Finnish Embroidery

Finnish Embroidery Design

Finnish Embroidery Design

A few weeks ago, my husband the Australian was speaking at a conference in Turku, Finland, and the organisers were kind enough to allow me to go too. We had a marvellous time – the Finns are terrifyingly good linguists, so we had no language problems, and because the conference was about Science and Art, and how they feed off one another and contribute to one another, the conversations were very wide-ranging, full of sparkle and fun.

I didn’t have much time for side trips, but I did find an embroidery shop, and asked about local rural Finnish embroidery. I picked a design I liked the look of, and they agreed to prepare a tracing for me and send it on. It seems to be in a combination of stem stitch and Bokhara couching, but when I’ve had a closer look at the stitch diagrams, I will be able to tell you more.

This is what the lady in the shop told me about the design:

You also asked for some information about the pattern, we have a book that tells a brief history of where the pattern was found. Of course, the original designer of the pattern is impossible to trace.

The pattern was originally embroidered on a bag or pouch, that was hanged on the wall, where people put smaller newspapers and magazines into. That’s why the pattern is called ”Sanomia”, it means messages or news in finnish. The word was also embroidered in the bag. We copied the model ourselves to other products, such as runners.

The ”Sanomia”-newspaper bag was found in the Kankaristo house, in country village of Mynämäki.

The bag, that was found there, was sewn by the lady of the house, Helli Kankaristo, born in 1902. The story tells that she was taught to make embroideries by her very skillful teacher at school, and Helli passed her skills also to daughter Inkeri, born in 1928.



  1. Lady Fi says:

    How lovely that they sent you some history along with the tracing!

  2. Action Ma'am says:

    This has a rather “Arts and Crafts” feel which is not surprising when you consider that the Arts and Crafts Movement often took inspiration from folk art.

  3. karen says:

    small world!! I have a Finnish friend who lives in Turku!! I have only ever heard good things about Finland and would love to visit.

  4. Janice says:

    What a lovely souvenir of the trip it will be, and the little embroidery shop in Turku clearly give wonderful service. It’s great to have all that background information.

  5. That is a lovely souvenir to bring back from Finnland. I have a friend at the Guild who is married to a Finn and is searching for traditional Finnish designs. Could you send me a link to your source so I could forward it to her?

  6. Sounds interesting.

  7. Sartenada says:

    OMG. What a coincidence, because in my newest post I am presenting Luostarinmäki (Cloister Hill) Handicrafts Museum in Turku. Did You visit this really interesting museum?

    BTW, my wife is beading and I have many posts from beading. Also quilting and patchwork. Those You find in my post under Categories.

    I am very curious to know what You did like Turku? A couple weeks ago I visited there, because many Tall ships came there.

    Did You know that world’s biggest Cruise Ship Allure of the Seas was built in Turku. Check under Categories.

    I am so exited, because very seldom I have read in these blogs, that somebody has visited in Finland.

    Happy blogging!

  8. […] I managed to get started on my Finnish embroidery project at last. It’s going to be a table runner for our dining room, which is golden-yellow and decorated in a slightly Arts and Crafts fashion, so the design has been traced twice, back to back, to create a long design, and without the lettering shown in the photograph that accompanied the linen (see my first post about this project). […]