1952 inspiration: Finnish knitting patterns

I’m excited to share something I’ve been meaning to for oh, months now! I’ve been extra busy at work in the last week so I’m frightfully behind in all online realms, but I’m pleased that’s finally letting up and I can share this with you tonight.

I’ve been extremely fortunate that a few blog readers have kindly shared vintage knitting patterns with me. Many months ago I was contacted by one such reader in Helsinki, Finland, who graciously sent me several vintage knitting booklets in Finnish. Now of course I don’t read Finnish, but I’m happy to look for inspiration in all kinds of resources. So I’m very grateful to her for sending them across the world to me!

Over the next week or two I’m going to do a separate post on a few of the best images from the booklets, by year. I’ve cleaned up some images where needed, and have included the text in a few of them because I think it’s interesting.

Expect to see 1951, 1942 and 1938. But today we’ll start with 1952. The booklet opens with the advice not to buy yarn for the sole reason that it’s cheap, because you’ll be unhappy with the results. (Thanks to Google Translate for that.)

I love the cover styling, with the green felt gloves, slightly risqué neckline and matching scarf laying on the checkered table… the original owner wrote her name in the corner, too. I love seeing old hand writing.

You can definitely see a 40s influence still in some of the designs, but the emergence of 50s style as well. Interesting that the below pullover is finished with a zipper across the left shoulder.

Below is a crocheted jacket… is that a waistline or what.

No surprise I adore this stranded twinset! The colorwork was charted, so I scanned all 3 pages from the pattern in case you’d like to replicate it yourself.

Download: 1952 Finnish stranded twin set, including chart (pdf)


Check out this batwing cardigan with the stripes and collar. And look at those cuffs! So sharp.

I may be a little obsessed with these amazing father and son cardigans…

Check out the stitch pattern. It was written out, and I think if you were feeling patient you could probably translate it, so I’ve included the pattern repeat below. Looks like the chevrons are shaped between knit and purl sections, with moss stitch between.

Update! Rachel found the same stitch pattern in English, and Kittee discovered it’s also indexed on Ravelry. Thanks for the sleuthing!

The sweater below is nice, but I’m way more interested in her head scarf and amazing plaid trousers!

A nice basic pullover…

And a classic cardigan, perfect to pair with a collared blouse. The lace pattern looks extremely similar to the stitch pattern in my yellow gloves, knit from this vintage pattern. (I’m not sure the exact source of that particular version of the pattern, but the same one shows up in a 1953 knitting booklet I have. Must have been popular in the early 50s.)

And last but not least, a cardigan that buckles at the sleeve cuffs and neck…

From Helsinki to the United States, from 1952 to 2013. The Internet is a wonderful place, isn’t it? I hope you’ve enjoyed these. Whether you knit or not, they’re great for inspiration! Do you have a favorite?

Filed: Free Patterns, Knitting

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Golly, 32 Comments!

  • Oh I love that Father and Son set… even my husband admired the pattern 🙂
    These are all quite lovely 🙂


  • These are fantastic! I really love the vertically striped cardigan. Of course, I’m a sucker for batwing sleeves! But those cuffs are really slick.


  • Oooh what elegant styles! I would be very interested in downloading more of the instructions too.

    an other Finnish reader 😉


  • How sexy is that lady with the gloves? Very!
    Foreign publications have a certain mystique about them, thanks goodness for Google Translate and being able to understand them. x


  • I want one of each please. Wish my knitting was better, I only started last year. But these projects are great for motivation to peactice more knitting. Thank you for sharing!


  • What a great post ! It’s difficult to choose which I like best, I like them all.
    I love the striped cardigan, I don’t think I’ve seen one that is vertically striped before. Secondly would be the timeless, twinset.

    I loved this post. My grandmother, came from Finland and she knitted me and my twin bother the most exquisite mittens ; with reindeer etc. every year for Yule. Amazingly she had severe Parkinson’s disease and her knitting was intricate and flawless. Amazing !
    I truly get excited with the projects you choose they are done with such perfect color choice, and expertise. BEAUTIFUL.
    Best Regards,


  • That crocheted jacket is awesome, though something I don’t think I could ever wear, not having a 50’s waistline… By the way, that pattern is from Paris, by Pernelle which is probably a fashion house. The vintage knitting magazines often had patterns or at least a pattern that weren’t designed my Finnish people, and I think Paris especially, being a fashion city, was a place from where patterns were imported. Even then it was cooler to wear something that wasn’t Finnish design, I guess. It was originally knitted in raspberry red, isn’t that cute! And the model kind of looks like Hilary Swank.


    • You’re right, she does! I was surprised how many of the models looked a little bit familiar, actually.

      That’s interesting about where the designs originated from… I guess it’s always been popular to want to associate with centers of fashion, even in the knitting realm!


  • My Swedish patterns all call for a zipper at the shoulder aswell. Looks very uncomfortable, but I guess it´s necessary when the neckline is really tight. Don´t they have zippers in american patterns?


    • I rarely seem to see zippers in English-language patterns (American, British or Australian as I have some of each). More commonly I think you tend to see buttons, either along the side or up the center back.


  • Oh, these were really pretty, hadn’t seen them before even though I’ve quite a few Finnish vintage patterns in my possession. I probably should find some time to scan them. 🙂


  • Now I’m a little obsessed with that Father and Son cardigan stitch pattern also…


  • This can’t be true! You are popular in Finland! I am a very new reader, have been following you only a couple of weeks. I thought just today about where to find some 40´-50´s knitting models, and here they are! In my native language! Thankyou, and thankyou the one who sent these to you!


  • I have two favorites – the Batwing Striped and the Cover sweater. Thank you for posting these photos and the kind soul who sent them to you, great inspiration. I am going to attempt to duplicate the Batwing Striped using designer software, don’t hold your breath though as I have 3 other self-design duplicates in the queue.


  • i am in looove with those patterns, especially the second one with the zipper on the shoulder. i recently started knitting, and it’s like a whole new world opened to me.
    p.s. i’m reading you from Sweden 🙂


  • Gah! I want to make them all!


  • The father and son one is nice. I dress my boys daily in cardigans made by my grandma long ago. The teachers at school always comment on how dapper my 5 yo looks.


  • hi! I just mentioned your blog here


    thanks for being such an inspiration! xx


  • These are are all so wonderful! Yesterday we went on a wee little one day road trip and were hit with snow, oodles of fog, and air so icy cold it felt like we were atop a ski hill (which we were not), and I really could have used a toasty knit sweater like this instead of the nearly paper thin shrug I was wearing over an equally thin 80s does 40s frock.

    My favourite here is the knit jacket – want!!! 🙂

    Wishing you a marvelous Monday & week ahead,
    ♥ Jessica


  • The father and son sweater combo– YES. A THOUSAND TIMES, YES. I really like that impressively nipped waist on that crocheted jacket, but the matched twinset just below it is a close contender for #1 in my book.


  • Ooh, I was quite surprised to find these lovely knits in my native language 😀 There is so much vintage knitting patterns saved here in Finland that it is actually quite amazing. I suppose it was very popular thing to do amongst all women because the winters were and are so cold and harsh.
    My favourites are definitely the batwing cardigan and second to last cardigan. It would be lovely to see you sport some of these, or perhaps something else from those finnish booklets.
    Let me know if you need help with translations, we all know google translate isn’t exactly accurate 😉


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