Thursday, July 28, 2011


My mother first learned the art of Hardanger embroidery when she was almost 50 years old. The daughter of immigrants from Scandinavia, she had long admired it and wanted to learn.

But until then, she was raising six children and sewing some of our clothes, leaving precious little time to pursue needleart.

She started by buying a book and following written instructions. Then she saw that a class was being offered at the International Institute in St. Paul. There she not only learned the art, but her teacher, Mona, became a best friend and "daughter" to her. Mona has since moved back to her home country of Norway, but is still a part of our family's lives.

So today I thought you might enjoy seeing a few pieces of my mother's exquisite stitching. If a piece is done correctly, you can scarcely tell the right side from the wrong side. As I was photographing these pieces, I had to be very careful to portray the correct side.

At almost 88, her days are filled with creating lovely pieces like these.

Her hands are shaky now, her stitches a bit slower and more deliberate, and she often needs to correct a mistake or two.

But she is happiest with the day ahead of her with her Hardanger embroidery on her lap.

Still putting her heart into making her works of intricate needleart. ©