Hardanger embroidery is named after the area in Norway called Hardanger. Hardanger lies in the western part of Norway and with its 120 kilometer length is one of the most beautiful fjords of Norway.
I was able to see the Hardanger fjord and surrounding area. It was interesting to see the area that so profoundly influenced Hardanger embroidery.
Textile historians think that Reticella needle lace from Italy influenced Hardanger embroidery. The Norwegians used similar forms on the linen and threads that Norway had to offer.
In 2014 I was asked to teach Dutch ladies in Norway. The trip was organized by Needles4all and we spent a week learning and stitching Hardanger embroidery and enjoying the outdoors. The food was wonderful and the friendships made there will be ones I look back with the fondest of memories.
There is however a small group of textile lovers that think that Hardanger embroidery was heavily influenced by Marker embroidery. Marken is an island in Holland that has a rich history and embroidery. Up until the 1960's the embroidery was still used in the traditional clothing. The fishermen and their wives traveled to Norway to help with the whaling industry. Hardanger embroidery has traces of Reticella lace and Marker white work. The lacy edgings were used in the traditional costumes, named bunads, of the Hardanger region. These edgings were used for the apron, collar and sleeve bands.
Hardanger embroidery is widely used today in all kinds of objects, pillows, doilies and even curtains. Hardanger embroidery has a symmetrical form. It is not a difficult embroidery technique to learn but you must work precisely.
During the Hardanger courses you will learn how to make darning lines in order to help with the stitching.
I absolutely love this technique. I hope that I can persuade you to try it. It is totally worth it. The high point of my visit to Norway was my meeting Mrs. Hidegun Aga Blokhus at the Hardanger museum in Utne. Thankfully we didn’t have the conversation in Norwegian. She spoke beautiful English! I was able to learn from her and am so appreciative of her guidance and explanation.