A touch of handmade at Heikinpäivä

HANCOCK – Throughout the months-long schedule of Heikinpäivä events in Hancock this year, participants have been putting their hands on Finnish culture at Sew Cranky. The Hancock business sells and restores antique hand-crank sewing machines, but also allows individuals to use the machines in house – with a guiding hand from the staff.

Throughout Heikinpaiva, events at Sew Cranky have included making hobby horses and laudeliina. The “Snowflake Challenge” has also returned. The Hobby Horse and Laudeliina workshops had prices associated with the cost of time and materials provided by Sew Cranky, while the Snowflake Challenge has a $3 entry fee, which translates to cash prizes for the winners.

The laudeliina is a customized fine linen mat traditionally used in the sauna to “keep the splinters out,” according to Sew Cranky co-owner Mike Sabo who runs the business with Ginger Alberti. Participants also had the option of making smaller indoor placemats instead.

The Hobby Horse workshop also had a fee with patterns, time, and materials provided by the staff and participants bringing their own sticks. Hobby Horses have a unique history in Finland as well as at Sew Cranky. In Finland, hobby horses are a popular and largely respected pastime – even among adults – as detailed in the 2017 documentary “The Hobby Horse Revolution.”

“(The Finnish Theme Committee) asked Ginger, ‘We’re going to be running a documentary on the Hobby Horse Revolution, can you come up with some patterns?’ Well, be careful what you wish for,” related Sabo. “She’s been doing it ever since.”

The Hobby Horse Workshop was a unique opportunity for individuals to make their own hobby horses, but not the only opportunity to have one. A herd of hobby horses stands at a chorale inside Sew Cranky, each with individual fabrics, a name, a backstory. One such hobby horse will be on display in the “Animal Life: Art from the Kalevala” exhibition that opens Saturday at the Finnish American Heritage Center

Hobby horses ran their paces at the Hobby Horse Hoedown and Family Fun Night hosted by Alberti and Finnish folk dancing expert Kay Seppälä at the FAHC on January 20. Participants were invited to bring their own hobby horse, but there were also hobby horses available to borrow for obstacle courses, games, and dances. There will also be a “hobby horse equestrian unit” in the Heikinpävä parade.

The Snowflake Challenge is also ongoing. Participants receive a black square of fabric and pick their thread color before making a unique snowflake. Dozens of entrants can currently be seen hanging on the wall within Sew Cranky, and participants have until February 14 to enter. The snowflakes will then be judged on accuracy and artistic merit, with prizes going to winners in various skill levels.

Sew Cranky is located at 322 Quincy Street in Hancock and is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sew Cranky can also be reached by phone at 818-606-0065.


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