Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pictures? What Pictures?

Once upon a time, before PowerPoint presentations and brainsticks, Ben went to a big scientific conference, made her selection of presentations she wanted to listen to, and stepped into a dark amphitheater room.
There, standing by a slide projector, stood a regular type scientist guy (you know, beard, round glasses, shabby clothes, sandals and socks). He waited patiently until everybody was seated before starting with the following opening:
‘In my trip to come here, I foolishly checked in my bag containing the slides and the bag was lost.’ The audience gasped and murmurs of commiseration were heard.
‘However, I have decided to proceed with my presentation anyway, and you will just have to imagine the slides’. Without any further ado, he went on to give one of the most spirited presentations Ben had ever seen, pointing to specific points on a blindingly white screen and saying with a totally straight face things like: ‘As you can see on this graph, the blue bars are consistently higher than the red ones’. And so on and so forth.
Ben was awed and forever wished she had the guts of pulling something like that off. The applause at the end could not have been more sincere!

Why am I relating this story? Because, although my long vacation in Italy and Ireland, spent on fabulous beaches and lovely country side, I have no pictures to show you. Not because I have lost my camera, no, just because I thought my mother’s computer (not the best behaved machine I have come across) was eating the photos off the camera, and so stopped taking them. Very lame, but totally true. Only when I got back I realized the first few photos I had taken were actually still there. DUH!

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First Italian photo: fresh delicious ripe apricots for breakfast, picked early in the morning and delivered to my mother’s house just for our arrival.

Anyway, forget about all the unpictured amenities, what about the knitting?

Well, imagine the Half-Pie Shawl in Weekend Knitting. Imagine a fluffy mohair boucle’ blend, DK weight, in a vivid red with variegation of all possible colors thrown in. Imagine knitting this fluffy and very warm, fairly large item in the Italian July heat. Then imagine running out of yarn about 15 short rows from the end of the last slice of pie. Arrgh! Imagine jumping on a bicycle and pedal furiously to a yarn store, praying for a decent substitute. Of course, in Italy things tend to be seasonal, and yarn stores in July sell just about nothing but cotton. Imagine the sweaty knitter rummaging through a couple of pretty big sales bins. And finding at the bottom a ball of mohair boucle’. Only it was blue. And much thinner. But for 0.80 Euro, she decided to give it a chance, no matter how its decidedly small potential. Imagine a consultation with the knitter’s mother, a woman of great taste and ingenuity. Imagine a red/multicolor Half-Pie Shawl with an intriguing (isn’t that a great word for weird?) blue/red slice (the blue was too thin on its on, so it got paired with some red yarn, to produce at least a consistent weight and texture). Imagine a fancy Rickrack lace edging made with solid red plain wool. All the way around the shawl. Possibly over a hundred repeats (could not bring self to count them). It took weeks. And it would not have been finished without the aid of transatlantic flights. Imagine arriving back into the States, grafting the required 7 stitches together, blocking the thing and, the very next day, sending it off to its recipient, the lovely and very understanding Yvonne. Not even one picture was taken.

No, not really. Polly would not have forgiven me, if I had added such neglection to my huge delay in delivering my Rowan Edgy Exchange thingie.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Colleen said...

Yay! You're back. Loved the lecture story.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

The picture doesn't do the shawl justice - I'll try for a better one! The shawl is draped over my favourite arm chair just waiting for a breeze cool enough that I can justify wrapping myself up in it.

I love this shawl, the yarn is so soft, the blue stripe makes it totally unique. There are 82 points to the edging!

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey! ti ho mandato un cd pieno di foto, non ti è ancora arrivato? elena

5:47 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Oh Ben never mind, you did it anyway and it was worth every sweaty moment!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Bookish Wendy said...

It's fabulous!!! I love the blue, very artistic. ;)

Welcome Home Ben! When do classes start?

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Kay said...

Hey, I was waiting for you to say, 'And I married that guy.' No? It's so cinematic!

So glad you're back. The apricots photo is all we need to envy your trip. Says it all.

And you know that *I* prefer the shawl with the wedge of blueberry pie. Anybody can make some thing all the same color. It takes imagination to do it your way, in Italy, in July. xoxo Kay

2:09 PM  
Blogger maryse said...

yay ben! welcome back -- the shawl looks great and that apricot bowl picture is beautiful.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I'm still laughing over the scientist story, but what is that red yarn? I love the mottled redness, it's beautiful.

6:48 PM  
Blogger gray la gran said...

that's awesome! i knitted two of those shawls, both times using artful yarn's "portrait" ( a mulitcolored mohair on a black binder) --- shawl #1, no problems (i even has leftovers). shawl #2, i ran out of yarn on second to last row! i sucked it up and purchased another ball!
i just finished a crochet shawl not too long ago. i crocheted 'corkscrew' fringe on the ends, while drinking cosmopolitians, and chatting with the knit girls. when finished, i noticed that i had crocheted two corkscrews in one eyelet. oops! i left it as a reminder of the good times i had with my friends. such as your purplish slice of pie --- what a wonderful story!

2:42 PM  
Blogger mf said...

Shawl looks great! No the picture doesn't do it any justice from when I seen you working on it.. It's lovely yarn!
Nice to have you back... sounds like an interesting and fun trip!

12:00 PM  

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