Embroidering huck toweling (also called Swedish Weaving) produces beautiful, intricate-looking detail on useful kitchen towels. It is also very simple…. and because the needle used is blunt – relatively painless!
Today’s post was to be a tutorial, but is more a discussion on how Huck Embroidery can be accomplished. I hope it inspires some to try Huck Embroidery.
- Huck Toweling (about 3/4 yard) – Hem the ends.
- Large Blunt Needle (darning or counted cross stitch needles work well)
- Embroidery Floss or Pearl Cotton (crochet cotton) in desired colors
The best options for patterns for Huck Embroidery are simply a good quality photo of an existing design. There are many on the web. There are also graphs for more complex designs – an example can be found here.
A towel made several years ago serves as a pattern. Its design is quite simple and will be used here. The yellow threads in the center will be the starting threads.
HUCK TOWELING FLOATS??
Huck Toweling has raised threads called “floats” as a result of its weave. Take a minute to took at the design in the floats (Photo 1). Floats from every other row line up in vertical columns.
Looking closely at the yellow threads in the design pattern, it can be determined that they follow a basic stitch pattern.
That pattern is: Stitch 4 straight floats, then move needle “over and up” and stitch 4 or 8 more straight floats – and repeat. This basic stitch is illustrated in Photo 2.
This is an “Over 1, Up 2” design.
“Over 1” is a simple way of remembering to move the needle one full column to the left. “Up 2” refers to moving needle up 2 rows.
So the next stitch would occur at the float that is “Over 1 and up 2” from the last stitch.
(Please note that in Huck Towel work, “a row” is a full row – in Photos 1 and 2 that would be from one green dot row to the next green dot row or from a pink dot row to the next pink dot row. Moving from a green row to the adjacent pink row is considered a half-row.)
Using red thread, a practice Row 1 was completed and compared to the original design (lower yellow row) to determine if revisions were needed.
The pin in the picture is marking the design and towel center.
After practice, comes the real thing.
Another thing about Huck Towel embroidery – no knots! Scroll down for more on that subject.
Using a piece of thread about 4 times longer than the towel is wide, pull it through a design float somewhere near the pin (marking design and towel center) to its halfway point. Work design row from center to one edge, then go back and work design from center to other edge. Repeat for other yellow row.
Then with second color, embroider floats immediately adjacent to the yellow. It is very difficult to make a mistake once Row 1 is completed. All subsequent row stitch and float counts are defined by Row 1.
Then stitch the third and fourth colors. Note the little “Over none, Up 1” bump in Row 3. They add more visual interest! Row 4 just falls into place!
After completing all 5 colors, you should be in love with the way the colors seem to blend together – and be very comfortable with “ups and overs”.
Prior to starting the border rows, look carefully at the design photo. While the border counts vary in both “ups and overs” and straight runs from the design counts – the finished detail is worth having to pay attention!!
Huck Towel Embroidery is Knot-Free.
The photo to the right shows the back of the towel – nary a knot in sight!
This stitcher’s trick is also quite simple.
Should a piece of thread be too short to finish a row, end at a straight run as shown. Thread needle with a new piece of thread and stitch through same straight run of floats.
This will create two “tails” at the straight run. Continue stitching design for several inches prior to cutting thread tails.
The double threads in the straight run will be all but impossible to find when the towel design is complete.
To avoid knots on towel edges, when a row is complete, pass thread back through last 5 – 10 stitches to secure (skipping outermost float or stitching will pull out).
TENSION: Don’t be tense!
Huck Toweling makes is easy to create very intricate stitch patterns – but it is important that the threads not be pulled too tight.
Pulling too tight will cause puckers.
As long as the towel lies flat – its perfect!