My husband Bill and I have visited Norway on a number of occasions. We both love the scenery and the wonderful quietness of the place but for me there is an additional reason – I just love Hardanger embroidery and want to share this feeling with you!
As well as featuring on the most delicious of linens, Hardanger work is used on the traditional Norwegian costume, which is still very much in evidence in modern times. Families pass down pieces of the costume and the decorative jewellery worn on high days and holidays through the generations – anything from a crown to a set of cuff links, an apron or a blouse.
On most of our visits we arrive by boat in Bergen, just a short walk from the original fish market, now a World Heritage site and full of delicious shops and boutiques. I have to confess to a sense of blind panic as I approached a fabulous shop filled with Hardanger, only to find the owner had gone on holiday for a week and the shop was closed! Mind you, buying finished Hardanger embroidery is a considered purchase as you can spend hundreds of pounds very easily. More excuse to find time to work my own versions.
For some time, I had wanted to write about Hardanger embroidery and demonstrate the results we can all get. After much ‘cooking’, The Little book of Hardanger was born. The book (only 15cm square) is ring bound so that it lies flat and keeps that way when you are working from the pages. I have broken the technique needed for Hardanger embroidery down into tiny sections so that you can clearly follow what is going on.
This was a lovely book to design, stitch and write not least because we have published the book ourselves. Amazing the ideas you have at 2am in the morning – that is when Pinks Press came into being!