Sorrento represents a lot of things for me. A trip, an inspiration, an extended quest for the right expression of my ideas, and a new format of pattern. Go big or go home, right?
The Sorrento Trip
We used Sorrento as a jumping off place for day trips. We stayed at a lovely hotel, and it was warm enough to sit outside if you were in the sun. The trip to Sorrento, like most public transport trips for me, was an adventure. Mitch is the logistics master and I just follow along. Since he doesn’t really tell me what we are going to be doing, I am often just following where he goes, and I am no help, perhaps a bit of a hinderance.
We took the train to Naples, then you get on the local train line. Let’s just say it was very local and very crowded. I am always fascinated by my fellow travelers, but it is a bit awkward to be obviously American, taller than anyone else, and not exactly traveling light!
From Sorrento we went (via local train again) to Herculaneum and Pompeii. I wasn’t that enthusiastic, but it seemed like we should. While waiting for Mitch to use the toilet outside Herculaneum I was approached by a pre-adolescent boy from a group of students. He declared “You are very beautiful.” in very good English. I thanked him and he ran back to his group. I’m sure it was a dare, but we both enjoyed it.
We so enjoyed visiting Herculaneum and Pompeii. I kept commenting that ancient history could have been so much more interesting than the three black and white photos in a boring text book! I hope things have improved since I was learning. We live near volcanos, so it was pretty on point.
Then on to Pompeii. More research and funding is evident here, plus it is a much larger site. I took a ton of photos. I loved the figures frozen by the lava, and wandering through the restorations and ruins.
We were surprised at how much we enjoyed it both sites, and I would now love to go back for a second visit.
The Isle of Capri
We took the ferry from Sorrento. On arrival we booked a trip around the island. We chose one that just went around, not stopping at the Blue Grotto. The boat guides were well trained to point out the sights for us, and for maneuvering the boats to allow tourists to get excellent photos. It is unbelievably gorgeous on the water, and fun to look at all the villas and estates built away from the constant crowds.
We are not people who enjoy crowds, so we ducked into a restaurant to sit on the patio in dappled sunlight and to watch the other diners. I loved seeing a local cat who came to rest in the shade of the lemon trees, so I got up to take some photos.
After lunch we took the funicular (if you have a funicular, I will ride it!) back to the shoreline. As always, our timeline varies from schedules, so we ate gelato, I bought some postcards, and we people-watched until the ferry boarded.
Sorrento was not in tourist season yet. This is just what we like! We enjoyed local restaurants, wandering around, shopping, and relaxing. I had one of my wonderful post-card-mailing experiences. Although not noted for excellent cuisine, as someone who travels on my stomach I am always able to find great spots to eat. Always be ready to tailor your expectations.
The Sorrento Inspiration
I found everything inspiring, but particularly just mindless wandering. I take photos. We do stuff, we don’t do stuff, I people watch. Rather than search for inspiration, I wait to see what turns up for me. This part of this trip was to carry me forward in my exploration of dropped stitches. I’ve been on this journey for a while and I am glad to be bringing it to a conclusion, although it was, well, inspiring!
The Sorrento Quest
My first version of Sorrento somehow didn’t scratch the itch. The first sample I had knit seemed a little constrained.The second sample was knitted using finer yarn and the same needles, but again, not quite as satisfying as I wanted it to be. I was talking about that to Jamie and I spotted leftover yarn from other projects, and realized I had a similar color of Serenity. I piled up my yarn and printed the pattern, selected needles (but not completely correctly), and began knitting the Veri-Peri version while on a visit to NYC.
Although it is difficult to acclimate to knitting in air-weight mohair, once I got the hang of it I was on the path to Sorrento satisfaction. At last!
The New Pattern Format Debuts
Positano was my first attempt, and I will admit it fell short. I will improve it! At the same time I have been developing the Amalfi Collection I have been exploring Pattern Calculators. My desire was to create patterns that could be worked in custom sizes, with any yarn. Enter Any Size. Any Gauge. Patterns with written instructions and a Pattern Calculator for generating the needed numbers. This is totally how I want to knit!
Added to this is an Accelerator (quick start guide) to guide you through the content of the pattern, and give you an easy way to jump around the PDF via hyperlinks. So the new pattern format is this:
- Intro Page.
- Information You Need page(s) giving general information, measurements and gauge (both in table format), yarn, and sample information.
- Road map drawing, schematic(s) (referencing measurements in table format).
- Pattern techniques in written format, other techniques linked to the Jill Wolcott Knits Techniques library, and abbreviations.
- Stitch patterns both written (in table format) and charted in format for swatching.
- A short preamble to orient you.
- Page-by-page information on contents. It is set up so you can write in your information for either Sorrento or Piano del Sorrento. Each section of the pattern is presented in order, and the pages are hyperlinked.
Finally the first pattern is given! There is a preamble, then the pattern is given in sections to make it easy to follow and keep track. The stitch patterns are Knotted Rib, Seed stitch, and Seafoam, which is comprised of Seed stitch and elongated stitches. You will need 4 needle sizes, stitch markers, and some waste yarn.
Piano del Sorrento Pattern
A preamble sets you off on your own custom-size journey. Be sure you download the Excel Pattern Calculator. I have links so you can calculate yarn usage to be sure you don’t run out. After the Pattern Calculator generates numbers, all you have to do is plug them into the blanks in the Piano del Sorrento written pattern.
Blocking is the key to making the most of the elongated stitches, so plan to allocate some time to do that. The actual blocking doesn’t take long, but the blocking usually need to be done piecemeal because of Sorrento being circular.