Hardanger Edgings

This article will step you through variations of finishing techniques that can be used for finishing Hardanger, or other counted thread techniques. For ease of viewing, the examples included have been stitched on 14-count fabric with DMC Size #3 pearl cotton #840. So, the stitching will appear different from what it would look like on a 22-count or higher fabric and size #5 pearl cotton.


The following stitches all form some sort of a corner on your piece. As you will see, you can make the corner square or rounded. The look will depend on how many stitches you put in the corner and where you make your stitches. Here are some typical corner arrangements:


The square corner follows along the same edges as the buttonhole stitches. You can make the stitch a little more "airy" by skipping every other fabric thread

The corner can be made to look "more square" by placing a stitch after every fabric thread.


Here are three variations for making a rounded edge going from the airiest to the fullest.

Fancy Edges

By varying the way in which you do the buttonhole stitch, you can create an entirely different border. Here is one example from the 2011 Award-Winning Designs in Hardanger Embroidery Book where she has changed the length of the buttonhole stitch.

Combining Techniques

You can combine the straight buttonhole or blanket stitch with a series of kloster blocks to create a wide array of interesting edges. The use of the various edge treatments will also determine if the piece is square, oblong, round, oval, or abstract. This first example has a narrow buttonhole edge done along the top of an interesting satin stitch border. Notice that the last group of the stitched example does not have the buttonhole so you can see the progression of the stitch. Also included is a stitched example that shows just the satin stitch without the buttonhole edging.

Another technique to try is adding needleweaving to the buttonhole stitch. Margaret Waite from Australia added two rows of the Antwerp stitch around the buttonhole stitch on her piece in the 2011 Award-Winning Designs in Hardanger Embroidery book. The Antwerp stitch was added after she trimmed the piece!

Antwerp Stitch »

Lacy Buttonhole Edge »

The lacy buttonhole edge is a very time-consuming process that produces beautiful results. In the 2011 Award-Winning Designs in Hardanger Embroidery book, Marlene Balzer from Canada took it even farther. Her 24" round lace doily is created entirely with this technique. She started in the middle of the piece and began withdrawing threads so she can weave the bars.

We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!

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