Ilivetolearn's Blog

April 28, 2009

casa della lana e del cotone/house of wool and cotton

Filed under: on the road,sewing/knitting — ilivetolearn @ 8:40 pm

Most people go to Ravenna to see the incredible mosaics from the 5th and 6th centuries and the eight–count ’em, 8–UNESCO World Heritage Sites there. Of course, I did all that. I love mosaics and visited all but the one site that was closed for renovation, taking lots of pictures that do not do justice to the complexity and vibrancy of the subjects. Here is one anyway:

img_1167

But perhaps my favorite moment in Ravenna came when, having just wandered out of the Neonian Baptistery, where the ceiling mosaic shows an anatomically correct Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River–

img_1171I crossed into Piazza del Duomo, a lovely tree-filled square with the portico of the cathedral on the left:

img_1195and directly to my right was–wonder of wonders–

img_1195_2the only yarn store in Ravenna. Of course it was closed. (It was the day after Easter and a holiday for many businesses.) But I went back the next morning, carrying my felted bag (see post of March 13) which never fails to start conversations in yarn stores in the states. Not in Italy. The two employees studiously ignored me after briefly asking if I needed help. One was on the phone with her mother, describing at great length her Paschal feast of lamb, exactly how she cooked it, how delicious it was, how much she ate, etc. The other was surreptitiously watching me–although the store’s layout was the US style with accessible inventory, not the European style with everything in cubbies behind the counter, there was definitely a feeling of “Are you here to buy or just to paw all the merchandise?”

I found some self-striping sock yarn made by Grignasco in Italy, but since no one knits socks here, it is labeled not “footsie” or “trekk” or “soxx” or “sockittome” or any of the cutesy names you find in US stores: it is “Strong Print.” I guess I’ll knit a strong.

In my ten days in Italy, I only saw one person knitting. She was an immigrant selling cheap imported clothing at  a street stall in Parma. And I only got one comment about my knitting; a fellow train passenger asked what I was making, and after Elliot and I managed to communicate “socks,” she turned to her friend and in condescending Italian said, “Well, I suppose it’s a way to pass the time.”

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