Saturday, 12 December 2015

FAL Finish: Hardanger Pennants

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Back in July, I put this (very boring) photo on my FAL list (and again in October, on my Q4 2015 FAL list):

Secret project

That was all I could show as it was a surprise make for a friend, I couldn't even show the pattern, just in case she knew I had a blog (I don't think she does but...) and stumbled across the photo!  I've failed to take a photo of the pattern (by Emie Bishop) and have since given it back to (a different) friend but you can see it here (in case you fancy making your own).

After many (many!) hours of stitching, cutting and more stitching, I have finished this project!  I managed to take some progress photos but not many, I'm afraid!  Here's what I have:

I started by cutting the piece of (32 count) linen into four pieces and zigzagging round the edge of each piece (to stop fraying).  I then tacked in the vertical centre (don't think you can see it in the photos but it is pale pink) and then stitched the kloster blocks on each piece, using perle 8 (#712):

Hardanger - a start

I then added the left-hand bouquet, the letter (both in two threads of stranded cotton) and the satin stitch frame:

Hardanger - L in progress

I did the same part on each piece, mainly so that I could get those bouquets out of the way!  As you can see in the photo, there are little bits of colour dotted all over so there was no nice rhythm to the stitching - a bit of light green here, a square of pink next to it, a square of pink thirty threads to the left and ten threads up, etc.  I knew that if I was going to stall anywhere, it would be on those bouquets so I decided to get them over and done with.   The letters and the satin stitch frame, in contrast, were lovely to do!

Next were the satin stitch hearts - these were supposed to be done in perle 8 but I wasn't buying a whole ball just for twelve small hearts so I used three strands of the stranded cotton used in the bouquets (in the same shade as the perle would have been) instead:
Hardanger - progress

Next was the other bouquet (almost the same as the left-hand one but not quite), the blanket stitch border, some pulled thread work and thread cutting (eek!):

Harganger - needle weaving next!

I've failed to get a photo of any of the pieces after the needle weaving (the bit in the middle of the kloster blocks, where all those threads are in the photo above) but after that it was time to cut them out along the edge of the blanket stitch border and create a pocket for the hanger (as well as the twisted cord from which they would hang).

And here's what I've been making:





Secret sewing - not so secret any more!
Excuse the not-very-elegant hanging arrangement!  I'm sure my friend will arrange it better on her Edwardian (and gorgeous!) mantelpiece!

And, because I believe the back of your work should be (almost) as nice as the front and certainly as neat, here are a couple of 'backside' photos:
N - back
 I love the hem stitch used to create the hanging pocket - such a great stitch and one I will use again!
NOEL - back

And a final photo of the front, just because I can!


I'm so pleased to have this finished in time for Christmas so my friend can hang it from her mantelpiece (I think she was going to anchor each of them with a glass paperweight, which I bet looks lovely) and (hopefully!) enjoy it.

Archie has taken to dodging the camera.  He looks straight at me until I lift the camera and then he turns away right at the last moment!  A couple of weeks ago I took several photos of the side of his head (and many, many blurry photos of him turning away!) and these were the best (I/he had a fellow dog walker in kinks!):

No, I won't look at the camera.
There's something far more interesting down there than you and that thing.
All right, then.  I'll look at the camera, but you needn't think I'm going to look cheerful as well.
Go on *sighs* you can have one good photo of me, but only one mind!
I said one.  Do you think I'm daft?  I can count, you know!  I demand an apology...and a biscuit.

I think I'm going to have to re-introduce biscuits into the photo-taking process!  Well, not proper biscuits, he's not allowed those any more.  The vet diagnosed him with colitis (on top of everything else!), so he's on special food and he's allowed that and only that.  Goodness knows how I'm going to break it to him that he won't be allowed those handmade cheese biscuits that Susan brings him...with a bit of his food pretending to be a biscuit/treat, perhaps?!

Thanks for popping in - I have more FAL finishes to share so I hope to be back soon(ish)!


  1. Your sewing is beautiful, I wish the back of my work looked as neat. It is a lovely pattern, colourful but elegant, just like Archie, I wonder why he has suddenly turned camera shy. Shame about the restricted diet but if it keeps him healthy then that's the way it is.

  2. Your stitching is absolutely wonderful and I'm sure your friend will treasure this gift forever, wish I was receiving it@!!! By the way, my little dog won't look at the camera either and it's so frustrating to me!!!!

    1. Hi Marie,

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I'm afraid I can't reply via email as you're currently a 'no reply' blogger and I can't track you down anywhere - feel free to leave another comment (with your email address) and I'll send you a link on how to add your email to your profile.

      I think Archie is refusing to look at the camera because he knows that treats aren't on offer, so I'm going to reintroduce them and see if things improve! I hope your dog changes his (her?) mind about looking at the camera sometime soon!

  3. Hi Helen and Archie! What i hear Anchie that you won't get coocies anymore? Poor you but I hope your diet food makes you feel good. Helen, you have done amazing job with these pennants (I learnt new word again)! Oh, it's hard to think that you have stitched all those stitches and littly, tiny details! Really gorgeus and unique present! Happy Holidays! Teje, Nero and Hanna

  4. Wow! Your Noel hangers are amazing and gorgeous...lucky friend, a gift to treasure.

  5. Your stitching belongs in the realm of Angels and Gods. Pretty divine.
    Wonderous and Geni-easical (Belonging to a genius!)
    So happy for your friend. She will treasure these.

  6. These are so beautiful. Definitely a family heirloom for your very lucky friend. I'm equally amazed by your reverse side. When I did cross stitch a few years ago now my reverse side looked a complete mess! I'm always so grateful with quilting that the wrong side is never seen again....

  7. wowser! that is amazing!!!!!!!!!

  8. Beautiful work, absolutely exquisite! I'm so with you on getting done early the bits I won't want to do later. I'm not sure I'd be able to give those away, they're *so* beautiful...

    1. Thank you! They were easy to give away because they were never intended to be mine - it may have been a different matter if I'd started making them for me and then changed my mind!

  9. What wonderful work - and a splendid and special gift for your friend!

  10. I just keep looking at your stitching thinking - You have way, way more patience than me. The pennants are so beautiful!

  11. We always wondered why our dog did not like to look at the camera.

    One day I had a flash (pun intended) of inspiration when I realized that he only ever refused to look when we were indoors-he didn't like the flash. I turned it off entirely, but it was sort of late. He continued to try to avoid being photographed indoors, but paid no mind if I snapped a photo outdoors.
    Too smart!

    1. Just the other day I turned on the flash when I took a photo of Archie and he jumped when it went off - I swear his feet left the floor! I won't be trying that again..!

  12. These are beautiful. I love doing embroidery, and maybe it is time for me to get back to setting up a project to be working on.

  13. Your NOEL letters are amazing. Really stunning :) Funny that Archie has become camera shy. I expect he is hoping to be lured with a biscuit!

  14. It's not boring any more! Gorgeous work. Merry Christmas!

  15. These are absolutely stunning! I love the pulled thread work - that must have taken some courage!

  16. Your handstitching amazes me! There is no way I'd have the patience for such intricate stitches. These are truly beautiful.

    Funny little sidenote. I was at the hairdressers just before Christmas and my youngest two kept on knocking over these wooden letters that spelt Noel. A conversation started about the meaning of the word. Not a single one of the staff (or the owner) knew the meaning of the word. Only one of them thought that it might be french!


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