The Finnish Craft Museum

Hubby, Kasper and I made a trip to Joensuu in eastern Finland to visit hubby’s son. We took the southern route around the lakes so we could visit the Craft Museum in Jyväskylä. I was prepared for not seeing much of what I’d like to see most of all: knitting, crochet and fabric for clothing. And so it was. The reason for this is of course that showing these items in the museum’s permanent exhibition would damage them. But there was still much to see, and I strongly recommend a visit if you go to Jyväskylä. I’m sure you’ll be able to see items from the store rooms if you ask in advance.

First of all I heard intense talking and laughing from a room next to the exhibition. It was a gang of charity knitters! They knitted for disabled persons, and this day there was mostly socks and mittens on the needles. They didn’t mind me taking photos, and I was also allowed to publish:


There was a stunning exhibition of new Estonian fashion inspired by the rich folk textiles in that country. But as photography was forbidden, I can’t show anything. So let’s move on to the museum’s own items:

There was a fine exhibition of Finnish folk costumes. This couple is dressed in clothes that could’ve been worn in the Kuopio area in the 19th century:


Eastern Finland:


The costume find in Eura in 1969 has been much documented and discussed in Finland, and it’s been reconstructed with great care. The grave was from Viking time, 1020-1070. The discussion in our media was especially intense when our former president Tarja Halonen came to the independence ball dressed like this, and yes, she also wore the knife in her belt. There are excellent pictures of old Finnish dress here, also one of our president: women’s dress.




The rich women’s jewellery was striking in the Viking times, as nowadays. I like the bronze spiral embellishment in the hems. They add both beauty and weight to the apron, no unruly flapping in the wind here!

The knitted and crocheted items were sparse. But here are three sweaters, from top to bottom: first the so called tikkuripaita, or the sweater from Hailuoto, an island in the northern Baltic Sea, then a crocheted granny square heavy cardigan made from left-over yarns by a woman from Pargas in southern Finland called Qvidi-Mina (both she and her cardigan), and then the Korsnäs sweater from Korsnäs on the west coast. Qvidi-Mina was one of those women you can find all over the world. They have an eye for beauty, they have skilled hands, they make a meagre living by selling their products or changing them for goods or services. Luckily a woman in the neighbourhood inherited Qvidi-Mina’s textiles, and now you can see them in the museum in Pargas.


I love the felted red boots! They are new. Felted boots in the old days did not look like that. The leather boots are still made, but typically for much that is made in our times, they are not made with such care and elegance as in older days. In the wild 70s and 80s I used such boots for years. They are nice in the winter, and excellent for walking in our stony woods also in the summer.

Now here’s what the felted boots looked like in earlier days. They are light and warm and at their best in very cold winters. I wore felted boots as a child in the 50s. But you have to remember: don’t use them when it’s raining!


Re-use isn’t a new thing, if any of you thought so… which I don’t think you did. Here’s a corselet made from Marianne candy paper, our much loved peppermints:


No, I don’t think you should go out in the rain dressed in that one either… of course, it depends on what effect you want to achieve.

Now here’s a sweater and a sad love story that make people go soft. It’s a tikkuripaita. There was a girl and a boy, living as neighbours as best friends in their village in Hailuoto. Everyone thought they would marry when they grew up. Then came WWII. The boy, now a man, had to join the army and fight against the Russians. He survived, he came home – and found that his friend had married another. But she still knitted him a tikkurisweater. He wore it for the rest of his life. He mended it himself. He loved it. I’m sure he loved her also.


Grandma’s rug weft

When I looked deeper into my box with rags cut for weaving, I found a ball that seemed to have at least two colours in it. The weft was clearly cut by my grandma, so the ball has followed me for centuries. My mother gave it to me in the 80s when I bought my first loom. I also found some blue rag weft that a friend gave me in the 80s, and green-white stretchy rags that came with my new loom.

Rag weftSo let’s see what’s in the pink-white ball:


There’s off white cotton of several kinds, some tightly woven, some that seems to be of the kind used for bandage, muslin, a cotton band that must have been used for lining, and pink, shiny fabric that must have been underwear of some sort.

The cotton band with sewing threads still hanging from it:


Grandma has sewn some of the rags together with black yarn:


… or red!


And all of a sudden I find something forbidden: a knot. And soon after more knots. Why did she do this? She strictly forbid me to use knots when she taught me how to cut rag weft:


Don’t mind the green weft above. It’s there only to separate the place mat I wove earlier from the blue-white-green-pink rug I’m weaving now, and will be removed later.

I tried to open one of the knots, but grandma was strong still in her old age. She was close to 90 years old when she sat in our garden turning old clothes into something useful. I couldn’t open the knot, so I decided to leave everything in the ball as it was and just beat it into the weave.


Knot bobble. It feels nice under my hand:


I don’t mind the bobbles! This will not be a very strong rug weave as I don’t beat very hard.

This is one way of cutting fabric. When you reach the end of the piece, cut like this. You can also cut to the end and sew the pieces  together. Nowadays I think people just trim the ends and place them along side each other and beat them in. I do that most of the time when I weave poppana.


I have two more balls that may contain surprises. I won’t open them, I’ll just weave and see what will reveal:


Oh grandma! I loved her. She worked hard from early childhood, only the last years where easier. She used to sit by the window watching people go by, and once in a while she made coffee and we had a cup together. I’m so happy she lived in our house the last few years of her life.

Yes yes loom!

So now I’m started. As I haven’t woven with a loom for almost 30 years, I started with plain weave and poppana rags, the industrially produced thin rag weft that was so popular in the 80s here in Finland. You can still buy it in weaving shops. I found my old poppana in the attic, and also some of my grandmother’s rags, probably from the 60s. She used to sit in the sun in the summers and cut old clothes into rug weft. She would hurt her fingers from all that cutting, so she wound some of the rags around her thumb and middle fingers to protect them.

Hubby went to work the day I was to wind on, so I decided to do it on my own. It’s good to have thick, heavy books in your shelves! I put weights on the warp, wound on, opened more of the warp chain and adjusted the with, fetched a bucket and filled it with heavy books and attached it to the warp, wound on 10 meters of cotton… it’s not the best wind on you’ve seen, but I think it’ll work even if I’ll probably have to adjust some warp threads when finishing the fabric. That’ll be easy, as I weave short pieces like place mats.

Winding on the warp
Threading the heddles
Sleying the reed
Weaving poppana

The most difficult thing was to crawl into the loom to tie up the horizontal lamms and the treadles. And then I had to crawl out again! I’m not in the same shape I was 30 years ago. But after the third time I felt I was ten years younger – what a work out this is! When I asked people at the Väv 14 event in Umeå what kind of loom I should get for the needs I have nowadays, quite many said “not a counter march loom”. I was quite surprised, because 30 years ago that was exactly what you should get if you were a serious weaver. The explanation was even more surprising: it’s difficult to tie the treadles!

But I’m not afraid of tying the treadles, and after having tied the lamms for the first time I won’t have to do it again, as they are always the same, only the treadles vary. I have good books with clear instructions. I’ve done it before. I think it’s good for me to do difficult things, and besides, it’s difficult only the first time you do it. So contrary to the advise from these well meaning persons I now have a horizontal counter march loom, and I love it. It feels wonderful to grip the beater and have a go at it. The sheds rise perfectly, which is one of the advantages of the counter march.

I have more fun to learn: weaving terms in English and Swedish. I learned to weave in Swedish, but the weaving book we used was in Finnish, so I learned most of the terms in that language. The Finnish book is the best I’ve seen, and luckily I still own it. Many of my Finnish readers will know it: “Kankaita kutomaan”, written by Arja Hauhia and Marja-Liisa Paavola.


And otherwise? It’s soon November. This cactus, Schlumberga truncata, is called “November kaktus” in Swedish, because it often blooms in November. It was out under the rowans in the summer, and now it thanks us with lots and lots of pink flowers.

I am with loom!

I don’t have much to say because I’m stunned – I keep admiring my new (second hand) loom. I have been longing for a loom for a long time, and all of a sudden I have one.



It’s a counter march, 120 cm, 8 shaft loom. Perfect! Kasper isn’t interested at all. I had a similar, but bigger one, in the 80s. It’s made in a prison, a kind of therapy work I think is excellent.

I’ll return when I have something more to say!

Sukupolvien silmukat




För mina svenska läsare: boken är på finska med ett kort engelskt sammandrag, så jag talar om vad jag tycker bara på finska (=gillar!) 

For my English readers: the book is in Finnish with a short summary in English, so I’m telling how I like it only in Finnish (=like!)

Upea kirja karjalaisesta neule- ja piilosilmukkaperinteestä sukissa ja käsineissä!

Jo kirjan nostaminen nettikaupan pakkauksesta sai minut haukkomaan henkeäni. Voi kuinka kaunis kirja! Ajattelin että näin upea, painava (=laadukas paperi) ja suurikokoinen kirja kielii huolellisesta työstä.

Ja niin tosiaan on. Koska olen kiinnostunut tekstiilihistoriasta, olin hyvin iloinen huomatessani kuinka paljon mallien taustatietoja kirjassa on. Kauniit, selkeät valokuvat, helposti luettavaa tekstiä, hienot värit… Valokuvaaja on Marko Mäkinen ja kustantaja Maahenki, joka sekin takka laadun.

Kirjan mallit pohjautuvat museolöytöihin. Kaikista on tehty uusi versio tämän päivän langoista. Jokaisen mallin kohdalla mainitaan museo ja esineen arkistonumero, joskus on myös valokuva museoesineestä.


Minua kiinnostaa erityisesti kirjan kiinteillä ketjusilmukoilla virkatut mallit. Yritin joitakin vuosia sitten löytää enemmän tietoa tämän tekniikan käytöstä Suomessa ja erityisesti Pohjanmaalla artikkelia varten, mutta en löytänyt oikeastaan mitään muuta kuin maininnan käsineistä Hjördis Dahlin väitöskirjassa “Högsäng och klädbod”.  Marketta Luutonen välitti minulle pari valokuvaa Kansallismuseosta, mutta siihen se sitten jäi. Ruotsista olin aikaisemmin löytänyt muutaman kirjan, koska siellä tekniikka on säilynyt pitempään kuin Suomessa. “Sukupolvien silmukat” sisältää sekä malleja että kuvia lapasista, käsineistä ja sukista. Kirjassa keskustellaan myös tekniikan nimestä, joka ei ole ihan yksiselitteinen millään tuntemallani kielellä. Törmäsin siihen hakiessani tietoja sekä kirjoista että netistä suomeksi, englanniksi, tanskaksi, ruotsiksi ja norjaksi (ehkä myös saksaksi, en enää muista).


Kirjan tekijät ovat Pia Ketola, Eija Bukowski, Leena Kokko, Anne Bäcklund ja Sari Suuronen. Kiitän heitä suurenmoisesta työstä!

Korinpohjasukat Jääskestä. Muutama viikko sitten näytin korinpohjasukkia Vöyriltä tässä blogissa. Jokohan pitäisi tarttua puikkoihin? No, se oli pelkästään retorinen kysymys, johon vastaan “kyllä”. Aion myös tarttua koukkuun.


Hats in Myrbergsgården

In an earlier post I wrote about socks you can see in one of the museums in my municipality. Today I want to show you hats from that same amazing museum, Myrbergsgården = Ant’s Hill House, if you wonder :)

Some of these are skilfully crocheted children’s hats. Sometimes they were made for women, who wore them as an extra layer under the head cloths for more warmth. Indoors they took off the head cloth, but sometimes kept the hat. The houses, and especially the small cottages, where not always very warm in winter in those days, i.e. the end of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th. As you can see, they were crocheted in the round. The pattern designs are the same you can find in crocheted clothes and purses here on the Ostrobothnian coast.

Tapestry crocheted hats
Tapestry crocheted hats

Close up: I still haven’t had time to see how they solved the problem with going from crocheting in rounds to making a flat piece. You can do it in two ways. Either you continue working in rounds and make a steek afterwards, or you cut the threads after each row. I really can’t tell from my photos which method they used.

Tapestry crocheted hat with Twisted S design

The Twisted S design is often used in the Korsnäs sweater, but you can also find it in suspenders and purses. It’s one of my favorits, I often use it in purses.

I have tried to copy this hat, made and used by an elderly woman as her indoor hat, but it’s very hard to find out exactly how the increases are made. I think this design must be made exactly like this. It’s charming with it’s slightly irregular “propellers”. If you make it regular it looses much of its charm.

Image 2

Image 1

These plain knitted caps were also used under the head cloth. Some of them are machine knitted. Knitting machines where common before WWII in my municipality. This is a simple but highly usable sock heel construction:

Machine knitted cap


Twisted stitches



Hope you enjoyed! To me head gear are constant objects of amazement. It seems we put just anything on our heads! I think  the hats I just showed you are lovely. When I get even older than I am now, I’ll crochet a hat like that for me to wear on cold winter days.