Monday, November 28, 2011

Pizza, espresso, gelato and fabric

I recently enjoyed three glorious weeks in Italy, the first two relaxing in Tuscany and then a more hectic week in Rome. Of course we managed to fit in a bit of crafty shopping between all the sight-seeing, eating and eating. We did a lot of eating.

A bit of research before the trip pointed us to a big old fabric shop in Rome. It did not disappoint! Fabric was stacked wall to wall, floor to ceiling. And there was room after room after room. It was overwhelming.

I picked up a few half-metres of sweet little prints. Just getting the fabric was a whole procedure. I told the woman what I wanted and, not speaking much English, she wrote down the price and amount for me. She cut each piece, asking first, then carefully counting the fabric and writing up a list of what I got. She gave the fabric to another woman and the receipt to the cashier. Only after paying could I actually touch the fabric.

While in Tuscany we stumbled on a fabric shop in Lucca, a great old walled town. The owner didn't speak much English and was super excited to have a chance to chat with us. It was especially fun when he was trying to tell us about the animal prints he sold out. He stretched his arms out, and leaned down to mime a dachshund. I got this cute sheep print on heavy cotton. The fabric was 2.8 metres wide! I figured just half a metre would be more than enough.

He cut the fabric, neatly folded it and then wrapped it up in special waxed paper with his shop's name. How lovely. I was hesitant to unwrap it when I got home. But I had a project in mind - make drawstring bags to fill with some Tuscan goodies for my friends. I bought olive oil soap that smells amazing and panforte, a traditional Tuscan fruit cake, in San Gimignano - the scenic old town just minutes from our villa.

The trip was just wonderful and I'll be reminded of Italy when I see the fabric. Amazingly I spotted the fabric shop in Rome while we were on one of those hop-on, hop-off buses. Talk about a keen crafting radar!

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