Friday, January 21, 2011

Fabric and threads for Hardanger

When doing the current project - i.e. another pillow with hardanger, I thought of making some sort of step by step tutorial in case any of you would be interested in trying hardanger. So, this is the first part of it.
Before you start any kind of embroidery you need to have two things - fabric and threads. For hardanger the fabric has to be the even weave type. The essential part of this embroidery is removing part of the threads from the fabric so to create the pattern and only the even weave fabric enables that. So far I had the fabrics of two manufacturers: DMC and Zweigart. DMC offers good quality fabrics for a decent price, Zweigart ones are much more expensive but I believe this comes with a better quality. Also Zweigart offers much bigger variety of colors. When you need colors like red, dark green or brown I think only Zweigart offers such.
Another thing about fabric is the number it has. You may see something like 22ct, 25ct and it stands for the number of threads to the inch. This means that the higher the number is the more dense the fabric you get. Also, the same pattern will become smaller on the more dense fabric. The fabrics with smaller number should be easier to embroider, however I would not buy the fabric with smaller number than 20ct. This one is loose enough to cut the threads easily and I'm afraid that the ones with a smaller number wouldn't look nice for such things as a tablecloth or a pillow. To compare - the ecru fabric on the photo is 20ct, the red one 25ct.

Now, the threads. If you read some books you'll read about pearl cotton. It's a thread with 2 twisted stands. You can also read it's doubled mercerised. Till today I had no idea what it means but for purposes of this blog I decided to check :). Here's what you can find in Wikipedia:
Mercerisation is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread that gives fabric a lustrous appearance. The process is applied to materials like cotton or hemp.
The threads also have its numbers: no.3, 5, 8 and 12 - the higher number the thinner the thread. For hardanger you need two sizes of the threads. The size of thread depends on the count of the fabric you'll choose.
As a less expensive replace for pearl cotton I used DMC Petra thread with quite good effect.


  1. Hi Uzi,
    Thank you for this little series - I have often fancied having a go at Hardanger but it looks so hard. I also never really understood what pearl cotton was!! I look forward to the next part and maybe I can find time to try it out.

  2. Thanks Wendy. I hope I'll be able to make some useful posts. Hardanger is really beautiful and definitely worth a try.


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