I sometimes ask stitchers, “Why did you choose to stitch this piece?” The answers are varied and personal.  Right now I am stitching a few Hardanger angel ornaments.  Why?  It started when a friend asked me to finish two angel ornaments which another stitcher had started but couldn’t finish.  Another reason was in play as well.  

Over the years, members of the Marigold Guild of Needle Arts have been challenged to stitch angel ornaments to donate to the local Hospice Society for their yearly fundraiser in mid to late November – Angels Remembered Trees.  At that time the trees – usually three or four – go from bare evergreen branches (artificial trees, of course!) to branches loaded with angels, each bearing a message and the name of a loved one who has dealt with a life-threatening disease.  The first angels to be chosen seem to be the stitched ones.  

One Marigold Guild member, Gladys Cooke, had a passion for stitching and, even in her 90’s, stitched little Hardanger angels to be donated.  Gladys passed away at Easter in 2012; part of her legacy is to challenge us to stitch a few angels each year.  The pattern that we use is a variation of one charted by Janice Love.  

Each year, I dig out my “direction book”, Hardanger Basics and Beyond by Janice Love and sit down to stitch.  As I do, I keep in mind the angels I remember – my Dad, my Grandmother, my next-door neighbor growing up, and so on – and the wonderful support of the Hospice Society.  My stitched  angels are never quite the same – some are filled with eyelets, some with dove’s eyes, some with backstitch.  The little pattern gives lots of scope for trying out spider webs and wrapped bars and picots – the imagination can run wild.  

If I get tired of using white perle cotton, there are lots of other colours to use and embellishments to try.  And it is easy to vary the look by using congress cloth or linen or evenweave fabric, usually in white, ecru or pastel.  

This is a perfect project to practice and hopefully perfect some of the stitches that I will use in larger Hardanger projects.  It is special to have the time to invest in this pastime and to know that there are many angels who will be touched by this simple little ornament.

Sheila Stewart
Marigold Guild of Needle Arts


  1. Sheila this is such a great idea. In the mall there is a huge tree that runs on the same concept every Christmas. They use paper instead. It would be great to stitch Angels for that tree

  2. Your hardanger angels are so nicely stitched! They look wonderful. Thank you for your lovely post :)

  3. These would be good for the ornament exchange which will soon be here... thanks for sharing


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

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