Posts tagged ‘clothing’

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.)

I’ve been busy sewing this week. I feel like I shouldn’t unduly bother you with such things, this being a blog about making textiles. But that’s what has been going on, and it was sorely needed. I have four new pairs of pants, two dresses and a funny jacket from weird shiny fabric somebody dumped on me several years ago. Plus you can no longer see straight down the hallway and into the kitchen now that there is a proper curtain for the front door window. I’ve also hidden piles of random junk behind curtains for the built-in cabinet in the studio, made of batik fabric a friend gave me.

I cleaned up the kitchen enough to set up the sewing machine. It involved disassembling and hauling off to storage two large shelves that have been sitting in the middle of the floor since we moved in. One day they will be actually used, but the space for them has been “not ready” for months now. Sigh.

Sewing machine good. I haven’t made any new clothes in about a year and all my pants have holes in them. Now I have two new pairs, a dress that only needs to be hemmed and a bunch of new utility rags from some old clothes. Those old flannel dresses I made years ago make great hankies. While I was at it, I made a baby play mat from flannel and a vinyl tablecloth remnant I found. I have no interest in babies of my own, but baby stuff is fast and easy to sew and uses up odds and ends of fabric. Your new parent friends love you for it, too.

Now that sewing is happening again, this means I want to get all the fabric in one place. There is still some in storage so I’m not done yet, but I have two new shelves in the textile closet and a whole pile of stuff that is now in there instead of elsewhere. It’s so much easier to manage when things aren’t all piled on the floor. I’m still using the bed as a cutting table, but now there’s actually enough light to see what I’m doing. Amazing.

So, with all of this the thing that hasn’t gotten done is measuring warp for the next set of towels. I wound a ball so I could measure two ends at once, but it’s been sitting on top of the loom for weeks. I did at least do some fiber prep so I could get on with spinning more dark brown 3-ply. November is heading this way and I’m going to want those legwarmers when it starts raining.

Yesterday I finally wrote up something I’ve been toying with for a while, a hand sanitizer cozy. I did the first few in crochet with handspun, but now I’ve made up a pattern to knit in a standard size yarn. The basic bag is ready to design with colors or patterns of your choice. I even did a sample with two colors, something I normally avoid.

I’m now down to the “feeling better but still ought not push it” part of being sick. I have a new friend, a humidifier shaped like a frog, to spend my days with (because if I don’t, I can’t breathe.) This means a lot of knitting time, and I’m almost done with the baby hat. I’m really slow when I’m knitting from a chart, so I don’t normally do much in the way of patterning. But baby stuff is small so it doesn’t feel like I’ll never get anything finished.

I’ve been sick all week, so I’ve spent a good bit of time sitting around like a lump staring at the walls. Sometimes that’s all you can do. If you feel bad enough, you don’t even care.

I did start some more knitting, a baby hat of some yarn I’ve had stashed away for a few years waiting for a project. It’s one of four skeins of ostensibly matching 3-ply, but this one I got distracted on and one of the singles is much larger than the others. So it doesn’t match the rest, but it’s fine for something on it’s own. There is enough for a lace cap and maybe some booties or something. The pattern is an insanely simple four stitch yarn over lace, but at times it’s been too complicated for my fuzzy brain to deal with. So I started winding shuttles, something so stupid that it’s impossible to screw up.

The next piece on the loom is narrow, I actually prefer stick shuttles for that. They hold tons of yarn and are easy to handle. The boat shuttle would be faster for wider fabric, but for this I think it comes out about the same. What you lose in handling the shuttle is gained by not having to chase it down when you drop it for the 87th time or change the bobbin every ten minutes. If I’m going to throw something through the shed, I want it to be at least wider than my shuttle is long. Otherwise, I might as well pass it hand to hand. A while back I managed to acquire a Harrisville shuttlette, a short boat shuttle they suggest for narrow warps. I seem to recall the previous owner of my old floor loom gave it to me. I’m not terribly fond of boat shuttles in the first place, but oh how I hate this thing. All the bobbin-snagging madness of a standard boat shuttle with the added aerodynamic qualities of a brick. Just thinking of it reminds me I have to order that end-feed shuttle before I start the next project.

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