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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Early Schwalm Whitework by Luzine Happel,a Book Review

Yesterday,I received  a copy of "Early Schwalm Whitework" . The author is Luzine Happel who has earlier self published several books on Schwalm Whitework . I had reviewed her Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework and had even started off the project based on her book.You can read about it here and here.

Now, you may wonder - if she has written a book on basic principles,then why another book on early Schwalm Whitework ? That's because,while present day Schwalm Whitework is a drawn thread method,the early Schwalm was a surface embroidery method.Its origins were during the mid-1700s. Pretty old,right? Schwalm whitework uses coral stitch for outline and the surface resembles a lace,whereas early Schwalm is stitched with stem stitches ,different weaving techniques,interlaced stitches and lattice work.If you want to know more about Scwalm whitework check out this Essay on Scwalm at Heritage Shoppe.

Interestingly when I googled "Early Schwalm Whitework", the only links I could find were to Luzine's own web page where she gives us a bit of history and another link to Schwalm page of Nordic needle which tells us that it is difficult to find the early examples of Schwalm. What does that mean? - It means that currently this book is the one and only one of its kind and so this is the definitive guide on an 18th century technique.

Let me show you a bit of this book.The original book is in German. The English version has been edited by Joey Colbert.As with all of Luzine's books, this too is a self published book with a plastic comb which makes it very convenient to use.It is printed in color and has about 95 pages of instructions alone.(Click on the photos for better view)

The pattern seen on the cover is one of the elements you'll learn to stitch using this book.

The book starts with a picture of Early Schwalm work and its history.If you're keen to work on this design,a pattern is provided at the end of the book.
 The instructions in the book are based on elements in the pattern above which is  a rather long one.In another part of the book Luzine shows the complete worked design.

Every stitch has been explained in a detailed way with lots of pictures.There are quite a lot of grid based weaving and interlacing involved.And it would require a certain amount of reading ,concentration and practice to stitch up some of the designs.

Since there is lot of grid work involve,Luzine has provided assistance tools at the end of the book,which are basically graphs that you can align with the pattern and draw.

(Blogger is turning out to be a nuisance,it is rotating my pictures without asking me ..grrr)

Surprisingly,it is after all the instructions that Luzine tells us about the materials required and lo and behold,the table of contents appears at the end. For this type of embroidery,the coarse linen with low thread count is not suitable ,only very fine linen would do.

The table of contents is rather descriptive,since each type of method has several variations.Towards the end of the book you'll find about 7 transparent sheets with  design outlines that you can use.These are the motifs that have been explained in the book.

The book is about 32.71 Euro for buyers outside Europe.It may seem expensive,but for the one and only one book(as far as I know) I think it is worth a one time investment .It has to be ordered from Germany directly from Luzine .You can contact Luzine directly for the book and she will send you a Paypal invoice  Her e-mail is leuchtbergverlag [at] aol [dot] com.

So, what do you think? Worth going for? I think this is a book that deserves to be in an embroiderer's library.Since the book was originally in German, the English translation seems to be a little tough to read and understand and there's a lot to read,but the pictures make up for  the lack of fluency.

Last year ,I had purchased some Linen from a local store - I need to check it out to see if I can try a design from this book.We usually do not get the kind of linen used for Schwalm locally,so my attempt may be just a trial to see if the local linen works or not.

Love,luck and sunshine,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Embroidering a rose-a different attempt

Back to kitchen towel experiments!!
On the same kitchen towel where I tried these Anthuriums , I stitched a  rose.

Not the typical outlining alone,neither the usual filling stitches.Click on the pics to see it better.A lot of straight stitches and a little weaving in between with the final outline in blanket stitch.

Plenty of scope for improvement .Some of the straight stitches are not pulled tight and at some parts the blanket stitch outline is pulled too tight. 

I am not sure if the straight stitches would withstand washing.
I am off to give the rose a bath.

Love,luck and sunshine,

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Flowers and more..

Some of you may remember that quite a while back I had reviewed Diana Lampe's Embroidery for all Seasons . You can read the review here.
At that time I had hoped that I would be stitching something from it soon. And Iam still waiting that glorious moment when I'll stitch up atleast one complete project from that book.
Since a complete project may take some while, I decided to attempt some of the flowers from the sampler.

 I tried the Achillea 'Cerise Queen',and Agapanthus(both green and blue).Several french knots,bullions and fly stitches here.Since I've not used rayon threads,these cannot be Brazilian embroidery. We can call them dimensional embroidery though.

And then added tiny flowers
Alyssum(violet and white) and Autumn Crocus(yellow).More french knots and lazy daisies.

By the way, did you notice? -All flowers start with the letter A :) 
Meri of agulhas da Meri had generously gifted me a Viana embroidery magazine .This pattern is from there.Viana embroidery is usually stitched with red or blue perl 8 thread in  Linen/cotton. That's why the red color for the alphabets :) Thanks once again Meri..those books are precious to me.
Then my daughter contributed. She drew someone and I stitched him :)

Hola..Iam an ant (just in case you think otherwise)

Hope you enjoyed today's alphabet!
Love,luck and sunshine,

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Storing stitch samples

The other day I was going through my old tutorials for compiling them into a single page under the title "Embroidery tutorials" and it struck me that I've not shown you how I store my stitch samples.Many a times I've seen  stitchers converting their samples to fabric books or quilting them into blocks . I've often wished to do the same. May be one day,I will :)
But till then,I need to keep them intact and for reference.

How do I do that?

My storage is a refillable display book with pockets.It is similar to a photo album,but the pages are A4 size.I've had it with me ever since I started blogging and it currently holds almost all the bits and pieces I've stitched till now.

Each page can hold two A4 size samples on either side. Let me show you some of the contents.
Here is my Kutch work sampler .The book is spiral bound and hence can be kept flat open without any trouble at all.
Then comes my Chemanthy and its variations and Kamal Kadai samples.The photos are a bit blurred because of the plastic encasing.
My Pachis work piece and its variations. Never got around to doing more of this

My stitch study sampler with notes on each stitch.These were a bunch of stitches which are not commonly used.
My bullion stitch sampler in Brazilian embroidery which put me in a bit of trouble at one point.

Another Brazilian embroidery piece called "Golden showers" which I stitched for a BE  group.

So,that's how I store my embroidery bits.Infact these are just some of the pieces in my display book .There are still some pages left ,but that may get filled soon.With this way of storing ,I can keep all my samples in one place rather than having them here and there.
How do you store your li'l bits of embroidery? Does anyone use this method? Or is there some better way to keep them ?

Do let me know through your comments,
Love,luck and sunshine,