A mostly needed gentle hug

How to put it gently and not sound creepy? I don’t know, but the fact is that Gromit, our first family dog, an old one, rescued from a family (human) who suffered a murder attempt, slipped from sleep to wherever mighty dogs run in the afterlife.

No need to add that it was hard, very hard to accept. We somehow believe he will live forever. Despite his age, his fur turned white, his fading appetite. We knew,of course we knew, but we still won’t believe it possible.

Life is not what we like it to be, it simply is, and so Gromit is not here anymore. We should be happy, rejoice even, because he simply never woke after his sleep.

Gromit is to be remembered as the dog who had a name before he was even born. In our family we had two TV programmes fit for the kids: the first was Pingu, the second Wallace and Gromit.  Pingu had no intelligible language – this is not true, of course, the underline was very subtle – Wallace and Gromit gave the kids the first taste of english.

Like all kids our two had a mad desire for a pet. A dog! We then lived in a  small flat, a brisk change of town and school to help our son cope with his allergies. No way to keep a dog in there. Then, for the allergy reason, we moved to the country and there was no denying them the dog. The name had been settled for years: Gromit. The dog who is wiser and brighter than his owner. And off I went, searching for him.

I was a cat woman, never had a dog, no experience at all, more: I was afraid of them! But a mother is a war machine when needed and so off I went, with two things in mind: a) the dog must not smell when wet (I cannot stand the stench), b) it must be a “rescued” dog. Italian law did not allow me and my partner – me and him married after 25 years of partnership because there was no law to secure our underage kids, thank you so much – to adopt a child, we will at least adopt a pet.

I visited and cuddle a selection of puddles advertised by the local newspaper, then I end up in a small home where they gave away two tiny dogs, a male and a female. I fell in love with Gromit-to-be at first sight, and when we drove to bring him home my husband asked me: are you sure the dog lives here? Here where?  We are both journalist, you must understand this. And he covered a criminal story in that very place. A relative came to the house, shoot with a gun at the house, missed the young granddaughter  of the owner, killed a dog instead, and run away across the border. In our places it is possible to run to another country, happy we… Headlines for weeks, but i did not realize it when I first visited. My husband, who had to cover the story, was shocked. But Gromit came home with us, for good.

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And so the story goes till February the 9th, when Gromit – as said – drifted away as peacefully as we all hope to. To put it right, there will be no other Gromit in our household. When our retired greyhound was put to sleep due to an aggressive cancer, we adopt another poor soul, but this time we decided not.

Gromit gone, end of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A serial knitter cooking book

Let us talk about time. Last week I somehow edited my first knitting pattern ever. I am ashamed to tell you how I struggled to put the “creature” together, so overwhelmed by the alien technology I am supposed to master living in  A.D. 2017, using smartphones to interact with the wide world. The truth is that I am far from any 2.0 or 3.0 human entity.  When I started school, in 1966, I learned to write using an ink pen (read any reference you will find: historical writing instrument!). Then I entered the journalist profession, again in historical times…. my writing had to be prepared for the tin printing machine. This being enough said.

Anyway. The pattern is out for you to grab (it is free) and knit. Tin(y) gloves on Ravelry


As said, working on patterns is devouring my time, so my cooking suffers a bit. That’s why I am so in love with roasted veggies. Today will be parsnip-potato-peperoni roast with poached eggs. With a precious hour left for me to knit my next project, a destashing, mostly garter sts wrap with a twisted border and a special closing.


Buon appetito!

Gloves

It is about time to make dreams come true. Better said, to make dreams become written patterns for  other people to read and – possibly – knit. But what if the pattern you fancy does not mean anything to the so-called Wool tribe? (credit for the Wool tribe to be given to Mica and Jo the ladies behind EYF aka Edinburgh Yarn Festival) image

So here is my entry for the blackerpodkal, gloves in their glorious Cornish Tin blend, right from the stash. For me this yarn is unbeatable for gloves and mittens, but this is just me and my cold fingertips speaking. What really does bother me is if the cuff on the right, with its Estonian braid will be worth the (knitting) effort and beat the cuff on the left with its plain knit and purl pas de deux.

Any member of the Wool tribe is kindly asked to express a preference. it will be much appreciated by my poor me.

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I also have another issue… the finishing of the fingers. Shall I opt for the pointed version or go softly with round decreases?

No doubts about the thumb though. I’ll use the one with central increases, because you don’t have to think about right and left hand when in a hurry. You just must remember this when knitting in different patterns, because it could happen (I can tell you from personal experience) that you will mess the patterns and end up with gloves extravaganza.

Need an example?

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I can tell I was playing with them a lot…. the final pattern will have longer cuffs, a more agile thumb and an open grid on the inner part of the glove. In case you are interested, the pattern is a traditional one, used for cross stitching  in Austria, a textile museum’s find. I used to sketch down patterns seen visiting museums, now I can use the smart phone – when permitted – but still have my sketch books at  hand.

While waiting for some comments, I’ll go on cooking in my tiny kitchen with a view on an equally small garden where Spring was announced by the first blackbird.  image

On the wall a framed illustration by a dear friend Romeo Toffanetti

Turning pages

      Let us talk about Nadia. She is the bright lady behind Terra di Ciona. She used to work with pencils and colors, now she is growing organic food, baking delicious bread and superb croissants. So delicious that I put them on my precious antique embroidery to show off.


      Her was also the most sweety peaches I’ve ever had the fortune to turn into jam, cheese,  preserves and a cakes. She also delivers her goodies right to your front door, once a week. Quite a girl, I must say.

      Of course there is some knitting to talk about, too. The Tin(y) gloves are on their way. Will knit the fingers, then try the other glove omitting the yarn over braid and placing some good purl rows instead, just to see how it works out. So far I like both the texture and the colour match, even if I am not a purple kind of girl…. as I once told the owner of Kathy’s knits yarn shop in Edinburgh. I was honest, true, planning my future knitting,  but she had her tresses dyed in a fierce purple-pink shade, so I ended up like an idiot. 


      Gloves will be very welcome in the next few days. Freezing cold again. And windy. Knitting time bonanza.

      Knitting is easy, writing a pattern is not

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      From the very first day I was not with my mind at my desk at work, for historical record 1/1/2017, I started making patterns. Really. I let myself slip into my bed after a soothing afternoon watching Netflix or BBC – I am into Orkney being the omphalos of the civilisation on the Island and I love it – and then I wake up at around 3 AM whit a pattern written and knitted in my mind, The time I understand I’am in bed, the pattern is gone and so the knitting. Not so brilliant, but far better than waking up paniking about   missing news and even unfinished Uni. I was deeply into this for year. Now I am out, thank you so much.

      Anyway, after dreaming it I try to make something of my nocturnal visions. Somehow if you knit you put things together. All I’ve learned in those years knitting patterns written by talented designers stays with me. And then it bursts into something nice or totally wrong, but it grows. I did not invent nupps or twisted stitches or yarn over braids, but they sure can be used in zillions of ways. Like the bean leaf chart… Ubalehekiri as written in Folk knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush – one of my first knitting book ever purchased. Have you noticed how many patterns are coming out right now with this almost forgotten design?  What I try to say is that it is amazing how you can use in a creative way something that already exists. As for what I am plotting right now, I’ll give credit to some amazing people I met in the last couple of years. They opened my eyes and they are written in golden capital letters in my heart.

      Now a bit of politics, if you don’t mind.

      As I have been working in a national media company for half of my adult life, I know what being politically correct means and I will not break the golden rule now. But I feel I have to make a statement: I am Slovene, but I will not take Melania under my umbrella. I am a woman and still will let her stay under the rain. Sorry Mel, it has nothing to do with your marriage, I just did not  digest your decision of changing your family name in Knauss because Austria was more fashionable than Slovenia…. You must understand me, dear soul, I was a Slovenian girl born in Italy when local fascists used to abused us after school. Violently, you know this or you had never heard about us ? (read ass if you please, it really does no difference, our ethnical minority is not doing well right now) . I have a Slovenian family name and I make other people pronounce it right. They do, you know?

      Well. This had to be said, possibly singing “democracy is coming to the USA” by my beloved and sadly departed Leonard Cohen.

      With all my love. Kisskisskiss in purple.

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      KnitTINg plans and other ThINgs

      Going big today: from my tiny laptop corner – whatever it could mean in my quite small house (being posh I’ll call it cosy) – I moved to the big PC in my son’s room.

      Pros: it is huge, has a widescreen on the wall, when typing the key buttons get flashed with a fainting purple light, if used in the right way the entire hub will cook dinner and wash the dishes, I am pretty sure of this!

      Cons: the screen is too far away for my lenses: I look like a mole trying to read the writing – literally – on the wall. I already feel a little dizzy  …  but I am cool! Gosh I am, with the purple disco light running under my fingertips.

      Since today we are the 19th, I was bound to cast on for the blackerpodkal on  Ravelry  and I did. Using Cornish Tin yarn from the stash I am knitting and writing a pattern for a pair of gloves. I had other plans, a cardi, but  I came to my senses in time and decided to play safe. Gloves could be useful in March….

      image         At this point of my blogging  I am just staring at this wide-screen and the dogs, all the three of them, are staring at me and at my performance (moving my neck like a crane, that is). They are good enough not to comment, just watching the purple light coming out from the black board on the desktop. Mah!

      Before I go mad, just a hint for one of your emergency suppers/dinners, those with tins involved – tin is the topic today, right?

      You start with plain boiled potatoes, organic whenever possible, slightly cooled and smashed with your fist. This is very important, it helps you release stress. You bet it was one of my favourite cooking technique apart from squeezing raw cabbage or coleslaw with my bare hands.

      image    You season the mess with turmeric, mustard, black pepper, flacks of sea salt (any will be good) and a good splash of olive oil. Adding some rosemary will do, garlic is optional and it will not do if you plan to go to the theatre after dinner. Put the roasting tin (again) in a really hot oven and let it roast for 20 min to half an hour, turning the potatoes at least once.

      Here they are, all dressed up, ready for the hob

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      Then it comes the tough part: serve Simmenthal meat (from the tin) in a way no one can spot it at first glance. To my excuse I can tell that I had those tins left from the last time our son was at home alone…. but, anyway, it is not bad at all. You put the meat on the serving plate and top it with the salsa you’ve prepared blitzing together two TBS of mayonnaise (not as professional as  Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time , but quasi),  capers to taste, 3 or 4 cornichons and another splash of olive oil. NB. Olive oil goes always in splashes, not spoons. In any case, do not use the same ratio that Nigella uses when adding wine to her dishes, half a bottle at the time, as I’ve noticed watching her on TV. Too much, you’ll be broken in no time, just a splash. And here you are, your hidden meal is ready. Best served to people really involved in a soccer match on the tv. No one will ask, just have enough potatoes if they ask for more.

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      Making plans (and order)

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      This is my book of yarns, wide open. It is time for me to buy another copybook, since there is no place left for my labels and yarn samples. Of course there is the stash section at Ravelry, but I am far to lazy to enter the data and all. Nor am I a very organized person. But in the mess you can see above, well…. there is a story. My knitting story. Some of those yarns are gone forever, the production closed, some were given to me by people I love, some were my big buying mistakes, some are my favorite. A whole copybook with more than 10 years of yarn purchases from around the world.

      Bit nostalgic, I can see it by myself. Boring, even. But the weather …. with “bora” today howling at 150 km/h really does not help. What you can do in stormy weather is making plans, for spring knitting if not for the #blackerpodcal. By the way, I love Louise Scollay and her groovy way to attract her listeners even when she is slapping them on the hands with an invisible stick. Because they deserve it. They try to do dirty businesses with honest knitters, they even dislike Louisa’s vocabulary. What the hell! She is right, would she use the word s*** when needed, who are you to dispute?  I really love her and I hope she will not mind if I’l try to embrace her in Edinburgh in March. I count on the fact that she will be busy with her podcast and will not slap me away. Or worse. Sure enough I will not waste my time chasing  Jared/the/cable/gloves when munching a sandwich or asking Justina questions (under 60 sec) in Polish. A colleague and friend Malgorzata gave me some useful hints, years ago… so maybe I am not telling jokes.

      But EYF is still far away. And in case any one of you know Louise in person, please tell her I am Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc in one. That is it. I firmly believe that a good lough is a highly consumable Galenic substitute. It does wonders when you are dealing with craps.