Huck How-To

Embroidered Huck Towel - Front

Embroidered Huck Towel

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.

Pattern - an existing design

Pattern – an existing design

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 Towel Weave with Rows of Floats Highlighted

Photo 1:  Huck Towel Weave with Rows of Floats Highlighted

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.

Photo 2: Basic Pattern

Photo 2: Basic Patter

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.)

Photo 3:  Practicing the first row.

Photo 3: Practicing the first 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.

Photo 4: Two colors completed.

Photo 4: Two colors completed.

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.

Photo 5:  Subsequent rows and colors just fall into place!

Photo 5: Subsequent rows and colors just fall into place!

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!

Photo 6:  Border and Design Detail

Photo 6: Border and Design Detail

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!!

Back of Towel - Knot Free!

Back of Towel – Knot Free!


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.

Oh, No!  I ran out of thread!

Oh, No! I ran out of thread! Part 1.

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.

Oh No!  I ran out of thread.  Part 2.

Oh No! I ran out of thread. Part 2.

This will create two “tails” at the straight run.  Continue stitching design for several inches prior to cutting thread tails.

Stitch several inches prior to cutting tails.

Stitch several inches prior to cutting 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.

Tension:  Pucker and Perfect

Tension: Pucker and Perfect

Pulling too tight will cause puckers.

As long as the towel lies flat – its perfect!

This entry was posted in Home Decor, Huck Towel, Sewing, Stash Couture, Tutorial and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Huck How-To

  1. Maria Aguilar says:

    I would like to purchase a copy of the other pattern that you feature in this article. If not can you give me the name of the pattern and of which book you found it. Thank you very much.

  2. The Huck designs in this post are both the same. They are done in different colorways, but the pattern is the same. The large picture (Pattern) shows the pattern in the brown/yellow/black colorway – the picture at the top of the post and Photo 6 is the same pattern in a pink/brown colorway.
    Interesting how just slight changes in the color can change how the pattern looks!

  3. Pingback: Huck Towel Graph | The Destashification Project

  4. Beulah says:

    I don’t know how I have missed your site all these years. You really have some beautiful towels. Thanks for posting and I have added my email for subscription.

    • Thank you for this gracious sentiment. The huck embroidery used on the towels is quite addictive! I just love the way the color-blending fools the eye!

    • I also enjoy doing a variety of patterns on Huck Toweling. I have made several and especially enjoy doing the more complicated ones. I can usually finish a towel in an couple of evening while I am watching TV. This is a craft which can fit in your purse and you can work on it where ever you go.
      I look forward to more updates.

  5. Dawn Bowar says:

    You do beautiful work. It is just amazing how the same pattern can look so different.

    Thank You for sharing.


  6. Pingback: Destashification Christmas: Day Six – Huck Towels | The Destashification Project

  7. nannysc says:

    Thank you so much! I am thrilled to have found this!

  8. Sharon says:

    Finally I found this. I needed it to show how to do it. It is very understandable. Thank you so much.

  9. Pingback: Huck Arizona Pine Trees and Snowflakes | The Destashification Project

  10. Pingback: Showcasing your Findings: How to Share the Learning Process with the Audience | Text and Textiles: Crafting the Lives of Guy and Irene Buzzard

  11. Glorie says:

    Hi can I do this with monk cloth afghan?

    • I have only used Monk’s cloth for counted cross stitch myself, but I have a pattern book that shows huck designs on Monk’s cloth so I am sure it can be done.

      I just did a quick search and there is a series on Youtube starting that provides detailed instruction on how to do it!


  12. Pingback: More Huck Towels | The Destashification Project

  13. Pingback: More Huck Towels | The Destashification Project

  14. Lety says:

    Qué tela se utiliza soy de México y no conozco la tela (What fabric is used I am from Mexico and I do not know the fabric).

  15. Maria Aguilar says:

    Monks cloth lady has an nice supply of fabric and excellent customer service monks cloth

  16. Thank you for the reference. I visited the website and she has both white and blue!

  17. Jeanette says:

    I would really like to try this pattern. Can you tell me where you got it? It is beautiful. It’s the second picture in this post.

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