I have been watching your whitework with awe for awhile now, and have been interested in Schwalm for a few years, but am intimidated by it. I would love to have the book so I could get started on this beautiful type of stitchery!

  47. I have been watching your whitework with awe for awhile now, and have been interested in Schwalm for a few years, but am intimidated by it. I would love to have the book so I could get started on this beautiful type of stitchery!

  48. Of course it is wrinkled. You had to bunch the fabric up to work on it. It will look lovely when it is done and pressed.

    I am very interested in doing some white work, and this book looks like a great incentive!

  49. Hi Mary,
    This whitework looks beautiful.I've never done whitework and would love to learn these stitches.Your site is the best site for embroidery lovers.

  50. The work you have done so far is gorgeous.Best of luck for the rest of it and yes I would love to own a copy of the embroidery book.Thanks for the offer.
    Jyoti Jaggi

  51. Hi Mary
    I love your site and always look forward to your posts. I enjoyed and learned a lot from your lessons on long and short stitch. Boy I would love to have that book.
    Recently I won some designs on one site. But missed to claim it within due date. Hope I will be lucky enough this time.
    Please visit my site and leave your comments and suggestions.

  52. I just found your website this week and it finally got me started on my first embroidery projects. I've always wanted to try it, and I am loving it so far! I would love a book to get me going. Thank you for your dedication to this site.

    Sarah S.

  53. Dear Mary, this is the EXACT kind of needlework I LOVE because it has TEXTURE AND DEPTH. Even if I don't win this, (don't know if I'm eligible anymore) but I'll definitely put this on my wishlist to buy. Anything with 3 dimensions, popping off the work surface, I'm absolutely "hooked" on (no pun intended). Thanks for your continuing and interesting and absorbing website….Judy in Pittsburgh

  54. Hello Mary

    I love white work and the delicate look when it is complete. I would love to have a copy of the book.
    Would like to see your progress on this work that you are doing.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  55. Dear Mary

    I would love to learn how to do
    Schwalm Embroidery with your give-away book. I live in a 150year old house and white work is perfect for the surroundings. I own some very old pieces but they are too precious to use unless it is a Very
    Special occasion.
    Cheers from Down Under
    Robyn K
    New Zealand

  56. Wow, I've never thought of embroidery as being "cute" before!

    I'd be interested in the book, whitework is growing a little more fascinating every time I see it.

  57. I have not tried Schwalm embroidery yet. I would love to have this beautiful book. Please enter me in the draw. Thank you Mary, you are wonderful!

  58. I would love to win this book. I read your blog daily and enjoy seeing what you're working on. I learn so much from you.


  59. I have always admired whitework and would love to learn how to do Schwalm Embroidery. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  60. I sure would love to learn how to do white work. Your project is so beautiful and I would love to see it when it is finished.
    To have a book on the technique would be wonderful and a great incentive to get started. Thank you for the opportunity.

  61. Thank you for your generosity Elizabeth and Joey. I love whitework and would love to learn from this book.
    I'm also very appreciative of your wonderful blog.

  62. Your work is stunning! I too love working all kinds of counted thread techniques & would love to have a copy of this book to add to my collection.

  63. Hi Mary,
    Your schwalm is looking good. I have done some of this as a guild correspondence course and really loved it. I know that I would love the book to help me improve my stitching.

    Penny Batchelor

  64. Hi Mary,
    Like all the others, I'd love to win your giveaway book. I reallly love the look of your white work. I have tried coral stitch recently and think it is beautiful and very easy, still want to try your little trick for doing regular scallops – haven't got to it yet.

    After your recent newsletter, I let myself be tempted by Lucine Happel's book on hems and have ordered it. Can't wait to receive it. I think my husband will soon block your newsletter from me – I get too many "needs" after I've read them.

    Thanks for everything – you keep my enthusiasm for embroidery alive and give me even more motivation when I see all the lovely things you make.

  65. Oh, Your stitches are wonderful! I'll be anxious to see the piece progress. I've seen whitework before, but not Schwalm, specifically. I'd love to try it and the book would be a wonderful incentive. Please enter me in the drawing.


  66. Hi Mary, I'm working on something right now, & the linen is beginning to pucker, so I had better get it into a hoop too.

    I don't think I am experienced enough to tell anyone how to improve upon Schwalm embroidery.

  67. Your work is so beautiful Mary! I love whitework and I would love to have a copy of the book to work on improving my needlework skills. Thanks for all sharing all your special knowlegde and talents!

  68. I would truly like to learn how to do Schwalm Embroidery and I think this book would help me get started. Thank you for being so generous.


  69. Mary,
    Thanks for being so generous with pictures of your beautiful art and with offering a chance for someone to learn to do this type of artwork as well. I started out at 6 yrs old as a cross stitcher and later learned Hardanger. I have been looking at embroidery books at the library and thinking that I might like to branch out into that less than rigid genre. Learning this technique would be an excellent first step. Hoping to be included in your contest. Thanks!

  70. I really enjoy seeing all your beautiful work. It is inspiring even if a bit daunting!
    Recently I was cleaning my sewing room and found some pieces of Swalm work that I had done in a class. I was a little amazed at how nice it looked. Try as I might I couldn't figure out exactly what to do. That book would be a blessing for me. Thank you for all the pleasure your web site gives me.
    Nancy Wise

  71. Oh, pick me, pick me. I would love to have this book. Thanks for all the tips and techniques.
    Sharon Middlebrook of

  72. Mary, your work is always just spectacular…and you manage to complete so many projects. Not sure if that is inspiring or discouraging. Anyway, I would love to be in your drawing. Thanks

  73. That work you are doing is gorgeous! I'd love to learn the Schwalm techniques. Is it very different from "regular" crewel embroidery?

  74. I've never tried this before, but I'd love to … it's beautiful! Since winter is upon us, I'll have lots of time to try it. Thanks!

  75. Mary –

    This is so lovely. I'm a needlelacer who is getting back into embroidery. Schwalm seems like a marriage of the best of both, and I'd love to have the Schwalm embroidery book.


  76. Hi Mary, thanks for a great stitching site. I use your tute's often.
    I have not tried Schwalm work.
    I have made a round tablecloth in Whitework with a knitted fringe and enjoyed that very much. I love the simple look of this work and the fact it can be soaked to remove stains without damaging the work and fabric.
    I would like to be in your giveaway if I may.

    Thank you, Maureen

  77. I do several forms of needlework. This is beautiful. I would love a chance to win this book. Thank you very much. You have a very interesting blog.

  78. Wow! This reminds me nuns when I was young, I would marvel over the work they did and said to myself I would someday learn. 50 years later, I have started. I would love this book to learn all those stitches and do projects of my own.
    I found you thru Craft Gossip which I just joined and I am enjoying at all the great stuff I found on the web.
    Please consider me in your choice

  79. I would love to win this book. As
    a newcomer to surface embroidery
    I need to build a library of
    reference books. White work is a
    favorite…it looks so pristine.

    Pat S.

  80. I want to enter to win. I've never heard of Whitework before – I suppose it makes sense since I've heard of blackwork (and redwork?) That is beautiful and very elegant looking!

  81. Every single time you have written about the book I have wanted it. Went so far as to have an email in to order it, but 'chickened out' because of lack of 'fun money'! So, I would love to have a copy!

    Susan Robinson

  82. Hello, Mary!

    Your fabulous photography is very helpful! It make me think that this is possible even for me! Please sign me up for this give-away!

    Thanks, Didi

  83. Will it be a worthwhile tutorial? Absolutely! I sometimes freehand stitch dates or just a few letters on a block, but for longer text, I like to use waste canvas. There are any number of different sizes and fonts available with counted cross stitch charts, or with some graph paper one can make up their own.

  84. Hi Mary,
    Your white work looks lovely. I've tried it but I need to work on the details more. The book would be a great tool for that! Thanks for your wonderful site!

  85. As always, your work is lovely! As far as slow progress – I most likely have you beat on that. I have 1 project I started in high school, xx years ago, when crewel was having a uptick in popularity (remember the multiude of kits with cutesy mushrooms, frogs, etc), this is a Large Kit of wildflowers. I really should get it back out and work on it. And fix the areas that I now know how to do better. I'd love to learn about Schwalm, I've done enough needlework to have discovered I like the variety of stitches used in embroidery, over doing cross stitch. Love the results of cross stitch, but doing it, not so much!

  86. I think your project is looking gorgeous. I wish I had your skill…I'm a little nervous about whitework, but I really shouldn't be, I guess, since I'm working on Tracy Burr's stuff right now, and that isn't exactly patsy. 🙂
    Jenny T.

  87. It's always both fun and instructive to see what you're working on, especially since your technique is so good.

    I just returned from the Embroiderers' Guild of American national seminar, and last night was a slide lecture on Schwalm, coincidentally enough. I've just barely gotten my feet wet with it but hope to do more, since I love the look of it.


  88. Hi Mary,

    I just discovered your site this evening as I was looking for directions on hand embroidery. Your videos are excellent and I appreciate the time you took to produce them.


  89. You don’t have to apologize for your lack of progress. I think you make impressive amounts and quality of stitching in a week. That being said, I wouldn’t say no if I had the great fortune to receive the book. I love white on white patterning.

  90. I've been wanting this book since you first posted about it. Since my mother-in-law couldn't find it in the bookstore at EGA national seminar, I'd love to win it!

    Your progress is looking good!

  91. I have been dreaming of the book since you first mentioned it in July. I can't believe I have a chance of winning it. Think of the beautiful things I can learn to do!

  92. I love your scallops! They are so even. I'd love to be entered into tht edrawing for the book – if it's not too late and if overseas people are eligible for this one – I'm in Oz so I know that postage is more expensive. I always enjoy reading your blog – thanks so much for sharing your finds and beautiful work.

  93. Mary, I think your work is beautiful; the stitches are all even and well executed. I do lots of different types of embroidery, but whitework is one of my favourites – perhaps it's the absence of colour that makes your eyes focus on the intricacy of the stitches and the different textures. I love it! Evie.

  94. Hi Mary,
    I am very interested in Schwalm Embroidery and have tried to purchase Luzine Happle’s book. I found a site but they didn’t accept Pay Pal so paying was going to be difficult. If I’m not lucky enough to win are you able to point me in a direction where I can? I am looking for a pattern that I could use for placemates which will be my second project using Schwalm.

    Kind regards,

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