Sunday, 1 November 2015

The etymon of a scarf

The Italian word for “sausage” is salsiccia.
I have to confess I was more than 10 years old when I discovered its correct spelling. Before then, I was convinced the word was salsiccia. It made perfect sense to me: “sal-“ as in sale, meaning “salt” and “-ciccia”, meaning fatty. And what’s a sausage, at the end of the day, but salty fat? When I discovered my mistake, I was puzzled as nobody had ever corrected me, possibly because people found it funny or cute; or maybe they did corrected me, but I didn't pay attention, as usual.

For sure I’m not the only one that made this mistake while growing up, even though I’m not sure how many others felt the need to base their spelling on some etymology ground, no matter how partial and non-sense it was.

When I showed a photo of my ongoing scarf project to my friends, the mistake came back to my mind and I decide to name it “salsiccia”.

I’ve started knitting in at the end of March, at the beginning of my streak of concerts. It’s an easy pattern, the kind you learn after 2 or 3 repeats, not too difficult yet not too plain: perfect for traveling. I was planning to knit a shorter version of it, maybe turn it into a cowl, but then I realized I had no pattern to use the eventual yarn leftover. Also, I don’t wear cowls: I decided to keep knitting. And knitting travel after knitting travel, the scarf reached a considerable length and started creating quite a mess in the project bag I carried it around (ok, the supermarket bag I carried it around).

The solution to me was simple: I just rolled it up and block it with an elastic, and voilà, here’s a salciccia. Ok, the original name of the pattern, “Foreign Correspondent’s Scarf” is far more elegant and suggestive, but, really, at the moment the scarf doesn’t resemble much more than a badly spelled sausage!

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