Yarn from Florence or Italian Sunshine for the Winter

On holiday in Florence last summer I left the well trodden tourist streets to visit the yarn store Campolmi Roberto Filati.  It’s in a quiet street not far from the Duomo.  A small window display showed I’d found the right place but inside it was very different from UK yarn stores. It was as much a warehouse as a shop.  Most of the yarn was wrapped uo and on shelves behind a high wooden counter.

There was a display of small samples – each shown in just one colour, and I was a bit discouraged.   I like to be able to squish and muse.

A young woman came up and asked if she could help.  I had recently completed an angora shawl that I’d enjoyed knitting so I said “Angora” on impulse. She went off and returned with a black card folder of colour samples for me to look through.

She also pointed out a cardboard box in a corner full of fat skeins of discontinued yarns.  I had a root about.  None of the colours did much for me until I uncovered a bright sunshine yellow.  I instantly thought of my teenaged daughter  and a chunky scarf or cowl.  There were no bands giving yardage details and to be on the safe side I pulled out two skeins which the assistant assured me would be plenty. (It was – I have a full skein left.)

I finally left with the yellow angora, some deep crimson alpaca for a shawl for me, and balls of alpaca in three natural undyed shades which I thought I would use for mittens.  For yarns not in the discontinued bin the system was that you pick out a choice from the samples in the black folder and the assistant went off to fetch it from a stockroom.  The final bill was less than I expected and I had the impression that if you can deal with the unfamiliar process the yarn is good value.

The yellow was the first onto the needles.  I had no information about the yarn.  I was planning a scarf so all I really needed was a pattern and bit of trial and error to find a needle size which gave a gauge which felt right for a soft scarf.  My daughter chose a Jared Flood pattern, Wayfarer.


The pattern features two textures with an interestingly shaped transition.  I cast on eight extra stitches to make it a bit wider but otherwise made no changes.


So when she wears this scarf my daughter is wrapped in a bit of Florentine sunshine.

Q.  Do you buy yarn as a souvenir?



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