Try pulling out a drop spindle on a train. Eric and I got to spend a week in Genoa for a conference he attended, and I managed to find things to interest and amuse me.
A Ravelry friend helped me buy yarn -- the whole "yarn museum" approach in Italy (and, I'm told, much of Europe) can feel intimidating. Thank goodness for generous people who are willing to help you talk to the shopkeepers. This store was much more yarn-filled than the one I had found on my own, and I don't think I would have discovered it without help.
Everywhere I went, I worked away on the knitting I brought with me, even though, in retrospect, three projects might have been a bit of overkill. I have enough problems knitting lace without jet lag complicating things.
On a short day trip, though, I was tired enough that even my ongoing project seemed too much for the train ride home. So I pulled out this yummy baby camel and silk I've been working on, and proceeded to go into a sort of spinning zone.
Eric said some guy did a triple take as he disembarked from the train, but it was when we were en route in our compartment that the fun began. Two delightful ladies sitting across from us chattered away in surprise. "Mi nonna" was all I caught, but the foot gestures were unmistakable. I managed, with the help of the woman next to me, to tell them that I, too, had a wheel (come un bicicleta! I tried), but that when I traveled, this was the way to go.
Then we managed to get onto how to say "crochet" in English, as it's spelled the same but sounds like the game with balls and wickets. When I pulled out my knitting, the woman asked for it and showed me, I believe, the "right" way to knit, English-style, but very fast. I told her I was faster doing it my way, but went on to show her that I could do it her way and did when I knit with two colors.
It was simply charming, but I don't think I would spin when in Italy again unless I'd done some serious work on my language skills. It's just too much of a conversation piece.
I had gotten about 600 yards of a nice steel-gray two ply lace yarn to bring home to my sister, and for me, just enough for a pair of very bright colorwork mittens. I can't wait to get to them. Eventually.
It's good to be home, and it's good to realize that even in another country, faced with what seemed like overwhelming temptation, I found I didn't need that much yarn. Maybe having a spindle and three projects wasn't overkill, in the end.
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