HNW - HNW- Hardanger and Ukrainian Whitework

Dick Eney dickeney at
Mon Oct 6 16:47:53 PDT 1997

On Mon, 6 Oct 1997 EowynA at 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
> similar 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 in any ethnicity?
> Melinda Sherbring       Baroness Eowyn Amberdrake

I'm not sure this is similar but here goes...  I just received a copy of a
copy of a page from _Traditional Icelandic Embroidery_ (1985) by Elsa E. 
Gudjonsson, who worked in the National Museum of Iceland for something
like 35 years.  (The page is from a copy in Icelandic but it seems there
is an English-language version). It shows an embroidery on network.  It's
hard to tell whether the drawing is accurate or just sloppy, but if it is
accurate, the network seems to be made by drawn work, as some of the
threads seem to be woven as well as sewn together.  The solid squares are
needle-woven over the network threads. The design is of stylized flowers
at the corners with a pair of birds in the center, with interlaced
dividing lines (like a diapered brocade).  The date "1650" is in the

The odd thing is that this technique is called "sprang" in Iceland, and
Gudjonsson says there is no evidence of "the technique now known as sprang
abroad" in older times in Iceland.

We know embroidery on network was done in the 16t century, and I'd guess
also in the 15th.  I base that guess on two 15th century illuminations of
Mary weaving a long narrow piece of network on a free-standing loom that
raises the working level to her waist while she sits next to it.  The
fabric is definitely a network, and the warp is stretched over pegs
between two tightener wheels; the whole assembly looks very much like an
inkle loom. 

=Tamar (sharing computer dickeney at


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