Friday, December 29, 2006

Crochet bedspread, etc.

I learnt to crochet in my teens, fascinated by the beautiful things my mother used to make (and still makes) : tablecloths, bedspreads, name it. It's funny how I can often reproduce a crochet stitch without even following a pattern, and have a hard time following some relatively simple knitting patterns. Beats me!
This is the largest thing I have ever made, a cotton bedspread I made a few years back.

It took me years to finish it, about seven, and although I am quite proud of the results I doubt I will ever make anything similer to it, or so elaborated.

Another thing I learnt as a little girl was embroidery. Simple stitches of course, first of all cross stitch but not only that.
I have been meaning to get this framed, but I still haven't found a large enough round circular wooden frame for it. ( Sorry about the poor quality of this photo, it is a very nice piece of work I assure you!)

And now for this stitch, does anyone know what it's called?
I learnt it at a summer course held by nuns in a convent not far from here, and they called it "flame stitch". I find it very effective and beautiful and it reminds me of swedish weave....what do you think?

Well, if anyone has ever come across it please let me know.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Hallo knitting ladies, I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas day.
My family and I enjoyed a quiet but pleasant day with delicious food (cooked by moi, of course), sitting in front of the fireplace mostly as the weather outside was "frightful", as the song says. In other words my knitting basket has been put away but fear not....I have already a few ideas buzzing in my head....all in good time.....
Have I mentioned that I have other passions besides knitting? Well this is one of them..

Those of you accustomed to crocheting surely know what Tunisian crochet is. I brought this particular hook back from Australia last year and have been making these squares mainly in summer, as I find it a bit difficult to knit when the weather is particularly warm. I still haven't decided what they are going to become, maybe a throw....any suggestions?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas to all!

.... The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas bells are ringing...

....and I still have to buy a lot of things, In particular I need some ingredients for the dishes I'm planning to cook. My shopping list is rather long although this is going to be a quiet Christmas for us. The truth is that I would love to have the rest of my family who lives overseas here to enjoy a cold Christmas for a change. They are in Australia and most of them have never experienced it. Who knows...maybe one day.
Back to reality, yesterday was market day at Capo d'Orlando ( a pretty town about 25 minutes drive away from here) but , as I espected, it was sprinkling when I arrived and by the time I parked the car and walked to the actual market grounds it was showering. I decided to take a look around anyway, and 2 minutes later realized it wasn't such a good idea (the sleeves of my coat were soaked by the water from other people's umbrellas).
Since my idea was to get some dpns, a 4.5 circular, a cordless phone and something for Fabio I took a walk through town and managed to get everything including 3 balls of a gorgeous pink wool for me. But that was it, and so now I'm off to the supermarket. I have a feeling the next two days are going to be full!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Deadlines? No. thank you.

I should have known better. Deadlines are not for me. Just a few weeks ago I had planned to finish, by the 20th of this month, four projects I had started some time ago:
1) the Christmas scarf
2) a cap for Fabio
3) the Fir cone shawl
4) a stole I have designed
Ok, I finished the Christmas scarf. And the rest? ....get the idea?
Anyone who has pets will know what I'm talking about. They can complicate your life, drain all the energy from you and freeze any enthusiasm you may have. Believe me , having to wipe dozens of muddy paw-prints from my family's room tiles is no joke.
Then there's the garden. Ours is a large 2000 square meter block of land, and this is what a small part of the garden facing north-east looked like a couple of months ago....

.....but not now. When I go out there I cannot help but look around me in despair as the weeds grow higher and higher and most of the plants are in need of urgent pruning before the cold wind from the north arrives and tears the branches away.
Do I sound like a "desperate housewife" in need of attention and feeling sorry for herself? Oh, you couldn't be more wrong. I will tell you what my problem is. I am a perfectionist. In every possible way. And when I see imperfection around me I tend to ( cowardly) close my eyes or look away. This is it..I'm just plain angry with myself for not having the capability of stopping things from getting out of hand and changing the events in some measure.
But enough of that.
As far as knitting is concerned, well I have actually managed to do some and I'm about to finish another scarf. My other projects will just have to wait till the new year.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Christmas Scarf

I have designed this scarf thinking of a last minute simple but pretty gift which can be made quickly and with very little effort.

You can use any type of wool, so gauge is not important.
Smocking stitch:- it's worked on a multiple of 8 stitches +2
Set-up Row (RS): *p2,k2* to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 1 & 3 (WS) : *k2,p2* to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 2 (RS) : *p2,k2* to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 4 (RS) : p2, * insert right needle, from front to back, between 6th and 7th sts on left needle, wrap working yarn around right needle and pull loop through to front of work, place loop on on left needle, k loop together with next st on left needle, k1,p2,k2,p2* to end.
Row 5 & 7 (WS) : *k2,p2* to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 6 (RS) : *p2,k2* to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 8 (RS) : p2,k2,p2, *insert right needle , from front to back, between 6th and 7th sts on left needle, wrap working yarn around right needle and pull loop through to front of work, place loop on left needle, k loop together with next st on left needle, k1,p2,k2,p2* to last 4 sts, k2,p2.
Repeat Rows 1 to 8 , finish repeating Rows 1,2 and 3. Cast off.

Cut yarn into 25cms (10 inchs) strands. Fold two strands in half and use a crochet hook to pull the fold trough one stitch in the scarf edge. Pull through just enough so that the fold forms a loop, and with the crochet hook pull the strands, from back to front, through the loop made previously, pull to tighten.
If you like you can sew a bead between the strands of the fringe.
Carefully trim fringe diagonally to create an asimmetric finish.
Repeat on other side.

Auguri mamma!

I'ts my mothers birthday today.
How old is she? Oh, you can't tell a lady's age!!
She lives in Australia with the rest of my family. I called her this morning to wish her a happy birthday of course. It was great to hear her voice, but I really wished I had been there with her and my dad. This photo was taken during my last trip to Australia in 2005

Tanti auguri mamma!!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

The cactus and the ufo

What do a cactus and a ufo have in common?
Except that a lot of my attention was focalized on both for most of last summer.
Let me tell you about that cactus. I am very proud of it. It was a lovely gift that my dad gave me seven and a half years ago, when we moved into our new house.
Exotic plants are terribly expensive here, and this particular one was definately expensive. Since then I have been doing all I can to make sure it survived and not only it did grew! Yes, we have repotted it twice already with the enormous efforts of the whole family and it is no joke, believe me! My biggest hope was to see it flower so I did a little research but with great disappointment I read that an echinocactus (that is the botanic name) will not flower until it reaches the age of seventy.
Can you imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I realized that those strange lumps growing on top of my favourite cactus were FLOWERS??
I had no idea it was so old...
Now for the ufo.
I can hardly bear to look at's the Fir cone shawl I started at the beginning of last summer and that for some misterious reason I dropped into my knitting basket never to be picked up again. I have asked myself so many times what possessed me to start it in the first place...don't get me wrong...I like that shawl and I can't believe I gave it up at only 30 rows to the end. I mean THIRTY ROWS. If I had had the patience of knitting one row every six days it would have been finished by now.
I feel so stupid and frustrated. Now I have two choices, I can just rip it and use that pretty pink wool for some other project (have plenty of ideas)...or take courage and MAKE myself knit those last 30 rows.
I need a little more time to make up my mind.