Hardanger Handwork

In her later years, my grandmother took up the Scandinavian embroidery known as hardanger. Exacting, time-consuming, and meticulous, the work is beautiful when finished.

Hardanger Embroidery
An original design large doily

The work is done on Aida cloth which is a square weave, meaning that in any given inch there are the same number of threads from side to side as there are up and down.

Embroidery thread or cord is worked over a specific number of threads at a time. Open areas in the embroidery are achieved by cutting the threads left unembroidered.

Lattice work appears when those areas are crisscrossed with the embroidery thread, twisted, or knotted to form joins or picots.

Corner Detail
Detail of a piece of hardanger

From the Gypsum Advocate, we learn that some of her embroidery traveled from Kansas to Utah as part of an exhibit called “Forms Upon the Frontier” displayed at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

It is exacting work.  Creativity in design is limited to the square form of the fabric itself. But the numerous variations that can be achieved let the fancy fly.

Creativity is not limited by space or time, but by the imagination and ingenuity of the creator. I like to think that all creative endeavors are a shadow of our Creator, a vestige of His spirit within us.


2 thoughts on “Hardanger Handwork

  1. How beautiful. I once thought I’d like to do hardinger and bought an instruction book. Reading that convinced me the skill isn’t ‘my’ thing. But I sure admire folks who have the patience and energy to create such beauty.
    Love to you,

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