When I was a beginner at Hardanger stitches, I was so afraid of cutting the wrong thread!
But I was up to the challenge and gave it a try... Unfortunately, I did learn what to do if you cut a wrong thread: simply sew in a new one. It isn't that bad. You can't even tell once it's wrapped or woven.
Hardanger is based on groups of satin stitches called Kloster blocks.
You must complete all of the Kloster block embroidery before cutting out the centers. Then you can add other decorative stitches to embellish.
Hardanger stitches are worked in two thread sizes: thicker for the kloster blocks and thinner for lace and eyelets.
Size depends on the count of the fabric, and lower count is easier when you are first learning.
The easiest way to learn is with a book or kit that walks you though the basic Hardanger stitches like the ones I used when I first started.
Be careful to stitch the pattern in the correct order so that no threads cross the centers you will cut later.
No knots are allowed in Hardanger. Leave a tail you can weave under the stitches later and hide.
Work 5 satin stitches over 4 threads. Stitches should be firm and solid, but don't pull so tight that the fabric puckers.
Variations of the kloster block use different length stitches to create a stair step pattern or small triangles to create diamonds or a quilt block look. I have only shown the basic beginner Hardanger blocks here.
The most daunting task in hardanger designs! Carefully trim with small, sharp scissors. You can only cut along the stitched ends of kloster blocks, not the sides! The stitched part is where it will hold the threads to keep them from unraveling.
The openings and remaining cross threads can be decorated with other needle weaving or needle lace stitches. A finer thread is used.
Wrap around the threads left in the center after cutting. Do the same number of core threads and times wrapped around for each bar. Don't try to squeeze too many wraps on a bar.
Darn the bar by weaving over and under in a figure eight pattern. You can add a picot by looping the thread around the needle before you come up in the middle.
You can sew in other threads to serve as bars and make an infinite number of designs. A popular classic is the Dove's Eye Web.
Create loops in the order indicated in the picture. Stitch variations place the loops in different locations and wrap or weave them in various ways. I've seen some gorgeous wheels and flowers!
No matter how complicated it looks, it's all based upon these same basic beginner Hardanger stitches.
Use a sharp embroidery needle when working Dove's Eye Web or any stitching that requires you to pierce the satin stitched threads of the Kloster block.
You can add accents with the double running stitch used in blackwork or with crewel embroidery stitches such as the satin stitch and backstitch.
They look fancy, but they're one of the easiest hardanger stitches! To do a little pulled work and create a small hole, work a small satin stitch pulled too tight around the inside of a kloster block square.