Hardanger embroidery is a form of embroidery traditionally worked with white thread on white even-weave cloth, using counted thread and drawn thread work techniques. It is sometimes called whitework embroidery.
Modern Hardanger fabric is an evenweave cotton material woven with pairs of threads, typically 22 pairs per linear inch in both directions, referred to as '22-count'. The weave gives a squared appearance to the fabric (similar to Aida cloth), with distinct holes, making it easy to count and work on. Other evenweave fabrics are also suitable for Hardanger embroidery but do not usually have the clearly defined block appearance. These include pure linen, cotton or mixed fibre fabrics that may also vary in count from 18-24 threads per inch to finer counts of 26 threads per inch or higher.
Hardanger basic stitch
In this short video, we show you how to stitch the cluster block which is at the base of any hardanger piece. Basically, it is formed in groups of five parallel stitches over four threads of the fabric.
There are plenty of hardanger tutorials on the Internet, like the one you see here.
Some of my hardanger pieces
This is an octogonal piece that serves as a Christmas ornament. The pattern comes from a Burda magazine. I used DMC number 5 white thread for all the structure and a silk beige thread for the stars. As you can see, this one involved a lot of cutting.
This is one of my favorite pieces. For this one I used ecru DMC number 5 for the structure and the flowers. The fabric is hardanger 22. This one sits on my night stand.
This band also helped me practice the cutting. It is made on white hardarger 22 with white DMC number 8 thread.
As you can see, not all hardarger pieces are white or ecru. You can definitely play with color. This is a bookmark kind of shaped as a heart. I used a dark pink DMC number 8 thread. This one did not require that much cutting. In fact, the little circles along the border are not cut. The thread is simply pull tightly to give this effect.
This is a non-traditional hardanger piece. The front band is adorning a Chritmas hand towel. As you can see, no cutting was used in this piece. The threads used are silk green and red. It is not really noticeable, but a gold metallic thread was also used to decorate the central 'flower".
I did this piece to practice differents types of 'stars'. The fabric is hardanger 22 and I used a beige DMC number 5 thread for the structure and number 8 for the stars. I don't remember where the pattern came from. I think the lady who taught me this type of embroidery probably provided the pattern. I use this piece to decorate my dresser.