Buongiorno everyone! So much has happened since I’ve written last. Sicily is behind me and Rome is now where I call home. Rome, well, Bracciano-a little town north of Rome with cows and sheep all over the place. I am loving it. Every day I check if the cows are out in the morning while I drink my espresso, and then check my Etsy crochet shop that I run out of Italy.
Part of the adventure of living here has been quitting my English teaching job and running my own online business. I have to find Italian suppliers, learn about the Italian mail system, how to get an Italian business license, and teach myself how to do things like photography, marketing, and sales techniques to name a few. It’s been a crazy ride!
In this adventure of running my shop in Italy there is one part that sticks out as my favorite and that is the development part. I LOVE to learn new skills to better my business and I LOVE to learn those things right here in Italy. Italians know a lot of antique skills like making lace, pasta from scratch, and sewing curtains…but they’re not the only ones with a creative side! Italy is full of creative people from all over the world who moved here to let their creative juices flow by being inspired by their surroundings of Italian art, history, and architecture!
So one day I was chatting online with people who live in Rome just like me and I had asked about the best yarn shops in Rome. I then came across a woman named Felicity who makes her own wool in Rome by spinning with a drop spindle. She teaches spinning workshops smack dab in the center of Rome right by the Colosseum. Two days after chatting with her I was in her studio fulfilling my dream of learning how to spin wool and make my own yarn!
Felicity (on the lower right of the photo) spun wool as a young girl with her mother in Australia. It became a pastime and then eventually an incorporation into her mixed media and textile art. She now lives in Rome and teaches this ancient skill to women locally.
The spinning workshop was split between 2 Saturdays. In the first class we spent a little time learning about the spindle, about different natural fibers and about how when one spins their mental state comes out and shows in the yarn. If you’re feeling pretty good your yarn will look smooth. If you’re tense your yarn will be quite bumpy. Felicity had us take breaks and meditate for 5 minutes to relieve the stress of spinning from our shoulders. She incorporates meditation into the workshop because it goes hand in hand with the health benefits that spinning and working with yarn offers. Many don’t know this but spinning, crocheting, and knitting have been proven to have several health benefits fighting against Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety, and lowering heart rate which lowers stress! So I really enjoyed this element of meditation during our spinning lesson.
Once learning about the foundation of spinning and the spindle we then learned how to take natural raw wool and turn it into string. The spindle was kind of flying all over the place and dropping on the floor a lot (hence drop spindle). We spun 1 ply of wool during the lesson and learned about tension, energy, and durability that spinning gives wool! The knowledge I gained from this one lesson really deepened my understanding of crochet and what really happens on a physical level when you manipulate fiber.
After the first lesson we had homework and met back the following weekend to learn about silk, plying, and washing the yarn to make it relax.
Here I am proudly wearing my new yarn as a crown. After all it was pretty empowering to turn nothing into something and to educate myself in a lost skill that women use to do in ancient times for necessity of life!
Felicity was an excellent hostess. She served us hot tea, cookies, amazing Italian chocolate, and had the most calming atmosphere in the studio with low-key music. It was almost like going to a spa, but a spa for crocheters and knitters!
She will be offering exciting workshops in 2018 teaching spinning, natural dyeing, and knitting. Check out her website here and don’t miss out when you’re in Rome!
If you want to keep up to date with her events or mine in Rome just follow my facebook page and I’ll make sure to keep you in the loop!