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Hardanger Embroidery

The Origin of Hardanger is to be found in the drawn-thread technique which appeared in Persia around the 7th century. It was brought to Europe through the sea ports. In Italy, noble women spread its reputation under the name of "Reticella" (small net) by making embroideries for religious purposes.

From 1300 onwards, the influence of merchant cities such as Venice made this technique known all the way up to Northern Europe.

In the 17th century, the inhabitants of the Hardanger fjord region cultivated linen, which, once spun and woven, produced a fabric known as "Etamine". Norwegian women used this material to make their costumes and household linen, embroidering orininal designs tone-on-tone in white or pastels. Since then we know this technique by the name of Hardanger or Norwegian embroidery. Discover another way to embroider with DMC. DMC Cotton Perlé will give brilliance and volume to your creations.

The principles of Hardanger Embroidery

The border
Always start with the border stitches. Once these are finished, you can cut the threads. These stitches are done in groups of five flat stitches, at a height of four fabric threads. Skip four threads then make another five flat stitches aligned along the first four. For the diagonals, the blocks are alternatively stitched horizontally and vertically so that they touch each other at the corners. On the reverse side, make sure no thread protrudes beyond the outline of the motif.

When the motif is completely stitched, cut the thread four by four close to the embroidery. To avoid accidents, locate the threads for cutting to check their number, then pull them as you proceed in order to visualize the result. A square composed of a cluster of four threads should remain.

The embroidery of the thread clusters is always done diagonally. Before starting a row, make sure that you have enough thread because it is impossible to stop in the middle of a row.

As the fabric (linen or cotton) may shrink, we advise you to wash it before embroidering. The use of a embroidery frame will ensure an even finish, but for the cutting it is preferable to loosen it slightly to avoid distortion when removing the embroidered fabric. Before starting, mark the middle of the fabric with a basting thread to center the motif.


To start and finish an embroidery without a knot.

Kloster Block (Diagonal)
Kloster Block (Horizontal)
Chevron Border (Horizontal)
Chevron Border (Diagonal)
Wrapped Bar

Wrapped Bar
Double Wrapped Bar 
Woven Bars
Picoted Woven Bar
Adjoining Double Wrapped Bar
Wrapped Bars (Horizontal)
Dove's Eye
Zigzag Ajour


All materials from this page taken from: DMC Hardanger Ref. 9047-22

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