Tag Archives: Ganymede

Flukra flukra


I was all prepared to say it was funny to blog about a shawl named after snow (in Shetland, “flukra” means “snow falling in large flakes,” according to Gudrun Johnston) when the weather has finally turned to spring here. The last few days have been amazing: sunny and warm enough to ditch my parka in favour of my wool pea coat (that is, finally peaking about 0C/32F). But then this morning I looked out the window and it’s snowing again. The weather channel says it’s -2C, going down to -15C over night. So yeah, winter is still here. But, I have a cozy and lovely shawl named for the season, so I really can’t complain. (Plus, it’s Canada, so who were we kidding? There’s always snow in March.)


Flukra is amazing. I’ve worn it nearly everyday since I finished it and I am not even close to tired of it yet. There are a lot of reasons I love this shawl, but certainly one of them is the size. It blocked out to 63 inches wide and 23 inches deep, which may be just about the perfect size. I tend to wear shawls kerchief-style, and I like it when I can drape a shawl around my neck and know it isn’t going to need constant adjusting to both stay on and look nice. Flukra is perfect n both counts, though I don’t yet have any photos of my wearing it, so you’ll have to just take my word for it.

Everyone who knits one of Gudrun’s patterns always raves about it and I can absolutely see why. Her instructions are clear but not overwrought. I find some patterns include so much detail you get lost in it, but these directions were to the point, with a couple of helpful hints and photos included with the charts. I will absolutely have another of her shawls on my needles soon (maybe this one? knit in this?) . Flukra used the new-to-me, but traditional Shetland construction for the body, which is worked bottom to top, beginning with a single stitch. This means the garter stitch ribs of the middle portion are horizontal, which leads to a beautiful (and so, so soft) cowling affect when you wear the shawl (you know how you have to sort of fold down the top part of a triangular shawl to wear it around your neck? This way it sort of folds in on itself. This drapey quality makes the shawl excellent to wear, but tricky to photograph.)


The yarn I used is also new to me and it is heavenly. I find I’m often drawn to one yarn or another because of the colours, rather than the fibre content, but this yarn (Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Luxe) is probably the first really luxurious yarn I’ve ever knit with, and it’s making me want more. The cashmere bloomed every so slightly when I blocked the shawl, and the silk gives the colours a very subtle shine, which combined with the structure of the merino is a pretty delicious combination. When I was originally thinking about knitting Flukra, this wasn’t the kind of colour I had in mind, but now I’m so glad I went this route. This colourway somehow manages to go with everything.

Pattern: Flukra by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Luxe in Mystery
Needles: 4.5mm
Notes: Like many others, I chose to knit a garter border instead of the lace edging, which worked well with the heavier yarn (the pattern is written for laceweight). I continued the increases in the edging, but used kfb instead of yarn-overs. And that’s pretty much it. I increased the body to the specified size and did everything else as written. Ravelled here.

L thinks it's very funny to "dress" Ganymede in shawls/scarves and see what she does. I was laughing so hard at the put-upon expression she was making I couldn't hold the camera steady, but doesn't she look cozy?

L thinks it’s very funny to “dress” Ganymede in shawls/scarves and see what she does. I was laughing so hard at the put-upon expression she was making I couldn’t hold the camera steady, but doesn’t she look cozy?

Ps. Cassy and I are starting our New Girl KAL on Friday! Want to join us?

Adventures in Winding


I own neither a swift nor a ball winder. I’m not (yet) a prolific knitter, so this hasn’t been a huge issue for me so far. Mostly I buy my yarn at shops where they will wind the wool for you, which is an incredibly generous service for a small and often bustling shop to offer. For a couple of bigger projects, though, I bought my wool at a larger shop, and they do not offer a winding service.

For comparison’s sake, a proper swift and ball winder set-up, as demonstrated by the nice people at Gaspereau Fiber Arts.

I thought of all those “hold my skein” jokes and then wondered how long it would take me to wind, say, the 1200 yards of fingering weight yarn I needed for my sweater. Or, indeed, the three skeins of Cascade 220 I need for my most recent endeavour. I did a little mental math, decided that I value my relationship too much to put L through that much skein holding and decided to figure out another way. My solution: an office chair. It isn’t quite ideal, but it does spin and hold a skein nicely, and I can wheel it over to where I want to sit while winding the wool by hand.

This system has been working quite well, and then one day Ganymede walked into the room while I was happily winding away (and watching the Season 2 finale of Fringe because, Pacey Witter!, and also, winding wool is not very exciting). Naturally, if you’re a little cat and there is wool moving around, you want in on it.

Oh my gosh. Best day ever!

Do you think, if I tried, I could eat it all at once?

Listen, it would help if you stopped pulling it away from me.

I fought her off as best I could, but man, she is so cute that even when she’s bad it’s hard to really be mad. At least she didn’t chase the balls the couple of times that I dropped them, right?

In the end, her interference didn’t cost me too much time or pain (her claws are quite sharp), and I went from this

Cascade 220 Heathers in colourway 4008.

to this

in not too much time at all. If I start needing to wind more yarn than this per project, though, I might just have to invest in a proper system. Ganymede’s reaction alone would be worth it.

Cat walking


I have been a very bad blogger this week, but I blame that mostly on the fact that my knitting looks more or less that same as it did last week, we’ve been eating out, and Ganymede has taken up a lot of time. Basically, I’m having a cat dilemma, and it goes like this: should we take our indoor cat on walks? I know that to the untrained eye this sounds silly, but seriously, the weather has been pretty nice in Toronto lately and Ganymede spends a lot of her time in the windows. We also took her out a few times in the fall, but then L left her leash in a friend’s car and we didn’t get it back until last week, when I made the (potential) mistake of taking her on an unsolicited walk. It was a nice day, I didn’t have to work, and she seemed happy. When L got home he was disappointed to have missed it, so we took her out again. She loved it.

The next day, though, the meowing started. Ganymede mostly make throaty purr-meow sorts of noises, so a full-on meow was unusual in and of itself. That it lasted for several hours and turned into a plaintive, miserable meowal was more than I could take, so out we went again. That was Thursday. On Friday, L was holding the door open for a friend and Ganymede got bold; she ran out the door. Just like that. Out the door and into the hallway and up the stairs (we live in an apartment, albeit one in a small building, so our front door doesn’t lead directly to freedom, which is ironically a contributing factor to why she isn’t an outdoor cat to begin with, but I digress). He got her back in without too much trouble. On Saturday, the meowling was again too much for me to handle, so out we went. Sunday was miserable, so there was no way we were walking. On Monday I took her out for a half hour and it looked like this:

Ooh. A tree.

Wait, you're holding the leash too tightly for me to climb this. What the heck?

To get back at you, I will roll on the ground, getting as dirty as possible before you inevitably drag me back inside.

That walk was excellent. Lets do it again after my nap.

We got back in and she immediately started crying and scratching at the door. Since then, we haven’t taken her out once (we’ve both been busier and less at home than usual) and, against all odds, her crying has more or less gone away. I attribute at least some of this to the fact that I’ve been giving her a lot of extra playtime and cuddling. Maybe the meows were attention seeking? Anyway, we’re now wondering if taking her out is a cruel tease, and it’s easier for her to deal with being an indoor cat if she remains indoors. Still, as people who both grew up with outdoor cats, it’s tough.

Have you had to deal with this? What did you do? She looks really cute in her collar and leash and seems happy outside, but the indoor meowing is killing my nerves, and selfishly, it’s easier not to deal with it at all. Am I terrible?

Swatches, Socks, and Skeins – oh my!


I’m sure there will be many a multi-barreled Friday post in my future, and I suppose that makes great sense since Friday is the day you sort out the week so you don’t have to carry it into the weekend. I mean, it’s not just me who does that, right?

First up, my first lace work. About a month ago I decided to focus on socks for a little while because they are both practical and a great way (in my mind) to learn some new skills that I can apply to larger projects in the future. So, L and I went all over the city looking for The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes, which had been recommended. Sadly, I couldn’t find it; however, I did pick up Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd, and it has been excellent. Since finishing my mum’s socks, I have been knitting Almondine (rav link) and I am quite pleased with how they’re turning out.

Almondine socks in progress.

Almondine socks in progress.

I’m just finishing up the foot of the first sock (they’re knit top-down, clearly) and once I’ve got it all finished I’ll write about what I’ve learned/what little pattern changes I’ve made, etc. I will say, though, that for someone new to lace but not to socks, this is a very satisfying knit: the pattern is clear and has enough repetition to become natural without becoming boring, and seeing the lovely little almond shapes come together is never-ending excitement. It was also great trip knitting (I started it in the airport lounge last week).

Sock knitting is not quite all-consuming, though, so I’ve been puttering around and doing other things as well. First, I’ve been trying to clean up my stash a little bit. For a relatively new knitting, I have certainly accumulated a lot of wool, and I’m not complaining, but with a yarn-happy cat around, I do need to keep things somewhat orderly.

Ganymede loves to chase knitting.

Ganymede loves to chase knitting.

So, I took an hour or so this week (while watching some silly TV) to wind up some of my ends. I like to knit from the middle out – as opposed to from the outside in – which means that if I don’t entirely finish a cake, it ends up flat and floppy and libel to get very tangled indeed. The solution (for me) is little balls, and now that I’ve gotten the hang of making them even, I quite like them.

From left to right, these are two colourways of Abuelita Mysterious Blend Bulky ( 95% merino-corridale, 5% silk – so soft and gorgeous to knit with), used to knit L a hat, and my leftover Tanis Fiber Arts DK weight 100% Merino. What will I do with this ends? I’m not sure yet, but at least when I get to them they will be easy to knit with.

Finally, I realized I have never done anything with the wool I bought in Switzerland in December. I picked it up from a market stall in Bern and, because I don’t speak German and the man selling it didn’t really speak much English or French, all I can say is that it s indeed Swiss wool, but what breed of sheep it comes from and where it was spun remains a mystery.

Swiss skeins

Swiss skeins

One skein is a sort of grey-green and the other is a grey-blue (which you can’t tell in this photo), and they’re both quite wooly and finely spun, which is nice.

The market gentleman was only equipped to sell skeins, which means it still needs to be wound somehow. I’d like to know just how much I have, but ho-hum, I suppose I can add that to its mysterious characteristics. But oh, what to do with them?

Also! I completely forgot, but you remember that nice Maritime wool I bought when I was at home? Well I’ve been swatching it (ostensibly for mittens) and I must say, it is even lovelier to knit with than I first imagined. There’s just enough lanolin to make it soft and almost buttery in your hands, but not so much that it smells or sticks. It also has just the hint of a hallow and although I haven’t quite settled on what I’m going to do with it yet, I am getting very excited to do something with it.

Here’s my swatch (knit on 3.75 mm dpn, which gave me 7 stitches and 9 rows to an inch), including a little section of colourwork, just to see how it went.

Maritime swatch