From Sock Blocker to Succaplokki: Meet industrial designer, Aleksi Viirilä

9 Oct
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Industrial designer Aleksi Viirilä

You know those great needle gauges you’ve seen on-board the yarn truck (and can buy online here)? The ones featuring Lil Dorothy? They are made in Finland by industrial designer, Aleksi Viirilä, the award-winning talent behind Succaplokki tools. In 2013 Aleksi Viirilä was chosen as the Young Finnish Crafter of the Year and nominated for the Noste Craft Award.

I recently asked Aleksi some questions about himself and his process. Here are his responses written, as he modestly claims, in “Finglish”.

Purlin’ J: Each needle gauge is unique. Can you describe the process and materials used?
Aleksi: I use industrial waste/left overs to make my items. Old signs, production leftovers, material with scratches and colour flaws. I use a laser to produce accurate cuts and all the items are finished by hand.

Click to buy

Why knitting tools? Are you a knitter?
This is kind of funny story. My wife (who’s a fanatic knitter) asked me to make her a pair of sock blockers in 2008. We did several cardboard models to make the blockers in the right size. I wanted to add some extra feature so I cut a needle gauge in the blocker. I made the final blockers from a piece of plastic I found in a trash can. She used the blockers on her knitting blog and from there the story of “Succaplokki” began. Finnish bloggers started to ask me if I could make more pairs for them. I was so excited that I started to design more items.

The name “Succaplokki” comes from combining the English words Sock Blockers and “Sukanpingotin”, which means Sock Blocker in Finnish. At the same time my wife discovered Etsy and from there the items started to sell out of Finland. Now this has been my main job for three years and I love it!

I’m not a knitter and this makes it even more interesting because I don’t have any presumptions about the knitting tools and how they should look or feel.

What is your training/background?
I’m a Industrial Designer. I specialize in tooling and prototyping. I’ve been working in this field for about 10 years.

What is your favourite thing about living where you live in Finland?
We live in a small countryside town in Southern Finland. Our house is an old house from the 50’s and my workshop is located in our basement. My favourite thing in all this is the slow way of life. I really love what I do. I don’t know if I can explain this in English but I truly feel a great joy for being able to make my items, which for me started by accident.

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In 2013 Aleksi Viirilä was chosen as the Young Finnish Crafter of the year and was nominated for the Noste craft award.

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Purlin' J's

"One of the coolest 'yarn stores' I've ever seen" --Vogue Knitting magazine, Holiday 2013

Sue Schlabach

Artist, photographer and upcycler living in Vermont. Viewer of the world through eyes and lens.

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