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Swedish Weaving

Swedish Weaving

Swedish Weaving was popular in the 1930's and 1940's in the United States.  I recently came across a towel my Grandma stitched with Swedish Weaving.  She was a young woman in the 30's and 40's.  Swedish Weaving is also known as Huck Weaving, Huck Embroidery, Huckabuck, or just plan Huck.  It is a technique of sewing that is done on one side of the fabric.  The needle never pierces the fabric.  Huck fabrics have a thread called a "float" that is prominent on the fabric, and you "pick up" the floats with your needle and floss, which means you stitch under these floats, to make your design.  Swedish Weaving is used to embellish things like towels, aprons, curtains, table cloths, pillows, placemats, table runners,  and just about any other house hold item.  You can make beautiful Afghans with Monks cloth and Swedish Weaving.   No one is completely sure how the Swedish got credit for the technique, but they apparently used the form of decoration often enough to have lots of linens, and fabric still around today with the Swedish Weaving decoration on them.  Swedish Weaving is an easy, quick way to decorate fabric.  It is very relaxing, fun, and is great for people that are into instant gratification when working a project, rather than tedious work necessary for difficult designs.

This project was done on Driftwood Stockholm fabric using Caron Collection Wildflowers and Impressions floss.

Fabric for Swedish Weaving.  There are several fabrics that lend themselves well to the Swedish Weaving, Huck Embroidery  techniques.  Huck embroidery is generally done on the BACK of a fabric, where the double floats are or the rougher side of the fabric.

Huck fabric is aptly named and used frequently for Huck stitching.  It is relatively inexpensive and is similar in look to Aida fabric and is a 14 count even weave.  It's durable made of 100% cotton.  Pearl cotton floss is generally used to stitch on Huck fabric.  I personally love Caron Collection Impressions and Wildflowers floss for stitching my Huck designs.  Impressions is  a 50/50 % wool, silk blend and is so soft.  Wildflowers is  a single stranded, hand dyed cotton floss.  

Monks Cloth is also excellent for Swedish Weaving.  It is a 7 count even weave, made of 100% cotton.  Monks Cloth has floats both vertically and horizontally, so you can work your designs both directions.  Monks Cloth shrinks quite a bit, so it  must be preparedbefore stitching.  You must first surge the edges of the fabric with a sewing machine.  Then wash the fabric in warm water and dry in the dryer.  Monks cloth is perfect for table linens, placemats, huge soft afghans, etc.  Yarn is frequently used to stitch on Monks cloth, but I prefer to use Caron Collection Watercolours floss, which is a similar weight as yarn, but much better quality.  It is a 3 ply Pima cotton.  It is smooth and luxurious to stitch with.  With it's variegated colors it is sure to add character and dimension to your projects.

This is a project my Grandmother did in the 1940's I believe.  It is a Huck fabric.

Stockholm fabric (Gerstenkorn), also referred to as Popcorn Fabric,  is the most fancy fabric for Swedish Weaving, Huck Embroidery.  It has a very unique design on the front.  Huck embroidery is done on the back of fabric where the vertical floats are.   Stockholm is a  7.5 count fabric, made from 100% cotton.  It is very soft and drapes nicely.  It is perfect for pillows, table linens, etc.

Even weave fabric.  You can also use the Swedish Weaving, Huck Embroidery technique on any even weave fabric, like Aida.  However, the fabrics I have already mentioned above, (Huck, Monks Cloth, and Stockholm), are the best fabrics to use because they are designed for Swedish Weaving. 

Supplies you will need.  The size of needle you will need depends on the fabric and floss  you choose to stitch with.  Pearl cotton generally uses an embroidery or tapestry needle size 22, 24, 26 or 28.  24 will usually work well for most projects with pearl cotton floss.   If you use yarn or Caron Watercolours floss on Monks cloth,  you will need a needle called a Bodkin or Weaving needle.  You will want a pair of sharp embroidery scissors. 

Stitching techniques.  You most often start your design in the center of the row you are working to make sure it is centered correctly on the fabric and stitch out to the edges of the fabric each direction.  This also reduces wear and tear on the floss.  As in most embroidery, there are no knots when you reach the end of your thread.  You will either run the end of the thread back under the floats to tie it off, or if you chose to have a frilly end on your project, you will leave a tail sticking out off the end of the fabric.   You will want to use a piece of floss long enough for the row you are working on so you don't have to start another floss.  This takes some simple estimation and a little practice. 

Monks Cloth patterns.  If you have ever used a sewing needle, you can capable of sewing monks cloth designs.  Most of the Monks Cloth pattern book include detailed instructions on the technique.  You will need a needle called a Bodkin Weaving needle for stitching on Monks cloth.  You can also use a large tapestry needle, size 22.   You can use yarn to stitch with or my favorite, Watercolours floss by Caron. 

Swedish Weaving patterns.  There are many Swedish Weaving, Huck Embroidery patterns and books to choose from.  You can also easily come up with your own designs as you learn to weave.  It is really simple and fun.  Play around with it and see what you can come up with.