Monday, August 29, 2011

Swedish Weaving Vintage Towel Tutorial - Part Two

This is part two of the tutorial.   If you've landed on this page for the first time, start with the introductory post and then read part one of this tutorial to get started!

Hexagons, Continued

We're ready to continue stitching the hexagon, using color #2.  Prepare your thread as always.  Skip one horizontal row of floats above your last row of stitches.   Pick up the float directly in the center above your last row of stitching as shown below:

Ok, here's the only tricky part in this entire design, and it's not really that hard.  For this row of stitches you are going to stitch through the same four floats you used before with color #1, so be gentle as you do not want the floats to break or become too stretched out.

Move down and skip the same horizontal row of floats and pick up the same four floats to the left that you used for color #1 as shown in the image above.

Keep repeating this series of stitches all the way across the left side of the fabric:  

At the end of the row, pick up the last float and draw your needle through to the back side as you did for every row before.

Now turn your work (safety pin at the top), thread your needle again, and work from the middle to the left side in the same way.

Next Rows

Have you figured out what we're doing with color #2?  We're building the mirror image of the bottom of the hexagon.  So the next rows of stitching with color #2 will look like this:

Row 2

Row 3

Row 4
Great!  You've completed a row of hexagons.  Decide how many rows  you want to complete.  The towel that I made has three complete rows of hexagons on one end of the towel.  This is the side that will face front when it is folded or hung up.

On the other end of the towel, the end that will be hidden when it's folded, I made only one row of hexagons and finished with the same two rows of straight stitching that we began with:

I would recommend that you keep it simple for a kitchen towel -- maybe just  two rows of hexagons for the front and one row of hexagons  for the back.  Remember, this  towel is probably going to get tomato sauce on it at some point and you don't want to cry over stains on your beautiful handiwork.


Now you are ready to hem your towel on all sides.  The most pressing issue here is to keep your work secure and keep the ends from fraying.  Here's what I do. I use Fray Check on the extra thread and fabric on the back of my towel.

Be a bit generous with the Fray Check.  Be sure it soaks the fabric and the thread a bit.
Let the Fray Check dry for about 20-30 minutes.  When it is dry, the thread will be stiff (and so will the fabric).  Trim the thread close to the edge of the selvage:

The thread pictured above is about 1/4" long.  You can actually trim it a little closer than that.  We are going to hem the side by turning the selvage over the loose threads as a binding.  So be sure that the threads don't peek under the hem.  This will be a narrow hem and the width will depend on the width of your selvage.

Pin your hem and catch your threads in the hem:

Sew the hem with two rows of stitching about 1/4" apart.  You want to secure the ends of the pearl cotton really well so your design will not unravel, so get as close to the bottom edge of the hem as possible.  It's a little tough to see in the photo below because the stitching is white-on-white, but if you look closely you'll see what I mean:

Finally, turn up your hem on the bottom of the towel.  You get to decide how narrow or wide your hem will be.  My hem is about 5/8" deep:

Et voilĂ !  You are done!

Give your beautiful towel as a gift, or hang it proudly in your bathroom or kitchen.

Questions and comments on this tutorial are always welcome.  Happy stitching!


  1. This is really nice! I love the shades of pink. I will email you with the pattern/tuto info :)

  2. This looks lovely Collette! Wonderful tutorial!

  3. Thank you kindly for taking the time to do such a wonderful detailed tutorial. In the past I tried learn via a few websites but found I had more questions than answers. Your instruction was perfect!

  4. Thank you so much I found the 2nd part

  5. I like the idea of using the Fray Check. I usually sew the thread down first then go back and sew all the way down the side. This is better - thanks.

    1. So glad my method will work out better for you! :)

  6. Your tutorial is the best that I have seen! AWESOME! I am doing a placemat and I want to use the pattern above, but not very sure where to begin the first stitch. Do I use the cross stitch centering method? I have already hemmed the edges. Please help, because I am so anxious to get started on it. Email is:


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