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Legend to Explain My Diagrams     

   legend2    legend    symbols 

Basting Lines in Hardanger: 

I find it useful to put in basting lines in Hardanger as I start a project.   Using a contrasting thread color I carefully count threads as I sew, making each stitch exactly 4 threads tall (if I am using the 5 stitches over 4 threads system).  I lay in basting lines down the center vertically and horizontally.  If I am working a large complicated project I may put in more basting lines.  I then use the stitches to help me count where I should start stitching and how to space the motifs relative to each other.  It does slow me down when starting a project, but it prevents the severe aggravation that happens when you discover that you have stitched 3/4 of the piece incorrectly, or that the parts don't match up as they should.

 How to use basting lines to help you move around in a pattern.  H120  Free Pattern for Hardanger embroidery

Hardanger H 120    In the row below, my design starts with the common 8 point star smack in the center of the mat.
Hardanger H 120
In this diagram each square represents 4x4 threads of fabric. 
Hardanger pattern H120
In this diagram each line of the graph paper represents 1 fabric thread
The diagram at left is a little more than 1/4 of the design.  The red + marks the center of the design.  the diagram shows 4 empty threads in the center. Purple lines mean satin stitches.  Blue lines are satin stitches arranged in kloster blocks.  Green lines are buttonhole stitches.  Orange lines are where you cut.  See legend for explanation of color coding.
This row shows how to position the first point of the central star in the design.  In the 2nd cell above each box equals one basting  stitch length.  The purple + in the center of the cloth is the central empty square on the diagram. Hardanger basting  lines, coming up for 1st stitch 1st stitch of 1st point on star beginning 2nd lobe of star
  Bring the needle out on the center vertical line 2 threads above the central horizontal line.  Another way to think of this is: Bring the needle up just on the edge of the box above the central box of 4x4 threads. In this common star each stitch comes up on the same central line, but each stitch is one thread longer, until you have a maximum of 6 threads     Here I am beginning the 2nd point of the star.
  rotate the work to start the 3rd segment   Move to next motif by the way easiest to count. starting 2nd kloster block  
     I  am just beginning the 3rd point of the star. Here I am beginning the first kloster block  Leave 4 empty horizontal threads and bring the needle out 2 threads left of the center line. Now I am moving from the 1st block to the 2nd kloster block.  It is important for the thread path to match what my needle is doing here at right, because the satin stitch isn't just decorative, it is actually binding the fabric to prevent it unravelling once the little square blocks are cut out.  
Pivoting at the corner Use the hole twice. When you come around to the basting line again, check to be sure the last block is the right distance from the basting. reverse side of kloster blocks Find the easiest way to count to get to the next motif.
This shows the correct way to pivot at the corner of the kloster block motif. That corner hole will be used twice: to end block 2 and to begin block 3.   Above is the reverse side.  Your stitching must look the same.  The thread travelling on the back between kloster blocks must move in this diagonal, in order for the stitching to function as binding. Here I am beginning the tulip at the corner.  Bring the needle up 6 threads above and to the left of the spot where 2 kloster blocks share a hole.  The red dots show the center basting lines.
Hardanger pattern H120 Tulip motif      
  To start the buttonholing around the edge, leave 8 unworked threads beyond the kloster blocks.  Make each buttonhole stitch 4 threads tall.  It doesn't matter if you work left to right or right to left.  Follow the diagram for the corner. See stitches, below, for diagram of buttonhole stitching at the corner. See below for how to make loop picots. Here is an example of how an expert uses basting lines to help her position the design correctly on the cloth.
Look here.


When I started designing this form of embroidery I developed my own kind of diagram code for Hardanger, and I realize it is not in accordance with the most common system.   In mine, each square on the paper (white paper with blue lines) equals 4 x 4 threads of fabric (for the 5 stitches over 4 threads system).  Each square outlined in blue is one kloster block of 5 stitches over 4 threads of the cloth. The little hatch marks inside the blue square show the direction that the stitches must lie.  The orange L shaped lines are where you cut.  The large magenta dots are eyelets.  The yellow lines are where fabric threads are left after cutting: this is where you do either needle weaving or overcasting on the bars.   Diagram 2 below (cream colored paper with green lines) shows each stitch, in case you are having trouble following the first  diagram.  See legend for how to interpret the colors and symbols.

If you look at the diagram below, you can see that the central motif has 20x20 fabric threads inside it, and the exact center is an empty square.  You can see how the basting lines lie in photo 2 and relate them to the diagram.  The central motif has 5x5 empty squares inside it.  So each one is 2 blocks plus the central empty block plus 2 blocks.  So find the hole which is 2 1/2 blocks from the center on the horizontal basting line.  Then find the hole 2 1/2 blocks up the vertical basting line.  Extend an imaginary line up and to the right, and where the imaginary lines meet, bring your needle out.  Photo 3  below.

Next look for how to situate the first kloster block for the diagonal line of kloster blocks.  The diagram shows 3 empty squares between the top of the central kloster motif and the bottom of the first kloster.  Photo 4 below shows 3 stitch lengths unworked.  This is easier to count than 12 threads.  And if you look at where the needle is parked in Photo 4, you can see that I was checking to make sure the block I was just about to begin would be positioned correctly.  It should start 1/2 square (equals 2 threads) off the central line.  Compare photo 5 to the diagram and you will see how I used the basting stitches to position the parts of the design.

Hardanger 86 Hardanger H 86: each square = 4x4 threads of fabric. H 86: each line represents 1 fabric thread. Hardanger basting lines *
Finding where to start.  H86
Hardanger    H 86 
   photo 1
Diagram 1: each square represents 4x4 threads of fabric, or one basting stitch tall. Diagram 2: in this diagram each line represents 1 thread of fabric.  Each blue line is one satin stitch.  See legend below for interpretation of symbols and colors.  Photo 2.  Look at Diagram 1.  The central motif has 5 empty squares inside it, vertically and horizontally.  In the photo above each basting stitch is one square tall.  You can see that there will be 5 empty squares inside this motif. Photo 3.  You can clearly see that this motif will have 5 x 5 empty squares, as diagram 1 shows.
Hardanger basting lines Hardanger basting lines    
Photo 4.  If you look at diagram 1 you will see that there are 3 empty squares between the top of the central motif and the bottom of the first kloster block of the diagonal row of klosters.  So I left 3 empty stitches before starting the first kloster.  On the left you can see that I have come to the 2nd basting line, where I am checking to make sure I will have 3 empty basting stitches between the top of the central motif and the bottom of the kloster I have just started.  This way I can use the basting lines to check my spacing as I work, to be sure everything fits together as it should. Hardanger 86  in process.   Photo 5 Every time you approach a basting line as you work, check to be sure your stitches will fall in the right place relative to the basting line.  Undoing 1/4 of a part of the design is not as much a disaster as undoing 7/8 of the work (or throwing it out in disgust). Another execution of the same design.  I think this one would look better in white or ecru, rather than colors.  


Stitch Diagrams for Hardanger  

Horizontal movement of kloster blocks Moving from block to block horizontally    
Pivot at the corner where  kloster blocks meet diagonally. kloster blocks, diagonal movement kloster blocks arranged diagonally Moving from block to block diagonally. Satin stitch kloster blocks.I show other satin stitch motifs as parallel purple lines.
satin stitch motifs Satin stitch motifs    
Horizontal cable stitch Horizontal Cable stitch  spaced 2 threads apart    
horizontal cable stitch spaced 1 thread apart Horizontal cable stitch spaced 1 thread apart horizontal cable space 1 thread apart, with corner Horizontal cable stitch spaced 1 thread apart, with corner.
2 rows of cable stitch spaced 2 threads apart Two rows of Horizontal cable stitch spaced 1 thread apart, with corner.    
Diagonal cable stitch Diagonal Cable stitch (also called reverse faggot), spaced 2 threads apart diagonal cable, 2 rows Two rows share holes for the central line of stitches, spaced 2 threads apart.
faggot stitch  Faggot stitch. Work from upper right to lower left.  Diagonal cable stitch is the reverse of faggot stitch. faggot stitch  Faggot stitch--whole row.


Four sided stitch - horizontal (read down)   Four sided stitch, worked in horizontal rows from right to left. four sided stitch.  read from right to left   Four sided stitch, worked in horizontal rows from right to left.  
Four sided stitch in diagonal rows.  


Holbein (double running) Holbein  (double running stitch) worked from right to left.    

  Please note that four sided stitch, faggot stitch, and Holbein stitch can look the same on the front side of the cloth, if the rows meet at the corners.  But they are different on the back side.  This matters a great deal if the stitches are worked pulled with tension.  But they can also be used in ways that look different on the front.  For instance, faggot and Holbein (double running) can be worked in steps, but with rows fitting next to each other with only 1 or 2 threads separating them.  Four sided can't do that.   For working horizontal squares, four sided is probably fastest.  For working diagonal steps faggot is probably fastest.

Buttonhole stitch edge Toothed buttonhole stitch edge Buttonhole stitch  deeply indented buttonhole  deep indentations in buttonhole stitch
eyelet   Eyelets     other varieties of eyelets and substitutions  


How to Make Loop Picots 

Starting a loop picot
Do needle weaving on the first half of the bar.  Finish with the thread coming from under the top half of the bar. Re-insert the needle as if you were going to repeat the last movement. Instead, take the thread over the top of the needle, under its tip, and back parallel to the needle on its right. Gently pull all the slack from the thread.  This forms a loop under the needle.  Once you have the loop the right length, place your left thumbnail along the red line.  This will prevent your next movements from pulling the loop so small it disappears.
While your thumbnail is still on the red line, re-insert the needle to make the stitch for the bottom half of the bar. Carefully, without pulling so much that you make the loop disappear, take the thread across the top of the needle, under the point, and back again so it is parallel to the needle and on its right. Gently, gently pull the thread until the loop is the right size. Put your thumbnail on the red line to prevent the loop getting smaller, and gently remove the slack.
With you left thumb still on the red line, re-insert the needle to make the stitch for the top half of the bar. Put your left thumbnail on the red line to prevent the bottom loop from getting smaller and gently pull the needle through.  Once you have a pair of stitches on the bar, past the picots, friction will take care of keeping the picots in place and maintaining their same size.    


Hardanger Tutorial Part 2 contains images of many fillings, shapes of kloster blocks, different kloster units.  Go to Part 2

Hardanger FillingsGo to Hardanger Fillings.

Online sources for help and discussion:

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Contact me at                        October 17, 2010                                                     Revised September 30, 2018