View Full Version : CROCHET and WOODWORKING

11-02-04, 05:51
I remember my grandmother crocheting whenever she had some spare time. She made bedspreads, tablecloths, potholders and beautiful lace to decorate the edge of towels and other things. She never read a pattern but seemed to make it up as she went along. The cotton thread she used was very fine. I still have some items that she made and put away for me when I was small.
My grandfather made things of wood. Sometimes he would carve spoons with a knife. He also made wood furniture like tables and dressers. He used only hand tools. I'm sorry to say that all his hand tools are gone now.
I wonder if these skills were typical of the many Swede-Finns who came to North America. What other hand crafts would Swede-Finns have brought with them?

11-02-04, 14:50
Aside from a little octagonal table, the only keepsakes I have of my grandmother's are what my mom called doilies. They were hand crocheted things that went under lamps, knick-knacks, etc. Some were as large as tablecloths, some were table runners and some were the size of a coffee saucer. All were very intricate and crocheted with cotton string. Some were white, some multi-colored and some variegated. They're all very delicate looking and somewhat victorian looking. They don't fit in with the decor of these days but are packed away.

I don't know if my grandfathers were crafty but I cherish the handmade items from my grandma and look forward to giving them to my daughters when they're older.

Karen Norwillo
11-02-04, 16:18
I, too, have crocheted doilies that my maternal grandmother made. She made each of her daughters a full sized bedcover in the classic pineapple design. Weighed a ton. Unfortunately, it was lost to time. The cotton used didn't age well. I framed some of the doilies in a shadowbox. Karen

June Pelo
12-02-04, 02:57
My grandmothers crocheted doilies, pillowcase edgings, tablecloths, dress collars, etc. In addition they had big looms where they made rugs that we all had on our floors. We donated a trunkful of some of the handwork to a museum. I kept some of the doilies and use them in my home. One of my great grandfathers carved a wooden pencil box when he was a boy and I donated it to the local historical museum in Karleby, Finland. My father must have learned how to do woodwork in Finland because when we were young, he made all our toys from wood: doll bed, table, chairs, trucks, skis, sleds, and various toys.


12-02-04, 17:44
Originally posted by Claire
I wonder if these skills were typical of the many Swede-Finns who came to North America...

You must remember that most of the emigrants from Finland during the turn of the century (1800-1900) came from homesteads and crofts. It was a part of the boys' upbringing to teach them how to work wood. Most of the farm equipment, kitchen utensils, carriages, sledges and so on were home made, as were the buildings.

In the coast they built their own fishing and seal hunting boats.

There was seldom a carpenter in a village, but there was most probably a blacksmith and a shoemaker, even though many farms had their own smith shops too.

In the similar way the girls were taught how to crochet, stich, sow, weave, spin, prepare linen and wool for spinning, make and preserve food by salting, pickling, smoking et.c., milk the cows (yes that was definitely a woman's job, a man wouldn't touch it). They had to be multiskilled in order to survive.