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Ask Roz: How do you repair an accidental cut in Hardanger?

Hi Roz…

I accept the fact that you may not have had every single experience possible when it comes to Hardanger but I bet you come pretty close! I am working on one of the pieces in ‘Gems of Hardanger Embroidery’ by Mildred Torgerson and made the worst possible mistake….I broke rule number one: Don’t cut when you are too tired or not concentrated. And, you guessed it, BIG cutting error. I didn’t think there was going to be a solution, I have to admit. But for a few days, I just thought about it and thought ‘What would Roz do’. Well, that thinking led me to a solution. I am hoping it works. It looks like it worked if no one would ever touch it but I don’t know if it is all so stable So…here is my question: After weaving a repair, does it make any sense to maybe weave in some invisible thread to add some sturdiness?? (is that a word?) Is there every a time when the error is just too great to repair and the entire piece is ruined? Could you maybe go over some repair techniques? I looked and looked but I found very little on the actual repairing process. Mostly what I found is: Don’t make the mistake in the first place!! Well….believe me, I sure wish I hadn’t!!!


Roz Answers:

This is an area where I had to seek the wisdom of others. I turned to Carol Pedersen, as I consider her the queen of fixing errors. She has repaired a few for me over the years! Here is Carol’s reply:

"Being a bit of a klutz, I have a lot of experience with Hardanger cutting errors. I’ve learned that the most efficient and strongest repair in the withdrawn area is to replace the cut thread. First, remove the cut thread back to the Klosters on each end and cut each end away there, as shown in diagram 1a. Then pull a thread from the edge of the fabric, thread it onto a large needle (large because it frays easily), carefully anchor it under the Kloster at one end, weave it through the perpendicular fabric threads to the other end Kloster and anchor it under that Kloster (You don’t need much of an anchor, as the woven or wrapped bars will thoroughly secure the thread.) You can then weave or wrap the bars exactly as if the fabric thread had never been cut.

One caveat: Tension is important; the tendency is to make the replaced thread too taut. So before anchoring it at the other end, grasp the beginning Kloster between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, place the open threads between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand and gently pass that hand to the other Kloster. This should provide the new thread with the same tension as the other three fabric threads. Then carefully anchor it under the second Kloster so as not to disturb the tension.

There is another method for this repair if you have already woven bars to the point where the thread has been cut. Unweaving bars is very tedious and damages the fabric threads, weakening and stretching them.

In this case, unweave bars to expose the fabric threads of one bar prior to the one having the cut thread. Again, place a fabric thread from the edge under the bars to be woven (shown with the red thread in diagrams 2). You can either hold this thread in place as you weave, or can thread it onto a needle and pass it from front to back of the 4×4 fabric square that intersects the woven bars prior to the bar to be rewoven and back to the front of the 4×4 fabric square three bars away (The diagrams illustrate this.)

Now reweave the first bar. You will weave over 5 threads – the four original threads and the one new thread. When done with this course, turn to the back. Pull the new thread out and cut it off where it enters the newly woven bar (shown in diagram 2a with the red arrow). Then at the other end of the bar, pull the cut thread to the woven bar and cut it free (shown with the black arrow). If you are weaving your bars tightly enough, these two threads are securely anchored in place. Check the other end of the cut thread; if it is long, cut it close to the 4×4 fabric square at the end of the next woven bar (shown with the blue arrow). You don’t want to try to weave or wrap a cut thread as it’s likely to pop to the front and you cannot trim it closely enough that it won’t show.

Weave the second course. This bar will be woven over 4 threads – three original threads and the one new thread.

Finally weave the third course. This bar will be woven over 5 threads – the four original threads and the one new thread. When done, trim the same as you did with course 1 – the old thread close to the bar at one end and the new thread close to the bar at the other end (shown in diagram 2c with the black and red arrows).

Thank you SO MUCH, Carol. Your experience and wisdom are very valuable to us stitchers.

Carol has published several Hardanger designs and these two very informative books which would be valuable for any stitcher’s library of reference.

If you have a Hardanger question, just ask Roz!

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