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Friday, February 1, 2013

Swedish Weaving Throw: getting underway

After my last attempts at Huck or Swedish weaving, I bought a couple of books on making Afghans, or, as I would be more inclined to say, throws, with Swedish Weaving. I also bought a good length of monks cloth to experiment with. I promised myself I would have a go at this early in the New Year, so I dug out the monks cloth after Christmas and began preparing the project, using a pattern from the Diamond Afghan book.

It is a sizeable project, for me, both in physical length and the stitching.

The instructions said monks cloth shinks considerably, so should be washed first and dried in a dryer to maximise shrinkage. As it was 37C the day I washed it, I couldn't bring myself to put it in the dryer so hoped the summer sun in Adelaide has a similar effect!

In my zeal to get the project ready I made the mistake of washing the monk's cloth piece BEFORE overstitching the edge.  The result was a lot of fraying and bits of loose fluff. It took me a while to trim the sides, overstitch and then hem the ends.

The fabric is very loosely woven and beautifully soft.

Although the book indicates you can make a throw of any size, it assumes you are making a cot cover, and the selviges are the sides, not the ends. This means I may end up having to redo the hems at the finish, since the ends are used to adjust the fit of the final pattern.

The pattern is worked from the centre out, so you begin by counting the number of blocks of thread, marking it out with safety pins.

You mark the centre and working the base line from there, in my case, across the width of the throw.

It is easy stitching - or weaving, since the needle goes under and over the  'floats', not through the fabric.

I had chosen four colours in the pinky-red range in DMC perle 3. I can no longer remember how or why I chose these colours when I bought the fabric. They are not as the pattern suggests and I like the overall effect, but can no longer remember how I chose them.

I won't have enough thread to finish and eventually found a supplier of perle 3 in Victoria.
The pattern is worked in three distinct parts: the centre, the end border, and a set of diamonds connecting the two. You work from the centre to one end, then mirror from the centre to the other end. You adjust the end border placement by the number of diamonds in between the denser stitching - using the safety pins to calculate.

The diamonds cover quite a bit of ground, so there is a good sense of progress.

This is the centre pattern, with the connecting diamonds and half the end border.It starts to get quite a nice effect as you near the edge.

Once you start to mirror the end border, you get a shimmering effect along the centre line - created by the palest colour repeated in largely straight threads along the centre line.

The pattern finished the end with a straight line, truncating the last component of the pattern into a straight line. I decided to finish the pattern and end with peaks. It took the pattern closer to the end and looked more satisfying to me.

I am now mirroring this whole half at the other end.


margaret said...

Jillian this is a wonderful project you have undertaken, it is already looking good. Have not heard of monks cloth before but it looks interesting

katherine said...

I haven't heard of the cloth before either and I love the pattern you are doing. Looks brilliant already.

Jillian Mary said...

I do like this! I might even try it AFTER I finish my quilt. It's a long way on from the huckaback guest towel we made in second class, though.

Monica said...

It looks great. I always love the combo of pink and orange. I'm wondering how long are the floats on the back? Will they catch?

Karyn said...

oooh, I just LOVE huck embroidery. I haven't had a go yet as I have never come across ther ight fabric but I think it makes the most beautiful patterns.
Yours looks great, the colours are superb.

Jillian said...

Thanks Margaret. I hadn't heard of monks cloth either until I began to look for huckaback to do some huck weaving. It seems to derive from Europe in nineteenth century but now mostly available in US.

Jillian said...

Many many thanks for the encouragement, Katherine.

Jillian said...

It IS a long way- came across mine the other day while cleaning out linen cupboard. Might post a photo of it for contrast!

Jillian said...

Each float is 2mm - 8 per inch, so not so big. The back is pretty smooth, but I think the threads on the front could catch if not handled carefully.

Jillian said...

It's worth having a go because it is easy to get a good effect. It isn't easy to find the fabric but some waffle weaves that you sometimes come across work quite well.