They very graciously shared with me what they were working on. All were learning how to do the beautiful Hövej embroidery!
Hövej was introduced to the village in the 1860s. The woman who introduced it was Borbála Nyikos Gáspárné Horváth - her maiden name, Nyikos, is the same as my great grandfather's. Maybe there's a connection?
The needlework is done on thin fabric like organza and is always stitched with white thread. As you can see in the photo, the pattern is placed under the fabric and lightly traced with a pencil. The fabric is stretched onto a frame and is then ready to be stitched.
Over the years, the women of Hövej developed their patterns, each more ornate than the previous. Similar to Hardanger, some of the fabric is cutaway after it has been stitched. The holes that are left are then filled with "spider" stitches -- here's one of the finished doilies from the Csipke Museum in Hövej; note how each "hole" is filled with a different spidery stitch.
Do you see the calendars on the wall? Each year the village puts out a calendar that highlights this beautiful embroidery or lace.
In Hungary, the title "Master of Folk Art" is given to anyone who has become a "master" of their art. Only three women have been given this award for the Hövej embroidery that they have done...Mária Horváth, Margit Pócza, and Mrs. Istvánné Szigethy. Tomorrow, I will share with you some of the work done by Mrs. Szigethy.