HNW - Re: HNW- Hardanger and Ukrainian Whitework

Jacquie Samples jacquie-samples at
Mon Oct 6 14:10:06 PDT 1997

At 04:12 PM 10/6/97 -0400, Melinda Sherbring wrote:

>I'm currently taking a Group Correspondence Course through EGA on Ukrainian
>Whitework.  I notice a design element that I would call Hardanger (kloster
>blocks around an open square, which may or may not be filled in).   I
>understand that Hardanger apparently does not date back to our period
>(pre-1600), but did not realize that there were other styles that look
>and might date back that far.  Does anyone know of any other national
>embroidery styles similar to Hardanger? 
>Does anyone have any  references on early (ca. 1600) versions of this style,
>any ethnicity?

I have a photocopy of a needlework pattern book, which I believe was
originally published in 1587 or so (it's at home, I'll check and confirm
the date) in London, which has patterns for whitework, or drawn work, the
patterns are fairly open to interpretation by embroiderer.  I think the
title is "The Needle's Schoolhouse" or something similar, I'll check on
that as well.
I also happen to have on my desk a copy of "Embroidery, 1600-1700 at the
Burrell Collection" (I interlibrary loaned it). This book has a very nice,
clear illustration for a "Whitework sampler" (p. [58], which is dated 1664.
I realize this is a little after the time frame you're looking for, but the
intricacy of the pattern would suggest that the technique had been around
for quite a while.  Combined with the pattern book, I would hazard a guess
that English whitework, at least, was being done in and around 1600.
I have to admit that I am not very familiar with Ukranian whitework, but I
do have the last couple of EGA correspondence course catalogs at home, and
I will try to find the picture for the course you are taking.  I think that
the techniques involved are similar to the whitework in my texts, but I'll
let you know if they seem close.  Also, I believe that Hardanger (the
modern stuff I've seen) seems to be much more regularly shaped (i.e.
geometric patterns, not silhouettes, or flowers, etc.)  I have done some
whitework/counted thread embroidery that was based on 16th and 17th century
examples (according to the designer) which used Kloster block-like open
areas for a base, but which were then filled in with various detached
stitches.  These open areas, I believe, start out much larger than would
Kloster blocks, but they are still similar.

Sorry if I'm rambling, I'll get back to you later about the exact citation
for the pattern book.

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