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Wednesday, February 17, 2016


On the Saturday after  my week at the beach in late January, I attended a Guild workshop for the Certificate Course. These run once a month and are open to all Guild members. They are very popular. Certificate students get priority for teacher time but the rest of us learn heaps and have a terrific time. There is a sense of purpose and shared interest.
This class was on Schwalm embroidery, a whitework technique developed and practised from the 18th century in the Schwalm Region of Germany, north-east of Marburg. In German it is called Schwalmer Weisstrickerel - white stitching from the Schwalm. 

Christine Bishop, our tutor and the organiser of the Guild's Certificate Course, has written an authoritive book on Schwalm, Bishop, Christine. Schwalm Embroidery, Techniques and Designs (1743). Australia: Sally Milner Publishing Pty Ltd, 2008.
As usual, Christine had prepared kits for the class - a simple design on 30 count Belgian linen providing for several stitches, that could be practised and mastered in the workshop. Each stitch is clearly explained and illustrated in the notes then demonstrated as many times as needed by Christine in class. She is a great teacher - no nonsense, direct, clear as a bell, alert, observant, focused and flexible.                                                                                      
Also as usual, I came away with a project well advanced, knowing what to do next, motivated and relaxed. 
At home I finished stitching the design within days and moved to construction, removing threads from the border and marking the outer edges as per the instructions, tacking then stitching.

On a project like this I find myself once again attracted to counted, and particularly to drawn, thread work. The precision is so satisfying and the effects so pleasing. The design is large enough to see with minimum magnification - and the piece small enough to be achievable.

The process of creating the frame in stitch has its own logic that keeps me going to finish. The fabric demands to be folded and secured.

I've always loved hemstitching - although it is many years since I have done much. 

It is not only relaxing, but immensely satisfying and somehow appropriate - fitting for the task and tidy.

The project was designed as either a mat or a little pillow. I chose the option of a lavender pillow.

I stuffed the pillow with fibre-fill and added some lavender. It looks and smells lovely.


margaret said...

such a pretty pillow and the schwalm work is beautifully done, how lucky to be on a Christine Bishop class I do have the book needless to say so far have not done any schwam work though

Jillian said...

Thanks Margaret. Yes, I am very fortunate. Christine is a really good teacher. I'm sure you'll be good at it when you get around to it.

Jillian Cheek said...

I love that!

Jillian said...

Thanks Jill. It was very satisfying and pleasing to do. xx

Monica said...

Both Schwalm and Hardanger are high on my list of things I'd like to spend more time on. This is a lovely design, and you did a beautiful job with it. Great finish!

Jillian said...

Thanks Monica. I'm hoping for more classes in Schwalm and Hedebo - with projects small enough to finish!

Lyn Warner said...

Lovely to learn a new technique and make a pretty little item that will be useful. I have some old Burda patterns for Schwalm tablecloths that I would love to do one day.

Jillian said...

That's interesting, Lyn. I didn't know Burda included embroidery in their patterns. I have a couple of dress patterns from the 70s that included yokes embroidered with colourful for designs. I made and wor them at the time . Alas, the patterns are no longer the right size!