Last summer I got to know Priscilla Miller who lives in the vicinity of Southwood Park. She was one of the women who answered the call when I was looking for quilters to fulfill the wish of a dying (now deceased) Waynedale News reader who wanted someone to complete her final two quilt projects before dying.
Priscilla has become a frequent visitor to BAQ and one Saturday she stopped by to share her Hardanger needlework with our shoppers.
As Priscilla relates it:
Hardanger counted thread stitchery was developed in Norway in perhaps the 17th century. Needlework historians see some Persian influence in it, so perhaps the Vikings brought samples back from their voyages around the world. If you look at a map of Norway, you can find a Hardanger Fjord and a Hardanger Plain: hence the name. If you are accomplished at counted cross-stitch, you can do Hardanger stitchery. It is however very exacting and there is no tolerance for mistakes. It also helps to have good eyesight, and perhaps be a bit OCD. Locally you can find Hardanger patterns and materials at Stitch N Frame at 4220 Bluffton Road the only specialty cross-stitch shop in Fort Wayne.
The basic building block of the Hardanger pattern is the satin stitch square ( 5 stitches over 4 threads), also called the Kloster block. When you have all these in place and have made sure there is no mistake, then you can clip and remove half the threads. The remaining threads are then woven with a needle and thread to form pretty openwork areas. Hardanger makes lovely doilies, dresser scarves, and ornaments for the home, or to give as bridal gifts.
Although my mother started me on simple embroidery projects when I was six-years-old, I did not discover Hardanger stitchery until I was in my mid-30s. This was when counted cross-stitching was all the rage. I was at a needlework supply shop, and came across a beginner’s instruction book for Hardanger. The owner helped me find the supplies, and I was hooked on the spot. (Beginner’s Charted Hardanger Embroidery by Susan Meier is still available from Nordicneedle.com.) My first project was a pretty detachable collar for my daughter (who was then four-years-old). Then I moved on to doilies for gifts. My most recent projects are valances for my windows and table linens. Recently I completed a tablecloth to match my good china, using a combination of Hardanger and counted cross stitch. I enjoy Hardanger because of the stitching challenge, and the potential for creating a beautiful heirloom product.
Priscilla’s Hardanger curtain valances were so lovely and intricate. If there is interest, Priscilla would be willing to do a demonstration. Contact the BAQ at email@example.com or call us at 260-515-9446.
Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts located at 4005 South Wayne Ave., Fort Wayne.