Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hardanger embroidery, Norwegian national costumes

When we were cleaning out Mom’s apartment we found some very old Hardanger lace embroidery in the bottom of a cedar chest. As I have mentioned previously, my daughter, Mrs. Gimlet, does this type of embroidery and was quite excited to find these pieces. We think they were inserts for an apron or perhaps a blouse but they could have been practice pieces as well. They were in remarkably good condition for being folded and stored away for probably 70 years or more. We think my grandmother made them or maybe even her mother or grandmother so they have got to be more than 100 years old. There are a few “rust-like” spots that we would like to remove so Mrs. Gimlet has ordered some special soap to wash them in and (maybe before we attempt the cleaning) after the holidays we will go to the Nordic Heritage Museum and see what they can tell us about the pieces and how to take care of them. I’ll try to remember to post “before and after” photos later.

Sample of antique Hardanger lace embroidery, 1

Sample of antique Hardanger lace embroidery, 2

This next picture is of my grandmother, Petra Landaas, on the right, in the national costume for Hardanger. You can see some of the embroidery work on the aprons. I have always thought that the girl on the left was her friend, Bertha Ottesen, who traveled with her from Bergen but looking at it now it might be her sister, Mikkeline (Maggie) instead. There are few pictures of Petra with her hair down like this and no pictures of Maggie with her hair down and that makes the identification a little more difficult. The photograph was taken shortly after Petra arrived in Seattle from Bergen, Norway, in 1893.

Petra Landaas, ca 1893

These next photographs are of a child’s bunad from Telemark. Petra’s husband, I.C. Lee came from Telemark and I’m not completely sure how we got this bunad but I think it originally came from his niece Magda. Her daughter, Ingrid, wore it, I wore it, and here you see Mrs. Gimlet wearing it when she was ten years old.
A child's chore was to gather eggs and the apron was supposedly used to hold the eggs.

Mrs. Gimlet, age 10, wearing bunad from Telemark

This little dress or jumper and the blouse are both made completely by hand, no machine stitching anywhere on either piece. The dress is wool, the blouse is linen.

Close up showing the top half of the back of the dress with crewel embroidery.

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