Primstav Has Been Completed!

complete primstav


My embroidered Primstav is completed and hanging - summer side up!

Thank you to all who have been so patient in waiting for me to complete this project.  I have no excuse except that I have become addicted to knitting. lol

I believe I left you at the end of the second quarter, so obviously I have a lot to catch up on - like the whole winter half. So I will share all the symbols and meanings in two posts which will follow in the next week as the information is way too much for one post. 


For anyone viewing this and new to my blog: A Norwegian Primstav is a very old tradition in Norway and a means of keeping track of the days in the yearly cycle for when to carry out farming activities such as when to sow and when to harvest, as well as when to bring cattle in from summer pastures, sheer sheep, prepare special meats for the Solstice celebrations.  The arrival of Catholic Christianity found the stick useful for reminding farmers of Saint and Holy Days.  Eventually, the stick reverted to its earlier use though many of the Christian symbols remained, and of course now it is no longer used and few remain.

Completely fascinated upon my first encounter, I decided to make one of my own.  I have almost non-existant carving skills and did not wish to have a 36 inch long x 3 inch wide piece of wood on my walls, so I created the interpretation you see above.  A few round Primstav do exist and I decided to use this more compact form - my calendar measures 20 inches across.

Then followed weeks of research.  Some explainations of the symbols appear on the internet, but I also translated from Norwegian via google descriptions provided in a book sent to me by a very dear friend, Gill, in Norway. Gill has been a friend since I began blogging and we share many interests but most especially Christmas.   More information regarding the holiday season symbols appeared in a book given to me by another dear friend in Seattle, Nancy, who has been with me since the very beginning of this project.  We agreed over three years ago to both make Primstavs.  However, since that agreement, we have both lost our husbands, our lives have completely changed and our work on our mutual project was set aside.

The design phase included drawing out the pattern "life size" so it could be traced onto linen and working out the individual symbols.  I remained faithful to many of my favorite symbols on the ancient calendar sticks; however, I took enormous liberties with others.  The symbols on many of the surviving sticks often depicted the manner of death of martyered saints - knives, swords, hatchets....  As this was meant to be a joyful project in the end, I took liberties to create symbols that make me happy or have special personal meaning to me.

And, finally the embroidery!  You might notice each season has its own color pallet.  Months are inticated with colorful markers - which did not exist on the original sticks.  And yes, there is a tiny stitch for every one of the 365 days in the year!  Basic stitches were used to keep the design from becoming too busy.

Earlier posts appear here showing the design phases and discussing the symbols on the summer side:

And posts covering the winter side are:


And lastly, my Primstav is dedicated to my sweetheart who left this life all too soon.  Had it not been for him joining Sons of Norway and subscribing to their quarterly publication, I would never have encountered the Norwegian Calendar Stick - Primstav - in the first place. He was here for the research and design phases.  I wish he could see it completed.



So excited to see your

So excited to see your finished primstav!! It turned out gorgeous! And what a sweet dedication to your sweatfeart. Since moving Stateside, we've attended the Sons of Norway Norwegian Christmas Festival in our area. We look forward to it all year long. Fun shopping, great food, and wonderful music and dancing. Thanks for sharing your primstav journey with us!

Sweet Arielle, how lovely to

Sweet Arielle, how lovely to hear from you here.  Thank you for not giving up on me.  The last few years have been a challenge to say the least.  And during that time I have remained more active on Instagram as it is much easier than blog writing.  But I am continuing here, although the blog is now more of a resource for tutorials and sharing information.  

I look forward to our Scanfair here in Portland every year too - always close to the holidays.  We haven't managed to Americanize it yet so it feels very authentic (for lack of a better word.)  You know what I mean.  lol.  But I am sure you can enjoy the shopping anytine of the year as there just has to be a Scandinavian shop somewhere in your area.  Or IKEA.  I love the Lingonberry jams and a wonderful Swedish mustard "Lars".  They have Swedish style Mild and Sweet, and Spicy Brown.  Amazing.


So pretty! I wouldn't have

So pretty! I wouldn't have had the patience!!

HAHAHA!  One thing I do have

HAHAHA!  One thing I do have when creating and making is patience.  It alludes me in all other aspects of my life.  My poor sweetheart could never figure it out!  So glad you stopped by.  Thank you.

Pam, thank you for this post.

Pam, thank you for this post. I am so sorry for your loss. Your Primstav is a beautiful dedication.

Susan, it is lovely to hear

Susan, it is lovely to hear from you, dear.  Thank you for your sentiment.  It has been a long journey learning to adjust to a new life style.  But my interests and passion for making have been invaluable.