I wouldn’t put all my trust in the computer and Internet quite yet.
My sister is a knitter. She’s just finishing a pair of socks in rather wild colors, but as she showed me on one of the Internet knitting boards she reads, she is hardly scratching the surface of the idea of “wild” when it comes to knitters making socks. One knitter sent a photo of herself in her thigh-high socks that look like clarinets (the perfect gift for that ninth grade band member), and another bought a pair of see-through sneakers to show off her crazy socks.
But one day I came home, and Susan was looking intently at the computer. Then she began to laugh out loud. Of course I had to check out what she was up to! Often there are knitters from European countries who weigh in on projects they are knitting — in their native languages. This particular post was from a French woman who had knit a very nice cardigan, and wanted to share some of her thoughts on the yarn and the pattern, we think.
Since my sister had studied French, she thought she’d take a stab at what was being written, which was this: “Rallongé du corps et des manches.
Projet boulet par exellence, il a voyagé dans toute la France. Tricoté, détricoté, tricoté, détricoté… L’amour vache, avec un bain introuvable et un cardigan en panne de laine pour finir. Ruser, j’ai dû ruser. Un peu déçue par la Felted tweed que je pensais plus douce: mais je n’ai pas froid.”
When my sister couldn’t make sense of it, she went to the Internet, in which she has great faith, for help. She found a free translation web site, and plugged in the above passage. This is what she got: “Extension of the body and the sleeves. Project boulet by pinnacle, he traveled throughout France. Knitted, unraveling, knitted, unraveling… love cow, with a bath not found and a cardigan in failure of wool to finish. Slickness, I had to slickness. A little bit disappointed by the Felted tweed that I thought more gentle: but I do not have cold.”
So I had to laugh, too.
What does a “love cow with a bath not found” have to do with a sweater, we wondered. What is a love cow?? How do you slickness, and if that has anything to do with the love cow, it sounds disgusting! And why does she tell us she doesn’t have a cold?
Finally, using a web site on French idioms, we found out that “l’amour vache” means “tough love.” But I’m afraid that didn’t fully explain the bath…or anything about a sweater. “Ruse” means “trick,” but… We were confused.
“No problem!” I told my sister, “I’ll call one of my ‘French Connections’ and get the translation toute de suite.”
Ah, great idea, but all of them, including my sister-in-law, Nancy, were unavailable, even by cell phone, email and Facebook…until I got a call back from Blandine Berthelot, who works with camps and conferences at Winona State. Here is her translation, which beats the heck out of the Internet: “I had to lengthen the body and the sleeves. The supreme ball and chain project, it travelled with me all over France. Knitted, unraveled, knitted, unraveled… A tough/rough love, with a dye lot impossible to match and in the end not enough yarn to finish the cardigan. I had to improvise and scheme. A little disappointed by the Felted Tweed yarn, not as soft as I expected – but I am not cold.” Thanks, Blandine!
“Love cow!” said my sister.
“Slickness!” I replied. “Do you feel a cold coming on?”