Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hardanger / Hardangersøm

Just what I need...yet another fiber craft to tempt me! This one is traditional to my heritage though, so it's definitely something I need to explore a bit more. Lucky for me, there are several Hardanger groups in the area....so I should have no problem finding somewhere to learn this fascinating craft!

Lucy gave a fabulous presentation on Hardanger at the Norwegian Cultural Center. This was part of the cultural enrichment programs sponsored by my Sons of Norway Lodge. Her presentation was definitely inspiring! Lucy showed us so many beautiful pieces - both her own and then others she's collected from estate sales, eBay, and various other places. She quite an accomplished stitcher! (The piece shown here is one of her own that was entered in a competition. Click on the photo for a closer look at the detail.)

I just LOVE the heart motif Keepsake book Lucy made - "Valentine's Day on the Hardanger Fjord". The inspiration for this piece was the breast plate of a Bunad. The top is a cotton fabric, and underneath, was a wool felt. The inside is comprised of several over-sized envelopes - perfect for collecting all the keepsakes! What an awesome idea! Best of all, she'd written out the pattern and plans for us all so we can make one of our own. Of course, I'll have to learn Hardanger in order to make mine!

Some of the Hardanger pieces are absolutely awesome. Hardanger is considered rather "simple" in that most pieces are white-on-white and use only a very small set of patterns and stitches. However, through numerous combinations of stitches and threads, these simple "stitches" become elegant works of art.

Here are a couple of bags decorated with Hardanger. I envision the one on the left as a jewelry pouch - carefully wrapping it's contents in soft velvet...beautifully accented with a lovely Hardanger motif. The one on the right is a more traditional Norwegian purse that one would wear with their Bunad...simple and elegant. (Click on the photos for a closer look.)

I especially like this item - it's a needle holder or needle book. (I'm sure there's some special term for this, but I'm calling it a needle book). I think something like this would be a fabulous first project for me - though I'll probably opted for a much simple and smaller design.

We didn't limit ourselves to Hardanger...we let other needle arts slip in as well. "Cross Stitch" is the national stitch of Denmark. The Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins cross-stitch piece was fascinating - so full of color! And then there was the combination of cross stitch and Hardanger in the gorgeous piece on the right. Be sure to "click" on the photo to view the detail of the Hardanger stitches - there's a lovely variety displayed in the center of the piece.

Lucy designed this piece in honor of Maine - the edging is done in ribbon...and the inspiration for this piece was the blueberries of Maine. I just love the colors - and the edging is just gorgeous!

Here's Lucy at work - showing us how to make some of the traditional stitches. This work definitely requires good light and very sharp scissors so you snip the appropriate threads. Stitches are generally worked as 5 stitches over 4 threads or 7 stitches over 6 threads using a blunt needle. It's quite fascinating!

Finally, there was a historical piece. The mother of a friend of Lucy's was a Holocaust survivor. This piece is a needlework sampler that her friend's mother had done while in school in Germany. The piece shows lace, a variety of stitches, Hardanger, sewing techniques, clasps, embroidery - basically a sample of all the needle arts. What an awesome piece of history! Through our stitching, we are truly linked to our sisters - past, present, and future - connected by our many threads.


  • At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anne Campbell said…

    Those are really beautiful pieces! I used to do a fair amount of counted thread embroidery. Mostly cross stitch, but I did experiment with other techniques as well. As I recall, Hardanger was by no means the easiest I tried! But it is lovely.


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