Swedish weaving is a special form of decorative embroidery also known as huck weaving or huck embroidery. The designs are usually geometric in nature, and worked primarily along the surface of the cloth rather than going up and down through the cloth.
Swedish weaving is usually done on a fabric known as monk's cloth. This fabric has a surface with raised threads that form squares---and allows designs to be symmetrical. Other fabrics with an even weave, such as Aida cloth or huck toweling, can also be used. You generally use embroidery floss or yarn, along with a blunt-ended yarn needle, the size and type of which are determined by the size of the squares on the fabric. You also need a pattern and a pair of scissors. The pattern usually gives instructions on the type of cloth, yarn and needle to use to replicate the pattern results. With a little experience, you will be able to adapt the design to other fabrics if desired.
Preparing the Fabric
If the fabric you are using does not have finished edges on all four sides, you will need to finish the edges before you begin. This prevents the fabric from fraying and spoiling your work. You can whip the fabric edges by hand, use a serger, or zigzag or hem the edges. Obviously any fabric that will be used or washed, like towels or blankets, will need more secure edges. Monk's cloth should be prewashed after the edges are finished but before stitching begins; it has a tendency to shrink. If your fabric has a lot of wrinkles, you will find it easier and more enjoyable to perform the weaving if you iron the fabric before you begin. Make sure you do not distort the fabric as you iron it.
Weaving the Design
Your pattern will give you instructions on beginning your design. Generally you will find the middle of your cloth and begin your design, working from the middle out. This will help you keep your tension, the relative tightness and looseness of the embroidery even, which makes for a more uniform and attractive result. Your pattern will also make recommendations as to the length of thread or yarn to use. This is important because the yarn or thread gets worn as it is pulled through the fabric. If you cut your yarn or thread too long, this wear and tear can become obvious as you reach the end.
Knots are not usually used at the beginning or end of Swedish weaving. Instead the working thread is woven under and hidden by several threads going in the opposite direction, then closely trimmed or hidden in an edge seam. For fabrics like towels and blankets that will be handled and washed, you can add a small amount of clear flexible fabric glue or a fray-preventing product at yarn ends. You can create an attractive fringed edging on your projects by extending the working threads all the way to the edge of the fabric, then machine-sewing inside the edge of the fabric, capturing the working threads. Then evenly trim the edge and remove the threads parallel to your stitch to allow the edges to fringe.
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