Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Scipio Africanus

Moving to the States has been a learning process, a daily: "Oh really, they do it like this here????"
Moving back to Italy is a: "Why do they copy what's done in the States?"

Summers in Italy are long and hot, I might not enjoy it but it is what it is. The media used to tell you what to expect and pass to the next news. Now the weather has become a big deal, they give us millions of details we could avoid to know... The reason I'm writing about it is because now they give a name to the heat wave, like they do in the States for the hurricanes. Are you kidding me? Last week we had Scipione l'Africano. Africa for Italians evokes the brutal heat, the desert and the lack of rain. So when the Italians meet at the main bar in a Piazza, just saying: "How do you handle the African?" they explain all the phatos and the suffering. The American meteorologist just follow the alphabetic order!!! 

How did I handle l'Africano??? I spent a day by a pool, a day on the beach and a day up in the mountain. All the above with my secret summer knitting project of course. It's a blanket, knitted with short rows and in cotton. It's taking way longer I had expected. L'Africano is making my life very hot and sweaty but I have a deadline I can't put the needles down! Air conditioning is not an option, Italians love to suffer. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's too hot I can't knit here...

Yesterday was the first day of a week of very hot temperatures. It's finally summer. Yes I do dislike long winters but I'm not use when it's so hot. After thinking over and over I escaped to the mountains which are just 40 minutes by car from my place. I brought with me my "secret knitting project", it's not a new design but a gift for a friend who read this blog and my camera. Here some pics of my adventure:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer is for knitting

When I was living in upstate NY, where the cold season is pretty long, my yarn of choice was mostly wool: merino, cashmere, camel, alpaca (my Achilles heel) and whatever I could lay my hands on. Where I live now the weather is mild, it's not like Florida but still... How can I keep knitting millions of shawls and wearing them? You are thinking, what is she talking about? She could use cotton. Yes I could but for some reasons it not my cup of tea. The web is my muse. There are so many options. I couldn't believe it. Digging out from my stash was a revelation too.  In April I switched to silk, I knitted two stoles using this amazing fiber that is like butter. Next was hemp which was the inspiration to a new shawl design. Let me tell you, hemp was a truly new experience. I wanted a very light shawl so I knitted it using a loose gauge, this helped the knitting process easing the stiffness of the fiber. I'd been told to keep the faith because the hemp would soften up once I had done one cycle in the washing machine. My shawl in the washing machine???? Yes I did wash it with jeans and I was staring at the washer window (I have a front load) during the spinning cycle, frightened for my "delicate" lace shawl. I took it out and blocked it. It didn't shrink, it didn't grow dramatically, no holes. I was like a child amazed with the world of magic. The new design is testing at the moment. Stay tuned...

The other fiber I had the pleasure to work is linen. Thank to a new knitter friend I machine knitted a scarf  with some linen gifted to me back on February. I purchased from a destash some bamboo which is lost in some warehouse, I pray everyday for it!!!!! Last but not least thank to knitaly, I entered a swap. I, now, have a blend of fibers: soybean, silk and wool. Sweater quantity.

In May I had the pleasure to get together with an old friend of mine. We visited the Rose Garden in Rome and Villa Torlonia. Two must see places if you are visiting Rome.

Villa Torlonia was the residence of Mussolini during his dictatorship. When the ally freed us, the Villa was abandoned and vandalized. It was recently restored. We spend the day, touring the house and the museums, having a drink at the outdoor coffe' shop and lounging on the grass under the lovely roman sun... Next time I'm going to have a picnic!