I'm glad to say that knitting has served as a common language for me in countries around the world.
Thanks to my friend Kathy (not my sister), I was able to order two books by Marianne Isager, a knitting designer from Denmark. From the looks of it, Marianne's designs are quite unique and amazing. I don't speak Danish, but I look forward to learning enough to be able to understand how to create some of her great sweaters. I ordered the books at the Pinnsvin website. There is an English version of their site with an English version ordering form. I don't know how much I'll pay, nor how long it will take to get here. But like all my knitting, I remain undaunted. Thank you Kathy for bringing this talent to our attention.
A little while ago, Sue in Toronto sent a request to the Knitlist for some discontinued Rowan yarns. Since I have quite a bit of discontinued Rowan yarns, I checked my stash,and I was able to find one ball of Rowan Fine Cotton Chenille that she needed. I contacted her, and told her I'd be glad to send the yarn with no obligation for anything in return. She gladly accepted, but only if she could send yarn in trade.
Well, in exchange for one ball of an ugly purple chenille, I got the following yarns along with a lovely card and equally lovely note.
The Jamieson Spindrift is a beautiful color and the navy blue silk is absolutely luscious.
Having studied French as a second major in college, I had always dreamed of some day going to a French-speaking country. Finally Thaddeus and I got a chance to go to Paris a few years ago. While it was nice that my French was still good enough to get around easily, it didn't help very much when I stumbled upon a little yarn store in Versaille. On our walk from the train to the palace of Versailles, I noticed a small. local yarn store. I knew the French word for yarn, and the word for knit, but not much else. I wanted some patterns and yarn for making socks.
The shock of an American who could actually speak a second language and the additional shock of a man who knit caused about seven French woman to clamor around me trying to help. The first thought I wanted to buy a completed knit sock. When I finally got them to understand I wanted to make one, they asked if I knew how to knit...I explained I knit much better than I spoke French.
They showed me their sock patterns. I selected one, and reviewed it to make sure I understood the instructions and the abbreviations. They helped a lot, despite not being able to speak any English. Knitting truly was the universal language in my brief encounter with these lovely French women.
Searching through the magnificent town of Lucca in the Tuscany region of Italy, I found a beautiful little gem of a yarn store with some incredible yarns. I found a merino/silk yarn in a DK weight that I just needed to buy. The woman who ran the store helped me pick out colors and amounts and then went on to teach me some of the Italian words for knitting. The sweater I made out of that yarn continues to be the softest and warmest sweater I've ever made. It brings back fond memories of Lucca everytime Thaddeus or I wear it.
I make a yearly trek to Cancun each year during the last week of February (coming up soon...YAY!!). I've searched for yarn throughout a lot of the local shopping areas, but I've never found any yarn stores. I guess knitting isn't a very useful hobby for locals in a place like Cancun. Speaking with local vendors about where I might find such a rarity has been fun nonetheless.
That's the extent so far of my non-American knitting experience. I'm hopeful that I will be able to expand that experience. I'd love to hit London yarn stores, or even Chinese knitting stores. Each foreign experience with knitting has been one of the most memorable of the trip.
Saturday, February 01, 2003