Hardanger Embroidery for Beginners

Learn Hardanger embroidery with my beginners course. Find out the equipment, fabric and threads you will need. Stitch six free patterns which introduce you to the stitches used in this Norwegian embroidery.

Traditional and modern designs are available

Hardanger embroidery is a simple form of whitework. It involves counted thread stitches, drawn thread work and some pulled thread embroidery. It was traditionally used for linens, caps, and aprons. 

Modern patterns include tablecloths, runners, pillows, ornaments and framed samplers. Most often geometric in design, it is also possible to create pictures in hardanger.

Beginners step by step Hardanger course

Learn hardanger with my free course, which covers the basic techniques.

If you want to learn more about Hardanger the following books by Janice Love will be helpful...



Hardanger embroidery threads

hardanger threads

You will need two different thicknesses of Pearl cotton for this type of embroidery. You will use the finer thread for the lacy filling stitches.  The surface stitchery uses the thicker thread. 

These pearl cotton threads are numbered depending on their thickness.

The number 3 cotton tends to be too thick for our purposes. Next is the number 5, which comes in skeins and balls. Pearl cotton numbers, 8 and 12 are only supplied in balls.

Fabric for Hardanger embroidery

Hardanger fabric is available in a number of different threads to the inch, or "counts". It is important to use a suitable weight of thread for each fabric type, as shown in the table below.

Fabric Count

22 count Oslo

28 count evenweave

32 count Linen

Threads to use

Pearl 5 and 8

Pearl 8 and 12

Pearl 12 only

What else will you need?

Tapestry needles 
You will need two sizes, one for each thread. Try a size 20 for the Pearl no 5, size 22 for the Pearl no 8, and a size 24 for Pearl 12.

Sharp scissors
Sharp, pointed embroidery scissors are necessary for cutting the threads. Those with angled blades make life a little easier.

Embroidery hoop
I recommend you use an embroidery hoop while working the surface stitches. Remove it before cutting the fabric threads and doing the needleweaving.

A pair of pointed tweezers may also come in handy for teasing out the cut fabric threads.

Small pot
A container, in which to pop the cut threads, can help to keep your working area neat and tidy.

How to follow Hardanger patterns

As this is a form of counted thread embroidery the design is not printed onto the fabric. Instead, you will follow a paper chart which shows where to place the stitches. 

The grid lines on the chart represent fabric threads. It is important to take care to check whether each line shows a single thread, or more. Large designs often use a line to mean two fabric threads. This makes the pattern smaller and easier to handle.

While learning, it is easier to follow charts that show every fabric thread. The patterns in my beginner course  follow this method.

For your Bookshelf

What if you cut the wrong thread?

When I have taught hardanger embroidery at workshops, this is everyone's first question.

It can be worrying taking the scissors to your work after you have put time and effort into the stitching! My charts have  special red lines so you can see which threads to cut and which to leave well alone.

Please remember to breathe whilst cutting the threads.

If you do happen to make a mistake all is not lost there are ways of rectifying the problem.

Do you have a question about Hardanger embroidery?

Whether you are a beginner to Hardanger embroidery or you have been stitching it for years, this is the place to ask for help or share your knowledge.

What Other Visitors Have Asked

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

hardanger patterns on paper 
I want to do hardanger on paper and will use stitches only, no cutting out. Should I use embroidery cotton and can I use a small hardanger pattern to put …

Perle cotton size for 22 count hardanger fabric 
I started s project on 22 count hardanger fabric using number 8 perle cotton thread and after doing 1 side I feel I should use number 5 perle cotton. …

Fabric do I cut? 
Hello Carol, what a fantastic website. I am a complete novice to hardanger and have gone ahead and purchased 22 count hardanger White material 50x55cm. …

Please could you help me with what fabric count is suitable for making table linen? I would like to use a very fine closely woven linen. I have found …

Repairing cut threads in hardanger 
I am busy embroidering a hardangar Tea with a beautiful border. I cut 4 threads on the one side of pattern incorrectly. I used the same fabric threads …

Little boxes in a hardanger pattern - what is the stitch called? 
I am working on a pattern that confuses me. The pattern looks like it is showing box stitches, but in the picture it looks like there are openings. It …

cleaning hardanger embroidery 
My aunt made some lovely hardanger pieces for me but over the years they have become soiled...how do i clean them without ruining them?

Hardanger Tablecloth Pattern 
I am wanting to make a table cloth (fairly big) for my brother and his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary as a gift. I would like to make it in white …

Repair a mistake on hardanger 
I found a 45 inch square harndanger table cloth in my archives that I started some 10-15 years ago. Now want to finish it but see why I stowed it away. …

How to Fix Hardanger Cutting Mistake 
I've done hardanger before without any problems so when I started my piece I didn't review any tips or tricks. (OK, it was 15 years ago, but I look at …

Hardanger on 32count Not rated yet
For the satin stitches, do I count over 4 or do I count 8 threads? Carol answers Hi Shelley, Thank you for your question. Hardanger kloster …

My first try Not rated yet
I know this is going to seem like a very simple question but the pattern I bought doesn't really say a whole lot. I was going over the design and its …

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