Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Introduction to Sweedish Weave

 I am really excited about this post. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn about Sweedish Weave from a good friend. As I started getting into it and wanting to learn more, I noticed there wasn't very much information about it online. After completing my first project I was eager to start another one.

This is my first Sweedish Weave project. The pattern is called "Tree Design." It is just yarn woven through a piece of monks cloth.

According to Jeanette Coffin, owner and designer of Nettie's Needleworks, Swedish weaving is a form of embroidery. It actually dates back several centuries. In more recent times, this old needle craft has also been known as Swedish huck weaving, huckaback darning, huck embroidery and punto yugoslavo. In the 1930's and 1940's, Swedish huck weaving on toweling was so popular that many designs were created. Some of these designs have been adapted for use with Monk's cloth.

The beauty of this needle craft is that it only requires a few items:

  • Monk's cloth
  • 4-ply yarn
  • #13 yarn needle
  • scissors
  • pattern 
I will be teaching you the basics of Sweedish Weaving. To start you will need to get a pattern. I recommend Nettie's Needleworks. They sell many different beautiful patterns for a great price. They also have a nice variety of Monks cloth. Monks cloth will be what you weave your yarn into. You can buy it at Joanns Fabric and crafts but they only carry white and off white. If you wish to use another color you will need to purchase it somewhere else.

I will be using The Celtic Jewel pattern... 

This is what Monks Cloth looks like...

This is white Monks cloth before preparing it for Weaving.

TIP: If you buy the Monks cloth at Joanns be sure to tell them to follow the grid pattern when they cut it. If you get someone who doesn't know what they are doing and treats it like regular cotton fabric you will have to cut off a lot of the Monks cloth to get the sides straight.

This is my Monks cloth preparation assistant.
Just lay your Monks cloth out and follow the grid and cut a straight line on all four sides. You will need to go in as far as your shortest part of the material.

 See how crooked they cut it?

Look how much waste I had (insert angry scowl here). I was too chicken to say anything to the woman at the cutting counter.
Now it is time for your sewing machine. Set the stitch length to about a 2. You want the stitches to be small so they catch all the threads of the monks cloth and it stops it from fraying more then you want it to.

You will need to decide how much frayed edging you'd like. My project is a baby blanket so I don't want a lot of frills because I don't want it in the babies face. I went in 5. You just need to sew all around the monks cloth. It is really easy. Just follow the grid.

Learn from my mistake. Cut off the selvedge edge BEFORE you sew around it or you'll just have to cut it off afterwards. When you get to the end of one side leave your needle down and lift the presser foot. Then rotate it and sew down the other side. Make sure you keep the seams all the same size.

After you've finished sewing all around the Monks cloth, you will pull the extra off. You will get a nice frayed finish.

Once you've finished, put the Monks cloth into the washing machine on a gentle cycle. You can add mild detergent if you'd like. Don't wash it with anything else or it will agitate the fabric too much which will create lint balls all over the cloth. Dry the Monks cloth in the dryer on a normal high heat setting. The cloth will shrink a lot! For a baby Afghan I got 1 1/2 yds of cloth. 

There will be more to come. Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any questions. Happy Weaving.


Amie {Kitty Cats and Airplanes} said...

I am so amazed at your patience. I could never, ever do this. I am way too ADD. It looks amazing though, I really like it!

Patty K said...

This is so beautiful. Thanks for the instructions. I will have to look again when the summer is over.

McEwens said...

I would love to try this. thanks for the tutorial!

Faith Shuler said...

An easier way to get a straight cut is to use a pin and find spot wear you want to cut and pull the threads out, the fabric will bunch. If you hold the salvage edge and tug on the threads it'll come out do that on both ends, then you'll have a visible "line" to cut on.

Jeanette said...

Your blog post is excellent. Thank you for the recommendation. I am here to help others with Swedish weaving! There are 20 other patterns to choose from. Please come for a visit.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, this is a big help in getting started. My friend used a variegated yarn and it turned out beautiful. And know I am looking for a pattern.

Diane said...

Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!! After DAYS of searching and numerous emails to the experts, you addressed the issue of WHEN to cut off the selvedge!! Your blogspot is now in my "favorites."

Kekiinspired said...

So if I buy 5 yards, how much would it shrink?

Brielle Kennington said...

It shrinks about 15%.