Barbro Heikinmatti (hillevi3 on Ravelry) belongs to the small Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. She attended my tapestry crochet workshop in Vasa / Vaasa, Finland, in 2005. Like most of the others, she was already an accomplished tapestry crocheter, but did manage to learn a few new things.

Barbro’s bead tapestry crochet basket
Iiro’s been eating from his bead tapestry crochet basket since 2005!

Barbro explains, “I think I did my first tapestry crochet when I crocheted/knitted a Korsnäs sweater in the early 80’s. Since then I have crocheted a few (giggle) purses and bags (more giggle). Yes, I love tapestry crochet, and thanks to Carol I learned how to add beads. I mostly crochet by simply casting on and see what will happen. That means I keep unraveling a lot.” 🙂

The sweater below was “Knitted / crocheted at Marketta Luutonen’s first workshop in Vasa in the 80’s. This traditional sweater was made for men in the 19th century, in the 20th and 21st also for women. Nowadays they are often changed into cardigans. Note that the tapestry crochet is worked in the back loop.”

Barbro’s Korsnas Sweater
Knitted and tapestry crocheted (into the back loop) wih Novita Marimba wool in 1984.

Detail of Barbro’s Korsnas Sweater
Detail of the sweater’s crochet and knitting.

“This bag (below) is perfect when I walk around the house doing things. I hang the purse around my neck.”

Barbros’s iPod Case
Tapestry crocheted with Sandnes Garn Mandarin Petit cotton in August 2007.

The bag (below) was “Improvised from Carol Ventura’s patterns in her book, More Tapestry Crochet. I can’t resist crocheted shopping bags and purses. This will be big enough to keep a few books and all the necessary things i.e. lipstick, pen, keys, wallet… Bird from Vibeke Lind’s “Sticka efter gamla nordiska mönster.”

Barbro’s Shopping Bag
Tapestry crocheted with Novita Kotiväki cotton in July 2008.

Barbro’s Bird Bag
Barbro’s Bird Bag crocheted in April-May 2009.

“I do have to make a purse for my favorite spindle, don’t I??”

Barbro’s Comet Purse
Tapestry crocheted in April 2009.

Barbro’s Horse Around Purse
Tapestry crocheted cotton and linen Horse Around Purse, May 2009.

Barbro tapestry crocheting
Barbro tapestry crocheting a cover for her spindle.

“My spindle, Precious (born at Journey Wheel), needed a cozy little home. I stole some elements from the Korsnäs sweater and crocheted them into both loops (traditionally worked into the back loop). I can’t resist the S-slinga (S-arabesque, festoon, creeper or whatever you prefer), so I use it quite often. The dancing girls are also fun to crochet. Bead crochet is a joy. I learned the technique at Carol Ventura’s workshop. I finally found a nice way to use a few meters of my handspun variegated merino-silkyarn, leftover from mother-in-law’s shawl.”

Barbro’s spindle holder
Not one day without a thread / Sine filo, nulla dies unum spindle holder crocheted in November 2009.

How did she do it? “Well, first you have to count your stitches. I had about 88 in the round, and the letters were planned to be 6-7 rounds high. I started to sketch in Excel, using colors close to my yarns. Carol Ventura has a great graph paper in her book More Tapestry Crochet, but I didn’t have it with me that day. I soon saw I had to crochet the text in two lines. I spread out the text to look balanced and started to crochet. It was GREAT fun!”

“I bead crocheted the rim, sew an inner lining, started thinking about how to close the purse. A casing was easiest to make. And Precious could go to bed in it’s new home!”

What will she be doing next? “Thanks to audio books that are now available everywhere, I will most certainly crochet more. I can’t tapestry crochet and read books simultaneously, which is what I do with knitting, lace crochet, and this autumn also spinning. My handspun merino-silk yarns are perfect for many projects: small purses, fingerless gloves etc. Maybe I’ll also start sketching own patterns, but that’s uncertain because of all the wonderful ethnic designs from all over the world that can be used.”

Are you hooked yet? If so, you can see more of Barbro’s work on Ravelry and you’ll want to follow her trilingual (Swedish / English / Finnish) blog.

10 Responses to “Barbro”

  1. Faylene keep says:

    Beautiful, I really want to make Korsnas sweater in the worst way…and I lover her spinning pouch…just awesome…thanks for sharing.

  2. Faylene keep says:

    Gosh, I hope I left my response, if I didn’t I will reiterate how want to make a Korsnas sweater, and I adore the spinning pouch…they are all so beautiful, thank you for sharing these stories with us, they are all so inspiring…

  3. Daniela Pagliaruli says:

    Dear Carol,
    as I can in the third photo of this post, the crochet part of this fantastic jacket is crochet only in the back loop, and I can see only a direction of work.
    That is to say the work, even if we have a jacket, is worked in rounds, not in rows.
    Has the jacket been steeked, af for a stranded/Fair Isle/Norwegian jacket?
    Or the yarns have been cutted at the end of every row?

    Kindest regards,
    and happy tapestry crochet.


  4. Daniela Pagliaruli says:

    Thank you Carol for your answer.
    I did not know that tapestry crochet could be steeked.

    Daniela ^__^

  5. Daniela Pagliaruli says:

    Dear Carol,
    I researched for some sources on steeked crocheted and knitted sweaters, which you talked about in your post.
    And I found this page written in Finnish, language that I do not know, that I post here:
    Maybe someone here knows and talks Finnish.. ^__^

    Kindest regards,

  6. Dear Daniela and Carol,
    The Finnish site Daniela linked to gives some clarifications to the instructions in a book about the sweater and a few purses, that was published in 2003. The book is trilingual in Swedish, Finnish, and English, and can be bought here: (if your outside Finland, please contact them through e-mail).

    Somewhat OT: Carol, teaching my first class in tapestry crochet (purses in the Korsnäs technique, was much fun and a success. Thank you so much for making me realise I can do it, after taking your class in Vaasa a decade ago!


  7. Thanks so much for the link and for teaching tapestry crochet! I’m sure it was a fabulous class!!!! Several new people signed up for the TC Facebook and Yahoo groups with European names – I suspect they were your students!

  8. […] and caps.  But Barbro is very modest about her own work and I actually learned the most about her skills from another author.  She recently got a loom and I can’t wait to see what she produces with […]

  9. […] Ventura’s awesome site: Tapestry Crochet. If you want to see me crocheting in 2009, look here! I’ve done a lot more since then, and oh how young I looked… Please read about the […]

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