Saturday, 29 April 2017

Back To Work

My holiday reading was Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.

I'm not a great reader, I listen to a lot of books on Audible because that means I can get on with something else at the same time, but this book I managed.

It gives excellent advice and ideas.

My holiday knit, Siri is almost done, I'm just on the last sleeve.

Back to the daily commute and the bluebells had peaked while we were away.

Astrid and Sally Hope were glad to have us back.

I cracked on with some rather lush barkcloth, this is a monster project bag,
so big that the laid out fabric piece took up most of my work table.

A smaller version, still beg enough for a decent project though.

 These are full sized books inside and a blankets worth of yarn.

A Quink blue/black denim heavy duty cross back, the bluebells are hanging on.

In search of Como Silk

It wouldn't be a holiday without dragging my children around some heavy textile machinery, unfortunately no photos allowed but the Museo Didactic Della Seta was well worth a visit.

Milan was a bit of a disappointment for fabric compared to Florence so I did some research on Como and came up with a few unlikely looking places to investigate.

We found the Canepa factory shop on an unassuming industrial estate, we would never have spotted it if we hadn't done good research and been confident that we would get in through the buzzered gate.

What a treat when we got inside, silk as far as the eye could see.

Very laid back and helpful staff.

I purchased a bit of silk, the blue is the underside.

No idea what I'll use this for but I love it.

Silk to make myself a shirt I think.

Another one of the factory shops that was well worth the research was Mantero, again on an industrial estate with no clue of it's existence to the outside world.  We may have purchased a few items, they make for Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and many more and also have their own labels including Mantero VIII 1902.  The shop was jam packed with exquisite silk scarves and fabric and also some top notch wool items.  If you are ever in Como it's definitely worth a trip.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Villa Carlotta

Another day another walk down the 45degree path to the lake.

What a view.

Sunny but a little fresh.

Even the parks around here are spectacular.

Villa Carlotta and botanical gardens.

We did a lot of walking.

Inside it was spectacular, rather like a National Trust house.

Fabulous ceilings and silk wallpaper, I was interested to see how it was stitched together,
how big must that table be?

What a view from the villa!

Lake Como

After the hustle and bustle of Milan we picked up a car and drove out to Lake Como.

We stayed halfway up a mountain and strolled down to the lake most days down this sweet little path, on a 45 degree gradient!

So many little shrines on our walk

and points of interest.

The cemetery was also on our route, fascinating.

Lots of secret garden doors.

The way down was stunning if a little treacherous in parts, the way up was an absolute killer,  Louis the mountain goat just marched up and waited for us where it levelled out.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

La Triennale di Milano

We had a lovely morning in the design museum in Milan - La Triennale di Milano.


We particularly liked the walkway through into the children exhibition.

We saw the temporary design exhibition which happened to have a lot of textiles.  This was the work of China's Miao ethnic group.  Almost all Miao women have an indigo-dyed pleated skirt, each woman would have her own set of tools passed down from mother to daughter.  

The tiny pleats in the fabric are formed with a long pin while the fabric lies around the barrel, it's then roped and wet to set,  waistband etc. added later.


or just pins?

Some beautiful stationary/desk items, I particularly liked the pencil sharpeners, 
have been trying to hunt one down but with no luck so far.

Loved this child's desk.

I just liked the faces on these peg toys.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


We nipped off to Italy again for Easter, 
this time to Milan, completely different from last year in Florence.  

My young assistants both had a tonne of homework/revision which they insisted on taking.  Fortunately for me they had plenty of highlighters, I started Siri on the flight.

On our first morning we had a tour with Andrea from Art Discoveries Milano.  I learned the value of a good guide on my solo trip to India where Nand saved the Jaipur leg of my tour and gave me much advice on the rest of my travels.   If we go to a place we don't know, on the first morning we get a local guide to show what we wouldn't know we were missing and set us up for the rest of our stay.   In Florence Elisabetta gave us the low down on GOOD gelato which was has stood us in good stead. 

Andrea pointed out so much that we would have missed, I particularly liked the laundry.

Magnificent buildings, this is the very up market Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Walking through the Accademia di Brera to get to the hidden Botanical Gardens
we found the students hard at work.

Good gelato, we may have had one every day.

The Fashion District, of course.


Fendi, these boots are knit with a lace pattern.

D&G spools.

Sewing was everywhere, Milan Fashion Week was just the week before.

In Palazzo Morando we found out everything we could possibly want to know about sequins and there was also a pretty comprehensive Manolo Blank retrospective.  Sadly my people felt about shoes in Milan the same as they had about chairs in Copenhagen.