Sunday, August 8, 2010

An Attempt at German Schwalm Embroidery

Yesterday I attended the most wonderful needlework class (The Princess Pillow) by Phyllis Maurer of Ethnic Fiber Art. This class was such a treat - I have known Phyllis for years and it was a pleasure to be in her class - she is such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cultural needlework and history - and she definitely honors tradition with her lessons, materials, and projects. I found I truly enjoyed learning about and practicing the techniques of German Schwalm Embroidery. I actually got quite a bit done in class and felt surprisingly comfortable. We started with the large heart (frequently used in Schwalm) - doing the inner border of chain stitch, followed by a row of coral knots (love these now that I received Phyllis's instruction), followed by another row of chain stitch...we then moved on to working a couple flower buds with a combination of straight stitches and buttonhole stitches. A distinctive identifier of this type of embroidery is the combination of chain stitches and coral knots adjacent to each other - so she made sure we understood these in class. While Phyllis spoke about the other types of stitches/filling patterns and others were still perfecting their chain stitches and coral knots, I worked ahead and started pulling threads for the open darning filling. I am definitely looking forward to working more on this project in the future - someday when I can make the time. It was refreshing to learn a new technique from a knowledgeable and detailed teacher. You can see a closeup of my class piece to the right...and a photo of my project in the hoop/dressing with my instruction manual below. Phyllis is getting ready to retire from teaching (to focus on her research and personal projects) so, if she is going to be in your area, make sure to check her out while you still can - you will be happy you did! -she also has a wonderful website where you can see many samples of her work and purchase her books, instructions, and kits....she is also introducing an EGA correspondence course on Swedish Naversom later this year. Although it was a little bit of a stretch for me to take the day away from work, I sure am glad I did! Take a little time to try something new...


  1. How cool is that? I don't even know what a coral knot is. lol! Glad you had fun at the class. It's always good to take a break and learn something different!

  2. How refreshing it is to learn something new from a teacher you enjoy. I am sure the break, though sometimes not the best in timing, was needed and will do you wonders! We all need a break and you certainly deserve it!

  3. I have never heard of this type of embroidery, but it looks very pretty. It is fun to learn techniques especially when you have a good teacher!