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Nordicfest artistic displays offer ideas for new hobbies this winter

by Carol Holoboff Western News
| September 12, 2007 12:00 AM

Winter comes to the Northwest corner of Montana and stays. There are no breathtaking Chinook winds blasting between the peaks of the Cabinets to bring respite before the next snowfall. In Libby, the snow settling on a fence post today may be there until the spring rains appear to signal the end of our isolation.

So, what do people do during that long sit near the wood stove?

A stroll around town during Libby's last warm weather festival, the annual Nordicfest, reveals some of the talents that are tucked away in the spring with the flannel nightgowns and long underwear.

Over at Timberline Ford a display of work by members of Libby Fine Arts proved there were true artists hunkered over palettes and easels behind the closed winter drapes. New members are welcome to this group that meets at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the Court House Annex basement.

Asa Woods Elementary School was filled to the rafters with quilts, quilting materials, patterns and admirers. A walk through the colorful cloth forest stirs a nostalgia that may be more folklore than fact. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries most bedcoverings were purchased because only the wealthy had the leisure time for quilt making. Although our modern conveniences might offer more leisure time, the fact is most quilters have to make time to pursue their passion for quilting. That passion has gone beyond bedcovering to clothing, wall hangings, table coverings and more. There are even quilted postcards. To join a fabric postcard swap go to or

Karen Hutchinson, Kootenai Valley Quilter's Guild member is the 2007 Quilter of the Year. Karen, may not have an abundance of leisure time, but she finds quilting to be very relaxing. She has only been quilting for 6 years and has made approximately 30 quilts and donated the majority of them to the Pregnancy Care Center and St. John's Lutheran Hospital.

The KVQG invites new members. For more information contact, Debbie at Frames Unlimited.

Speaking of Frames Unlimited, that was where the exquisite hardanger pieces were displayed during Nordicfest. That type of embroidery may have begun in Persia or Asia, but during the Renaissance it spread to Italy and other parts of Europe.

From 1650-1850, Hardanger (once called Hardangersom which means work from Hardanger area) flourished in Norway. Hardanger could be found on traditional Norwegian bunads (long aprons) as well as other clothing and household linens.

Modern Hardanger fabric is an evenweave cotton material woven with pairs of threads, typically 22 pairs per linear inch in both directions. The traditional style of Hardanger work is very geometrical in form and based on several basic shapes. Hardanger is taught by Carlene Erlandson and for those who believe the old timers who are predicting a early, severe and long winter and want to tackle a new challenge, Carlene can be reached at 293-4700.