Simple stash-buster scarf.

Simple techniques can give simple pleasures.  Here is a very pleasing colour combo and texture using my old trusted stretchy rib. Pick a multiple of three stitches and add two stitches (for one stitch edge on each side), then repeat as follows: K1(edge), *K2, P1* to last stitch, K1(edge). This is reversible so perfect for a scarf. Repeat the same pattern for every row until desired length. Simple!

I am using scrap yarn doubled up (black with bright blue/ grey with pale blue) on fairly large 6.5 mm needles. This works up quickly for a variegated and chunky finish.

Happy knitting!




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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in knitting, Quick Comfort Knits


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Crochet comforts


Long time, no blog. It has been a period of ups and downs healthwise, hence radio silence over the past months. I am glad to say that my constant companion – crafting with yarn – has been a big help.

I thought I would share my latest project – a crochet poncho that I found on Ravelry.

It was the perfect outlet for some crochet practice in a variety of stitches and a bit of improv in colour, as my stash of cotton allowed.

This is a great idea by Stacey Daze on Ravelry and it is not at all prescriptive in how it should be made.

The pattern is the starting point to begin your own creative process.imageimage

this is a fun project and cosy and rather stylish to wear! I already had a compliment from a stranger sitting nearby at an outdoor cafe. She noticed that I was surreptitiously tucking in a few loose ends (I only finished it today) so did quite an “unStockholm” thing and she started a conversation. She asked if I’d made it myself and was impressed when I said that I had. Things were going really well until I noticed that I had managed to get bird poo on it, on this sunny first outing. The gardens where I was having fika (Swedish for drinking coffee) attract a lot of feathered opportunists looking for a few cake crumbs to nibble on or, apparently, to use large woolly targets as en suite facilities.

I actually find a lot of people speak to me, especially if I have a knitting or crochet project on the go. Also I think it is because of my “charming” English accent while speaking Swedish. Or maybe I just have that kind of face. Who knows?


Anyway, check out the Ravelry link above and get creative!


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Planes, trains and automobiles, plus a lot of other stuff!

School is out for the summer! Yipppeee!! A plus of life in Sweden is finishing school mid-June, instead of the late-July as I was used to in the UK.  It has been hectic lately – work, life, study – and my knitting and this blog has suffered.  At last, time for an update! I have to study Swedish as a second language to level B/level 2, roughly equivalent to A-Level standard in English terms.  I need to pass this course to convert my teaching qualifications from the UK and to be fully accepted as a teacher within the Swedish education system.  Long story short: it is not easy.

Now that the school hols are here I have at least some time to devote to my creative side, thoug, as ever, the Swedish grammar, reading, essays, etc are piled high to one side, demanding much time and attention.

As soon as I was able I took a short trip northwards to see my folks in Jämtland and my dear Swede joined me (some days after) so we could celebrate midsummer together, a big day in the Swedish calander.  It was this wettest and coldest for midsummer festival for 51 years!  Brrrrr!  Still it gave us the perfect excuse to snuggle up and have a cosy time with my cats (who live with my folks.)  It was also perfect knitting weather and I was greeted by my parents with a lovely present: a denim bag filled to the brim with cotton yarn and a hand-carved wooden owl they bought on their recent holiday in England.

We flew back home yesterday. I took great comfort in the woven seats in the departure lounge at Åre/Östersund airport as I nervously awaited our flight. I am a nervous at the best of times, but getting inside the small, claustrophobic, shaking, noisy propeller plane was not easy.   It takes around 50 mins to fly from Jämtland to Stockholm but close to 6 hours by train.  However, the latter option was a lot less scary and a lot more wooly as I knitted the whole way up!

Today marks the first day of a two-week intensive weaving course – I signed up after my very lovely Swede bought me a book on the subject for my birthday (in Swedish of course.)  He suggested that I should try to learn this craft as it was something I had talked about wanting to try… Well, today was the first step in learning this craft and so far there has been a surprising amount of theory.  Again all my learning is in Swedish so I have the benefit of improving my language skills while feeling slightly less guilty about not spending so much time tied to my study books…

So I am on holiday, but not on holiday 100%.  My assignments and final exams will be over by 1st August and hopefully I will get that all important vital bit of paper with a pass.  In the meanwhile, I am looking forward to learning to weave and to getting in some quality yarn time over the summer.

Happy holidays and happy crafting!



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World Wide Knit in Public UK 2014


Wherever you are in the world, get knitting!
Happy crafting from Sweden.

Originally posted on :

For those who don’t know me, I happily state that I knit everywhere. Public transport mostly but also in conference calls, waiting rooms, school events, conferences, in fact any time where I have a few minutes to spare or need my hands to be busy so that I don’t fidget inappropriately.

So I am happy to say that I fully support the World Wide Knit in Public week which is 14th to 22nd June in the UK. And this is what it’s about…



Astrid Salling 2© Lena Paaske

World Wide Knit in Public Day was started in 2005 by Danielle Landes. It began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each other’s company. Knitting is such a solitary act that it’s easy to knit alone somewhere and sink into your work without thinking about all the other knitters out there. Neighbors could spend all…

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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


BBC News – Bristol transformed into Briswool by knitters


Click the link to read the story:

This is what is happening in my hometown, Bristol – or should I say Bris-wool! Wonderful wool!

Meanwhile, in Stockholm I am still on my way home from work and have a thousand words to write in Swedish, deadline fast approaching…. The subject of the essay is – ironically – on the health benefits of knitting. Sigh.

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in knitting



A birthday in April/Edvina the elephant…

The 27th April marked by 38th year and I had a lovely, sunny, spring weekend.  On the Saturday I played clarinet in my orchestra, the very fine “Postorkestern”, and we played a selection of music from computer games.  It was a surprising mix of exciting, virtuosic music alternating with romantic, lyrical passages.  Who knew playing such games could be so musically fulfilling? Certainly an experience to play these pieces. :)  We played two performances after an afternoon rehearsal, so my musician friends were very happy that I baked and brought along two early birthday Tosca cakes for the interval.  It gave us all a well-needed sugar kick in the break and it is a Swedish classic sponge cake topped with crunchy, sweet almonds.

The Sunday was a birthday where my Swede treated me to a cup of real English breakfast tea in bed, brought in on a tray with a card, a lovely fresh rose and his dolcet tones singing me a “Happy Birthday”, except in Swedish, of course.  He also knows his girl very well and bought two large books on both knitting and weaving in Swedish.  Weaving is something I have long talked about wanting to learn so, with the inspiration from receiving the book, I decided to search online for a course.  I found an intensive two week course during the school summer holidays.  Perfect!  I am waiting to hear back as to whether I am on the course, places are limited to only 8.

This week Edvina the elephant came to life from small knitted bits and bobs sewn together with fabric applique to finish.  My first attempt to make a toy and to try a bit of sewing.  She isn’t perfect, but it is a noble first effort and I have learned a lot along the way.  I found cotton to be a strong, soft material but it is hard to knit as tightly as required to keep the stuffing from showing underneath.  Also I have to probably use more stuffing in general and keep things tighter overall.  I will keep practising my sewing skills, but I was pleased that I cut the fabric to fit, by eye, rather than with a template and overall Edvina is a rather cute elephant!

The designer and creator of many inspirational patterns is Laura Long.  I happened to come across her book in the local library, “Knitted Toy Tales”, which is a collection of hand-made toys presented beautifully with the patterns, guidelines on techniques and some lovely poems and illustrations:

I went to a fabric shop near the Skanstull underground I was passing and found that the lady there was very helpful and gave me lots of advice as a novice at sewing.  Also she had some remnants for sale very cheaply, perfect for the small pieces needed for making toys.  And, when I wanted some fabric on one of the larger rolls, she was happy to cut a very small amount and charge me the minimal amount.  I invested in some rather expensive scissors but it was worth it as they made for sharp, accurate cutting on the small scale required in this project.  I will definitely be popping by again to this shop:

A very nice parcel arrived in the post: an amazing present from my talented friend, Anna!  Anna, who still lives in my hometown of Bristol is a talented artist and we have known each other since we started in the class at school aged five.  Plus both of our mothers are Swedish and are equally good friends.  Anna has captured the characters and colours of my two cats, Tiger and Mina, beautifully in this watercolour.  My cats live up north in Jämtland with my parents so it is great to have a reminder of them here in Stockholm – though of course I miss them terribly!  The other cat pictured is actually a “piggy bank” that I spotted when I happened to pop by a church spring fayre yesterday and of course I had to take her home!

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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in knitting, Uncategorized


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Crochet Creations in Norway



Last summer, my friend Julie was a beautiful model for my newly-made hats that I had designed in cotton based on traditional Granny Squares:

Julie and I first met at Birka Folkhögskola ( where she was studying classical singing whilst I was trying to master folk music on the clarinet.  Now, Julie is at a prestigious music conservatory in her native Norway and recently won a chamber music competition.  Having had the pleasure of hearing Julie sing live, I have no doubt she will be successful in her musical career.  We shared the same hall of residence at Birka and I have happy memories of folk music inspired jam sessions in the evenings, a cappela singing in the kitchen, and many a cups of tea in one of our rooms drooling over Mr Darcy on DVD…

Anyway, Julie has spread the Garnharmoni love across the border from here in Sweden to Norway.  One of her Norwegian friends, Åshild, liked Julie’s crocheted hat in toffee-brown mix with red so much that she ordered a hat too – in red but with free reign to add any other colours I liked. That is a spec I like – lots of creative freedom! I made the hat some time ago so was very happy to have these pictures sent to me this week from another happy customer enjoying her light cotton hat, perfect in the spring season.

Here’s to more spring sunshine and crochet creations!


Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Cosy Crochet Creations, crochet


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