One of the best experiences from my university years was the semester I spent in Florence, Italy. Firenze. It was a “safe” study abroad experience – there were about 40 of us from the architecture program all there at once, with housing located by the school (apartments), classes all held together in a school space leased by the program, and most of our classes were in English. But we did have an Italian class, taught by local professors and our daily living could easily require us to use a little Italian – buying a bus ticket or a loaf of bread for example. On the other hand, as often as not, the Italians (at least in the big cities) were just as willing to speak English – either to practice or to accomodate Americans with money. I always considered it a bit of an accomplishment when I could get through an entire transaction without either resorting to English or without the Italian vendor switching to English to accommodate me. Italian is a language I like. I don’t find it quite as easy as Spanish (of course, I had 8 years of Spanish in school), but I do love the way the syllables roll off the tongue (once one learns to pronounce the sounds, of course). It has a flow of the sounds, a rhythm, that came to mind as I finished up my stole.
When I started the stole, I hadn’t really intended to design it myself. It was the nature of the yarn that led me to my own design. It has a sheen to it, and the muted blues, greens and purples reminded me of water, or a storm. I decided that I needed a pattern to match. But I couldn’t find anything, so I resorted to Barbara Walker, and found some motifs that seemed appropriately sea like. A flame chevron pattern stands for ocean waves. Ivy becomes sea weed. Waves lap the ends. So, I made my own mare oscuro, my dark sea.
Pattern: My own, composed of motifs from the Barbara Walker stich dictionaries
Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Sea Pearl (merino/tencel) – very nice to work with and lovely sheen.
Needle: 3.5 mm/ U.S. 4
New techniques: Russian join, sewn bind off