When Jana sent photos of her beautiful Schwalm table runner that she just completed, I knew I had to share them with you! Jana’s masterpiece took her five months to complete – and did she ever complete it. From the intricate Schwalm fillings to the exquisite edging, it’s a gorgeous piece of work. Take a look…
Jana ordered Luzine Happel’s book, Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework (that’s a link to my review), and a pre-stamped linen from Luzine. Luzine’s book covers all aspects of Schwalm embroidery, and she also offers an excellent book on edges for Schwalm work, called Fancy Hems. If you’re at all interested in Schwalm, these are two books you’ll definitely want in your library.
Schwalm whitework is characterized by rather bold “folky” designs (tulips, hearts, etc.) that are outlined in chain stitch, coral stitch, and buttonhole scallops, and then filled with a myriad of filling techniques that involve drawing out threads or pulling threads to give an open, lacy effect. The fillings on Jana’s table runner are varied and exquisite. You can’t help “roaming” the piece to examine each filled motif. Just beautiful stuff!
Pretty, pretty, pretty!!!
It’s a fairly large cloth – and only in five months! All those stitches! All those coral knots! That edging! I’m in awe.
Speaking of the edging – up close, you get more of a sense of its intricacy. Nice, isn’t it?
You also see lots of little accent swirls on Schwalm whitework, and circles and scallops made from buttonhole wheels.
I love all the fillings here, but the tulip on the top right of the photo is my favorite! Isn’t it gorgeous?
Schwalm whitework is worked on white linen of an even weave (or almost-even weave), with a fairly high thread count (around 50 threads per inch), though beginners often start on a lower thread count (about 36 threads per inch). The linen should be a fabric suitable for whitework – that is, it should have plump threads that fill the fabric up, and the threads should be more or less uniform in size. Common counted cross stitch fabrics don’t usually suffice in this regard.
The thread used for Schwalm is coton a broder in various sizes (depending on the part of the motif being worked and the thread count of the linen). Coton a broder is a non-divisible thread, not to be confused with regular stranded embroidery floss. It’s somewhat difficult to find in the US, but Lacis does carry a good range of these whitework threads.
If you’re interested in Luzine Happel’s Schwalm books, the best way to acquire them is to drop her an e-mail. To my knowledge, she doesn’t have a website, but she does take orders via e-mail. You can contact her at leuchtbergverlag (at) aol (dot) com.
Thanks, Jana, for sharing your Schwalm table runner! It’s stunning and inspiring. Nothing like a little burst of beauty and inspiration to start the day!