Hooked on Needles

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hardanger Embroidered Snowman - just in time for Spring!

Hardanger embroidery comes to us from Norway and is a form of whitework embroidery using counted thread stitches, drawn threadwork and pulled thread embroidery. It is fairly easy to learn and to do, using a few basic stitches and techniques. The hard part, although not physically difficult, is bringing yourself to cut the fabric after you have stitched your design!

There are some great websites out there offering instruction in Hardanger embroidery techniques if you are interested in learning it. One that I found recently is Needlework Tips and Techniques which has excellent charts and explanations of the art of Hardanger.

Many years ago, my interest in Hardanger was piqued by some gorgeous pieces that a friend had hanging in her home. They had been done by her mother-in-law, whose work won prizes year after year from her local embroidery guild and other organizations.

So I went looking for an easy and inexpensive way to get a feel for this art form and in my search, I landed at Nordic Needle which has every kind of embroidery and threadwork supply imaginable. I found a beginner kit for a pretty little snowflake-looking design and it had a cute little silver snowman charm right in the middle.

Hardanger snowmanAnd here it is finally, only about 12 years after I finished stitching it, fresh from the frame shop! This is one of those items that I rediscovered when I did my big sewing room clean-up back in January, and I put it on my list of things to do for this year.

Hardanger snowmanThis is what the kit looks like, and it is still available from Nordic Needle if you are interested in it for yourself. It is kit number K2117 for $14.95. I liked how it was framed in a simple round white frame with mat board about the same color as the fabric behind the piece. I thought I would do the same thing with mine until I took it to my local Michael's frame shop and was told that they don't have round frames because the cost is prohibitive. And this particular shade of blue in the fabric is not a popular color anymore and they had nothing even close to it for the background. Hmmm...what was I to do?

Hardanger snowmanI definitely wanted the background mat to be darker than the stitches so they would show up, so Janine, my favorite frame lady, suggested navy blue. At first I wasn't too thrilled with that idea, but we tried it, and it seems to work. It is a good contrast with the white, and it doesn't clash with the blue fabric.

We picked out a fresh white linen mat to circle the design and a brushed pewter frame with little dot details on the edge to mimic the snowman charm in the middle. The whole piece turned out to be exactly 11 inches square, which is only a few inches bigger than if I had used just a round frame and no mat.

Hardanger snowmanHere you can see the detail of some of the Hardanger stitches. You can tell just by looking that it is not a hard technique as long as you count correctly and keep track of where you are in the pattern. Isn't that snowman just so round and cute?

So there's another March finish and a little taste of Hardanger embroidery. If it looks like something you might want to try, check out Nordic Needle's beginner kits and go for it! You'll be glad you did.

Happy Stitching!

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  • You have such BEAUTIFUL needlework projects you have done! This one is exceptional and it's framed in such an exquisite manner...I just love it!

    By Blogger Pat, At March 25, 2009 at 6:52 PM  

  • My goodness girl...is there anything you can't do? LOL! I've never heard of this before...but I love your project...I love anything snowmen themed! It is so beautiful! Oh dear...another hobby? Do I dare?
    God Bless You,
    Merry :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 26, 2009 at 9:29 PM  

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