Ask Roz: How do you end and start new threads in the middle of a Hardanger piece?

  1. Hello Roz!

    I always enjoy your newsletters, but am especially enjoying the new topic Questions about Hardanger. I have dabbled with Hardanger for many years, making many small pieces, but have never attempted a large piece because I can’t figure out how to stitch them. Here are my questions: How do you plan your path when wrapping many, many rows of threads? And how do you end and start new thread in the middle of a piece if you are not close to a row of Kloster blocks?

    Thanks for all you have done for needlework over the years!

    Carol in Eagan

  2. Roz, I have tried lots of ways to begin and end threads in Hardanger. I would like to know how you do it.

    Thanks Meg

Roz answers:

Thank you for your questions, Carol and Meg. There are different ways of ending old threads and starting up with new threads, depending on what stitch you are working on. For the satin stitch blocks, on the back of the design, run the old thread under 5 or 6 of the stitched blocks. Come in with a new thread the same way, or what I like to do is just hold the end of the new thread in place on the back of the fabric and stitch over them with the new thread, again about 5-6 blocks. Then snip off the ends. I will judge the length of thread I have left on my needle before starting a new satin stitch (kloster) block or solid motif. It is best to NOT change thread in the middle of a block or in the middle of a solid motif section.

For woven bars – If the bars are woven in a smaller area where you end up coming to satin stitch blocks regularly, that is when you would change threads the same way as above. However, if you are in a large area where no satin stitch blocks are available to work with, you will have to improvise. One way would be to end on the back side of the bar and remove the needle from the thread. With the new thread, insert the needle in the next bar, coming up in the center of the 4 fabric threads. Leave a tail of thread on the back and hold it in place along the bar that you are going to weave and weave right around the new thread on one side of the bar. Hold the "old" thread on the other side of the bar and weave around that. When you get to the end of that bar, clip off both of the thread ends and continue on to the next bar as usual.

Another way that Marion Scoular recommends is to park your needle with enough of the old thread to do one more bar and re-thread a new needle for step one. Use a waste knot to secure the new thread in the fabric corner right before the next unwoven bar. Run that new thread on the back of that bar and bring it out in the next bar and then park that needle in the fabric. Take the old thread now and weave the next bar, stitching around and anchoring in the new thread. When you come up in the center of the next bar (there the new thread is), remove the end of the old thread and lay it underneath that bar so it will be woven in with the new thread. Snip off the end of the old thread and continue on with the new thread.

When stitching the buttonhole stitch and tailored buttonhole stitch, begin the next stitch as usual but do not bring it back out in the front. Rather, unthread the old thread on the back but leave a loop of thread on the front. Place new thread into your needle and run it beneath about 3 buttonhole sets on the back and bring it up to the top of the fabric, completing the stitch you started with the old thread. Now insert the new thread up through the loop of old thread. Pull the old thread on the back to make the loop close over the new thread on top. Tighten up the new stitch and proceed to the next stitch with the new thread. Clip off the old thread after you have made several stitches, holding it in place on the back.

The Box Stitch and Cable Stitch would be similar to the satin stitch block. Run the old thread through several stitches on the back and bring the new thread in and stitch over the end for about an inch and then snip off the extra thread of both old and new threads.

I hope this helps. Maybe you have come up with your own way of doing this and I would love to hear from you. We are always looking for more efficient and better ways of doing this and we’d love to share what you have discovered. Thank you.

If you have a Hardanger question, just ask Roz!

Leave a Comment