Strega's Needles & Hooks

This is my little piece of cyber space where I rant or rave, depending on my mood. Postings are whatever interests me at the time. Life with an Italian in Switzerland is interesting indeed! CLICK ON PHOTOS TO SEE ENLARGEMENTS

Friday, October 05, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

On Friday evening we were invited by friends to dine out at this restaurant.

The outside of the building is nothing special. In fact, it resembles a very old, traditional Swiss home. The inside has been converted to a restaurant from what seems to have once been the living room/dining room. It's small and very crowded with tables. You can easily bang elbows with the person sitting at the table behind you. It's also very hot with extremely poor air ventilation.

Wild meats are traditionally served from September 1 to mid December and this restaurant is not exception. Since our friends wanted to indulge in this Swiss tradition, we felt obliged to follow suit. My plate was swimming in a very dark, strong smelling gravy with several chunks of dark meat that resembled stewing beef. By the smell of it, I knew it wasn't stewing beef! On the plate was also a few brussels sprouts, some shredded red cabbage, and some chestnuts. Everything had that dark gravy running through it.

I ate half of it and washed it down with wine & water... LOTS of water!!

That night, I was sick!!

My stomach rebelled so much that, even after leaving my meal in the toilette and taking Tylenol to relieve the pain, I still was unable to sleep from the stomach cramps. In fact, I didn't start feeling better until late Saturday afternoon.

Never again will I go to this restaurant!! What a dreadful experience!!

This wasn't the first time I had a horrific restaurant experience in Switzerland. Last year, on my birthday, we went to this restaurant.

I ordered 1/2 small fried chicken in a basket with fries and a white vegetable sauce. I forget the name of this dish but it's quite popular here. When it came, the first thing I saw was that the chicken still had tons of pin feathers attached. I took off all the skin because it just made me sick to look at those pin feathers. I couldn't understand how a restaurant could serve fried chicken covered in pin feathers!! If this would happen in Canada, the restaurant would be closed down right now!!

I ate the fries and a salad. I saw the cook come out and go to a table of what appeared to be friends. He shook their hands, then proceeded to pick up their empty beer glasses, 3 of them, by putting his fingers INSIDE the glasses. He put the glasses in a rubber tub located close to the cash register. Then he proceeded straight to the the counter where the pizza is prepared and started to knead and toss the pizza dough WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS! I almost gagged!!!

The next day, I wrote an email to the Dept of Health and described the entire incident. Within a couple of days, I got a response from someone called Andreas Baumgartner who wrote that meat is never cleaned before being cooked!!! He wrote that the high temperatures used for cooking would kill all bacteria. Really?? Hmmmm...

Obviously high cooking temperatures don't kill pin feathers!!

This experience was a true eye opener for me!!!

I thanked him and told him that his email would be forwarded to Canadian Health authorities to provide information for Canadian tourists that planned to visit Switzerland. I'm sure most of my Canadian friends & family would not be too thrilled to eat in a restaurant that served uncleaned meat and had a cook who didn't follow safe food handling procedures.

He never wrote back. I hope I made him think.

Friday, October 5, 2007
Last projects cast on .....
Socks for my son.
The colour is very navy although my camera refuses to acknowledge that.
I dug out Knitting Vintage Socks and glanced through for a masculine design. I found the Gentleman's Fancy Sock and considered following the pattern exactly as written. The thing it, I don't like to do that so I changed it just a bit. Instead of knitting two rounds between the rib columns, I'm purling one round. My ribbing design is K3, P1 for 9 rows, then purl one round, then move the ribbing over so that the P1 from last rib section falls in the middle of the K3. Confusing? Probably because my description is not adequate. Knitting it is easy; writing out the process .... Well, that's another thing altogether. Hah!

This, we hope, will be the Minimalist Cardigan from IK Fall 2007. The yarn I'm using, Jojoland Wool, is really too thin for this project so I'm compensating by knitting a larger size than would normally fit me. It's producing a thin fabric which I'm kind of liking. I could definitely use a light weight cardigan and I have NEVER knit a red article of clothing. There's nothing better than new experiences! ;o)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The mailman just dropped off my post and guess what came for me?!!
A super duper goodie package from Vicki!!

Not only did she send Interweave Knits but tons more goodies! I'm ecstatic! Thank you soooo much Vicki! This was the best swap, don't ya think? ;o) I love the pink journal and will start right now to keep track of all my knitting projects. And I'm already sipping on a cup of Tazo tea. It's sooooooo good!

Just look at this gorgeous pattern stitch marker. I LOVE the blue beads; they are so glittery & pretty!

There's some handspun from some roving that she dyed. I was really admiring the colours she used while cruising her blog and Voila! now I can stroke it in person.

AND.... she sent some absolutely gorgeous alpaca she spun from Uncle Buck, her alpaca. It is to die for!

I can't stop stroking this yarn... MMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

Look at this!
It's a match made in heaven!
I can't wait to get this sweater on the needles! :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

About 8 or 9 days ago, I decided to try my hand at a seamless yoke sweater. I grabbed EZ's Knitting Without Tears and read that section through twice. What a smart woman! Her percentage system is so logical!
I grabbed some handspun I had on hand and some Filatura di Crosa 501, and I swatched. I got the same gauge on both, give or take just a smidge. Hurrah!
I'm not all that crazy about long sleeves and tend to push them up to my elbows when I do wear them so this sweater was going to have elbow length sleeves.
The percentage system recommended for sleeves seemed a little small so I cast on an extra 4 stitches. I did the increases as suggested and then knit straight up to 2" short of my underarm. I tried the sleeve on. It fit! So I knit the other sleeve.
The body from the bottom up is a breeze with the percentage system. When I had about 8", I decided to try the hem suggested in the book. I'd NEVER done this before so was a little fearful of messing it up. To my surprise, it was easy!
With a lot of careful attention, I picked up the back portion of all the cast on stitches, knit about 1 1/2" in my handspun, then ran the live stitches onto a length of yarn and basted down my hem. Then I carefully sewed each stitch into place. I steamed it a little with the iron and Voila, a wonderful flat hem.

I continued knitting on up the body, picking up the live sleeve stitches (minus those that were designated for the underarm), and incorporated a bit of handspun until it ran out.
I don't like a high neck line because it just irritates my neck so I knit the yoke an inch less in length than EZ suggests. Doing this I ended up with more neck stitches than she suggests so I had improvise just a little.
I tried doing the short row neck shaping....... 3 times. I frogged 3 times!! Grrrrrrrrrr.....
After studying what I had to do to make it look proper, I finally managed to knit a very nice, very fitting short row neckline.
I'm sooooo impressed! No, not with the sweater, although I do like it and it fits very well. I'm impressed with this super intelligent and logical percentage method of knitting sweaters. I know for a fact that I'll do it again. :o)