There’s a new stitch-along in town.
Kathy, at Sewing, Etc., is doing tutorial on how to work hardanger.
Hardanger is a special needlework technique that combines embroidery and drawn thread work. You embroider and cut, embroider and cut, all while hyperventilating and hoping you don’t cut too much or too far.
I’ve seen a lot of hardanger in my years of selling vintage linens and am fascinated by the technique but I told Kathy I wasn’t going to participate in her stitch-along.
And then, you know, she posted the first instructions in a tutorial.
And I said, what the heck.
I whipped out some pretty blue linen I just happened to have on hand—not too fine cuz I’m new to this—and some white thread and I just took the plunge.
It went pretty well, don’t you think?
I made two placemats then got bored with the pattern so I made two more with a different pattern.
Then I thought, well, who wants a set of four placemats when six is within reach and I just dashed off two more in yet another different pattern.
I’m darn good at this, huh?
And then, since I had more fabric left and I was feeling frisky, I stitched up a cute little apron.
I am the queen of hardanger.
Wait . . . why are you looking at me like that? As if you doubt me? Don’t believe me?
I can see what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Really, Kerry??”
Not really! Ha.
Of course I didn’t make these pretty things. They were part of a stash of vintage linens I got recently. According to a handwritten tag attached to them, they are Danish.
But they are a beautiful example of the hardanger techniques. You can see how the white embroidery frames and secures the background cloth so that threads of that blue cloth can be cut and removed to create the classic look.
So, no. I’m not joining this stitch-along. I have plenty to keep me busy and feeling stressed without adding another deadline to my life. But I’ll follow along, watching the progress made by others, and offer my pretty vintage hardanger as inspiration.
Haha! You had me fooled…. and yet. I did think these had an olde-worlde feel to them, and I thought how in touch with tradition you seemed to be. These are lovely, whoever made them.
I think even modern hardanger would look old-fashioned, unless maybe it was done in really wild colors! Someday I really will give it a whirl . . .
LOL, you had me fooled too. I have no doubt these couldn’t be your work! The whole set is just lovely ~ Sharon
Thanks for so much faith in my abilities! I imagine I could learn hardanger–I hope to someday–but I doubt anyone could work as fast as I was suggesting I did!
Yep, you had me going, too! It is lovely work and somehow I’m not surprised its Dutch. Maybe its the classic blue and white, but whatever, it is gorgeous.
The blue and white is lovely. I think most traditional hardanger is white on white but these examples how off the handwork so well.
Oh, how sneaky. I was completely fooled, even though you clearly stated in your blog title that hijinks were to feature. The vintage hardinger items are very beautiful. Are you flattered that some of us believe you are Superwoman Sanger, capable of such fine work and able to fit it in with all the other things you do?
I *am* flattered . . . although I worry about gullibility. 😉 Especially the way I was talking about just speedily whipping through these–I suspect hardanger takes a very slow hand . . .
Add me to the list of those completely fooled! I was so impressed by your newly found skill at hardanger. The word “hijinks” in your title should have clued me in. Do you have any idea where that word ” hardanger” ( hard anger ) came from?
I looked it up and what I learned from good ol’ Wikipedia is that for a 200 year period, this sort of work flourished in Hardanger, Norway. I suspect that feelings of “hard anger” are not unknown to people trying to learn the technique!
Kerry, Hardanger seems to be a dying art. 40 years ago in college I started a piece for a class project, never finished. Still lingers in my closet. Your vintage pieces are lovely.
I do love the vintage items–and they came into my possession so serendipitously, right when my blog pal was setting out her tutorial. I could resist having a little fun. Are you ever hoping to get back to your piece?
Tee-hee! I, too, was completely fooled. You do such beautiful work that it seemed perfectly believable that you were a dab hand at this, too. Fun way to start the day!
I imagine I could do it, with tutelage and patience, but I could never do it as glibly and with as much speed as I was suggesting!
Call me Gullible. I fell, too. Beautiful linens!
Well, Ms. Gullible–you are in good company! I didn’t really expect to fool anyone . . .
😂 you got me for first linen but then I thought you must of tried this before for Kathy hasn’t given all the instructions yet,but when that apron came up I understood the hijinks in the title! 😁 I ,too have to many things going on right now but I’m saving the instructions for a later date. Kathy’s a dear for her detailed instructions!
Yes, I thought the sheer amount of what I was claiming to have accomplished should’ve been the give away that I was making it all up! Kathy’s instructions are great–she’s working hard at that!
I thought you told me you hadn’t done this before….😂 Those are stellar examples though! Thanks for the press!
They are beautiful examples–and the stitches show up so well with the white on blue color combo. I was so thrilled when these came into my possession . . . and I was just biding my time until you published your first set of instructions, so I could have my fun!
That is very beautiful work, Kerry! I had not heard of hardanger, so I learned something new here.
There are SO many textile techniques–laces, cutwork, drawnwork–and I know very little about most. Women did amazing handwork and I like the idea that it’s being kept alive.
You little devil!
I’m not going down the hardanger route either – I can’t even cope with cross stitch – although I had a little wobble when I saw Kathy’s tutorial come up. It was only a little one though and easily got under control.
I think I could do the hardanger but I’m also supposedly doing that hand quilt-along that Kathy is hosting and it’s been about 8 years since I’ve contributed to that. I don’t need more feelings of inadequacy . . .
Well, I was completely taken in, thinking “that Kerry starts and can’t stop!” It looks like a lovely, difficult thing to do. Glad you have samples!
I think it really is difficult and scary–that business of cutting threads and removing them?? I just know I’d cut the wrong thread or too much.
I thought the same thing. Or I wouldn’t get the stitches right and the thing would unravel after the first wash.
D > I was prepared to believe you have the talent, but not that you would boast of it, Kerry! It is very good quality workmanship, and I’m envious that you have such beautify work passing through your hands! My mother was a very good seamstress from teenage years (that was indeed her occupation as an adult!) and she made similar items for her trousseau, but it didn’t have that name.
I was sort of hoping that boastful, cocky tone would tip people off! The vintage linens that pass through my hands give me such pleasure–I’ve learned a lot over the years. Do you have any of your mother’s work?
I love hardanger work and envy anyone that can do it. But as soon as you started to brag how easy it was, I knew you were pulling us on. You never brag about anything, always so modest. Another art form dying out.
That’s nice of you to say, Marlene–I was brought up by a mother who was VERY much against bragging or “showing off” and I do find it hard to boast. I’d like to try doing hardanger someday so I am keeping track of Kathy’s tutorial–she’ll help keep it from dying out!
You had me there for quite a while. 🙂 It is gorgeous, but I’m not picturing being able to do it and then cut it. 🙂
It’s the cutting that would freak me out. I mean, what if you were almost done, having put hours and hours into it, and there was one little slip of the scissors. I’d die.
I began to have my doubts when you dashed off the third set – but up til then I was thinking you were clearly a hardanger savant 😀
Yes, the sheer speed of the work I was claiming should’ve been the tip off! I’ve never done this but I suspect that doing even one placemat like that would take days.
You had me going there, Kerry! What beautiful work, whoever did it. The patterns do have that old world feel to them. Thanks for sharing!
I think that’s part of what draws me to vintage linens, that business of appreciating the “whoever did it” behind each piece.
What a lovely blue, so Scandinavian. And I am so never going to try that technique.
I think this technique would be at the very opposite end of a continuum from the creative textile work you do!
You got me! I love seeing hardanger but don’t think I am ready for it. Like you, too much going on.
SO much going on and I never seem to get caught up. Still, it’s all fun and creative and good.
Totally good, and it keeps life interesting!
Oh this bring backs memories. I was taught hardanger by the librarian in my elementary school when I had stay inside for recess because of stitches for a cut above my eye. I enjoyed every minute of it.
That’s such a great story! I’m impressed that someone knew enough about hardanger to teach it–it seems a pretty obscure set of skills–and I’m impressed that a little girl would enjoy it while missing recess!
Haha! This is a blast from the past for me because I used to do harbinger embroidery as a young girl – nothing as nice as this though – gorgeous.
Spellcheck did the same thing to you that it did, repeatedly, to me–change hardanger to harbinger! Grrrr. I’m interested in the idea of little girls doing this. I did embroidery when I was little but nothing as complex as hardanger.
Oh gosh sorry – I did not even notice the misspelling!! 😩😂
You had me going there. I wouldn’t put it past you to do all that beautiful work with a new technique on a whim. Happy to learn about hardanger.
I might be able to learn to do hardanger but never as quickly and blithely as I was claiming!
These are great examples of hardanger! I loved your build up. I’m going to attempt to join in, but I’m not sure if I’ll fit it in, I may have to just catch up later in time!
Oh, I hope you do keep up–with your needlework skills, I would love to see your progress!
Nice post! I did cut hardanger many moons ago and enjoyed it; though some of the cutting made me anxious. I had a lot of perle cotton, which I gave or threw away before we moved to Asia. Now of course, I wish I had it as I am doing wool applique. Oh well!
Have you sold them yet? They are beautifully done.
No, I haven’t gotten around to listing them yet–I need to do more on Etsy soon. This stuff is cluttering up my house!
The white embroidery against the blue is fabulous!
I agree–I think that color combo is my all-time favorite!
I’ve seen this type of work before but never knew it was a special technique with its own name! The vintage linens are beautiful.
Oh, they all have their special names! Laces are the worst–every single one has a fancy name and I can’t tell any of them apart!
I love this.
Thank you–the work on these items is really spectacular!
You had me too! I was about to ask what type of tea/coffee you drink, along with your vitamin regiment. Then, I just had to laugh! We all need to laugh, especially in the winter, especially now. Back to your post – Hardanger is a name I associate with the Norwegian fiddle with 4 or 5 extra strings that create an amazing drone beneath the melody being played. I love to dance to this amazing sound! Now to learn of the lace, named for the same region – Hardanger and see it’s beauty, I am in love again with another textile. I can imagine creating a pocket with the lace design – a small project possible for the beginner. I think I’ll take that into my winter daydreams!
I didn’t know about the Hardanger fiddle–what an unusual sound that must make! And if you ever really do want to try the Hardanger technique, you should check out the blog posts I referenced, from Kathy Reeves–she’s providing very detailed instructions!
Kerry, the Hardanger fiddle is a work of art within itself. Here is a video you can see and hear it’s beauty, plus delight in the traditional clothing worn by the fiddler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZX0e65xMtw I look forward to Kathy Reeves videos, when I make my Hardanger pocket – I have an apron project in mind!
That’s amazing! The sound is so interesting and different and the fiddle is gorgeous, the clothing, too! Thanks for the link!
You are so welcome, I love sharing what brings me joy. You can listen to the group Norske Turdansar on youtube if you’d like to hear more.