As I mentioned in earlier blogs, my grandmother regularly tutored me in an array of hand arts. Sometimes she used kits; other times we used a pattern in her head or a sketch out of a book. She was a meticulous needlewoman and expected the same from me – but how meticulous she expected me to be depended on my age.
Here is the first “big” project my grandmother had me do – in basic cross-stitch. It’s been sitting in a closet waiting for me to take it out of the frame and have it cleaned (then remounted), so please forgive the spots. I hung on a door hook to snap this picture. Here’s the original pattern.
I stitched this probably when I was about 10 or 12. I remember my mother was mad at me because in cross-stitch the top threads are supposed to cross from right to left, bottom to top, but I was not doing that consistently. I felt very embarrassed until my grandmother stepped in and not only praised my work but immediately took it out for framing. (Way to dry my tears!)
This is my second “big” project – a klokkestreng (bellpull), that I stitched in diamond stitch over 40 years ago. Here is the original pattern. As you will notice, Norwegian patterns (at least the old ones) aren’t exactly superfluous with instructions. 🙂 I made this when I was about 13 years old. I was very proud when I finished it, under my grandmother’s tutelage, of course – this time with all the stitches crossing in the right direction. 🙂 It hangs near our front door.
De Kloke Jomfruer (The Wise Maidens): I vaguely remembered my grandmother explaining a biblical reference of five wise virgins who remembered to put oil in their lamps on their way to meet a bridegroom. (It’s Matthew 25:1 – thank you Google.) I asked my grandmother why they were considered wise when all they did was remember to put oil in their lamps, but I don’t remember her answer. In any event, I used this pattern to make a wall hanging one summer in Norway when my daughter was a little girl, and it now hangs in her dining room. (I popped by today to take a picture of it, but she has taken everything off the walls in preparation for painting. So, alas, no picture.)
On the right is a picture of a pillow I stitched many years ago. It is the perfect size to tuck behind my or Thor’s back on this tall rocker. (The rocker is a handmade bent wood rocker out of hickory that I bought from an Amish craftsman in upstate New York many years ago.) Here is the pattern for Pute i Klostersøm.
I have many other old handarbeider (handwork) patterns, including a slim volume of Mønster til Prydsøm (embroidery patterns) that’s over 50 years old. Flipping through the pages I recognized several of the projects that my grandmother and I made into pillow covers and doilies … that was a walk down memory lane. I don’t know if anyone’s interested in it, but if so just let me know. I am happy to scan it in and post it.