Schwalm Embroidery and Crazy Quilting

It’s a good thing photos have a date on them! This has made it easier for me to find the work completed in the last 2 years, to add to this blog.

I follow Mary Corbet’s blog,   It is a good source of information.  In 2009 Mary reviewed Luzine Happel’s  book ‘Basic Principles of Schwalm Whitework’.   I had been looking at different types of whitework for a while, and had tried Mountmellick.  The the idea of drawing out threads grabbed me.  The book (and several others that are available from Luzine) has been translated into English, so I sent for it.  I got impatient waiting, as the book was damaged and returned to sender, so I started this piece while I was waiting.  And of course there aspects of it that are far from correct, but nevertheless  I am pleased with it.




In fact, so pleased with it that I could not just consign it to the drawer where so many other pieces of complete work hide.  For some time I had the urge to make a Hussif,  so I looked on Pinterest for ideas, and this is what I came up with.





When the book arrived, I found it absorbing.  I had also been looking at Luzine Happel’s blog, where she shares so much information about Schwalm.  Schwalm is traditionally done using linen, so I had bought some linen offcuts for practice pieces, and a larger piece to make something more substantial.  I can now understand Mary Corbet’s love of linen for embroidery.  I would recommend both of these blogs.

In order to get more practice, I decided to make a sampler.  I planned blocks, and I also wanted to practice different edges.  As a result of using Pinterest I discovered how useful Youtube can be.  By following links I found a number of tutorials and spent many hours watching video tutorials for all sorts of things.  I particularly like the picot hem which is on the right hand side and the bottom edge. I found it easy to do and love the way it lies flat, as there are only two thicknesses of fabric, and many hems have three. The corner was not difficult to do.  Some of the blocks are from the book, others from the blog.


Schwalm sampler

Schwalm sampler


My next Schwalm was a pair of mats, again using linen offcuts  I found these on Luzine Happel’s blog.


Sunflower mats

Sunflower mats

I used different filling stitches in the middle, although when I stand something on the mats the centres are not really seen.  I still intend doing a larger piece of Schwalm, but it is still very much in the planning stage.



I also became fascinated by Crazy Quilting.  I like to work to a plan, as with the Schwalm embroidery, but also enjoy a piece where  I can make things up as I go along, and meander.  It is a good way of using fabrics and threads from my stash.

Again I made use of Pinterest, and followed links to find the information which helped me.  I also downloaded ‘The Art of Crazy Quilting’ by J. Marsha Michler from Amazon’s Kindle shop. It is just a booklet really, but as it is full colour, and easy to look at on a computer or tablet, it is well worth the 99p I paid for it.

Here is the first cushion.




While I was stitching I was enjoying it so much that when I went to buy the edging and the inner I bought enough for another one.  I knew to expect some shrinkage when stitching these, so I waited until first one was done, and measured it before buying the inners.

The second one was in a different colour scheme.


Ealry stage

Early stage


Here it is when I was just laying the fabric on the backing fabric.  There are different techniques which can be used to assemble crazy quilting, but this is the one which suits me.  When I am happy with the layout, I photograph it, then tack the pieces into position, with a narrow turn-under if on raw edges, making sure that there are no gaps. When this is done I stitch all round the outer edge with a sewing machine and trim off the excess fabric to about 1/4″ from the stitching.  There is no reason why more should not be added later if you wish.  What I like about crazy quilting is that there are no hard-and-fast rules, and if something doesn’t work there is always a remedy to be found.

Here is the finished cushion.




And here are a few close-ups of my favourite bits.




The blue one has a lot of buttons, and I also took the opportunity to use up some variegated threads



Here I have done some applique.   Some of the pieces of fabric are experimental or sample pieces. The flowery piece at the right is from when I attended a Textiles class, and experimented with painting on fabric.




Some scraps of guipure lace embellished with beads.  The lace below it is just caught down with stab stitch at the bottom edge, so that it didn’t flap about.




Another variegated thread and another way of stitching the lace edge.


My large project as about half done now, and the first two posts should be ready soon


Happy Easter to you all




March 26, 2016. Tags: . Crazy Patchwork, Drawn thread, Embroidery, Schwalm. Leave a comment.