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Endearments to History

Summer can be a hectic period with travelling, visiting family, have family visitors, minding the grandchildren, (a favourite occupation), and with everything else that needs to be done around the houses and gardens. It is also the time of year when you can expect to find exciting stuff in many of the smaller galleries in the area. I finally got around to visiting the closest one, Kulturhuset “Heimen”, and was blown away with their current exhibition, which is in its last week, by the way.

 

 

I was especially taken by the collection of  works by textile artist Edith Bentdal Skjeggestad, which she has called “Endearments to History”.

 

 

Ms Skjeggestad has used lots of old lace, fragments of garments, table linen fabric and towels, and arranged the pieces so you get the illusion of a dress bodice or blouse, focusing on the area closest around the neck.

 

 

She has made use of many embroidery techniques to make each unique piece into a visual feast, with lots of details to study and admire. Just look at that fabulous smocked piece, for instance.

 

 

I was impressed by the embroidery made with thin, black thread. It gave the impression of a patterned fabric as well as a textured background, depending on the stitches.

 

 

The collages were set in deep, white, glass fronted frames, and bore titles such as “Flirt”, “Romance”, “Sadness”, “Nostalgia”, and “Longing”, all with lots of embellishments.

 

 

Most were definitely “female”, but there were also a few pieces like the one above, called “Wonderboy, white collar”. It made me almost feel sorry for the menfolk who had to dress so simply and monotonously, compared to all the beautiful lace, embroidery and pearls shown on the other pieces.

 

 

There was also a project called “The Embroideress’ Secrets”, which consisted of a large group of smaller, deep frames, or boxes. In these frames were shown small collages of different sewing equipment and small, exquisite, examples of handmade items connected with the different equipments. The reflections in the glass made it a bit difficult to photograph, but below are a few of the boxes:

 

 

Again, here were lots of details to study. I especially liked the small Russian doll showed with the red embroidery.

 

 

There are also works by other artists exhibited in the gallery, like these prints by Jertrud Eikås Eide and ceramics by Anne Lise Aarset. The sculptures by Aase Botnmark in the window are in this gallery on a permanent basis.

 

 

But the other exhibitions will be taken down this weekend. Just a few days left. Hurry if you want to see it.

🙂

Eldrid

 

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The Quilted and the Non-Quilted Feast

The first day of our tour we spent sightseeing in Moscow, and in the afternoon we ended up inside the Novospassky Monastery, where a delicious meal had been prepared for our international group.

novospassky

We were to dine in one of the towers that sit on every corner of the wall surrounding the monastery.

The entrance was through a low door in the inside wall, up some long and narrow steps to the gallery, and again ducking through low doors and into the tower room.

It was a lovely sight: tables already set with lots of delicious food, old cupboards against the walls holding beautiful pots and crockery, traditional costumes on display, along with various crafted items, – and everything lit only by candles and the natural light coming through the small windows, filtered through blue and white glass.

Many old and newer samovars were displayed around the room and on the steps to the upper room:

We were told that we were going to have a traditional Russian meal, – as in a feast, – and our guide inside the monastery described each course as they were served: what they were, a little about tradition and production, how they should be eaten, etc.

I think there were more than ten different courses, – I lost count somewhere during the meal, – and all of it was delicious; the pumpkin soup, chicken and mushroom pie, pancakes with caviar, fish, pork, cucumber rolls and everything else.

We had sweetened mint flavoured juice to drink, – very good after a long and warm day out in the streets. Then there was cake and desserts along with hot tea made from lots of different sour fruits and berries, and sweetened with comb honey.

What a treat!


 

A week later we went into another monastery, in Suzdal, and inside one of the churches there, we laid eyes on another feast.

22 year old Xenia Shlyakova had single-handedly provided a full table of yummy food, – all made from fabric and set onto a large, handmade, table cloth.

There were all kinds of food:  fish with both red and black caviar, mushrooms, and chicken…..

……. pelmeni, cucumbers, roasted pig with vegetables, goose and apples, prawns with lemon and strands of dill……

….. breads in a basket with an embroidered napkin, and decorated bread or cake.

Bearing in mind the topic of the festival was Love, and Wedding, this would probably be the kind of decorated bread made especially for weddings. Note the poppy seeds on the braided loaf, – they are all tiny french knots.

Of course there were desserts too, – fruit, berries, cake, and cookies.

No feast is complete without something to drink.  In the bottle there is moonshine, and my guess is tea in the teapots and the samovar.

I wondered a bit about the boot on the top of the samovar, but Mr. Google informs me that it is used instead of a bellow to fan the fire inside the samovar.

And then the tea is sweetened with comb honey, – everything so neatly made, down to the last detail.

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One the artist’s beautiful quilts was overlooking the table.

 

Both feasts were amazing experiences, and even though the last one was for the eyes only, it is remembered just as well as the one which we could also taste and smell.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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The Four Seasons Embroidered Frieze

This summer Kaffe Fassett’s exhibition “50 Years of Colour” has been on show at Hadeland Glassverk here in Norway. I finally got to see it during its last week, and it was indeed glorious. But I also got to see a lot more.

Since we had travelled a long way for this, and stayed a couple of nights, we also decided to visit the nearby Blaafarveverket in Modum, as we had heard they usually have some good exhibitions there during summer.

blaafarveverket

On arrival we were presented with the options of buying discounted tickets for any two of three sites, or all three. We thought that we had time for only two, and when hearing that one of them had some embroidery on show, we decided on that one, in addition to the main site, – which showed paintings in blue colours and also lots of blue glass and china, linked to the former production of cobalt mined in this area.

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The second site, Nyfossum, used to be the director’s dwelling. The old house and gardens are being restored to former glory, while the log barn in the photo above has been turned into a gallery to house the annual summer exhibitions.

What a surprise to step into the barn and discover that the embroidery on show was actually THE Four Seasons Frieze, also called the Life Frieze, made by Torvald Moseid during the years 1961-1977. I had read about it in some magazine many, many years ago, and I think I also may have glimpsed it on tv at some time, but had never seen it in “person”.

Impressive is an understatement. It is 62 meters long and 58 centimeters tall, and all in one long piece of linen fabric, embroidered all over, mostly using the couching stitch with yarn spun from wool from the double coated Norwegian tail-less breed Spelsau.

The whole piece was hung around the walls in three separate rooms and a hallway. It was not possible to see all of it at once, – you had to move from room to room.

 

Below are more photos showing details from the frieze. I have put them into four groups, one for each season.

For every season there was also a small text explaining some of the scenes. As they were only in Norwegian I have tried to write up an English version, but I fear the poetry of the texts got lost in translation.

springtext

Spring
Early spring starts with naked trees and dead leaves.

The break through is like a powerful gust of wind. Flocks of migratory birds are carried by the wind. They fly with their heads stretched out towards the spring, and the wind is playing in groves and thickets.

The woods turn green, and flowers spring. The tree of spring spreads its glory like an open fan.

Flowers and plants are grown and tended to. Two who are enthralled with each other stand in the middle of them, as if they are part of the flowers’ beauty and vitality.

 

 

summertextSummer

Summer starts with the big wedding feast. Flutes are played, and in the flowering fields there are undulating rows of dancers.

The summer bride has got her finery on. She has a classic profile, she is pale, and a myrtle garland is tied around her brow. The summer breeze is playing with her long hair. A knot of glorious summer flowers is tied behind her neck, and the wind blows her bridal veil into the wedding feast.

The wedding feast is like a flaming bonfire which turns into cascades of colourful midsummer plants.  The midsummer sun shines in bright red and yellow.

Midsummer blooming has a boundless lavishness of shapes and colours. Large flower bowls are opening up, and children are playing with pollen stamens.

 autumntextAutumn

The birds bring the first signs of autumn. They pull golden threads across the earth. The threads turn into light, golden veils which are pulled over the woods.

Nature closes down towards the winter time. Colours and shapes change the trees and plants. Large, brown, knotty plants with filled seed pods are contrasting with the blue.

 

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Winter

The winter opens with the stormy wind hitting the trees, and dead leaves in brown, yellow, and red are blown into the air.

Through winter cold and frost the death rider on his wild horse charges into the night. Nature is desolate and silent.

The wind plays with light snowflakes, and they are dancing around like pearl embroidered suns.

In the darkness of the winter night a flaming ice rose shines like the fiery northern lights, filled with hope.

 

Needless to say I was above impressed when walking along the frieze, trying to take it all in, – and even more so now, when working with the photos for this blog post, and I really got to study the details.

One cannot help but wonder about the drive and stamina that the artist would need to finish a piece like this. And even so, when comparing the beginning and the end, one can almost get the impression that he did not want it to end, as the sheer masses and density of the stitches are ever increasing towards the end.

Still, the artist has produced two similar works of art after this one. His second frieze, the 50 meters long Orfeus and Euridike (1978 – 1985), was also displayed at Nyfossum in the neighbouring rooms, and was almost as impressive as this one, although a bit different.  I took lots of photos here as well.

His third and last work of this scale, is the 70 meters long frieze based on Draumkvedet, a Norwegian medieval ballad often compared to Dante’s Divina Commedia.  This was finished in 1993. I should like to see that one as well, – maybe I will be so lucky some time in the future.

🙂

Eldrid

ps

“The Four Seasons” and “Orfeus and Euridike” will hang at Nyfossum till the middle of September this year. There are still two more weeks to get to see them.

Festival of Quilts IV – Quilt Creations

I am still enjoying my photos from the Festival of Quilts, even though this is not exactly news anymore.

They have a competition category called Quilt Creations, where you may enter every quilty thing that is not exactly a quilt or a wall hanging.   It can be clothing, wearable art or 3 dimensional pieces, which must have length, breadth and depth. This post will cover some of these.

The coat above was made by Marijke van Weltzen from The Netherlands, and was called “Once in a Blue Moon”. The inspiration is the story about the crane daughter: A girl who turned into a crane and secretly wove beautiful cloth, and who flew away when she was discovered.

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This ensemble named “Citrinesque”, was made by Kathy Knapp from USA.

It was inspired by the citrine gemstone which has a beautiful yellow colour.

devotion978Here is a little beauty: “Devotion” by Judith Anderson.

Using the knowledge gained from a class in faux taxidermy, she made this piece from old and new wool, net, lace, and other embellishments.

diaghilev993This “outfit” was called “Diaghilev Comes to the Party”, and was made by Sally Hutson.

The artist writes: “Inspired by the extraordinary theatrical performance of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe from the early 20th century, this garment captures the art of modernism and the fun of the party!”

firelight979“Firelight” by Jane Appelbee.

The artist had a new wood burning stove installed, and was told that she would be watching that more then the TV, – which she did. The flames licking the logs inspired this piece.

henge953“Henge of Celtic Seasonal Totems” by Linzi Upton.

Circle of nine mystical Celtic Totems inspired by votive trees and stone circles found in Ancient Britain.

Linzi is also famous for her quilted Yurts (Mongolian dwellings).

holst973“What on Earth would Holst think?” by Liz Clark. The artist calls these 3D-off-the-wall quilts. Motifs and colours are chosen to represent the seasons.

Another coat, “Homage to Hundertwasser” made by Catherine Lawes. Inspired by Hundertwasser’s paintings and architecture.

This lovely creature was made by Claire Crouchley, and is called “Naiad”. It received a “Highly Commended”.

The artist says: “The doll was created with sequin scales and beaded embellishments, including seaweed and jewellery to reflect her vain nature. She sits on driftwood which is being slowly claimed by the marine life which surrounds her”.

splash955“Splash” by Linda Turner won a “Judges Choice”.

The bowl is made of organza layered between soluble stabilizers and is free motion thread painted to illustrate the action of water when an object or raindrop falls into the water.

takeabreak972“Take a Break” by Ulrike Tillmanns.

An old teak bench, covered in fabric using weather proof glue and lacquer.

tigersandgoats957c“Tigers and Goats Game” by Gillian Travis.

The artist’s interpretation of a game that is very popular in India.

woodlandfantasy965This one is lovely, – “Woodland Fantasy” by Helen Alexander Bristow.

Lovely free machine embroidery on felted fabric. Beautiful colours.

My own quilt, Rosemadonna, was also shown in this category. I did not get any good photos of it on the location, but it can be seen in this post.

bedtimemonster995This is one of a “Collection of Quilted Monsters and Bedtime Beasties” made by Daisy May Collingridge.

The artist says: “The quilt monster is a beast with a fickle permanence. Its presence only captured in the blink of an eye. Yet, it is always there, under the bed or wrapped tight around you”.

The one above, along with the two other “Bedtime Monsters”, and many other outfits were shown at the “Fashion Show” on the Friday night during the Festival. Some of the outfits were also in the competition, like the one above, but not all of them.

Below are some photos taken during the Fashion Show. The photo quality varies as I was sitting near the back, the models were moving, and the lighting varied across the stage. I did not take notes during the show, so I have not got the names of the various makers.

🙂

Eldrid

Ukrainian Folk Costumes II

We have just celebrated the 200 year anniversary of our Constitution on 17th May, and as usual on the National Day, everybody who own a national costume, wore it to the festivities.

While I was enjoying myself looking at different dresses with a myriad of interesting details, I was reminded of the rest of the photos of the Ukrainian costumes that have been sitting in my computer for some time, waiting to make their way into this post.

Well, here they are at last.

The first one here is a costume from the  Transcarpathian flatlands. We are still in the era of the sewing machine, as can be seen on the vest. It has colourful ruffles made from a very thin fabric, which have frayed a bit over time. The shirt has fantastic smocking and embroideries on the cuffs. The photo of the skirt is sadly out of focus, but shows the multiple colours of the ruffle border.

I have been studying the belt, but cannot quite decide on the construction technique. I have been wondering if it might be made in the old braiding technique called “sprang”, but I am not sure. Maybe someone reading this will know. As I wrote in the first post, there was no information on the individual costumes other than the region they came from.

The costume above comes from the Lemko area. Again, the amount of detailed work is amazing. I like the dense embroidery of the head dress, which is also repeated on the cuffs, and I love the large pearl collar, – and not just because quilters are partial to hexagons.

When studying the embroidery on the skirt, you will notice that each motif is perfectly aligned with the pressed folds of the skirt.

I wonder how many pearls would be used for a dress like this.

Then we move on to Bukovyna, and here they had costumes for both men and women on display. The one above is for males, and it looks like they were not averse to wearing flowery decorations embroidered in many colours, – including hot pink.

The detailed work done on leather is impressive, and I love the woven belt. Also, I was surprised to see that the bottom of the trousers has a border of drawn thread embroidery. They show very little wear, so these trousers  must have been for very best use.

Above is the female costume, which, as a whole, appears less colourful than the male counterpart. The most impressive parts are the sleeves, which look unusually long, by the way, – and all covered in embroidery in three very different patterns. The edging on the vest with alternating dark and light fur, must have taken quite some time to accomplish. The belt has a similar pattern and colours as in the male costume, but seems to be narrower.

 

Now, this one from the Pokuttia region has everything: embroidery, fringes, pearls, handmade cords, – you name it, – and then some detailed leather work to blow your mind.

First, I love the head dress with the colourful borders. To wrap it around the head and make it sit correctly must be an art in itself. The shirt sleeves are also heavily embroidered.

But the most impressive part is the vest. I have no knowledge of leather work, so can only guess at how these things are done, but even to an untrained eye, there is no denying that a lot of work has gone into this piece. Just look at all those small pom-poms, – they look like they are felted. Anyway, each and every one of them have been fastened, – probably sewn, – to the leather along with an accompanying dark triangular leather piece.

The narrow checkered borders on both sides of the the front looks like narrow dark leather bands have been woven into slits in the light leather background. Then there is some cross stitch embroidery, and red and yellow twisted cords are couched on both sides.

The alternating pieces of dark and light fur on the edges of the vest, are even narrower than on the vest we looked at above, and there are also lots of small triangular leather pieces, looking like praerie points, on top of the fur pieces.

 

This women’s dress from the Hutsulian area is also rich in details, and colours.

The head dress is interesting, consisting largely of pearls, – but I wondered about the tinsel. I guess it must have been highly valued at some point to be displayed so prominently.

I love the pattern in the pearl necklace, – although there are repeats, it appears quite irregular.

The upper part of the shirt sleeves has a very dense, colourful embroidery.

The vest has similar decoration details as the one above, but they are arranged a bit differently. Lots of couched cords, and the edges of the dark triangular pieces are also couched in dark thread, – so much so the leather almost disappears. Lots of eyelets are also used as pure decoration. It also has a colourful embroidered border at the bottom, in style with the shirt embroidery.

Here it is obvious that the base leather is sheepskin, which I also suspect is the case of the vests in the photos further above.

In addition to a woven belt, there is also a woven band adorned with pom-poms wrapped across one shoulder, reminiscent of a ceremonial sash, some times used at weddings. Now, if this is a wedding outfit, maybe that would explain the tinsel, – just guessing here.

 

The corresponding men’s costume from the Hutsulian area is even more adorned than its female counterpart, minus the pearls.

The shirt front is richly embroidered in many colours and patterns, including numbers which indicate it was made in 1961.  The woven belt is quite wide and has stronger colours in it than the one on the women’s dress, – maybe it is newer and less faded.

The vest has similar decor elements and placement as the one above, minus the embroidered border at the bottom. This one has larger, dark triangles, and they are adorned with lots of eyelets and have their edges couched with green cord. The checkerboard strips are wider and have three bands woven into them.

The footwear is also similar between the two costumes.

This is a woolen cape from the same area as above. It has some embroidered decor around the neck, down the back, and along the seams.

The tip protruding at the back looks like it could be a hood, but  I have not been able to detect an opening for the head. It is a mystery to me why it looks like this, unless it is meant to cover a load carried on the back.

The last two costumes that were on display, are from the Podillia area. The men’s costume has a long shirt, with a wide embroidered border around the opening at the front. Stitches around this opening also serve as a strengthening of the fabric, which can easliy tear at the bottom of the split.

The decorative leather work on the west is more similar to the ones from the Bukovyna area than to the two shown directly above. This also goes for the belt, which seems to be woven in a jacquard technique.

The most prominent feature of the women’s costume from Podillia, is the strong decor on the sleeves. With two heavy, black and red pieces at the top, – not sure whether they are embroidered or sewn in fabrics, – and a wide, black zig zag ribbon sewn in a spiraling pattern around the sleeves, they sort of define the whole costume. The red colour is also repeated in a many stranded pearl necklace.

The vest is decorated in similar technique as the one above.

——————

Seeing this exhibition, and then studying the individual photos afterwards, has been like a journey, – very interesting. People everywhere like to dress up, and being well dressed is always a way to show off either wealth or status.

A lot of these costumes has been very time consuming in making, showing that these people had time on their hands, and material, to spend on other things than just scraping a living.

—————–

The first post about the exhibition can be seen here.

 

🙂

Eldrid

Ukranian Folk Costumes

During the recent Olympic Games in Sochi, quilters everywhere admired the Games’ patchwork theme, which I wrote about back in May 2011.

The fact that the patchwork bits were inspired by different traditional crafts, including embroidery,  reminded me of some photos I took not very long ago, and which I intended to show you here.

The museum at Maihaugen, Lillehammer cooperated with the Museum of Folk Architecture and Customs of Lviv, Ukraine,  to show part of their collection of Ukrainian folk costumes at Lillehammer last summer.  We travelled through the area at that time, so we planned a stop at Lillehammer to visit the exhibition.

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I have spent some time during the last week or so, sorting through the photos I took there. Meanwhile, the political situation in Ukraine has escalated, and is still unresolved and threatening as I write this.

Amidst all the turmoil, maybe it is fitting in this situation to also have a look at the beauty that has been created in this region. One term that comes to mind after studying these dresses is: “Flower Power” 🙂

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As the small poster accompanying the exhibition tells us, the costumes are from late 19th century and first half of 20th century, during which time the sewing machine came into use. The poster explains how the shape of the costumes changed after the introduction of the sewing machine. (Click on the photo to enlarge).

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At the exhibition, the costumes were divided into two groups: before and after the introduction of sewing machines. The latter group, above, has costumes with sewn waists, while the group below has the older long shirts with woven belts.

ukraina2

Here I will post some photos of the youngest costumes, and will have to make a new post with the older ones later.

(Click on the small photos above to see the full version of the photos.)

Like we do with quilts, I find it interesting to study how things were done, and to sometimes wonder why. The joyful red colour of the embroidery above (which seems to have been colourfast, by the way) is very prominent on the white background, and would certainly stand out in a crowd. The shirt is very well made with lots of detail and even stitches, and the edges of both the collar and the cuffs are beautifully finished off with embroidery stitches. From a distance the waistcoat is the most eye-catching piece, with the larger flower embroideries.

However, when looking closely, one can see that there is a difference in workmanship between the shirt and the waistcoat, and also in the waistcoat itself, namely between the embroidery and the general construction, including the machine stitching. It looks as if more than one person has been involved in the making, or perhaps some older item with embroideries still intact, has been remade into a waistcoat. Lots of questions pop up when you start looking closely.  The buttonholes, for example, puzzled me especially, – why buttonholes (and not very well made at that) and no buttons? At least the maker took care to cut them in between the flowers so as not to ruin, or unravel, any embroidery stitches.

ukraina8

The “make-do”- phenomenon, which we often see in quilting, is also present here. The maker seems to have run out of the flowery ribbon and had to use some yellowish ribbon instead on top of the left front piece (to the right on the photos). It goes both vertically and horizontally at the top, but in the corresponding horizontal space on the other front piece, there is no ribbon at all. Again the question pops up: why?

The skirt raises similar questions. It  looks like hand embroidery, but the border patterns do not fit at the seams, at least not all of them. Why go to all that work and not have the pattern fit?

But let me assure you: none of these questions entered my head while walking through the exhibition. At the time I was just impressed with the gorgeousness of it all, and had no time to contemplate the details. It is when I look at the photos afterwards that I start noticing things.  So, any young or older woman wearing this costume, would just look beautiful, I think.

Below are more costumes, and similar questions could be asked about a few of them. There is always something to wonder about when you are curious, but I will try to not repeat myself too much.

This one was quite restricted colour-wise, – only “a few” coloured flowers and leaves on the vest, –  but the blackwork on the shirt is to die for. You can also see that the machine stitching in black is very well done. The distance between the two parallel seams is so even that one might suspect a twin needle has been used.

There was no written information about the individual costumes beyond the general information on the poster at the top, except for the name of the region the costume came from. The two above, and the next two below are all from the Lviv Region.

The costumes were behind ropes, and the lighting was a bit varied. I had to zoom in on some details where I could not reach close enough with the camera, so not all my photos came out great. I could only use the flash sparingly, so on some of the darker costumes, the details do not show up very well, or they are a bit out of focus. Still, I chose to post some of the lesser photos anyway.

Here the flowers are blooming in a riot of colours. The shirt has lots of flowers arranged in orderly borders. It is interesting to observe the arrangement of the decorative elements on the shoulder pieces. Also, I love the creative use of colours in the embroidery on the vest.

This costume strikes me as a celebration of earthly gifts: golden wheat fields with poppies in them, and an abundance of grapes. And then the flowers on the apron. The amount of work to make a dress like this is awe-inspiring.

The pattern of the necklace could be an inspiration to any quilter.

This costume is from the Polissya region. The flowers have been left behind, except for the cuffs. Also notice that the embroidered pattern on the collar is widely different from the one on the cuffs, – and then the shoulders and sleeves have yet another pattern, which is a bit similar to the woven pattern on the skirt.

I found this costume especially interesting as it was the only one with sewing that resembled quilting on the waistcoat, – or maybe the term machine embroidery could be used.

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Also, we can deduce that at one point the owner must have put on weight, or the dress has been passed on to a new owner and needed to be fitted.  As you can see, some of the buttons have been moved.  The old positions are still visible for the two buttons at the bottom. With the buttons in the old positions, the quilted leaves forming a zig-zag pattern, would have fitted nicely at the front, so this was well planned from the beginning.

When looking closely, you may also notice that the red fabric in the waist border is a twill fabric, while both the red and black fabrics above are satin weave.  The two red colours are so similar that the difference is not noticeable, except when looking very closely.  With so many different elements coming together, one could almost call this a patchwork project 🙂

The last costume for now comes from the Boiko area, and is almost solemn compared to the riot of colours displayed on most of the previous ones. As with the  rest of the costumes, the shirt does not lack decor, particularly on the shoulder pieces. I also love the smocking on top of the sleeves.

This was it for now.

I will start sorting through the rest of the photos, and eventually write another post showing you the older costumes.

🙂

Eldrid

Old Embroideries

When a call of entry for old embroideries went out from Galleri Frøya earlier this year, the good ladies of Kalvåg and Bremanger went to their cupboards and chest of drawers and dug, – very deep, it seems.

The things they dug out, – some of them very old, were then carefully cleaned, if possible, – then starched and ironed before being hung or laid out in the gallery in the centre of Kalvåg.

The theme of the exhibition is: “Embroideries for everyday use”.

Judging from the items on display, – and also from experience, – the kitchen would be the room in the house that was used the most, – every day.

“Coffee is served”, it says on this tablecloth, which would typically be part of a set which would also have one or two pieces for the counter tops, and probably a so called decorative towel.

These embroidered “towels” were purely decorative and hung on the wall in the kitchen, – sometimes in front of the pegs where the “real” towels were, to keep them out of sight.

There was a broad selection of these decorative towels. They were also used in bedrooms, to cover the towels by the wash stand.

Many were in good shape, – but not accompanied by their counterpart tablecloths or runners, indicating that maybe the latter got more heavy use and were worn out long before these purely decorative items.

This flower embroidery brought back memories, – we had table cloths like this when I grew up, and they were my favourites.

Some of the pieces were very colourful,  and telling of everyday life.

Many had sayings or blessings embroidered on them.

The fringe on the one above is done in macrame, and was taught to the maker by an older lady who called it Lover’s knot.

Some of the motifs are known across the world. You have probably already recognized Little Red Riding Hood.

Another piece that brought on nostalgia. My mother had made a set that adorned our kitchen when we grew up, – it was done in this pattern, and in the exact same colours.

There were embroideries in many styles……

…. and not surprisingly, also in Hardanger.

Even the most beautifully worked pieces had some telltale signs of use and wear.

There were a few examples of these lovely, nostalgic country scenes.

Redwork and bluework seemed to be popular, and they often came with sayings or poems on them. The text here says: Kari makes sour cream porridge, we sweeten it with sugar. (It rhymes in Norwegian)

Usually these things would be made from ready bought or shared patterns. This one however, has been designed by the maker herself, and shows a fisherman returning home after a long trip at sea, – which happens all the time around here. The text says: Welcome home.

This one is a beauty, and has been well used. Note the mended tear…..

… and not least the impressive monogram.

I could go on and on, but then this post would be too heavy to download. I’ll give in to the temptation of throwing in some more whitework, though:

… and a blessing before you go:

The exhibition will hang till the end of this month, – March 2012.

🙂 Eldrid