Swedish Weaving

Huck or Swedish Weaving is a surface embroidery where the floss/yarn is woven under the top threads of the fabric "floats". Rarely does the floss penetrate to the wrong side of the fabric. Traditionally huck toweling has been used because of its convenient floats. Now, Monk's Cloth has become popular for making afghans, baby blankets, pillows, and even tote bags. Aida cloth can be used as well as most pre-finished items used for cross stitch such as towels, bookmarks, and baby bibs.

When working on Monk's cloth, which is approximately 8 squares per inch or 4 floats, with yarn, you may use a size #16 or #13 tapestry needle as well as the special bodkin and weaving needles they now have out. For stitching on smaller fabric though, use a blunt tapestry needle, such as when working with cross stitch. Make sure the needle easily moves under the floats of the fabric you wish to use. I have found that on the Ribband bookmarks, I must use a size #26 needle, but on fingertip towels, a size #24 works well. Both claim to be 14 count, but in actuality, the bookmark is closer to 16 ct and the towel more like 12 or 13 count. The tightness of the fabric weave will also determine how easily a needle will slip under the floats.

All the patterns here can be converted to larger fabrics. For a guide, the Ribband bookmark has only 26 rows of floats. Fingertip towels generally have 30 rows, and kitchen towels, 40 rows.

On the Ribband Bookmarks, I used a maximum of 3 strands of floss. For towels, use 4 to 6 strands of floss or 1 to 2 strands of #5 pearl cotton. I've tried all approaches on towels and each has its appeal.

For Monk's Cloth, substitute worsted weight yarn. Red Hearts baby sport is almost as thick as worsted weight and it has the shiny pompador effect. I've made a baby blanket on white monk's cloth with the Baby Sport and finished it with satin binding.

Also Monk's Cloth will make a nice tote bag. Tote bags can also be made of huck toweling. (I will attempt to get the images up, but cannot offer the huck patterns for these as they are someone else's designs.)

When working on Monk's Cloth, weave from the middle out and then go back to weave the second half of the yarn in the opposite direction. Monk's cloth has such a loose weave to the fabric that it will distort if you go from one side to the other on a project as large as a blanket. Also, Monk's Cloth should always be zig-zagged to prevent ravelling and THEN washed BEFORE stitching. It will shrink quite a bit.

Ending Threads.

There are several ways to begin and end your threads. The first is to weave all the way to the edge, and then stitch them into the seam of your project if it is a bag, or under the binding of your blanket. As with the bookmarks I left the ends. Then I machine stitched across the end of the design, and the raveled the edges up to the machine stitching. Because I'm paranoid, I also added a drop of fray-check at each corner where I stopped raveling.

A way of ending threads which will work on any project is to loop over the last float and reweave the thread under several floats in the opposite direction. Then cut close to the fabric. A dot of fray-check may be applied at these points, especially if the item is to be handled and washed.

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