Thursday, March 1, 2012


"Hardanger embroidery or "Hardangersøm" 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." -

I don't think my grams always did hardanger, but she had been hard at work on many pieces for at least the last 10 years of her life. They were always gorgeous, full of detail and love. (I'm being cheesy today.) It was the one thing I was *really* hoping she would give to Bill and I as a wedding present.

The day my gramps died, my whole family drove up to be together. It was horrible and great all at the same time. My family has this ability to still be able to sit down around a table, have a few drinks, and still try and make each other laugh at the worst of times. I'll never forget a few things from that day that were more on the positive side of it all. One was making my grams laugh at dinner. I can't remember what we were talking about or why it was so funny, I just remember it being slightly inappropriate. The look on my grams face was priceless... somewhere between laughs and complete shock. She was probably wondering where it had all gone so wrong... She also told me that day about the hardanger piece she was working on and how she was so close to being done. A very small part of me hoped that she was making it for me and Bill. She died two days later.

My wedding day was incredibly emotional for me, mostly because I never thought she wouldn't be there. Bill and I had a really long engagement (just over 3 years) and I think our collective families were relieved when we finally set the date and got things in motion. I wore the same pearls that my grams wore on her wedding day. My mom put them on me and we both tried to fight back tears, but gave up... We also had a moment of silence for the loved ones that couldn't be there and that was another fighting back the tears moment.

The next day we did the whole open gifts thing at my house and just a few people came over, my mom and one of her brothers and his family. My mom must have known that the piece of hardanger my grams had been working on was in fact for our wedding present. She had it all wrapped up. Again tears.

It isn't completely finished, but all the major parts are. Also, it's usually "cut out" around the edges. I think I will be leaving it as is... Unless I some day learn how to and become insanely good to the point where I'm confident that I wouldn't ruin it. I thought, at least for now, it would be good to frame it.

For many months, I was on a frame hunt. I needed something square and I wanted to at least have a small mat, so it needed to be bigger than it actually is. I finally settled on an Ikea frame, with the thought in mind that maybe someday I'll trust someone else to hold on to it and custom frame it all nice. The large Ikea Ribba frame came in just the right size and it had a mat already, so I would just need to alter the interior dimensions.

I realize now, that I do not have a photo of just the hardanger piece laid out without anything else... but you can see half of it below.

I got out all of my "equipment" - cutting mat, straight edge, xacto knife - and went to work. The first thing I did was pull out the mat and figure out how much I needed to take off.

Measure everything. Drew some lines. And did some cutting.

I've done plenty of matting... for school and for personal projects, so I was extra careful with the corners. After everything was all cut out, I made sure that I got rid of all the pencil marks.

The whole attaching to the back of the frame was more difficult than I expected. The frame itself has the option to use it as more of a shadow box frame or regular. We decided it would look better as the shadow box. Well, this proved to make things more difficult because the material ended very close to the pattern on the one side. 

For now, it's sort of just in there. I need to go back and find some sort of material friendly tape or something. And maybe an iron... 

I'll update when it's all perfect, but for now I thought it was better to get this all out partially/mostly done before it was lost in my mind and photo wonderland.

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