Nordiska of Gothenburg, 1964
Designer: Ingegerd Hyltén-Cavallius
Sunflowers 8527 was designed by Ingegerd Hyltén-Cavallius in 1964, the very first design by life long artist Ingegerd that we brought out from the Nordiska archive since it was rediscovered.
Sunflowers, or Blommor och Blader as it was called in Swedish, shipped worldwide from Nordiska's headquarters in Gothenburg and from the much loved Needlewoman Shop on Regent street in London.
In the 60's, Sunflowers was a kit for a very small cushion, just 26 x 48 cm, on soft brown furnishing linen embroidered with orange, yellow, green, brown and pink linen threads.
For the contemporary kit we have kept the design exactly the same size as the original, only printed it on a larger piece of linen to allow for today's cushion sizes.
This kit includes:
- Two sheets of beautiful 100% linen fabric, 50 x 60 cm.
One of the panels will be printed with Ingegerd's sunflower design, the other is for the backing of the cushion. The linen is hand cut and hand printed in Sweden, then folded and packed in our studio in Bristol where we ship the designs out worldwide, just like in the 60's!
- A set of linen threads in 7 colours, 10 skeins in total. These follow the original colour scheme as closely as possible.
- A handy stitch card with the 24 common stitches used by Nordiska in their kits, an exact copy of Nordiska's own presentation, written on a typewriter in Gothenburg in the 1950's.
- A chenille needle size 22, used for linen embroidery.
- A very rare, complete sheet of the original stitch chart, A3 size.
The colour/stitch instruction sheet is an exact copy of the 1964 original, we have not changed a thing. The colour chart instructed us how much yarn to add to the kit, and we have three yellows and two greens, just as the original. The dark brown and pink are easy to see where they should go.
Please choose where you like to add your light and dark shades of the yellow and greens, to make your own personal best version of Ingegerd's wonderful design.
The stitches used in Sunflowers are clearly marked in the drawing as you can see here in the listing. Chain stitch, stem stitch and the others are drawn out as they are used in the design, and you can make the stitches long or short as you like. You can also change them to your favourite stitch, as long as you consider the thread usage.
The printed lines are permanent, so cover the lines with the thread, either by stitching around the lines, over the lines, or through. Whatever technique you prefer is the right one!
The photos above shows the contemporary cushion, the threads included, and the last picture is an original 1964 cushion found at an auction house in Sweden.
The embroiderer who stitched the sample for us uses an "open style" of embroidery, meaning the lines of the sunflower petals (for example) are not joined up. If you look at the last image of the 1960's original, the petals are more evenly stitched, making the edges more defined. Whenever we find two examples of 60's Nordiska, they is always something different between the finished pieces, even if the embroiderers would have used the very same kit. Some have changed colours around, some have changed stitches, and all have their own style.
Parts on the 60's cushion have worn off and we keep it saved in the archive collection exactly as it was found instead of repairing it. We love how it's showing years of appreciation by the person who used it, possibly decades of back support in a favourite crafting or reading armchair.
There is no right or wrong in linen embroidery, just try out what you like, and enjoy the process while keeping a very old craft alive.
If you would like to learn more about the flax plant and it's fibre which gives us linen thread, we recommend starting at one of the many excellent museum resources, for example V&A HERE .