Friday, May 23, 2008

Economies and digressions

Today I discovered the problem with the Italian economy. I mean, besides that they’ve had like 60 different governments since World War II.

A friend asked me to knit her a sweater. I said, “SURE, I’d love to!” Mental note to self…before agreeing to knit a friend a sweater find out what kind of sweater she wants. She came over and looked through all of my 100 Rowan books filled with amazing sweaters and chose this.

Basically a box with cables.

“What color?”


In all the photos I’ve posted of my knitting have you ever seen a solid white sweater? Or ONE cable? Well, it’s knitting so of course I’ll do it and anyway, I digress…I was talking about the economy.

So I go into the yarn shop to get some white cotton yawn, I mean, yarn. This in and of itself was a challenge, not going into a yarn shop, that was easy, but rather finding white cotton. I went to three different stores and found that I had my pick of THREE different yarns (for you non-knitters 3 choices is not many). Isn’t Italy famous for its yarns? Don’t they make the most beautiful yarns in the world and export every where in the world? Well, they must export it all because the choices are minimal, beautiful but minimal.

No, I am not blaming the Italian economic troubles on their producing yarns for foreign companies (although someone should look into this), I was digressing again.

So I’m in the shop, chatting up the shop owner, telling her about the sweater, showing her the pattern – which, of course she can’t read since she only speaks italian.

“What’s the bust size of your friend?”

I tell her.

“How much yarn do you need? What does that book of yours say?” She scoffed a little when she mentioned the pattern, letting me know that she never uses one - which was obvious by the sweater she was wearing. I’m digressing again.

“Well, it says 12 balls but that I’m going to double the yarn and use 5mm needles instead of 3.5mm. So I think I’ll need about 20.”

“You’re doubling the yarn and using 5mm? 20 balls?!!!”

“ You think more?”

“Use 7mm needles or the sweater will be so stiff it could be a table.” How the fuck she would know this is beyond me given she’s never seen one stitch of my knitting …digression, sorry. “And you will only need 10 balls.”

10 balls?! You’ve gotta be freakin kidding me.

“Well, I don’t want to get like three-fourths of the way and run out.” Or HALF way, but I didn’t say it.

No, no, no. You’ll need 10 balls. Trust me.”

Since we’d been having this whole conversation in Italian (of course) maybe something was lost.

“It’s for a FRIEND, not ME. My friend is kind of busty. Remember that bust measurement I told you? And she’s got really long arms. You’ve understood that it’s not for me, right?” As if I could even knit myself a cabled box with 10 balls.

“Yes, I understood. 7mm needles and 10 balls. That’s all you need. I mean, if you WANT you can buy more but you just need 10.”

There you have it. The trouble with the Italian economy: The owner of the shop talked me into buying HALF of what I wanted to buy.

Unrelated to the economic conversation...

If someone knits you a sweater (with cables, a lot of them) and asks for the photo, you better deliver.

Here you go, mom. Thanks again. Do you feel like knitting a white cabled box? I've got the yarn, well, some of it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sorry about that

Dear Laurie,

I’m really sorry that I accidentally threw your Barbie out the car window when we were on I-55 coming back from our vacation in Arkansas in 1974. Despite your conviction that I did it on purpose, I want you to know that she really did just slip out of my hand when I was trying to give her some fresh air. I can’t really explain why I was so careless. Perhaps it was exhaustion from the overwhelmingly enjoyable time we had in Hot Springs.

It was most unfortunate that that damn station wagon behind us ran her over. Mostly I’m sorry that that damn station wagon only dented her one boob. Had she been totaled maybe mom and dad would have gotten you a new one. Sorry about that.

I’m really sorry.

Your loving sister,


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hi. I'm really sorry that I've left that self pitying post up for so long. Whether you felt sorry for me or not the first time you read that, for sure by now you're sick of seeing that whining.

I don't really have anything fun or otherwise to say but I wanted a new post. How about some photos.

1. The next installment in the "look what I found in my house!" series. It's been raining a lot. Poor fella must have outgrown his own house and thought ours looked like a good fit.

Friends, that sucker is HALF A FOOT long.

2. Some cool Italy photos. I'd like to take credit but I can't, David made them. I won't disrupt your viewing pleasure with useless babble. Enjoy.

And lastly, just because this is supposed to be a knitting blog...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Day 18 alone on the side of a mountain....

In which I've been knocked on my ass by a fever and a cold and I just want a bowl of soup.

I'm a grown woman, I've lived alone before, I've survived colds before, I've done a lot of things in my setting up home in a foreign country with no job and very little money...what about making a bit of soup would bring me to tears?

Well, let me tell you.

I heave my fevered self off the couch and make it all the way to the stove where I fill a pan with some left over onion soup. It goes on the burner. Perfect, just a little heating and I will be sipping the ultimate comfort food.

5 minutes later I taste a cold. What the f$^@? No flame. No gas. The freakin' gas tank is empty.

Just a little explanation of cooking system in Casa Cornwell di Maberga. Ya know those gas tanks that can be found in a lot of people's backyards, you know, the one next to the BBQ grill? Yeah, that one, we have one of those in our kitchen, next to the stove. I suppose that is only slightly dangerous, since it clearly states on top of the tank "KEEP OUTSIDE AND AWAY FROM CHILDREN". But I don't want to give you the impression that we are playing with fire (no pun intended, 'specially since technically there would be no fire, just a big explosion), most people we know around here have the same set up.

So, once every4 to 6 months the gas tank runs out and needs to be replaced, sooner if you are drinking a lot coffee. This just so happened to occur the very evening I'm alone and knocked on my ass by a cold and want a bowl of soup.

I seriously consider heaving myself back to the couch and forgetting about the soup but then I realize I can't have any coffee without gas either. So instead of the couch I go to the patio on the side of the house (yes, we keep the non-connected tanks OUTside).

Ever lifted one of those gas tanks? Yeah, me neither. They are HEEEAAAA-VVVVVYYYY. I dragged, rolled and wrestled the beast down the side step, across the front patio, up the step into the house where I wedged a rug under it so I could slide it across the kitchen thus not leaving a big skid mark across the kitchen tile like I did on the cement outside.

Now, old tank gone, new tank in place. I'm so close to some soup.

I cut the yellow plastic cap off, use the wrench-key thingy to get the tube hooked up just like I was told. No problem. Now all I have to do is open the gas. I try the knob. Nothing. I try again. Still nothing. I get close to the thing to make sure I'm doing lefty-loosy, not righty-tighty. Wait, I'm in Italy, maybe it's the opposite... destra-apri, sinistra-chiusi. Nope. The little arrows show me the way. Still nothing. It's just simply screwed on too tight for me. Like a jar of pickles.

This is where the tears came. I went to the couch, sobbed, called David so he could feel sorry for me.

Feeling a little embarrassed at not being able to help myself (and crying about it), I went back to the stove. It opened as easily as a jar of almost empty peanut butter.

I happily ate my soup and even pan-toasted a little bread too...just because I could.

I do have to admit there was a slightly anxiety filled moment just before I pushed the button that sparks the flame...