Suomi Finland 100

Suomi 100

Getting ready for tomorrows big celebrations: my long blue dress, the traditional two candles for each window and my lovely blue coffee cup – a gift from my goddaughter . Today I had time for two o’clock coffee along with hundreds of thousands of other Finns! We’ve really thought of all possible ways to honour the centenary of Finland’s independence. If you don’t believe me go and have a look at the official net site .

Join in the celebrations and make a toast to Finland!

17th century cuffs, 1600-luvun kalvosimet


The cuffs for my son’s 17th century outfit are ready.¬†That was the easy part. Next I’ll be making him a reticello collar – a huge project compared to these cuffs!


The cuffs are made of thin linen. First I finished the edges with a rolled hem and then sewed the needle lace straight onto the hem. Little pleats mold the cuffs into shape and with the added wristband the cuffs are attached to the sleeves of a jacket. I’ll make a post about the technique for the needle lace later. Quite easy ūüėČ


Here are some pictures of cuffs of that era. On the left you can also see an example of the kind of collar I’ll be tackling next!

2017-10-09-15-18-35Finished just in time for my son’s trip to “the Battle for Grolle”¬†! ūüėČ

Reticello lace

Reticella neliö valmis

I am absolutely fascinated by lace! After acquiring some more books on the subject, I had to try my hand at reticello, a needle lace that dates back to the 16th century. You know – huge, opulent collars of kings and queens of that era, Elisabeth I for example – that’s reticello! The original reticello was cutwork made onto a woven linen fabric by pulling most of the threads out. The resulting squares were filled with tiny geometric designs. What I practiced is an evolved version where the lace is made onto a pattern that is later removed. Punto in aria or “stitch in the air” it’s called.


These are some of the books I bought this past summer. The first two in France. I couldn’t resist the beautiful Japanese book on Shetland shawls. The other one is a good guide to needle lace, describing a technique much like the one I used for my little square sampler. The finnish books are from a fabulous lace exhibition at the Salo Art Museum. The top one is the exhibition catalogue, with a concise history of lace and some wonderful pictures of the many different styles of lace they had on display. The exhibit also showed some contemporary lace art eg. by a Finnish lace artist Tarmo Thorstr√∂m.¬†Reticella ja mallitThe start of my work and some antique pieces of reticello from the exhibition catalog.



The base has three layers. A double thickness of plain cotton sheeting, a piece of paper with the pattern drawn onto it and a green plastic film. These are all first stitched together. Then supporting stitches are made through which the basic threads of the actual lace are sewn. These threads are covered with buttonhole stitches or just overcasting. When the piece is ready the supporting stitches are cut from the underside and removed. I’m sure all the stitches are not supposed to be worked like this. My work has way too many supporting stitches for example, and one big flaw is the tension which is too tight along the outer edge. I need to find another book for reference… And the right thread for this work.

Reticella neli√∂ irroitettunaMy husband often asks me what am I making. Sometimes I have no answer except “well… lace”. But now I do have an actual project in mind that this little square was good practice for: in my fervour I promised my son to try and make some cuffs and a collar in reticello and punto in aria for his historical costume. We shall¬†see what year I’ll manage to finish them!

If you want to find out more about this subject go and have a look at Jeanine’s fantastic blog Italian Needlework . She really has put an amazing amount of work into her research!

Crocheted star stitch basket and serviette rings, tähtivirkattu kori ja lautasliinarenkaat


The serviettes needed a storage basket so I crocheted a square one out of some thread I purchased from a sale. I have no idea what the material is, some kind of linen? For the basket I used a double and for the serviette rings below a single thread. Both have a row of ¬†“star stitch”, a very versatile decorative stitch which I have seen used for a lovely shopping basket for example. Instructions below.


Lautasliinoille tarvittiin säilytyskoria joten virkkasin sellaisen kesällä alennusmyynnistä hankkimastani langasta. En tiedä mitä materiaalia lanka on, ehkä vahattua puuvillaa. Koriin käytin lankaa kaksinkertaisena, serviettirenkaisiin yksinkertaisena. Molempiin tein koristeraidat tähtivirkkauksella (ohje alla).


The tea cosy is beautifully hand woven, maybe made by some relative in the beginning of the last century. I repaired the torn interior many years ago for my mother. Now it serves in the country and adorns the old worn dresser beautifully.


Arvelen vanhan kauniin pannumyssyn olevan jonkun vanhan sukulaisen käsin kutomaa villakangasta. Korjasin sen rikki menneen vuorin monta vuotta sitten äidilleni. Nyt se koristaa patinoitunutta vanhaa astiakaappia kesäkodin keittiössä.


To explain the star stitch I made the serviette rings. They came out quite nicely, although the next ones will probably be ¬†a fraction bigger…


Seviettirenkaat virkkasin malliksi tähtivirkkauksesta. Se on monikäyttöinen koristeaihe, jonka löysin vanhasta yli sata vuotta vanhasta käsityön oppikirjasta. Kirjasta lisää tässä postauksessa.


  • I started with a chain about 14 cm long with an even number of stitches, 24 in this case. Make a circle by joining to the first stitch with a slip stitch.
  • Two rows of double crochet (UK terms), the second row into the back loop of the previous one. Slip stitch to finish the row.
  • To make the star start with 3 chain stitches. Pull the yarn through five times: through the middle stitch of the chain, the one below, the same stitch of the previous row that you started the chain from and the next two of that row, always crocheting into the back loop. Pick up the thread and pull through all six loops. Make one double crochet, which will make the center of the star.
  • Continue this way, the diagram of the old book below shows you where to enter your hook. With every star you advance two stitches.
  • The second row of the star is simple, just two stitches of double crochet into every center of the star. Pull the loop from the center loose so the upper part of your star will match the lower part.
  • Finish off with two rows of double crochet into the back loop and cast off.


  • Aloita noin 14-15 cm pitk√§ll√§ ketjusilmukkarivill√§ jossa on parillinen m√§√§r√§ silmukoita, t√§ss√§ 24. Kiinnit√§ ympyr√§ksi piilosilmukalla.
  • Virkkaa kaksi rivi√§ kiinteit√§ silmukoita, j√§lkimm√§inen rivi edellisen rivin taaempaan lenkkiin. Rivin viimeiseksi piilosilmukka.
  • Aloita t√§htirivi tekem√§ll√§ 3 ketjusilmukkaa. Ota lanka viisi kertaa koukulle, ensin keskimm√§isen ketjusilmukan l√§pi, sitten sit√§ alemman silmukan, seuraavaksi saman alemman rivin silmukan josta l√§hdit tekem√§√§n ketjusilmukkaa, sitten viel√§ kahden seuraavan silmukan l√§pi, koko ajan vain taaempaan lenkkiin. Ota lanka koukulle ja ved√§ kaikkien kuuden lenkin l√§pi. Tee yksi kiinte√§ silmukka, t√§st√§ syntyy t√§hden keskusta.
  • Jatka samaan tapaan, selke√§ kuva on alla. Minun versiooni on on lis√§tty yksi lenkki ensimm√§isen ja toisen nuolen v√§liin. Ty√∂ etenee joka t√§hdell√§ kahden silmukan verran.¬†Viimeisen t√§hden kiinte√§n silmukan tilalle tulee piilosilmukka ¬†joka kiinnittyy ensimm√§iseen t√§hteen.
  • Seuraavalla rivill√§ tee jokaiseen t√§hden keskustaan kaksi kiinte√§√§ silmukkaa. Ved√§ lenkki keskustasta v√§h√§n pidemm√§ksi niin saat tasaisen pullean t√§hden.
  • Tee lopuksi kaksi rivi√§ kiinteit√§ silmukoita j√§lleen vain taaempaan lenkkiin ja p√§√§ttele ty√∂.


Here’s a good picture (from my antique needlework book) showing where to insert your hook. In my version you pick up the thread one more time between the first and the second arrow, where you made the last stitch of the previous star. So there’s six yarns on the hook before you pull the thread through.



Ellenin suukkoja, Ellen’s cookies


This is a transformation from cake (from this earlier post) to cookie. The combination of chewy almond meringue and coffee buttercream works beautifully in this form too. These delicious confections might not look as tempting but they surpass any silky, pastel coloured macaron I’ve ever tasted!


Ellen Svinhufvud kakun resepti taipuu loistavasti pienten t√§ytettyj√§ leivosten tekoon. N√§m√§ suussa sulavat herkut (Ellenin suukot?) ovat ehdottomasti paremman makuisia kuin mitk√§√§n maistamani macaronsit! Olen tosin kokeillut macaronsien t√§ytteen√§ saman tapaista kahvilla maustettua voikreemi√§, eik√§ sek√§√§n ollut hullumpi yhdistelm√§ ūüôā


You’ll find the recipe¬†here. Pipe the meringue onto a baking sheet. One batch will make about 60 ¬†4-5 cm rounds, i.e. 30 filled cookies, and you only need 1/3 of the buttercream.

I found a very similar recipe for a “sans rival” cake which according to Wikipedia originates from the Philippines. The Filipino version uses cashews and rum for taste. “Without a rival” in English – and I agree!


Ellen kakkua tein tässä postauksessa ja resepti on Maku-lehdestä. Saman reseptin mukaan tehtynä tuli yhdestä annoksesta noin 30 täytettyä pientä leivosta. Voikreemiä tarvitsee väliin vain kolmasosan ohjeesta eli 100 g voita jne.

“Sans rival” -nimisen√§kin tunnettu kakku on Wikipedian¬†mukaan alunperin kotoisin Filippiineilt√§. Siell√§ siihen k√§ytet√§√§n mantelin sijasta cashew-p√§hkin√∂it√§ ja voikreemi maustetaan rommilla. Nimi on ranskaa ja tarkoittaa osuvasti “vailla vertaa”!

Renewing chairs with lace, ulkotuolien uudistusta virkkaamalla


We bought some synthetic wicker chairs for the terrace some years ago which, not surprisingly, didn’t last very long. The metal frame though¬†was in perfect condition so I decided to redo the seat and back with some crocheted pieces.


Sain ajatuksen näiden tuolien korjaamiseen sisustuslehden kansikuvan tuolista johon oli punottu leveää satulanauhaa kauniiksi ristikkäiskuvioksi. Se olisi ollut vaikea toteuttaa kotikonstein, mutta virkatun kappaleen sain helposti pingotettua metallikehikkoon.


We had bought the white chairs first, but didn’t like the way they stood out from the terrace on the sea shore. The cheaper brown chairs camouflaged well but after just two years started to fray. I bought some grey fishing twine to crochet new covers with and stretched them onto the frame using slightly thicker rope, much in the the same manner as the white chairs are constructed.


Ensimmäiseksi hankitut valkoiset tuolit pistivät silmään rantakallioiden keskeltä joten hankimme halvemmat paremmin maastoutuvat muoviset rottinkijäljitelmätuolit. Parin vuoden päästä ne jo alkoivat purkautua ja oli keksittävä korjauskeino. Ostin harmaata nylon kalastuslankaa, josta virkkasin uudet istuin- ja selkänojapalat. Vahvemmalla narulla kiristin verkot metallikehikkoon hyvin samaan tapaan kuin valkoisten tuolien päälliset on kiinnitetty.

2017-08-05-12-37-17The crochet pattern is very simple. I started with a chain, which when stretched out was about 6 cm narrower than the intended width. Three chain stitches followed by 3 doubles going one way, five trebles into the chain and one double in the middle double stitch on the way back. The pieces stretch a LOT, so it’s better to make them too small than too big! The first one I made can’t really be stretched anymore and has become a little too loose…

2017-08-04-00-21-40Virkkauskuvio on yksinkertainen. Aloitin ketjusilmukkarivillä, joka oli venytettynä kuutisen senttiä kapeampi kuin istuimen alareunan leveys. Kolme ketjusilmukkaa ja kolme kiinteää vuorotellen parillisilla riveillä, viisi pylvästä ketjuun ja yksi kiinteä silmukka keskimmäiseen kiinteään silmukkaan parittomilla riveillä. Ensimmäinen kappale jonka virkkasin oli liian iso. Kappale venyi todella reilusti asennusvaiheessa ja kun sitä vielä kiristettiin jonkun päivän käytön jälkeen, oli se niin isoksi venynyt ettei sitä enempää voi kiristääkään.


Here you can see how much the piece stretches. The seat covers that were made a few years ago have faded quite a bit but I still have high hopes that they will be of service to us for many more years to come ūüôā


T√§st√§ n√§kee kuinka kappaleet venyv√§t pingottaessa. Pari vuotta k√§yt√∂ss√§ ollut tuolinp√§√§llinen on jo haalistunut mutta toivon ett√§ se silti kest√§√§ viel√§ pitk√§√§n k√§yt√∂ss√§. Eip√§ tarvitse n√§it√§ toimittaa viel√§ kaatopaikalle ūüôā


Ellen Svinhufvud kakku, coffee meringue cake


Layers of almond meringue with a coffee flavoured buttercream filling make up this fabulous cake. It was my choice for our wedding cake years back and this summer I decided to try to make it myself for a big summer party. Quite a success ūüôā I found the recipe on the net site of a Finnish food magazine Maku (“Taste” in English). The cake is an old Finnish classic named after the wife of the third President of Finland, Ellen Svinhufvud. While her husband was in office in the 1930’s, she used to serve the cake at her coffee parties. My home made version turned out quite perfect as it wasn’t as sweet as I recalled. ¬†Here’s the recipe translated into English:

Ingredients: for the meringue

6 egg whites

3 1/2 dl icing sugar

150 g ground almonds

for the buttercream filling and frosting on top

1 1/2 dl strong coffee

3/4 dl sugar

1 1/2 dl cream (fresh full fat)

300 g butter

100 g ground almonds

80 g almond chips (and icing sugar) to decorate

Beat the egg whites and icing sugar untill stiff and creamy. Incorporate the ground almonds gently with a spatula. Spread out onto two baking trays making¬†four rectangles about 15*20 cm. Bake at 125¬įC, one on the top and the other on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 1/2 hours changing the trays’ position a couple of times. Remove the baking sheets while still warm and leave to cool.

Dissolve the sugar into the hot coffee, add the cream and leave to cool. Meanwhile beat the butter into a white foam. Add the cooled coffee in a very thin stream while beating fast, waiting for the mixture to blend well before adding more liquid. Mix in the almonds last.

Cover each meringue sheet with about a quarter of the buttercream. With the last quarter cover the sides of the cake too. Toss the almond chips on a hot dry frying pan until they are slightly coloured. Cover the cake with the almonds and sprinkle on some icing sugar if you wish. Place in the fridge until you serve the cake. It’s easier to cut into pieces when it’s cold.

I made four times this batch of the recipe and baked the meringue into big sheets the size of my oven pans (about 30*40 cm). I ended up making one big cake with three layers and one smaller one with the fourth sheet of meringue that I cut into three. The big one made 48 pieces of 5*5 cm slices and the smaller one was the back up. There wasn’t much left of the smaller one either ūüôā

Ellen kakku koko

Ellen Svinhufvudin kakku on kutakuinkin parasta mitä tiedän. Se oli aikoinaan valintamme hääkakuksi ja nyt päätin yrittää itsekin tehdä sitä kesäjuhliimme. Oivan ohjeen löysin Maku-lehden sivuilta. Lopputulos oli vähemmän makeaa kuin muistin ja aivan erinomaisen hyvää, myös vieraiden mielestä!

Tein ohjeen mukaan nelj√§ pellillist√§ marenkipohjia. K√§ytin niist√§ kolme isoon kakkuun ja viimeisest√§ pellillist√§ tuli kolmikerroksinen varakakku. Eip√§ j√§√§nyt paljoakaan r√§√§ppi√§isiin ūüôā