Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Snotty Valentine

The Irishman gets major brownie points for being all sorts of romantic on Valentines Day. There were long stem roses, a new knitting book and wonderful dinner arrangements, but I was too busy wiping my nose and feeling sorry for myself to get off the couch and get dressed.
Dinner was postponed and substituted with an authentic Irish hot whiskey with lemon, cloves and honey.

The book is absolutely gorgeous and the technique is fantastic. I'm even itching to start a couple of the projects (since my Tamarah wrap is sulking in the corner - not sure that's going to work in her favor. I'm still working out the kinks in my relationship with mohair).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And....the Yarn!

That's what you're all here for, isn't it? You little woolly vultures, you! First, I will torture you with more pictures from the trip. But it's okay, they're really interesting.....

Like a Portrait of an Irishman standing at the top of the Arena in Verona.
I like this one better, when he's giving me the Come Hither, hehe. An artsy fartsy shot of our hosts. Really, I didn't do this on purpose, it turns out my cell phone cam has some artistic talent of its own.
And one final Portrait of an Irishman on a Bridge in Verona.
Next an update on plumbing advancements in Italy. I'm sure everyone has heard of hole-in-the-floor toilets in Italy. A tourist's nightmare from decades past. You will be glad to know that I found normal toilets nearly everywhere I went. All restaurants, even gas stations and tourist attractions. When we scaled the mountain on Saturday for a 7 course dinner (can you imagine a first and second pasta course?) at a little hut on the peak, I expected the worse. I was a tad wary after I collected the key and wandered outside, down the hill to do my business in an outside dug-into-the-mountain loo. But low and behold, they were newly renovated, squeaky clean and had shiny new porcelain. Take a look at the shiny new porcelain and the integrated foot holds on Italy's new hole-in-the-floor toilets. I laughed so hard, I nearly peed my pants - good thing I was close to a hole in the floor. :)
Now that this post has gotten to photo heavy, I've got to push the yarn into another entry. God, I've turned a little appetizer into a sl*ty yarn-tease.

Seriously...the Yarn!

The town we visited, Rovereto, doesn't so much have yarn shops as Haberdasheries. A general handy-work shop, heavy with fabric, buttons, stitching arts like cross-stitch and that stuff they do with silk thread that looks so cool on pillows and wall hangings. The first yarn we found in a fabric shop. There was a small bookcase with wool and alpaca-wool skeins. Believe it or not, the 100% wool was softer than the alpaca mixes. I was delighted and bought some skeins for a hat, possibly baby jacket.

The next shop we found was button-heavy and had a lot of mohair (by a lot I mean 3 different kinds) and one color-way from Regia. And the counter top had a huge basket of mixed colorways of this stuff. 100% wool, 200g skeins for 8Euro, super soft and screaming to come home with me. Who could say no? I think it wants to be a fiery, sassy sweater with a big, comfy (and totally squashy) turtle-neck.

The last store, we saw on our way to dinner one night and I pretended to go for a healthy little walk the next afternoon so I could check it out. First task was wading through the store's other wares (gorgeous leather purses, handbags and fabulous little hats and scarves, poor me!) to find fthe largest wool stash in Rovereto. Seriously, he must have had like 2 whole bookcases of yarn!
First, the sock yarn, I had seen the evening before and immediately grabbed a couple for the obligatory stash enhancement (50% wool, 50% meraklon(??) 100g and 300meters - am thinking boot socks) :

The next caught my eye and wouldn't let me go. I think it's the first lace-weight I've seen in my life (that wasn't mohair). It is possibly the softest, squishiest, most delicate wool I've ever seen. 1500 meters, baby (and for some random, reason, matching lace-weight mohair)! That means I should be knitting something lacey with it, no?
But I'm not exactly laden down with lace experience or books. This is where you, my dear friends, collective experience, knowledge and wisdom of many, come in.

If you were to recommend only one lace book to someone going for a 2 year stint on the International Space Station, which would you recommend???

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bella Italia!

This is the time in Sprockets : where we gloat about our recent weekend in Italy, gorgeous Italian yarn and contemplate moving house to the Italian Alps!

The Irishman's bestest college bud moved to the Italian Alps last fall with his sweetheart. We've been trying to get down to visit ever since but stupid vacations and holidays (like Christmas) kept getting in the way. This past weekend, we finally made it. First, we picked up Niamh, the Irishman's bestest high school buddy, at Munich airport and high-tailed it down the German, Austrian and finally Italian highways to Rovereto. It was a long drive and we were dog-tired when we arrived Thursday night, but the view on Friday morning made up for any exhaustion we were feeling. Here are the 3 views from their balcony.

Friday we went walking/shopping through the older district of Rovereto. I found great yarn, but no yarn shops (explanation to follow). This is the gang sucking down red wine, eagerly awaiting arrival of our pizzas.

Saturday, we visited Lake Garda. It was in the high 50's, so we had a long stroll through the town, sat on a terrace with a lake view and ate ice cream.

Then we drove up the side of a mountain, ate lunch in a hut at the top, celebrating our perilous ascent. I thought I had gotten used to narrow roads, living in Germany and all, but the roads on our mountain drive were eeensy weeeeensy, partially paved, all next to plunging cliffs and, at one point, blocked by tractors. Niamh and I were sitting in the back and spent most of the ride either looking up (rather than down) or covering our eyes and giggling to hide our fear.

Tomorrow: Verona and Yarn!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Just got back from Italy - ate loads of food, drank loads of wine and bought loads of yarn.

Will type soon!!