Year of Samplers

Huck Sampler FO; 11 To Go

I’m stitching a sampler a month for one full year! Join in and stitch with me if you’d like, for all the samplers or just a few, and link back to me / leave a link in the comments so I can follow your progress too! And tell your friends!

Huck Weaving Sampler FO

Sampler #1 finished! I so enjoyed learning about huck weaving – it’s so wonderfully simple but gives such a unique effect, dontcha think? I just cut myself a bit piece of huckaback fabric and tried out different patterns until I’d filled it up. After a while, you start to understand how these patterns work, they all have elements in common.

Huck Weaving Sampler FO

In fact, it makes me wonder if these designs were easily improvised and that patterns weren’t as necessary as with other needlecrafts; perhaps this is why I’d had such a hard time finding vintage patterns? I could see starting off with a basic line across the middle and then working your way outward symmetrically in each direction, just winging it as you weaved along.

Huck Weaving Sampler FO

I think I’ve shared everything I learned along the way (by the way, I will try to keep my sampler posts a little more organized from now, now I know some of you peeps have considered stitching along). The only new thing I have to share since my last post is that I did go ahead and buy some Clover Huck Embroidery Needles (from Barnyarns via Amazon). I thought I should try the recommended tools if I’m really sampling different techniques. I have to admit, I was surprised by how awesome these needles are! I shouldn’t have doubted Clover – everything they make is so clever.

Huck Weaving Needle

The Huck needles are longer and have a bent tip, which helps scoop up the little huckaback fabric bars. If you’re trying to pick up just one little bar, that bent tip pointed upwards makes it easy to grab. If you’re trying to run under a line of bars, point the needle tip downwards and the needle automatically runs under every bar in its path. What a smart little needle! I can’t say it’s strictly necessary, my tapestry needle worked fine, but it is definitely helpful.

Huck Weaving Sampler FO

I was considering edging my sampler with lace, like this antique huck sampler I spied on Pinterest (in the background), but I haven’t decided yet. I’ll still call this an FO anyway, because I might just leave it as is until I’ve decided what will happen to it. I love how my sampler came out, and I loved learning about a new needlework style. I can’t imagine I’m going to become a prolific huck weaver – I think it might be a slightly more tedious craft than I normally enjoy, and I’m not sure how much practical use it really has – but I think it creates the most beautiful designs, and I could really see myself pulling it out every once in a while for a little decorative embroidery.

Huck Weaving Sampler FO

So, one down, eleven to go. For my next sampler, I’ve got something a little simpler planned. If you like french knots – or if you need a little practice getting them down – grab yourself some pretty fabric, a handful of any threads you like, and join me for a french knot sampler in August! More on that soon!

Huck Sampler, Pt II (In Progress)

Huck Weaving Sampler WIP

I’m just slowly trucking along on my huck sampler (I know this is a Tuesday, but I was out all day yesterday and didn’t have time to get an update together!) and having a great time – this project is already doing what it was supposed to: force me to take the time to learn a new style of embroidery and see what’s out there. I’m really loving huck weaving – it’s so simple and fast and relaxing to work on!

My only problem so far has been in literally finding patterns. I know there must be lots out there, but they’re not easy to come by. I’ve tried eBay and Etsy and if you live in the US, you might have better luck, but over here, there’s nothing. There are free patterns out there in the intertubes if you’re willing to look, but there’s no magical Ravelry-esque directory just for huck weaving.

Here’s a few places I’ve found with some charts – some aren’t in English so I have no idea what they’re telling you, and the charts aren’t always easy to read. This is a big pain in the bottom, but the nice thing about huck weaving is that once you get one row figured out, the rest usually fall into place pretty easily. So here’s a bit of what I’ve found so far, and I’ve learned that searching Pinterest is pretty much the best way to have a look at what huck weaving is out there.

Please, please join in and stitch with me if you’d like, for all the samplers or just a few, and link back to me / leave a link in the comments so I can follow your progress too! And tell your friends!

Huck Weaving, Pt. 1

Huck Weaving Test

I was so excited that a few of you expressed interest in joining along with my sampler-a-month project — it seriously never once occurred to me that anyone would want to stitch along! I doubt I could manage to lead a formal stitch-along for a whole year, but I will do everything I can to informally make sure you can follow along if you’d like. I’ll share resources, links, materials needed for each samplers, patterns if applicable, etc. Which sounds a lot like a stitch-along, now that I think about it — but less organized and step-by-step-y.

Anyway, so, if you want to join in and try some Huck Weaving with me for sampler 1, here we go! I haven’t started my official sampler (yikes, running behind on my first month!) because I had to decide what thread to use. Last week I proposed using coton a broder or perle cotton, so I decided to do a tiny pre-sampler sampling just to see what thread I liked best.

So I got a sample of huckaback fabric and Mary Thomas’s Embroidery Book (which has just the tiniest bit of information about Huck Weaving) and found a basic pattern to sample and try threads. As you might know, Huck Weaving isn’t actually embroidery at all, it really is closer to weaving, where the needle and thread run *under* little bars on the huckaback fabric to create a pattern, like so:

Huck Weaving Test

It’s really incredibly simple, the only real thing to worry about being the tension on your thread so you don’t pucker and pull at the fabric. I couldn’t find out if people normally do, but I can’t imagine anyone using a hoop for this craft. You zoom across rows so fast, you’d be moving it around every 5 minutes. It really isn’t necessary, just try to keep your tension tight enough that the thread lies flat, not so tight that it pulls.

In my thread-test, I’ve used coton a broder in the top sample, perle cotton (no. 5) in the bottom left, then 3 strands of regular stranded cotton in the bottom right:

Huck Weaving Test

Of course, I liked the stranded cotton best. The coton a broder was the runner-up, but seemed a bit thin, and I don’t have much of it lying around anyway. The perle cotton was so thick! There is a thinner version (no. 8), but again, I only have a few balls. The stranded cotton was, you guessed, just right. So now I’m ready to get started!

Here’s some links to inform and inspire you, should you want to know more:

Please, please join in and stitch with me if you’d like, for all the samplers or just a few, and link back to me / leave a link in the comments so I can follow your progress too! And tell your friends!

Introducing: A year of samplers!

Embarking on a Sampler-a-month project!

I mentioned last week that the recent stitch-along with &Stitches inspired me to start up a big project, and here it is! I’ve decided to embark on a year-long, sampler-a-month adventure! EEP!

When Lucky Jackson wrapped up her 365 Days project, she said that started the project “To stop thinking about the wonderful things I am going to make and just start making them.” YES. I was so inspired by this simple idea to just stop daydreaming about all the things you want to do and just do them, dammit. Raise your hand if you have a list of projects you’re dying to start that’s been growing and growing for possibly years now. Yeah, exactly.

Recently, my pal Carina did a full month of daily embroidery, and my good friend Karen has been working on a monthly challenge as well. Their projects reminded me how inspired I’d been by what Lucky Jackson wrote. And there I was, working on the Garden Path sampler, thinking how I loved that it was a short-term project, allowing me to indulge my love of samplers without taking on a huge project I didn’t have time for. Because I was aiming to show the &Stitches readers my finished sampler, it had to be done by the end of the month. Man, if only I could do that with all the sampler ideas I had scribbled down in my notebook.

Hmm. Wait a minute. There seems to be an idea here.

Thus the Sampler-A-Month plan was born! I have a special love of samplers and have so many ideas for techniques and styles that I’d like to, well, sample. The whole point of a sampler being to learn something new, I will spend the next year stitching up one sampler every month, each one to play with a different embroidery skill that I’d like to try out. One year, 12 samplers. Huzzah!

So: on we go! My first sampler will be in Huck Weaving, or Swedish Weaving. I’ve wanted to try it out ever since I wrote about it for &Stitches last October. I’ve kept my eye out for the elusive huckaback fabric ever since, only to discover a rather large piece of it in my craft cupboard a few weeks ago (shown above). Oops. I had no idea what it was, just thought it was some weird textured stuff! I’m torn between using the perle cotton and coton a broder; this being a sampler, I may just try it out with different threads and see what happens!

For the next year, I’ll aim to share my progress and what I’ve learned on Mondays (probably not every Monday, but you know) and I really hope you’ll stick around to see how it goes!

1 7 8 9