Planning a path in hardanger

When stitching filling stitches in hardanger embroidery, it’s very helpful to think through the order of stitching, or the path you’re going to take.

I’ll walk through how I stitched the second end of my pastel hardanger piece (after I learned a few things with the first!).

The first step is to cut out the appropriate threads. But wait. In case you’re unfamiliar with hardanger, take a look at the little blocks of 5 stitches. These are called kloster blocks. They act as a fabric hem so the threads next to the blocks can be cut.

The result is a mesh where, both horizontally and vertically, you’ve got four threads intact, then a space where four threads were removed.

Knowing that I’ve got to work the divided branches on to center wrapped bars (which you’ll see below), I decided to do those wrapped bars first.

Looking back at my chart for this area (option 3 in the link), you’ll see that it calls for two wrapped bars side by side down the center. In the photo above, I’ve worked from the right side to the left, wrapping one side of these side-by-side wrapped bars, and I’ve started stitching back to the right, working the second of each pair. (Does this make sense?)

After finishing the side-by-side wrapped bars, I’m back on the right (seen above), and need to start needleweaving the outside sets of threads. As I work to the left, I’m putting in the divided branches where they’re needed. In the photo below, you can see how these wrap over the wrapped bars and distort them.

In the very center, I did a different type of divided branch, where two points are anchored in fabric, and the other is over a wrapped bar. I’m sure somebody else has done this, but I don’t recall seeing it in any books.

Reaching the left side again, I’m traveling to the other bars that need weaving by slipping under the kloster blocks on the reverse side of the piece. Then I’m working back to the right.

Upon reaching the center of this path, there’s a bit of a snag. I need to stitch side-by-side wrapped bars again. Unfortunately, there’s no help for it.

I decide to stitch the lower one first, putting in the dove’s eye, then I need to somehow stitch the other wrapped bar. I did this slightly differently on each end. If I did it again, I’d repeat this method: I kept stitching the rest of the path, then went back to wrap that last bar at the end, burying the thread in the neighboring needleweaving. Anybody have a better idea?

Only a little bit left to do before the stitching is complete on this!

9 Responses to Planning a path in hardanger
  1. Front Range Stitcher
    July 12, 2010 | 5:51 am

    Gosh Jeanne this is quite complicated and so beautiful. Thank you so much for explaining how you proceeded, I don't think I could do this so for now I'm content to watch you. Nice job!

  2. Racaire
    July 12, 2010 | 3:30 pm

    Very lovely!! Thanks for sharing the steps of your progress :)

  3. Jeanne
    July 12, 2010 | 4:04 pm

    Ladies, thank you for the compliments.

    Madonna, would more step-by-step, detailed instructions be helpful? I wrote this hoping folks had a bit of hardanger background, but if it's needed or desired, I can maybe do a few hardanger tutorials. What do you think?

  4. Front Range Stitcher
    July 12, 2010 | 9:40 pm

    Jeanne I think you did a great job explaining this; even for me without any previous hardanger. Your photographs together with the narrative made it readily understood. If you should decide to do a tutorial or two, I'll be right here listening and I'm sure others will as well. Thanks!

  5. Rachel
    July 13, 2010 | 11:12 am

    It's always useful to see the sequence with complex pieces like this – very well explained – Thank you!

  6. Yvette Stanton
    July 16, 2010 | 9:35 pm

    How to manage the extra wrapped bar in the middle?

    Well, I would stitch up to the place where you need to do them. I would then lace the thread to the FAR end of the bar, and work back towards yourself for the first wrapped bar. Then I would continue on as normal for the second of the two, also working the dove's eye, as you get to it.

    Does that make sense? This lacing method to get yourself out of sticky situations is explained in detail with diagrams in my book "Elegant Hardanger Embroidery".

    HTH!

    Yvette

  7. Jeanne
    July 17, 2010 | 2:51 am

    Yvette,
    Thanks for the hint! It makes perfect sense.

    It's little tips like this that I love to use to continually improve my stitching. I'll probably find some way to adapt this tip for other techniques!

  8. Gina P.
    July 17, 2010 | 3:41 am

    Beautiful. I have never done hardanger, but this one inspires me. I also like your unique color scheme!

  9. LJ
    August 19, 2010 | 10:55 pm

    Thanks for clearly explaining something that I was still trying to figure out how to show beginners. One other possible for that spare bar – start on the far end of that bar, stick a needle in your end to keep it there, and then wrap over that thread with the others. Your needle returns to where you can continue the pathway.

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