Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Filato lo Shopping in Italia: Yarn Shopping in Italy

Karen Wabby
Whenever I travel, I like to look for yarn stores and see if I can pick up yarns that I haven’t seen before and/or something unusual to remind me of my trip or the location visited.  My husband and I just recently went to Italy for our tenth wedding anniversary, and although I wasn’t sure I’d get the opportunity to shop for yarn, I was sure on the lookout for it.   

The first city we visited was Rome, and imagine my surprise when on our first walk the afternoon we arrived, we walked right past a yarn store that was only half a block from our hotel!  It was closed then, but I made a mental note to come back (like I would forget!).  After five days in Rome, I still had not picked up a souvenir for myself, and since it was our last day, I decided my Rome souvenir needed to be yarn (it just seemed providence that I didn’t have to search for a yarn store, one presented itself almost immediately upon my arrival!)  

The clerk didn’t speak much English, but I made several selections and paid about $40; I got 7 skeins of various things - all made in Italy.  I plan to make some kind of scarf with the mauve pink Mondial Boreale Lux (merino, acrylic and polyamid/polyester – it has a fuzzy look with a slight silver sparkle. 
I also got a multi blue, gray and white sock weight yarn (Sesia Nordica Print  - extrafine merino) that will probably end up as fingerless mitts. 
 Finally, the clerk showed me a picture of a wool scarf with ruffle yarn ruffles at each end made by one of her customers, and since this yarn was in the sale bin, I got enough to make a cream colored scarf (Mondial Rossana – merino & acrylic) with cream and latte colored ruffle (Mondial Trine Stampe – acrylic & polyamid.  It’s similar to the ruffle yarns we see here in the US, but is slightly different.  I didn’t get a pattern, but I plan to make a reversible cable ruffle scarf and add the ruffles to each end. 

We had three days in Florence, and by that time, I’d gotten to know our tour guide, Rafaelle, and he’d seen me knitting on the bus.  I was knitting a lovely shawl called Mansion House by Toby Roxanne Barna – you can find it on Ravelry. I had met Toby at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC in January (that’s another story!) and so loved her designs.  This particular one is three triangular panels, the two outer ones being stockinette stitch, and the center one is a lace pattern that looks like stained glass windows – so appropriate as all the lovely churches we visited in Italy had fabulous stained glass, so I will always think of them when I look at that shawl…now back to Florence. 

As soon as we arrived in Florence, I asked if Rafaelle would find out where any yarn stores might be near our hotel.  We were staying in the downtown area, only a few blocks from the beautifuI Duomo Cathedral.  The next morning as we began our day, Rafaelle handed me a piece of paper with an address and the name of one the plazas, Piazza Lorenzo and told me it was the address of a yarn store.  We did our tour for the morning, then some additional sightseeing on our own and mid-afternoon, my husband and I headed back toward our hotel and I branched off to look for Piazza Lorenzo and the specific address which I found with not too much difficulty (I found the street, no problem but was having difficulty finding the street number and was pointed in the right direction when I asked two of the policemen standing in the square).   It was sort of difficult to tell it was a shop, there was a window at ground level and a low doorway, and on closer inspection I did see a small yarn display in the window, so I went in.    

 Immediately you go downstairs and it was a large open shop with shelves everywhere.  

There were two shopkeepers, appeared to be older couple; they spoke no English so I looked around and picked up an interesting skein with large ‘puff balls’ on it, like the old fashioned chenille bedspreads, sort of.   

They showed me a pattern magazine with many projects using this yarn (Mondial Shock), mostly bags that reminded me of the very expensive one I wanted at Vogue Knitting Live in New York, so I bought two skeins and they tried to sell me the magazine but I tried to explain that I couldn’t read the patterns in Italian!  I’m hoping I can do a little experimentation and figure out how to knit a bag that at least looks similar to this one (the one I saw in NYC).
So I did find some nice Italian yarn that I will knit on soon, and think of my wonderful trip to Italy!

1 comment:

  1. Hello! A friend of mine brought me back a skein of green Mondial Trine Stampe from Italy as a gift. I think one ball should be enough to make one of those ruffle scarves but I've never knitted one before. Can you recommend a suitable pattern? Thanks in advance for your help!