Hardanger Embroidery Tutorial Part 3 – Eyelets and Cutting

embroidered diamond with title "eyelets and cutting hardanger embroidery tutorial".

After completing kloster blocks and blanket stitch, the hardanger piece is ready for the stitches that give it a lacy look.

Some of these stitches are done one spaces where the fabric threads have been cut out and removed. But the first stitches to be done are eyelets.


Eyelets are a fun part of hardanger embroidery.  Like the name implies, it is a small hole made in the fabric, but it is not cut or punched.  The threads of the background fabric are pulled.

On 22 count fabric, size 8 Perle cotton is used for eyelets.  This is a finer thread than the size 5 that is used for the Kloster blocks and blanket stitch. I am using a contrasting colour so it is easy to see.

Bring up the thread

The eyelets are made in the boxes between the Kloster blocks and blanket stitch.  Bring the thread to the front in a hole right beside the corner hole.  The end of the thread can be woven into the backs of the stitches already made.

preparing to stitch an eyelet with purple thread.

First Stitch

Take a stitch into the centre hole.  Give the stitch a gentle tug.

first stitch in making an eyelet.

Making the centre hole

Continue working around the square, taking stitches into the same centre hole.  As you gently tug each stitch, a hole is made in the middle.

stitching an eyelet in hardanger embroidery.

Travelling to the next location

This is the back of a finished eyelet.  When you get back to the corner, weave the end of the thread around to the next spot.  Do not carry threads across the back because they might show up in the open work.

reverse side of hadanger embroidery showing the thread travelling from one eyelet to the next.

More eyelets

Notice that they eyelets are only made in the squares that have the ends of the Kloster blocks, not the sides, so it’s every other square.  Continue around the diamond making eyelets.

purple eyelets in hardanger embroidery.

Eyelets in a chart

This is how they would be shown on a hardanger chart.

hardanger chart highlighting eyelets.

The full chart is available as a bonus to my newsletter subscribers. Join the list (bottom of the page) to get access to that and many other great resources.


The next step is one of the things that is definitive of hardanger.  Some of the threads are cut and removed from the fabric.  For this you will need sharp pointed scissors.  Embroidery scissors usually work fine.  

Read all the directions before you try it!

Cut the threads

Along the ends of the Kloster blocks inside the diamond, cut the four threads right at the edge of the block.  This is nerve wracking the first couple of times you do it, because you have done so much stitching work already and this has the possibility to be catastrophic.  

cutting away threads for hardanger embroidery.
Once you are sure everything is lined up and you are cutting the right threads, just take a deep breath and do it.

Check twice and cut once.

The most important thing to remember is that you only cut four threads.  If your Kloster blocks have a mistake like an extra or missed stitch, you have to go back and take them out because this step requires that they line up.

cutting out threads for openwork in hardanger embroidery.

The second most important thing is to take care to only cut the threads by the end of the Kloster block, not the sides.  You should clearly see the end of two stitches as you cut the thread between them.  Some cutting mistakes are fixable, but if you cut at the sides, that would be very difficult.  If you are unsure, double check with the eyelets.  The cutting on the same vertical and horizontal lines as the eyelets.  If they are offset, there is a mistake in one of them.

Loosen the edges

Once you have cut the ends of the threads, gently pull them out, using a needle to help if necessary.

gently removing cut threads with a needle.

Pull out gently

removing cut threads.

They should easily pull out as the cut ends should line up.

When all the threads are removed, you will have a grid of holes in the fabric.

removing cut threads.

Cutting in a chart

This diagram shows where the cutting should be.  Refer to it often to avoid mistakes.

hardanger chart with cutting spots highlighted.

The full chart is available as a bonus to my newsletter subscribers. Join the list (bottom of the page) to get access to that and many other great resources.

The next lesson will show what to do with all those big holes in the fabric, which I think is the most fun part.

If you missed it, go back to check out Kloster blocks and blanket stitch.

Happy hardangering! (Yes, it’s a made up word)


Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

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