Shirt cuff with ronkkaus embroidery.
Embroidery,  My projects

“Ronkkaus” – A Finnish folk embroidery stitch

If you follow this blog or my YouTube channel, you know that I’m making a Finnish national costume from Askola. The shirt for this folk dress has special whitework embroidery that is called ronkkaus. It is used in some Southern Finnish folk costumes and in Estonia. As far as I know, the stitch doesn’t have an English name although there are many stitches that are pretty close to this one.

While ago I was trying to describe this technique to a person who hadn’t seen it before and I drew her this picture that explains the two stages of ronkkaus. First, you pick single threads and make a zig-zag line. Then you come back and weave your thread to the zig-zag stitches you just made without going through the fabric at all.

Ronkkaus: The two stages

This way you can create intricate patterns that make diagonal lines, triangles, and diamonds. This video explains the technique better.

For you that understand Finnish, Soja Murto has an excellent tutorial on her website.

In practice, this stitch is done by picking single threads in densely woven linen. This means that you have to have excellent eyesight. If you don’t, you can buy a cheap pair of reading glasses or use a magnifying glass or both. In fact, I wore reading glasses in front of my regular glasses and added a magnifying glass and a bright lamp! This is necessary since it is not enough to see the threads, you have to be able to count them and that gets really difficult without the extra help – unless you are fifteen. Alas, my 40th birthday is approaching soon and my eyes are showing it!

I hope you found this post and the video interesting. Please subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss any new posts! Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: