another something you can take with you: Introducing Hardanger

This summer we had our Take It With You Challenge and there are so many options for handwork to bring along.  I contemplated many, some English paper pieced hexagons, finishing some embroidered dish towels, cross stitch or a Hardanger UFO that I had before ultimately trying to finish my hexies.

Despite living here in MN amongst so many with Scandinavian roots, I though Hardanger might be something new to a few of you and certainly to some of our quilting friends in other parts of the country that visit this blog.

Hardanger embroidery is a delicate form of openwork that originated in the Hardanger region of Norway hundreds of years ago.  It gradually spread to other parts of Europe and then to the United States via Scandinavian immigrants. The Hardanger pillow above was made my mother for my wedding...the flower girl carried it up with our rings tied to it. 

Hardanger is a form of counted thread embroidery which is done on even weave fabrics.  Traditionally white linen with white thread was used and the most common fabrics used now are even weave cottons coming in many colors and are called Hardanger fabric. (Which you may have seen if shopping for cross stitch fabric too.)  The thread that is used most often is perle cotton in sizes 5, 8 or 12.  Below are a few linen bands and perle cottons from my small stash.  The only additional supplies needed are tapestry needles and an quality embroidery scissor for the cutwork.

This is what an instruction chart looks like.  (This is my is just a small bell pull.)  I love the linen bands - as a beginner the large projects seem daunting to me. 

And here are a few books from my stash...the book of top I would suggest as a great place for beginners to start and the back book is the source of the ring pillow design.

Here in the Twin Cities, Ingebretsen's has both Hardanger classes and supplies.  A great online source for supplies is Fargo based Nordic Needle, which also has a retail shop.  The owners of the Nordic Needle, Roz Watnemo and Sue Meier are nationally recognized authors and have written several instruction books (including the two top books above) and also publish the winning designs of an annual contest they host.

If you'd like to see more finished Hardanger pieces, I made an Etsy treasury including finished works (some vintage) and instruction books. 

If anyone is familiar with any additional local resources please leave a comment to share the info...most of what I have accumulated was from when I lived in Fargo years ago.

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