Vintage Butterfly Design for Canvas Work – Fan Freebie Friday

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Welcome to the VTNS Fan Freebie Friday where we offer free vintage craft patterns for the fans of our VTNS Facebook Fanpage.

The pattern we’re sharing today can be used with cross stitch, needlepoint or any other type of needlework that uses a chart. It’s suggested, as was very popular in the late 1800s, to use silk floss to work the butterfly.

Vintage Crafts and More - Butterfly Canvas Chart

The colors are indicated by symbols.  At the bottom of the chart is the index of the corresponding thread colors. Some of the colors used are scarlet, gray, brown, yellow and a bright blue background.

No floss numbers, like we are used to in our modern patterns, just light, dark and the name of the color so you are free to interpret the butterfly’s beauty yourself.

To make the symbols easier to read, the original chart was enlarged to 7 x 9.5 inches. It will fit nicely on an regular 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper when printed out. The size as shown in the ladies book was 2.5 x 2.5 inches.

There are no size measurements given for the finished design so how large or small it is will depend on the type of cloth you use.

Here’s the chart in PDF format:

Butterfly Silk Design for Canvas Work

You’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer to read the PDF. Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Download Instructions: Right-Click the link above and select either “save target as” or “save link as” depending on what browser you are using or simply click on it to open it and save or print.


How to do Swedish (Huck) Weaving Embroidery

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Picture of Swedish Embroidery or Huck Weaving Towel Patterns

Swedish weaving is not difficult to do and you’ll be making many attractive pieces once you’ve learned the basics.  It is a very simple type of weaving, using the raised threads on what is often considered huck toweling just like weaving on canvas.

Huck toweling or Swedish weaving, refers to a type of embroidery work which is done on cloth of a special weave called huck. In this weave, there is a pair of vertical longer threads woven at regular intervals across the fabric. They are arranged as are bricks from row to one-half row. Sometimes evenweave fabric such as Aida can also be used.

Embroidery strands or yarns of various colors are slipped under the pairs of threads in various sequences to form interesting patterns. The decorative strands do not go through the material, so they do not show on the reverse side. A number of articles can be decorated, to include aprons, bibs, curtains, draperies, dresser scarves, knitting bags, napkins, place mats, purses, skirts, tablecloths, and towels.

Tools and Equipment

The tools and equipment needed for huck toweling are few and you may already have most of them.

a. Embroidery Floss. Either pearl cotton or 6-strand floss is used for articles which will need to be laundered frequently.

b. Huck fabric.

  1. Cotton. Available in a variety of colors. This is less expensive than linen huck and the pairs of threads are easier to see.
  2. Linen. Available in several colors. Good quality linen combined with handwork makes very nice towels, dresser scarves, and place mats.
Evenweave fabric for huck embroidery

Evenweave Fabric

There are towels available that are ready to embroidery with a blank evenweave fabric band.

c. Needles.

  1. Blunt-pointed tapestry needles, used for slipping under the pairs of threads in the huck.
  2. Sharp sewing needles, needed for sewing through the material as in hems.

d. Huck Patterns.

e. Metallic thread. Used for embellishing projects such as evening bags.

f. Pins. Used to pin hems, for example, and to mark the center of a piece to be embroidered.

g. Scissors.

h. Thimble.

i. Thread. Used for sewing hems and for garment constructions.

j. Yarn. Used to embroider articles that are not laundered, such as knitting bags and purses.


a.  The item to be decorated should be well planned in order to center the design on the piece. It is sometimes advisable to complete the hems on the smaller articles in order to determine the correct size; however, skirts and purses can be completed better after they are decorated.

b.  Selection of a pattern is an interesting and important part of the work. The pattern must be suited to the piece it will decorate.

  1.  A large project, such as a skirt, an apron, draperies, or curtains, is suited to the larger pattern, which can be repeated several times in the project.
  2. Smaller patterns are better for small articles such as guest towels, bibs, and place mats.
  3. Exceptions to these generalities can sometimes produce rather dramatic effects. One large motif on a guest towel can be most effective. Small, border patterns combined with a large pattern can look very nice on a skirt.
  4. Interesting effects can be obtained by using two, three, or four colors of floss or yarn, by using metallic threads with colored thread; or by using different colored fabric.

c.  Because it is advisable to avoid splicing the strands of embroidery floss, each strand should be sufficiently long to be embroidered across the piece once. Some patterns indicate the necessary length of each strand. For example, No. 2, T 3 ½ means that the second row of embroidery needs a strand 3 ½ times the width of the material to be embroidered. The length of each strand in the pattern varies according to the number and size of the offsets in the pattern.

For instance, in figure 1, thread No. 3, which goes straight across will need to be just slightly longer than the width of the piece being embroidered, while strands 1, 2, 4, and 5 need to be more than two times the width of the piece or T 2 ½.

Huck weaving pattern

Figure 1 – Huck weaving pattern

d.  Centering the pattern is a very essential step, especially in smaller pieces where the entire pattern can be seen at a glance.

  1. Find the center pair of threads in the width of the material by folding the piece in half or by counting the pairs of threads across the row. Mark the center pair with a pin.
  2. Locate the center of the design in the pattern and mark it.
  3. Locate the center of the embroider floss or yarn and pull it half of its length under the center pair of threads.

e.  Strand 1 in the selected pattern is worked first on one side of the center, then on the other by drawing the strand under the pairs of thread indicated in the pattern. Extreme care must be taken with this first strand of the design to insure accuracy in following the design because the placement of all subsequent strands are based on the first one.

A guide string of a color other than the pattern can be run straight across the piece and under each pair of threads. This can be helpful in starting the first strand of the pattern. Only the first strand needs to be centered, so others can be started at the right as is customarily done in sewing.

Huck weaving Offset

Figure 2 – Huck weaving offset of one over and two up


Huck weaving open loops

Figure 3 – Open loops

f. Reading patterns can be done in two ways; the method used depends upon the way in which the pattern is “written.”

  1. Some patterns are shown by means of a diagrammatic drawing, as has been done here. In such cases, the diagrams are followed by counting the pairs of threads diagrammed.
  2. Another method which is more difficult but more accurate for complex patterns, is to follow written directions. These directions are usually illustrated with photographs of the pattern; however, the photographs frequently do not show detail clearly. The code of the written directions is as follows:

(a.) Symbols such as 1 over 2 are used to indicate offsets. This means to count one pair of threads ahead (1 over) and 2 pairs up or down (fig. 2).

(b) Open loops are indicated by ½ (meaning ½ over) by 1 ½ (one and one-half rows up). So ½ /1½ is as shown in figure 3, as is ½/2 ½ and ½ / ½.

(c) Closed loops are written as 0/1, 0/2, and 0/3 (fig. 4). A loop of 0/4 is rarely used.

Huck weaving closed loops

Figure 4 – Closed loops

g. Ending the work is done in several ways; the method selected depends upon the project and the design.

  1. The end can be stitched into the edge of the huck and hidden in the hem.
  2. The strand can be woven back on itself for several pairs of threads (fig. 5)
One method of ending huck weaving

Figure 5 – One method of ending huck weaving

The pattern sheets below are in PDF format so to download them you’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer.  Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Download Instructions: Right-Click the link below and select either “save target as” or “save link as” depending on what browser you are using.

Here are some pretty patterns from a 1940’s Gifts booklet.  These are written patterns rather than charts.

Swedish Embroidery Patterns

The Swedish Weaving pattern file below is from 1949 and includes charts with suggestions for color.

Swedish Weaving Patterns PDF


National Embroidery Month – Embroidery Hints and Tips

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cross stitch border patternThe  ancient craft of embroidery is being celebrated this month.  Ancient, because examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery worked in silk thread have been dated to the Warring States period (5th-3rd century BC ).

When you think of embroidery there are many words that come under it’s heading.  Such as, Cross Stitch, Hardanger, Redwork, Berlin Work, Crewel, Needlepoint, and Smocking just to name a few.

Most of the time embroidery is done by hand, but the computerized embroidery machines available today provide wonderful designs to choose from and the machine does all the work.

We’ve selected some great patterns to share, but first here are some hints and tips about embroidery you’ll need to know before you get started:

EMBROIDERY THREADS . . . Your choice of threads will depend upon the type of embroidery on which you intend to work. Mercerized threads may be used on most light weight fabrics. Heavier cotton thread produces a rich and unusual effect in certain designs. Wool is suitable for use on heavier fabrics.

Silk embroidered mum and leaf patternAll embroidery threads should be boil fast. To work with inferior materials and threads is a foolish waste of time.  When the working thread begins to acquire a fuzz or becomes untwisted, take a new one.

EMBROIDERY NEEDLES . . . The needle with which you embroider opens the weave of the material to enable the embroidery thread to slide through easily. Therefore, when you choose an embroidery needle, the eye should be slightly larger than the thickness of the embroidery thread. Almost all embroidery needles have a much longer eye than sewing needles. The needle ordinarily used is called a crewel needle. The length of the average embroidery needle is about 1¾ inches. A longer needle hinders the worker in gaining speed.

SCISSORS . . . Embroidery scissors should be about 4 to 5 inches long and should have very sharp points.

BEGINNINGS AND FINISHINGS . . .The wrong side of the work should look equally as well as the right side. To begin a piece of embroidery do not use a knot, but make a close running stitch toward the starting point, then make a small back stitch and begin to embroider in the direction specified.

To end your thread, weave the needle in and out of the material under the piece which has just been completed, but do not allow your needle to pick up any of the embroidery stitches. When you feel that the end of the thread is perfectly secure, cut the thread close to the embroidery. Do not carry your thread from one design to the other, as this produces very untidy work.

PRESSING . . . All embroidery should be pressed on a thickly padded surface. The raised face of the embroidery sinks into the softness of the padding and is not flattened by the iron. Place the embroidery piece wrong side up. Cover with a damp cloth. With a moderately hot iron press heavily. Remove the damp cloth and iron until dry. Turn work, and on right side iron only the hems.

FRAMES . . . There are several types of embroidery frames. The hand frames are most commonly used. They can be bought at a very low cost and are made in two shapes, round and oval. When frames are adjusted over a small area of the work, the material is held taut and the work cannot pucker. Larger frames for larger pieces are also available and may be adjusted for almost any size or type of embroidery.

We’ve provided a print out of the most basic embroidery stitches here:  Important Embroidery Stitches

You’ll also find several good videos demonstrating how to do the stitches on YouTube.  Just search ’embroidery stitches by hand’ and you’ll find more than enough to choose from.  Here’s a video tutorial of basic stitches to get you started.

TRANSFERRING . . . The patterns will need to be transferred onto your fabric.  Once you’ve printed them out there are several options you can choose from.  Some are:

A light table or sunny window where you tape the design down then trace it lightly onto your fabric.

Good old carbon paper, but this may smudge on your fabric.

A sewing tracing wheel and paper.

Some craft stores carry iron on transfer material you can run through your printer.

PATTERNS . . . The first pattern is from the 1800s and is a delicate floral design for a collar and cuff. With this pattern you’ll be able to pick and choose the colors you’d like to use and make it your own.  Embellishing a little girl’s dress or the corner of a hankie would be very pretty.

The next is from the early 1900s and is a beautiful Yellow Chrysanthemum Pattern.  Along with the colored picture is the detail of stitch directions and color placing.  There’s a diagram of shades, but the coordinating numbers for the silk thread are probably no longer available, so you’ll have to choose your own.

Here’s a pretty page of cross stitch embroidery patterns.  This is in color so you can match the thread accordingly.  The size of your design will be determined by what size your even weave fabric is.

We hope you enjoy these patterns and celebrating National Embroidery Month with us.  The VTNS (Vintage Textile and Needlework Sellers) members have many embroidery items available right now .


If you like this page, be sure to share it with your friends and like our Facebook Fanpage so you can get updates every time we post new patterns.  Please share your favorite type of embroidery, hints, tips and projects in the comments below or with us on Facebook.