Mandela, take one.

The first attempt at Wink’s Summer Hearts Mandela pattern: Acreativebeing website or search on Ravelry.

Wink's Summer Hearts Mandela

Wink’s Summer Hearts Mandela

I am not used to reading crochet patterns as I usually improvise with hook in hand. Knitting is my primary craft but I relished the chance to make something by the book. It was very satisfying to reach each round ending with the exactly right number of repeats or stitches. I am used to guesswork and fudging.

It can also get confusing as UK and US crochet terminology is different. As a Brit I find most online sources – written and video – refer to the US terminology, as this pattern does. I have to admit (just this once!) that the American terms make more sense. So far, anyway.

This photo shows my first go. Not bad, but I see room for improvement. Great excuse to make some more and I have already purchased another of Wink’s / Marinke’s designs. Wink’s pattern made it so much easier as step by step pictures are included.

The colour combo is my own using Drops Paris and Drops <3You5. The original design used more repetition of white (where I used beige or changed colour again.) Maybe I will stick closer to the original next time, or maybe it will evolve in another way. These little colourful wheels are the ideal medium for colour experimentation and expression.

I hope Marinke would have approved. Thinking of her and grateful for her guidance in crochet and inspiration in design.

#mandelasformarinke #mandelasforwink


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Heatwave, headache and headbands…

Heatwave, headache and headbands…
Mandela for Wink.

Mandela for Wink.

Mosaic Headbands

Mosaic Headbands

IMG_20150627_161431 IMG_20150627_161546

Mosaic shadow

Mosaic shadow

The heatwave that has spread across Europe has even hit Sweden. The natives are out in droves either on their motorised boats, swimming at the nearest lake or simply pointing their heads skyward holding a “mjukglass” (soft, white and delicious ice cream.)
As a pasty-white British-born living in now sweltering Stockholm, I have confined myself to the indoors. I have a long term health issue, CFS/M.E., that is made worse by extremes of temperature. This has been exasperated further by a mysterious tummy bug and a recently bout of bugs of the flying kind biting the hell out of me. Sweden is home to many mosquitoes and insects and they are drawn to me like flies around shhh… a nice English girl. And when I get bitten I swell up like some kind of itchy, blotchy, raised temperature freak. Oh yes, I am also allergic to pollen.

I hate summer. More specifically, I hate this heatwave and all the bugs who fly in it and all those darn grass-cutting neighbours who want to see me cry with tears of pollen.

In my cave, blinds drawn, water bottle open, I am struggling and sleeping. In between genuine bouts of tummy aching self-pity, I try to take my mind of things with some knitting or crochet. Today I have begun a mandela in honour of Wink. See my previous post: Goodbye, Wink.

and the wonderful work here: Crochet Concupiscence

And here: Mandelasformarinke

Do pop by to join in this initiative to bring about awareness of the depression Wink – and so many others – suffer from. A really practical way to bring colour and awareness through the therapeutic craft of crochet.

I have also been productive making various mosaic design headbands to order. I am also working on an improvised vest using mosaic blocks. Mosaic is something I have really got interested in (ok -obsessed with) and there are two designs here using a shadow technique. This involves repeating a pattern chart but reversing the colours – what was red is blue, what was blue is now red. This creates an interesting colour effect and optical illusion if you squint your eyes a bit.

Anyway, another cold drink and sigh is required as the heat seems unrelenting. I will return to the colourful but heat-friendly mandela for Wink. You can see/purchase Wink’s designs on her website:


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Sad, sad news. Goodbye, Wink.


Further to yesterday’s sad post of the loss of Wink (AKA Marinke),, there have been some thoughtful and kind initiatives within our crafting community to honour her memory and to bring awareness about depression through the creative medium she so loved.
Read more about the Mandelas for Marinke initiative here:
And see a page dedicated to her memory here:

Love and light. <3

Originally posted on garnharmoni:

We have lost one of our own.  Such sad news.

A beautiful girl capable of creating colourful crochet art, Wink tragically found herself in the darkest of places.  Wink’s blog ( is one I popped by for crochet inspiration or simply to brighten the day.

The post written by her sister is poignant and sums up the situation with bravery and warmth for her older sister:

Goodbye, Wink.  You will be missed.

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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


Sad, sad news. Goodbye, Wink.

We have lost one of our own.  Such sad news.

A beautiful girl capable of creating colourful crochet art, Wink tragically found herself in the darkest of places.  Wink’s blog ( is one I popped by for crochet inspiration or simply to brighten the day.

The post written by her sister is poignant and sums up the situation with bravery and warmth for her older sister:

Goodbye, Wink.  You will be missed.


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Hidden Treasure!


I have started my summer break with a visit to my folks in the north of Sweden.  It such a beautiful part of the country that it is hard not to be inspired by the surroundings.  My mum is a fellow knitting and crochet nerd with quite a substantial stash in need of sorting.  So, I rolled up my sleeves today to lend a hand.  We found a few skeins of delicious angora yarn that she kindly donated to me in readiness for my life as a knitting student at HV Skola. More on that here:

Anyway, as we went through about the fifth box I saw a rather sorry-looking plastic bag full of holes filled with colourful granny squares, just visible, peeping out at the opening.  Taken aback I asked if it was my mother’s own handiwork.  No, she said, it was a cheap find at the local Red Cross from ages ago and it had sat there forgotten.

The pictures show a fine selection of neatly made and diligently organised squares.  This led me to wonder how these squares landed at the charity shop’s door…  The most likely is that they are a donation from a family member from maybe a granny-type granny square maker.  Mum has passed the granny square baton to me so now I am charged with creating the very best I can from this unfinished symphony.

The number of squares and the fact they are so ordered by colour points towards an afghan. In fact the type, thickness and quality of yarn is almost exactly that of the yarn I used in the large restoration project of a very old blanket in need of repair:  This also points towards it being an older person with a taste for more old-fashioned material and style.  Then again, I like old-fashioned and I am not that old.

All of this is supposition and guess work.  The main thing is I am going to take care of these precious squares and I shall do my best to honour the (probable) intentions of their creator.  It will be exciting to see how this turns out. An update will follow in due course!

Happy crochet it is then!


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Accepted into Textile/Art College to study KNITTING!

I am so excited to write that I have accepted a place to study knitting for a year at a fantastic Textile/Design/Art college here in Stockholm!!!  I will be full time student of knitting!!! –  Knitting as a form of artistic expression, design, techniques, form, Swedish textile history, spinning/colouring yarn, and finally a large examination project that will be shown as part of an textile/art exhibition! They have their own gallery on site.  I can barely believe the words I am typing!

The resignation letters for my two part-time teaching jobs are in and I will continue working as a teacher until June 12th.  Schools finish a lot earlier in Sweden than my native UK.  Then, on 24th August I begin a very exciting chapter at Handarbetets Vänner Skola!  They made a video of an open day which gives you an idea of the location and atmosphere even if you don’t understand the Swedish narration.  And on that note, as all my education will be in Swedish I hope to improve my language skills along the way.

The school is situated in Stockholm in a beautifully historic house with airy and light studios with expert teachers.  It is situated in the lovely area of Djurgården just opposite the famous Skansen.  There is lots of inspiration nearby with the museums and cultural centres and pleasant surroundings to walk around and be inspired in between the hours and hours of knitting.  Talk about a dream come true!

The course is summarised in Swedish here:

The academic year looks something like this:

800 hours over 40 weeks:

Formlära   (form/design) 160 hours
Stickning   (knitting) 464 hours
Textila material/Spinning/Färgning   (textiles, spinning and colouring yarn) 48 hours
Textilhistoria   (textile history) 28 hours
Enskilt projekt   (individual project) 100 hours
Summa timmar   (total hours) 800 hours

I submitted my portfolio (shown in the last post: and a heartfelt letter on my motivation to dedicate a year to knitting at an advanced level.  I was honest about the fact that I have long-term health issues and that one area of interest would be to investigate further the health benefits of knitting and handicrafts.  I already researched and wrote an extensive essay on this (as part of my Swedish language studies) and I am seeing updates all the time about the benefits of knitting to promoting well-being and good health.

The very kind teacher has already put my mind at ease as we have talked about how we can work together to give me the best chance to grow and develop as a knitter and designer with an awareness of the rest breaks I may need in between classes to manage my CFS/ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.)  The course is full time so every day is 09.00- 16.00 but there is already a sense of flexibility and understanding and working creatively in a craft I so enjoy will be energy-giving and a tour around the school gave a real sense of calm and reflection.

Here and now, after months of a bad luck healthwise and a relapse that I am still fighting to come out of, I feel excited to take up the challenge but also a relief that from day one I have been able to be open about my situation.  This is in contrast with the feeling of just trying to struggle on and battle in relative silence at work, trying to hide my condition from colleagues and students in the challenging career that is teaching.

A lot of people ask me what will doing this course lead to… in other words what is the point in terms of work and progressing career wise.  I do have ideas on that front.  But my main focus is on improving my health over the summer break after only a few more weeks to get through at work.  And then build on that recovery slowly and surely. After that, I want to enjoy the knitting course for what it is: an amazing opportunity to develop this art form and what happens next will be something at the back of my mind for now and will come forward when the time is right.

How lucky I feel right now to be offered one of only eight places at this historical and prestigious school!  I hope to share my learning along the way and do a better job of keeping Garnharmoni updated to spread the knitting word!


Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Portfolio/ Stickningsglädje.

I have been putting together a portfolio of my knitting and crochet work and I have come to the conclusion that a) I have been more productive than I realised and b) I have a lot of photographic evidence to support my theory of yarn obsession!   So at the risk of a collage overload, I thought I would share these reflections of knitting/crochet moments.

I have made translations in the photo captions as I tried to present my portfolio or “portfölj” in Swedish since I live here permanently I really ought to know my knitting or “stickning” terminology! I was most proud at forming a word by guesswork and finding that it does exist: “stickningsglädje.” The Swedish language is full of compound words (sometimes there are rather long words that are tricky to say.)  The plus side is that words are put together and you can really say what you mean in one go: “sticknings” = “knitting’s” + “glädje” = “happiness.” :)  Happiness through knitting.  (The closest to “ä” is like “eh” or like “yeah” without the y, the “j” is soft so it sounds like: “stickningsgleehdya” – kind of!)

I hope you enjoy them and wish you all “stickningsglädje” from a rather sunny Stockholm!

1 Comment

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


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