I am a huge proponent of the Scandinavian-Modern design aesthetic. I love the textiles, I love the art, I love the tableware. I could very easily take up residence in one of those display rooms at Ikea and live happily ever after. Maybe it’s because I am half Swedish, who knows!? What I do know, is that true vintage Scan-mod pieces are reasonably difficult to find. I haunt estate sales and thrift stores but have only found a handful of these items in good condition… well, that I could afford anyway. One such find, that I love to death, is the Yule-themed crewelwork embroidery piece featured in this post. I found it several years ago at The Bins in Indianapolis. The blue linen canvas was wadded up in a ball jammed at the bottom of a heap of jeans and old sheets. It was filthy and while it didn’t smell like smoke, it looked like it had been in a smoker’s home for decades. The blue of the background had turned dingy brown, but I still couldn’t believe no one else had grabbed it!
Most of the people at The Bins are there to find things to resell and authentic vintage needlework from this period (especially holiday themed) can often resell for a decent profit so, all I can guess is that someone had glanced it over and thought that it could not be cleaned and tossed it back. I gladly took it home and cleaned it, washing it several times in a bucket with baking soda and vinegar, then I used a light soap to get the vinegar smell out. While some of the colors are a tad bit faded (the brown of the tree), I think it is so lovely that I wanted to share it with you!
This work is unique from those I had seen previously, not only because it is asymmetrical, but also because it does not appear to have been made from a pre-printed pattern. Usually, you will see white ink under the thread, a printed guide for the maker to follow, but I haven’t found any of these on this canvas. I’ve searched the web regularly, for almost two years, to find another one of these so that I would have a designer or manufacturer to attribute it to, but I can never find anything on eBay, Etsy, Google Image Search, Pinterest, etc. All of this leads me to believe that maybe this is completely handmade and not from a published pattern or kit. That being said, I felt appropriate in creating the pattern for it that I’m sharing with you today. If you positively know where it came from or that it is under copyright, please let me know.
In the original work, we see two tomte (a boy and a girl) at the base of a sparsely covered tree. The boy holds a lit candle in one hand and a cut green apple in the other. The girl rides the traditional gävlebocken which is laden with gifts. Four chubby, blue birds sit on the branches surrounded by lit candles. Strangely enough, on the ground we see grass and tulips growing, even though it is snowing. In the version that I have created based on this piece, I have replaced the grass and flowers with snow. Other than that one alteration, I have made my interpretation as true to the original as I possibly could and as a special thank-you gift to all of my readers this holiday season, I’m offering the PDF pattern of this embroidery scene to you for free! With this project, you are not just limited to making a crewel tapestry, as this pattern could be applied to a number of surfaces and can be resized to fit you needs or embroidered in a variety of styles. You can download it here and if you find yourself using it, I’d love to see what you made!