Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wool Shops in Italy - part two

I'd gone on holiday armed with a print off from the trip advisor forums about where to find wool shops in Florence and alongside our city map Peter and I managed to track down two of them.

Sadly the first one we got to was all closed up for their lunch break but I had a good peek in their window all the same! They seemed to have a lot of more upmarket fibres (mohair, alpaca etc) so it's probably a good idea that they were shut - I think I would have been very very tempted!

Not to be deterred, we carried on, map in hand to try and find Mirka Filati their web site - it was quite easy to find the location but not so easy to find the shop as it is all underground and only had one small-ish window!

 As you can see it isn't exactly obvious, but I think that's kind of part of its charm :)

 You have to go down the staircase to get into the shop properly - it was like going in to a cave full of magic and treasures!

 Like the wool shop in Venice they only seemed to carry Italian yarns - but look at the huge selection they had - there's no way you'd be able to fill a wool shop with solely Irish yarns, sadly.
An awful lot of the yarns seemed to be pure wool or be 50/50 blends with acrylics etc - the quality was SO good; I really could have left with 10 times the yarns I purchased but I had to be realistic about how much I could fit in our suitcase!

As you can see there was even more wool up behind the counter! The man had a loooong wooden stick and would carefully knock the wool off the shelf with the stick and then catch it :)

So this is my 'stash' from this lovely shop - it's all really really lovely! I started to make a baby jacket with the rainbow colours on the top row but it's come up too small (my lovely tight tension!) so I'm going to have to frog it and start over!

Doesn't it look pretty though? It's a 50/50 blend of wool and acrylic and was only €2.50 per 50g ball!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wool Shops in Italy - part one

I really felt that this deserved a whole blog post of its own :)

Before we had set off on holiday I have to admit that I did a bit of googling to try and track down some wool shops that I could visit while in Venice and/or Florence. I couldn't find any in Venice itself and was able to find four listed on trip advisor posts so I was quite hopeful.

Purely by chance we went past a wool shop in Venice on one of the many teeny tiny streets - I was so excited, but they were all closed up for lunch (shops in Italy seem to take a very long lunch break!) so we carried on with the hopes of finding it open later on or the next day.

After a lot of meandering around the streets the next day we managed to find the shop again! This is quite an achievement in somewhere like Venice, which is just one narrow winding street after another - it seems like you find things there by luck.

Venice wool shop -- they don't seem to have a website/facebook page etc but I'm not surprised as it was a very small shop and didn't just sell wool: they also seemed to have a lot of women's underwear in stock.

Pretty much everything was kept behind the counter, so you had to ask to see the wool up close and feel it etc - which was slightly intimidating and strange compared to the wool shops I know and love; it was especially a bit of a challenge as Peter and I have virtually no Italian and the lady had the same amount of English...but we got round it by pointing! We managed alright though and the lady was very patient despite me asking for a lot of things down from the shelves.

This is what I bought there - I would have been easy to have spent a lot more money there but I was very virtuous {and also very aware that there were wool shops to visit in Florence and the space in our luggage was very limited *shakes fist at Ryanair's weight restrictions*}

The one on the bottom right is a 50/50 blend of merino wool and silk - it is so yummy and I was able to get 100g for just €10 -- I wish I'd bought more of it now, and in the different colours.

The sock yarn is a present for my friend Shirley :) she makes the bestest socks etc ever, so I hope she will like using this.

The 'Lana Gatto Niger' are all 100% pure wool and they are SO soft! I've started to make a hat with the turquoise/pink/green one this afternoon; the 'natural wool' ones are (obviously) pure wool too though they don't feel quite AS soft as the 'Niger' ones - it's still lovely! Finally the ones with the sheep on are 100% pure merino wool and they are in lovely self-striping colours.

I'll take some photos as I use them and will report back but I am very very happy with my purchases from that shop!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


November already; I'm feeling pretty disorientated at the moment as we were away for 10 nights and now all of a sudden we're into November and before I know it I'll be trying to get ready for the craft fairs etc in the build up to Christmas...eek!

I can't grumble really as we had a lovely time away on holiday though it was all very much of a whirlwind it was lovely all the same :) We flew from Cork to Birmingham and had a couple of days staying with Peter's Mum, then flew from the East Midlands airport to Venice and had three nights there, then caught the train to Florence, had three nights there and then flew from Pisa to Stansted in England and stayed a night in the hotel there before catching the first flight back to Cork the next morning ------- phew!

Venice and Florence were both out of this world - I took nearly 500 photos and will be posting some of the better ones on my facebook page and on here in due course! So be prepared for a photographic onslaught soon.

While we were away I had to deactivate all my Etsy shop and things have been pretty dead since then but I'm still hopeful that things will pick up before Christmas, there's still time. Now we're back home I'm keeping busy making things - I've just finished a hat for the lovely Siobhan and am making some more crocodile stitch wrist warmers (for my shop) and a little rainbow colours baby cardi :) I like to have a couple of things on the go at the same time.

I've got a biggish custom order coming up - just waiting for the wool to come in the post (from PurpleLinda in Scotland); I'd ordered it just before we went on holiday and it should hopefully arrive sometime next week. I ordered a few extra bits and pieces too, but the lady in America wanted a matching infinity scarf and hat in pure merino wool (she also bought a pair of wrist warmers in the same yarn/colour) - I can't wait to get started on them!

Here are the yarns I bought while in Italy - yes, we actually went looking for wool shops even while on holiday...

the ones in the photo above were bought from a tiny shop in Venice, which we found by accident! They are all pure wool (and merino wool) except for the bottom 'row' - the sock yarn is a wool/nylon blend and the bottom right is a silk and merino wool blend which is just so so soft!
...and I bought all of these at Mirko Filati in Florence; which was just the loveliest place ever! I think I'll write a separate blog post about that shop as I don't really have time right now and it really deserves a whole post of its own.

before I go I'll just leave you with this photo of me crocheting by the grand canal! of course my crochet went with me - this is the pair of crocodile stitch wrist warmers, which will eventually make it to my etsy shop. :)