This weekend another chapter was added to my pursuit of learning Appenzeller whitework. Let me introduce you to the Möggler. The Möggler is a filling stitch used in drawn thread work. As always, cutting out threads makes your fabric weaker and is therefore left till the end. In this particular case it meant that I had to finish all the Blatten areas (padded satin stitch), seeding and my Löchli (eyelets).
And then disaster struck. Had I only paid head to Trish's good advice: Embroidery forever, housework whenever. I made a wrong move whilst cleaning the bathroom and since then my left shoulder has been sore. It is getting better, but I can't use my left arm for longer than about 30 mins. when stitching. Oh, pooh.
This meant that the above is not perfect as I simply didn't have the time to take stitched areas out that weren't up to my usual standard. On the other hand, this is a sampler and a lot of the designs have repetitive areas. So I just strived to do better on the next element. And I can see myself progress nicely in this particular part.
The other thing I had to come to terms with was the Spengen (padding). The Appenzeller way of padding is a really wild one. Or that's at least how I perceive it. For starters, there is no split stitching the contours of the element you want to pad. Then there are no neat alternating layers of satin stitches. The embroideress just bangs in stitches until she has reached a satisfactory amount of padding. In the process, she takes care to have only a minimum amount of thread on the back (this saves thread when adding the satin stitches as they have to go around less 'bulk' on the back). This was not for me. As, due to an eye condition, I live in a 2D world, I have no way of telling when this 'satisfactory amount of padding is reached' and, more importantly, if the result is even. No even amount of padding, no smooth satin stitching on top. So, I reverted back to the 'orderly' way of padding and am a much happier bunny now.
What did I add? Four areas of drawn thread work in the tulip-like flower heads. For each tiny area, I cut two threads and left three threads standing. In both directions. Every other 'hole' was filled with a Möggler using a thread approximately half the thickness of the thread used for the satin stitches. As the filling area is of irregular shape, it was a bit of a puzzle to put my Möggler in. And as the final flower head was worked at the end of the day with the light fading, I will have to do it again sometime in the future.
In two weeks' time, I will attend a four-day course with Verena in Appenzell. I've decided to focus more on these filling stitches. Using them in tiny irregular spaces was a big challenge as you never come into a comfortable rhythm. So next time, I will start a sampler with neat rectangles.
Want to try your hand at the Möggler? Have a look at Luzine Happel's website on Schwalm embroidery. The same stitch is known as Rosenstich in Schwalm whitework and is also used in Hardanger embroidery. Here is the step by step explanation in german and in english.
And for those of you coming to visit, you are now greeted by a shining sign. Hope to see you soon!
Jessica dat ziet er fantastisch uit! Petje af wat kan jij toch mooi borduren.
Dank je wel, Mabel. Nog even en je kan het live bewonderen.
Oh, I hope your arm is well on the way to recovery! I love this piece, it is really gorgeous - you must be really looking forward to your class in a couple of weeks! Thanks for the different idea of padding too - I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with it either, but I might give it a go!
Yes, Catherine, it is a really interesting way of achieving hight. After a couple of random stitches, they start to change the angle of their stitches and then tuck the needle in under the previous stitches. This bundels the stitches and pushes them up. It goes much quicker than the orderly method and seems to use less thread. Important in the olden days as thread was money!
Ahhh ha ha ha!! Your description of the Appenzeller method of padding stitches had me rolling!
Always glad to make people laugh, Liz! You should see them do this padding. They just wack these stitches in so fast and yet so accurate. Could never do that with my set of eyes. However, I found that I am pretty good at needle painting from a picture. Turning 2D into 2D seems to work fine for me!
Hi Jessica, it must have been a surprise to see the padding method for the satin stitches. Satin stitch is usually so laborious and done so carefully but the finished Appenzell work is beautiful. I wonder whether Appenzell embroiderers have ever used goat or sheep fibres to pad their satin stitch. Then again, those fibres wouldn't be fine enough.
Hmm, I don't think so Catherine. At least I haven't seen any examples of it. Sometimes, they did use a very different thread to do the padding. A brownish one. Quite daring when you satin stitch with light blue on top. However, they were given a very exact amount of thread to do all the stitching and had to be very economical whilst stitching. I imagine that when things went wrong, they had to substitute with whatever was available.
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