We received a surprise package from Italy the other day. It contained, amongst other goodies, a beautiful crocheted table cloth.
This has been made by a woman I have never met or even spoken to. She is the wife of my dear husband’s Italian Skype pal – if that’s what you call the modern equivalent of the foreign language penpals we all had as children. The two men have been chattering away via Skype twice a week for the last three months, half the time in English and the other half in Italian. I did the same with a Spanish woman last year when I needed to get my Spanish into gear before a wine-buying trip to Rioja in the autumn.
A few weeks ago, dear husband reported back that Skype pal Ernesto’s wife also did various needlecrafts, including something that he didn’t quite understand but we decided was either crochet or tatting. She was going to send me a small present “to go on a table”. I was thinking maybe a coaster or a doily, something that would fit easily into an envelope. How kind. I could reciprocate by sending her a little home-made gift, perhaps my toadstool pincushion, or an alien egg cosy that I made in a moment of madness – I don’t eat boiled eggs.
Well, something clearly got lost in translation, because what turned up is an exquisitely worked, full-blown table cloth, big enough to cover a tea table or go down the centre of a dining table as a runner. Scores of hours’ work must have gone into it. Now, I know all too well that craft-mad people often make things without having any end purpose or recipient in mind, because we enjoy the making process, and consequently we are only too glad to find someone appreciative to give things to. But all the same, to give away something that is so beautiful and has taken so much work to someone who is a gnat’s whisker away from being a complete stranger?!
Clearly, neither a pincushion nor a rather weird egg cosy is going to cut the mustard as a gift to Ernesto’s wife. (I don’t even know the lady’s name.) I need to make something a bit special. After some thought, I’ve decided to make her an It Takes Two brioche scarf, like the one I made for myself in 2014. They live in the foothills of the Dolomites where winters are cold, and I think two-colour brioche is sufficiently complicated for this scarf to count as special. My green and yellow socks are going to have to go on hold while I try and remember how to knit this pattern.