Archive for the ‘events’ Category

I’ve spent a good bit of time wandering around downtown Trieste looking for various items. In the process I’ve had the opportunity to observe how Italians shop for clothing. For reasons unknown to me, every type of clothing has a specialty shop, with several of them nearby. For example, one particular pedestrian mall appears to be the Trieste underwear district:

ladies' underwear shop window

family underwear shop window

men's underwear shop window

All three of these shops are within meters of each other, the first two across the street. I am accustomed to stores selling only shoes, or children’s clothing or women’s clothing. But underwear? I saw another shop that appeared to contain mainly hats and scarves.

All the stores are small by American standards, although not so different than many in San Francisco. But the shopping experience is often not so leisurely. I visited several knitting and fabric shops that are basically counters behind which there are shelves of products retrieved by the staff. We visited an ancient hardware store where all the merchandise is on high shelves on the walls just as it would be a hundred years ago. There is no browsing to do and not even remotely a place to sit and compare purchases. (And I still was not able to locate the 120 cm circular needle I was looking for.)

Oh boy was that fun. Despite having to run back home to get forgotten spinning wheel pieces. A lot of people wandered in and out to see what the folks with the funny non-computer equipment were doing, some showed up with sewing machines, there were wedding invitations assembled and children throwing toys all over the floor. I spent most of the day carding and generally a good time was had by all. I took no pictures.

I finished the blending this morning, just to get it over with. I had a pile of junk fiber, both light and dark. I blended the mostly white stuff together, which included the last of the Grandma Wool, a collection of combing leftovers, a few things that Seemed to Be a Good Idea at the Time and some fleece that didn’t scour nicely. To improve the mix, I added odds and ends of fleece of decent quality but not enough or of a type I’d use alone for another purpose.

Here’s the finished pile:
crap mostly white wool all carded together

There are neps and VM a plenty and I’m just not going to worry about it. I wanted to spread around the still somewhat greasy fiber to avoid having to scour batts and then try to re-card a semi-felted mess. Since some was already carded, I was blending mainly by the “One from Column A” method and ended up with a little of the greasy stuff left over. It’s not enough to go through blending the whole lot yet again just to mix it in.

How could I not have heard about this? 2009 has been declared the International Year of Natural Fibers. These sorts of things are decided years in advance, in this case in 2006. The intent is to promote natural fibers, particularly small-scale fiber production that benefits textile producers in developing countries, by encouraging expanded and new use of traditional textile fibers.

Wow. Does this mean I’m cool now?

I’ll be at Super Happy Dev House next month like usual, Saturday 31 January. This time it’s back at Sun in Menlo Park so there is tons of space. I’m working on putting together some craft space and I’ll be bringing a bunch of my own stuff. There will be hanging out and doing of stuff, and food, and looking at the nifty computer things Sun has in their conference center. The space is huge, there is plenty of room for both computers and textiles. You should come. I promise the robots won’t try to help with your project. Well, only if you ask nicely.

Things I could bring:

Spinning wheels
Sewing machine
Drum carder
Hand carders
Knitting/crochet stuff
Swift, skein winder, ball winder

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© 2004-2007 Andrea Longo
spinnyspinny at feorlen dot org