Wednesday, 20 February 2013

book love: the finnish equivalent of Golden Hands

Recently I thrifted these vintage craft books. I love an old book with a nice spine and decorative exterior, but these are also great inside. What more, the contents are just too lovely not to get inspired by.

The Finnish title translates as The Most Beautiful Handcrafts. All three volumes were published in 1975 and been translated from the original 1966 Italian Mani D'oro series. Is it anything to do with the English publication Golden Hands Library? Not sure, but the format, the image styling and presentation look suspiciously similar.

Anyways, onto the cascade of pictures showing off the books inside.

Volume number 1 is about knitting and crochet. I love the way it inspires me to try learning crochet yet again. I tried so many times, but just don't get beyond the chain stage... I think my knitting skills are standing in the way; I heard before that some who learn knitting first struggle to learn to crochet.

In general, I love how the images are styled, even though some are quite wacky - like the knitted house shoes presented on boot shaped vases... Mostly I love all those contrasting brights and muted colours, page after page.

In the knitted garments section, the styling is soooo 60's it makes my inner feminist cough a little cough. All the ladies are leaning back on something, lounging around passively, while Mr Man looks very assertive in the midst of all sorts of activities, not needing to lean on anything. Look at the Clark Kent clone trying to shoot us readers in the face... But got to love the Sophia Loren-esque templates highlighting the different stitch patterns (bottom left).

In volume 2 we have embroidery and needle lace making. I just can't help drooling over the stitch library. There is a big section on drawn thread embroidery, which is quite an overlooked form of needle craft, somewhere between cross stitch, smocking and openwork. I think I might look out for some loosely woven linens on my thrift rounds and try it out.

Volume number 3 is all about sewing garments, mending and even some weaving. Enter the close-up shots of perfect vintage manicures - I'm always a little jealous even though I don't like the obviously fake stick-on nails. This volume features a gorgeous looking vintage Borletti sewing machine, and the loveliest images I have ever seen for instructing on small detail sewing, like zippers, buttons and arrowhead tacks.

It's an added bonus that the book has an extensive section on mending. Again the pictures win me over - a hole in a sock never looked so inspiring before. As to the weaving part, I really hope one day I might get the opportunity to loom my own rug in those vintage shades of wool.


  1. Hello Aniko,

    these books are really great. I love the matching father-son sweaters. This is a really good thrift find. Have a nice day!

  2. Wow, thanks for sharing these! I'm excited to see them in relation to my own recent Golden Hands find. Yes, there are definitely similarities in style.

    I love the colours! They just look so warm and inviting. And it makes me want to knit big-me and mini-me sweaters too, with their matching hats.

    Interesting about knitting and crochet... as I'm just learning to knit I may find that when I want to start crochet I also get stuck! (And I do definitely want to learn crochet). I hope this book helps you break through to the next stage.

    1. does your mum crochet? if yes than you will have the advantage of being tutored so hopefully the knitting mindset won't create barriers to learning the crochet.


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