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    Downloadable pattern for Bargello Dancing Flames

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  • Downloadable pattern for Autumn Bargello

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A Thousand Bodice Inserts

We were so lucky as to get to see the exhibition of 1000 Bodice Inserts at Hardanger Folkemuseum at Utne last October.

A bodice insert is a separate piece of fabric covering the front opening of the bodice on the folk costume from Hardanger and some other areas.

 

Folk costumes in Hardanger, and also in other areas in Norway, were influenced by continental fashions. The renaissance fashion trend with waist and skirt in differing colours, and often heavily decorated bodice inserts, kept its stronghold in this area till the costume was embraced as the National Costume of Norway in the late 1800s. It was a living tradition, so no need to go back to study old garments in order to reconstruct the costume, as has been done later in other areas to create local folk costumes. (We now have lots of different folk costumes in all areas of the country.)

 

Luckily a lot of old and new bodice inserts from Hardanger have been donated to the museum over the years. There are also collections in neighbouring districts, and some of these were also on display, – a total of more than 1000 bodice inserts, and not two alike.

 

People have used a variety of techniques to decorate the inserts, and cross stitch embroidery seems to have been a popular method. All the inserts on the wall to the left in the photo above, are decorated in this way.

 

The amount of decoration vary from very simple to elaborate. People used the same style of clothing both for every day use and for Sunday best and other festivities, and they often had several bodice inserts to fit the occasion.

Unadorned bodice inserts were used when attending funerals, and grieving.

 

The size of the inserts vary a lot. This may be due to variations of the waist front opening, and also the fact that people come in different sizes. A couple of hundred years ago, people were generally smaller than we are now.

Even though hardly two bodice inserts are alike, there are some common standards. They all have a ribbon hem on top. Most have a defined motif of various geometric shapes sewn on red or white fabric. Between the ribbon and motif there is often a border made of metal lace or ribbon, beads, or embroidery.  The decorated parts are mounted on a piece of fabric, which is mostly made of home woven wool or linen. This background fabric is not visible when the bodice insert is in use.

It is almost as interesting, – or perhaps more so, – to observe all the different background fabrics that have been used.

The most common geometric motif is by far the eight pointed star, also called an eight leafed rose in these parts. The variations are many, there may be one big star, or a few or several smaller ones set in a grid, most often on point. The grid itself may be narrow, or wider with geometric decor elements of its own.

In quilting terms we might call the decor on point blocks with narrow or wide sashings.

 

Quite a few inserts have beads on them.

At a time when most household items were home made, purchased objects would be regarded as finer and having a higher status. Beads have been produced and sold for many years, and bodice inserts decorated with beads were regarded as especially fine and for best use. The inserts can be dated by looking at the colour of the beads. White, green, mustard, and black beads were first available. Blue beads and straw beads came later. Also the older beads are bigger and of more irregular shape than newer ones.

The motifs are again mostly geometric borders and eight pointed stars, but also heart shaped decor has been popular.

 

On one insert with very small beads, they found that the maker had used horse hair to thread the beads. The horse hair is so stiff that you would not need a needle, which would perhaps have been to thick for the small pearl openings.

 

Pearls have been combined with both embroidery, metal lace and ribbons, and also applique as in some of the photos below..

 

There is a story about three vicar’s daughters from Ulvik who used to do very fine applique, mostly eight pointed stars. When their father died, they supported themselves by making fine bodice inserts for sale. At the time, paper was used inside the top hem to make it stiffer, and much later one of their father’s sermons was found inside one of these inserts.

 

 

Not all bodice inserts were made from woollen fabric. Some used fine imported silks, silk velvet and calamanco. A few of these were displayed behind glass.

 

The pattern darning technique has also been used to decorate bodice inserts.

Pattern darning is a very old embroidery technique, – even older than cross stitch, – and this technique has been used quite a lot.  Pattern darning is often used alongside other techniques, where the pattern darning will compose the grid, or framework, for the motif, while other techniques such as cross stitch or satin stitch, are used to fill in the pattern repetitions.

A very common motif on pattern darning inserts is the “eldjarnrose”, which looks like a modern day hashtag set on point. It is most often worked in black, while the surrounding grid has been made in red yarn.

 

This last group of photos show some inserts made in a variety of techniques, and some of them with unusual motifs. There are a few examples where the cross stitch embroidery patterns are made to look like bead embroidery or threaded bead grids. There is also one with a great variety of stitches, including the only example of chain stitch that I noticed.

Lastly, here is an insert mounted on a piece of fabric cut from a beautiful woven coverlet in the “krokbragd” pattern:

 

 

The exhibition was scheduled to be taken down last January, but due to its popularity, it has been extended till 1st November 2019. If you get the chance to visit, grab it with both hands.

It is well worth a visit.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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Annual Spring Report 2019

Not much has been posted on my blog the last twelve months, but this post goes up every year. It is fun to sometimes look back over the years to see just how “normal” the spring time has been.

As for this year, it will be placed in the “not normal” group.

I cannot remember everything being so early before. We have had a very warm and dry April, and during the last week, everything was suddely in full bloom, including the fruit trees, which normally bloom at least 3 weeks later than this.

All kinds of bushes normally blooming in May, has either started to bloom, or are already in full bloom, like the red rhododendron bushes.

All the narcissuses are in full bloom, or are finished, depending on variety and placement in the garden. Even the tulips are nearly finished.

The ones above normally bloom in June, but have now started at the end of April.

Our lawn is in full bloom too, so the bumblebees should be happy, – or maybe they are already overworked with everything else that is blooming.

Even the wild blueberries and the strawberries are in bloom, and it was not yet May when these photos were taken.

Today, on May 1st, we are further inland at our “cabin”. It has obviously been a bit cooler here, as we can see the tulips have just started to bloom, and the leaves on the trees are  bit smaller. But still very early here too.

A happy wagtail on top of our roof. I hope it does not eat too many bees as they are needed for their job just now.

 

🙂

Eldrid

Winter Sewing

In between travelling, family obligations, and other stuff, some sewing is still happening in this house. These past months have been dedicated to finishing some UFOs (UnFinished Objects).

I had finally sent off three “leaders and enders” tops to be long arm quilted by Sølvis Quiltestudio, but when they arrived back this autumn, they went into a pile, waiting for me to tackle the bindings.

I finally got on top of the task this January. Sewing the first seam by machine does not take long once I get started, and putting the binding on three quilts at once was very effective, – it was done in almost no time at all.

However, sewing the binding to the back by hand is a much longer process. I enjoy doing this, but have to do it in short intervals because of shoulder pain. The quilt sits right beside my comfy chair so I can pick it up and do a few stitches whenever I feel like it.

I was so lucky as to get this retro combined pincushion and spool holder as a Christmas gift from a delightful young neighbour girl. I had been looking forward to using it, and it was perfect to sit on the table for such long term on-and-off sewing.

Finally, all three quilts are finished.

In between, I have also been making some tote bags. Like many quilters, I have aquired lots of fabric over the years, so there is no shortage of material for such projects. It feels good to put it to some use.

Most of the bags have been given away to charities and as gifts, but I kept a couple to use for shopping instead of the usual plastic bags.

🙂

Eldrid

Annual Spring Report 2018

I am a bit late in writing this up, but the photos were taken on time, – on May 1st, and then again when we arrived home on May 3rd.

On May 1st we were further inland visiting family, and this is how it was like there. The ski slopes were still sporting a good amount of snow, although they had been closed for a couple of weeks already.

No leaves on the trees yet, but the fields were quite green, although it looked like the snow had only just disappeared from the fields and was still lingering in the woods nearby.

The garden outside the flat, facing south, had one blooming mini daffodil, and a few budding tulips, and quite a lot of dandelions sprouting everywhere.

On arriving back home on the coast two days later, the picture was a little bit different. Fields were not as green, but the woods had started to change their colour. No need to mow the lawn just yet. The bulk of narcissuses were still not in bloom, but with growing buds.

The ones by the south wall were in full bloom. The crocuses were finished, along with the snowdrops.

The flowering currant was in full bloom, and had been for a few days.

Rose bush was sprouting new leaves, and so was the spiraea bush, but no white flowers just yet.

Tulips by the south wall had large buds. At the time of writing they are in full bloom, since we have had a few warm days lately.

All in all: a quite normal spring.

🙂

Eldrid

Heart Shaped Bag

Youngest grandson wanted to make a bag as a birthday present for his mom. He was very determined that it should be shaped like a heart, and it had to be red. Before he came to visit, I made sure I had some red  fabric available, plus iron on vliseline, and some sturdy woven ribbons for the handles.

We discussed various heart shapes, and decided that a shape with a rounded “bottom” would work better for a bag than one with a pointed “bottom”.

Drawing a heart pattern is easy. Just fold a paper in half, and draw half of the heart shape the size you want, then cut out.

The next thing we did was to cut two heart shapes out of vliseline.

We ironed the two vliseline shapes on to the wrong side of the red fabric and cut out.

I insisted that the bag should be lined. He was a bit sceptical as he had never made a lined bag before, but I explained that it would be easier to sew a lining than to fold and hem the rounded edges, so he went along. We chose a lining with a pattern of book ends. He thought it would fit very well as his mom loves books and works in a library.

Then he had quite a job zig-zagging the edges, all the way around each shape.

Then we pinned the outer shapes, and tried the placement of the handles for best balance. We wanted the heart shape to show also when carrying the bag, and found that if placed too far out, the bag would “collapse” the middle part, and if placed too far towards the centre, the sides would sag.

We also decided on the size of the opening at the top. The opening can be as large as you like, depending on where the side seams start.

We marked where we wanted to start the seams. Then the handles were placed and pinned in position for sewing on the right side of the fabric.

Next the lining was placed on top, right sides together, then pinned along the curved edges and sewn between the marks. Clip the seam allowance, especially in the “valley”. Turn right sides out and stitch the edge from the right side.

Both halves of the bag had to be sewn like this before we could go on.

Next, we had to fold away the lining fabric, place the red fabric parts right sides together, pin and sew the side seams, right up to the marks, or as far as we could manage.

Then we did the same with the lining fabric, – both sides pinned together….

….. except for a short distance of approximately 15 cm near the bottom, as there has to be a small opening so the bag can be turned right sides out after sewing. This was the fun part, – he was very thrilled to see the bag emerge through this small opening. Then we sewed the edges across the side seams, and sewed shut the opening in the lining.

Voila…. bag finished!

Both the maker and the recipient were very happy with the bag. It is a perfect carrier for mom’s knitting projects.

🙂

Eldrid

 

Autumn Bargello

This quilt was part of an online class I taught a few years ago about how to make Bargello quilts. After the classes stopped, there has been some demand for a pattern for this quilt, and now I have finally taken the time to edit the class so it fit into a pdf-document.

It is available for purchase through my website.

 

🙂

Eldrid

Rendezvous in Røros

27 years ago my family and I visited Røros during a holiday trip.

In the museum there was an exhibition of textile art, and among them were several works by artist Ela Monsen.

 

I was so impressed by her work at the time that I took several photos, using a cheap camera I had at that time, – and also using the expensive film and paper copies of that time. I wanted to remember what I saw.

 

The wall hangings were hung in a room with dark drapes on the walls, and even though my small flash light did its meager best, the photos were only so-so, – even by my then standards. But they were recognizable.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I visited Røros again, and we stayed at Røros hotel. In the lobby, I was pleasantly surprised to see the wall hanging with the dancing couple hanging on the wall.

 

Of course I recognized it at once, and was happy to be able to see it in better light conditions, and to be able to study the details. Of course I did not think twice about taking lots of photos, – these days photos are cheap.

The next morning I was again pleasantly surprised to see another of her works in the dining room:

 

This rendition of a wedding feast is the one I thought most impressive back in 1990, so I was very happy to be able to study it in closer detail. It has not lost its impact since then.

Ela Monsen died in 1978, so these two hangings were made just one and two years before her passing. Luckily, some of her works hang in public places so we can continue enjoying them.

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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