Monday, 26 December 2011

Blue and silver

Well they do say a change is as good as a rest and this Christmas is as good a time as any to test it out.

Starting off with a new blue and silver themed tree. Took a while to get used to the bright white LED lights, the last coloured ones lasted 25 years of marriage.

The baubles are from '55 Christmas Balls to knit? by Arne and Carlos and, I admit it, I only got round to making 5, promise to get my act in order for next year, wherever I may be !

Monday, 28 November 2011

Bologna with Pooh!

'The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca is sited on Monte della Guardia, in a forested hill some 300 metres above the plain, just south-west of the historical centre of the city. While a road now leads up to the sanctuary, it is also possible to reach it by traversing a 3.5 km monumental roofed arcade consisting of 666 arches, built in 1674-1793 to protect the icon of the Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by Luke the Evangelist '.

We naturally did it the hard way.

Gilly and John both looking very dashing in two scarves knitted by their kind!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Grapevine shawl

Who could resist these colours? certainly not me. Hand Maiden Casbah yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon) brought on late summer wool shop crawl in London- at Loop, Islington.

Guaranteed to brighten up any foggy autumn day.

Monday, 17 October 2011

One way to while away a Sunday afternoon....

as temperatures dropped and the cat crept closer to the fire I made a very satisfying cosy pair of Johhny Rotten mittens (by Suzanne Stallard).

And as every fashionsita knows, the Union Jack is set to dominate trends over the next twelve months.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Just right for autumn!

Dasiy by Debbie Bliss (with thanks to Meny for dashing round to LYS and posting off the extra balls of wool needed for second sleeve).

Front view.........................

Back view.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Shawls and the suchlike

So as not to disappoint my friend Patty I have, as is my custom, been knocking up things for Christmas as temps soar to near 100. A wonderful way of using up those georgeous skiens friends have sent me.

Beginning with a hat made of Koigu fingering that Nancy sent me. It is actually a slouchy streetwise model, not clear in the picture

Swiss Cheese scarf in a ball of Zauberball laceweight. Shading from ornage to fuchsia to purple and back again. A rare sight: Lin in a handknit. Fascinating knitting

After recieving a pimpelleise shawl in a swap from Ceri I caught the bug and have made no less than 4 (with more to come) . Great car knitting and use just one skein of sock wool

Here we have legendary malabrigo merino sock wool bought in Barcellona. Another again from Nancy and a denim Zauberball.

Its no use, I feel the urge coming on, got to go and knit another one....

Back again

Well a couple of my fans have asked me why I havent been blogging. The answer is simple the Rann/Onfiani household has been cameraless all summer.

But that doesnt mean we havent been busy, here's a clue.

I finally got to carry out a cherished dream, a wool shop crawl of London.

I found Loop, IKnit and several other lesser known stores but in the end didnt buy much, prices were higher than online at times and I didnt fancy fighting with ryan air baggage restriuctions. But I did get plenty of ideas on colours and qualities, not to mention patterns. And adored playing the tourist and cruising down the Thames

And I also found several other shops in Sussex.

Including a rather small but well stocked one in Worthing. The Wool Bar was just as I d been led to believe from reading on Ravalry, like meeting up with an old friend ,chatty, tea and coffee.

Naturally being the usual indecisive me I returned two times just to make sure Id got enough wool. While I was dithering hubby and daughter ate their m&S sandwiches on the beach.

I had never thought of making a cardigan from laceweight wool before but I'm so glad I did. Rather sexy, sheer and the most georgeous peacock blue.

Pattern:faetherweight cadigan by Hannah Fettig. A top down design. The front bands were a nightmare though and it took me three very long attempts to get them reasonably right.

Oh and of course I bought the wool at The Wool Bar.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fruit picking and knitting

Maybe it was the wet July but V's grapes are coming along fine. Very inspiring...

I just had to make/knit some of my own and then I couldn't stop, strawberries, cherries, pears and apples (must get some orange yarn to finish off the bowl though).

and no comments about my banana please. It can be zippered closed.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Summer evening with Lin & Co.

With a bit of bribing and cajoling I got Lin, Marco, Isshan and Pelo to accompany me up to the castle late afternoon Sunday.
They actually got up there before me. Oh to have young legs again.

We ate outside and had gnocco and salumi (A sort of deep fried savoury pastry filled with ham like sandwich).
Even though it was nippy espescailly considering we are in the height of summer.

We walked home down the road in the dark.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


This shawl was fascianting to knit. An entrelac pattern in Noro kureyon sock wool. It developed and evolved with every knitted stitch.

Even the blurred photo can't hide those gorgeous colours.

I was so eager to get it done that we didnt get out for our Sunday walk until late afternoon.

An improvised circuit of 3 hours, Roncolo, Ponte Pietranera-Castellaro. Note Bismantova in the background.

But even without a map we didnt get lost and, as chance would have it, arrived at this hidden away pizzeria just as it was opening for the evening. Tartufo cream and porcini pizza eaten outside in a galeforce wind !

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Intriguing construction work

I have always been intrigued by Hanne Falkenberg's knits, mostly gaarter stitch jackets knitted in one piece using 2 ply shetland wool. My mum has made some lovely ones but the fact that they are only availbale in expensive kit form rather put me off. So when I saw the Mermaid model on offer online I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately the model sizing did not suit me, being full busted and narrow shouldered Iwas placed midway between two sizes. In the end I opted for the larger one. As the model is knitted vertically from one front round the back to the front and includes short row shaping, darts and pleats I didn't have the time, patience or expereince to mess around with measurements. In fact the finished jacket was perfect but, alas, far too big and sleeves too long.

But I was still toying with the idea . this time I found some wool on ebay which turned out to be excellent.It arrived all the way from Lithuania (?) in just a few days and appeared to be the right weight. Gauge is essential and this was slighty different so I opted for a size smaller jacket. What fun to knit. The wool slowly changed colour as I progressed from the starting point at centre bottom back. I got the whole back out of one ball but the sleeves (still knitted in one piece) were neverending and gobbled up two more. Which left me a bit short for the front. But by unwinding and rewinding sections of different colours, and adding a bit of keftover kauni, I eventually got two reasonably mirrored lapels.

These garter stitch shetland garments aquire drape and shape with washing. I have already washed this once and it fits and hangs perfectly. I have even grown to like the brightness (which for me was part of the fun of the wool) and am looking forward to wearing it when days get darker and duller.

Congrats to Alessandro and Francesca!

Who would have ever believed that ...
-I would find the right dress, (and that it was made of sheer bright silk and yet still managed to hide all my lumps and bumps),
- would mangae to walk on high heels
- I wouldn't bite my nails for two weeks
- find a gold designer clutch bag on sale in an outlet the day before
-the weather would be just perfect.

Yet I did and it was...

Such a lovely reception.

such a lovely young couple

and such a huge cake

And being a perfectionist I even got hold of the right shade of wool to knit Tidal Streams in Easyknit skinny semi solid plum jam yarn.

San Martino di Castrozza

Peace, stunning views, good food a bit of knitting...need I say more?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Happy Birthday LittleOne

So I am now the mother of a 'grown up' !
How time flies....
Mind you she still seems to spend a great deal of time sleeping, after being up most of the night.
But its been a lovely 18 years.

She had two celebrations. Here is the bithday cake for the 'oldies' gathering. True to my warped British sense of humour, half were edible, half knitted. Nonna got caught out, trust her to pick the one with the biggest strawberry on!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Looking back

The River Enza is really a torrent, bone dry in the summer and subject to flash floods. It divides the province of Reggio Emilia from that of Parma. On Sunday we crossed over into enemy territory and walked along the ridge on the Parma side. Looking back over the river you can see the two castles on the skyline. The nearest one is Rossena where I go for coffee. And in the foreground the village where I live.

On Monday I did my ususal trot up to the coffee bar ( shut due to early hour).

But this is the view looking back over to where we were the day before.

And this is the flutterby which kept us company on Sunday.

Monday, 23 May 2011

New friends

Call me trendy but I do believe in this making-friends-through-Internet lark. After chatting with MrsOverall on Ravalry I knew I would like her. What a find, another English knitter, who has lived in my beloved Brighton, just a two hour drive away.
And here we are with her two lovely girls, Chloe and Daisy.

And they are, I must add, a very brave family, as they really do live in the middle of nowhere and are courageously restoring their home.
But when you see views like this you can see why.
(Bardi castle)
At this point I think I have exhausted the possibilities of waterfall front cardis. This will be my last for a while. It actually has some nice stitch detailing.

Slumber by Erika Knight, in Rowan mag 47, the original is sleeveless.

In sesia organic cotton on number 3 needles.

Friday, 13 May 2011


Saxifraga Restaurant

Trauttmansdorff castle and gardens

Brenta Dolomites

A little snack on the way home

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A sad day for cyclists

I first got the cycle racing bug 18 years ago (how time flies) when I had nothing else to do on sweltering hot afternoons but lay on the sofa, with Littleone kicking away in my tummy, and watch Tv. More or less every year since Victor and I, with brother Steve from Uk when poss, have struggled up mountainsides to nab a good place for watching the race pass us by. Whiling away time waiting for the cyclists to arrive, preceded, one hour before, by the publicity caravan and the TV helicopter, watching people dressed in pink, set up barbeques, have a drink or three, and even impromptu folkloristic displays. And even though the flight past rarely lasted more than a few minutes it was always well worth it.
But each year, without fail, the overall winner turns out to be a cheat and we feel that, yet again, we've been let down.

This year just about every team captain or big name has a drugs record. Yet when the race arrived in Reggio I just had to go for old times sake.

IF I Knew then what I know now I might have given it a miss.

Ihad a nostalgic morning picking up freebies and VIP spotting. And although the locals hardly joined in the festive atmosphere, moans about disruptive traffic and not a single pink ballooon in sight I sussed out the park where the cyclists coaches parked and even exchanged a few words with MARK. (As in Cavandish the Cannonball, holder of the pink jersey). Well I got his autograph and wished him luck!!!

And I thought the departure of the caravan and cyclists along the ancient Roman main street was spectacular.

But what a blow when I got home in time to see the arrival and learned that there had been an accident, a Belgian cyclist, Weylandt, had fallen off, broken his skull and instantly died.

Today, the day after, the cyclists are off on their next stage but there is no competition. Church bells toll when they pass. The different teams take turn to lead the pack but the finishing line will be crossed by the poor cyclist's 8 team mates dressed, obviously, in black.