Of the supplies the only thing that is hard to source is 22 count, even weave white fabric. I will continue to find a reasonable source but may have to fallback on a similar fabric with a higher or lower count. When starting out the scissors are probably the most expensive item but you can get pretty cheap ones on Amazon. We could get by sharing scissors at a meeting and I intend to bring supplies but if you plan on continuing on at home you’ll need to provide your own scissors.
At the most basic level all you need for Hardanger embroidery is:
No embroidery hoop, just what’s above. However, the details matter a bit. So let’s get into that. The following comes from the attached Sons of Norway Cultural Skills Program (1.7 MB) but I will add my own notes in italics.
- 7” x 11” 22 count white Hardanger fabric by Zweigart (1008-001)
- 1 ball each size #5 and #8 white pearl cotton by DMC
- Size 24 and 22 tapestry needles
- Embroidery scissors
And here are the details:
- Fabric: Hardanger fabric is an even-weave fabric with 22 threads per inch. The thread count can vary a bit but 22-count is a good fabric to start out with. The even-weave is very important for hand embroidery and especially for Hardanger since all the patterns depend on it.
- Needles: Tapestry needles are preferred because they have blunt ends and will not split your threads. Use a Tapestry 22 needle for a Pearl Cotton Size 5 thread, Tapestry 24 for a Size 8 thread, and Tapestry 26 for a Size 12 thread. I think you could get by with a single #26 needle.
- Thread: Most of the thread used for Hardanger embroidery is pearl cotton. Pearl cotton is also known as perle cotton, cotton perle, and Coton A Broder. This is a mercerized, 100% cotton, S-twisted, 2-ply thread with high luster, sold in 4 weights (3, 5, 8, and 12). Traditionally the thread matched the fabric with two thread weights used. The thicker thread is used for the kloster blocks, motifs and border stitching. The finer thread is used for the detail work such as eyelets, wrapping, needle weaving and cable stitch. Traditional Hardanger Embroidery is white-on-white but there’s nothing wrong with using color; the techniques are the same.
- Thread Size: If the fabric is 20- to 25-count or less, use a size 5 and 8 combination. If the fabric is 26- to 32-count or more, use a size 8 and 12 combination. For learning techniques the thread size doesn’t matter much.
- Scissors: A good pair of embroidery scissors with long, thin points are a must! There are a wide variety of embroidery scissors but for Hardanger you need something like the classic stork scissors because you need the blade of the scissor to be needle-like so that you can avoid cutting your embroidery floss when removing fabric for your cutwork.