Foto Lucas Gölén from the book “Yllebroderier

Ever since I’ve discovered Hallandssöm last week, I’ve been exploring the world of Swedish embroidery.  Thanks to very helpful reader M. I spent more time on the internet than with my family last week. She sent me a wealth of information and links to explore the many talented brodös, which is Swedish for embroiderer.

Yllebroderi, or in English: wool embroidery dates back to the 17th and 18th century,  a time, when Mary Delaney created her wonderful botanical compositions of hand cut flowers all mounted on black background. When I saw yllebroderi for the first time I was instantly reminded of her botanicals, even though the nature of her work is quite different.

Hemslöjdens Förlag in Sweden publishes beautiful craft books including this one: Brodera på ylle.

and also this one: Yllebroderier (see close up at top images):

On my Scandinavian internet journey, I also discovered Frida Arnqvist Engström, who writes the interesting blog Kurbits, covering embroidery, arts and crafts.

Lina Holm offers wool embroidered accessories translating traditional designs into modern accessories.

And here are more craft/art/embroidery blogs (all in Swedish). WARNING: Don’t visit, if you have any plans for the day.


As for my own experimentation with wool embroidery, I decided to make coasters experimenting with wool, which is completely impractical and was prone to fail. And fail it did.

What I discovered it that counting and making a precise pattern is not what I like doing. It worked when creating the initial sample for the fabric manipulation, because at that time it was a brand new challenge. Subsequently I saw myself creating many beautiful designs and projects using Hallandssöm.

Reality looked more like this: Yes, the pattern is still great, but I discovered that I didn’t like to do this this kind of “almost thread count”. It usually happens that the “figuring-out-part” is what interests me and after that’s done, my interest wanes. Or better yet, it pops, just like a balloon. Not that I don’t appreciate the technique and the end result, but it’ll end up in my “future projects bin”.

Small scale free hand embroideries are next on my list.

I secretly hope to discover one day a technique/theme/material that ignites my passions so strongly, that I would explore in great depth and detail.

But, I’ll be patient; after all Mary crafted her whole life before she “discovered” collage at the age of 72.

Till then, more ideas, more experiments, more wandering.

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13 Responses to “Yllebroderi”

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  1. Fiona says:

    Lovely photos and fantastic inspiration, Kathrin. Thank you! I just clicked on the links but I have to work now so I’m going to savour them through the day as I stop for cups of tea. I’m hoping this will spur me to work fast so I can look at the next page! And thank you so much for the post on Mary Delany. I was immediately fascinated by her story and the amazing artwork, and thrilled to find they had a copy at our library! I’m enjoying it immensely and have ordered a few copies for friends with birthdays coming up soon! I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Mary Delany til now. But very glad that now I have, and I’m not even 72 yet! Maybe some of us don’t ever find that one thing that ignites the creative spark and binds us to it solely and completely? But is that such a bad thing, I wonder? I think of creativity as a kind of play and I think it’s alright to be obsessed by different things at different times, and always to be discovering new things is so exciting. Just to keep approaching the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity and openness is the key.
    Thanks again Kathrin. I really love your blog. fiona x

  2. Thea says:

    hur vacker :)

    how beautiful!

  3. Lucy says:

    Das sind ja tolle Sachen – Danke für die Links (beim dritten Link ist eine falsche URL hinterlegt, aber man kann die Adresse ja lesen). Überraschend, wie ähnlich doch im Grunde die schwedischen und die süd-osteuropäischen Stickereien sind. Rot und bunt auf schwarz. (und ich könnte mich nie auf nur eine Sache beschränken und will das nicht als Nachteil ansehen).
    viele Grüße! Lucy

  4. Stefania says:

    Hochinteressant, diese Deine Nachforschungen! Wie ich ueberhaupt Deinen Blog sehr an-und aufregend finde!! Wahlverwandschaften : ) http://manufacta-est.blogspot.de/search/label/ricamo

  5. kathrin says:

    Thanks so much Fiona! Very much appreciate your your kind words and visiting here.

  6. Sarah says:

    These are great sources! I’ve been wanting to explore some motifs like these for a project and now I know where to look. Thanks!

  7. Kathrin says:

    Das Kompliment kann ich nur zurueckgeben. Deine Stick-Kunst-Handwerke sind absolut fantastisch und einzigartig und dein Blog voll von interessanten Eintraegen.

  8. waltraut says:

    This Yllebroderie looks to me like crewel work? Wool embroidery on linen or wollen fabric. Like the carpet of Bayeux. I have an old embroidery book by Erica Wilson translated in German where this kind of embroidery is called Krüwell-Stickerei.

  9. Kay says:

    I completely get what you mean when you say the balloon pops. It happens to me all the time. I am curious and once I figure how it’s done, I move on. So there are tons of ‘will do someday projects’ based on all that I’ve learnt. I used to worry about not going in-depth into things or not completing anything. And then I read Barbara Sher’s books – and realized that tons of people do it and it’s perfectly normal. She had a lovely quote about it – “You wouldn’t judge a bee for leaving the flower, after it gets the nectar, would you? Of course not. It got what it came for, why on earth would it stick around?” :)

  10. suschna says:

    Thank you for the insight from another bee, somewhat uneasy because of losing interest so fast.

  11. Thank you for this post! It photos are so beautiful and the links are great


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