Saturday, March 24, 2007

Knitting Tourists in Italy

well, despite much knitting going on, alot of it is gift knitting, thanks to Secret Pal 10 and an upcoming visit home to Australia, so no photos as yet. i think i will probably try and do some close-up, not too revealing shots given that there are many things in the knitting pipeline and more than one thing on the needles at this time (a big thing for me!) But after May there will be many things to say, I promise!

So, on knitting related topics, here is a precis of my experiences of finding knitting shops in Venice, Florence & Bologna...

Venice: well, I saw at least 3, and two nearer to Piazza le Roma. Unfortunately due to my incredible disorientation in this city I could never reliably find them, and somehow they were always closed when we went by (the whole siesta thing I think), but they looked very functional in a way that most of the other shops didn't - I guess most of Venice is aimed at tourists, but obviously tourists don't knit! Italian and German yarn in the windows. So if in Venice, keep your eye open and a pen in your bag to mark your map!

Florence: Nada. We walked this city well, but no yarn shops in sight. On the northern side of Piazza Republica, where all the schmanzy shops are, there are some amazing tailors shops with amazing arrays of fabric - I kept meaning to take pictures but never quite got there.

Bologna: we didn't have much time, and it rained hard every minute we were there, but we were staying outside the city ring road, over the train lines from the station. If you keep going up that street (I think it has Giacomo in the name, anyway it is parallel but one main street west of Stalingrado) there is a HUGE yarn shop. Massive. It is local, not tourista, so it is open in the mornings, then from 3.30 to 7.30pm. The guys that run it are great, but speak absolutely no English. They have more stock than anyone I have ever seen. It was astonishing. Much of it is cotton, which of course has great clear gemlike colours, but lots of very interesting stuff. A bit of a treasure hunt of a shop. If you want better directions I can give them to you. I was unbelievably restrained, mostly because I was sick and just wanted to lie down! But I regret it now...they had an amazing grass green yarn...oh well!

In terms of fashion, obviously the italians have molto style. But few hand knits in the shops - what there was though, was spectacular (though expensive!). Gorgeous edible colours (think chocolate, coffee, caramel), mostly cardigans or wrap style, interesting textures, waist-high belts - bellissimo.

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