Knitting in Rome, part the 3rd

5 Jul

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Yes, dear readers, we’ve been down this road before: part the 1st (a.k.a. Stitch ‘n Bitch), part the 2nd (a.k.a. my anti-climactic non-Stitch ‘n Bitch return to Rome), along with intervals such as my excursion into Fair Isle knitting (goddammit so pissed I lost this hat last winter aarrrgh — it was a beaut and I made it all by myself.)

All that to say, folks, yepper dee doo, I like me some knitting, I do indeed. But in the last few years having three kids two of whom are twins, kind of put a real crimp in my stash, if you know what I mean. Never did finish those fingerless gloves and frogged the damn things like 3 times because… life.

However, my enthusiasm has been rekindled, despite 90+ degree temps here in Rome, thanks to a lovely little shop in Prati that opened no less than three months ago. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST. I guarantee it because the shop doesn’t even have a website, yet.

The reason this shop caught my eye was the same reason it will probably seem totally normal to you, if you live anywhere in US/Canada/UK where they sell yarn. Because in those countries (as well as Australia and NZ; I can’t speak for other places) yarn shops have their yarn OUT for customers to TOUCH. I know, what a concept, right? But truth be told, here in Rome that’s not normal. Here in Rome going to a yarn shop can sometimes feel like getting a tooth filled. It’s excruciating. Because you have to look at yarn, if it’s on display at all, from a distance, on the other side of a counter, where some salesperson who may or may not be nice and may or may not be glaring at you, is most likely making you feel stared at. In short, I hate it. It’s not a user-friendly experience. One yarn shop actually made me feel like I was in a hardware store. That one over by Termini run by all men (described in further detail in my post here, in case that description wasn’t already intimidating enough). SO frickin’ bizarre.

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Enter “Milleidea Merceria” — where “don’t touch” is no where to be found. God bless the woman who opened it. I was taking a picture of her shop from outside, with the gate down over the window, and she just happened to be coming by to open it and said “Oh, please, wait just a moment so I can open it for you and your pictures will look better.”

No asking why some strange girl was taking pictures. How refreshing.

Long story short, the shop is adorable, and it felt so homey and comfortable. PLUS she has brands from the UK like Debbie Bliss, which as far as I know are nearly impossible to find here unless you order online.

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The owner, Patrizia, is planning to hold knitting classes in-store starting in late September or October. And, get this—she wants to also hold gatherings for knitting and TEA. Who is this fabulous woman? I don’t know but I swear she is onto something. She had no idea. I was telling her all about Stitch ‘n Bitch and telling her she was going to get a bunch of foreign visitors shopping her store, because it’s approachable and we can understand it, and feel comfortable. Totally shocked her. She had no idea, I’m telling you! So I have no idea how SHE got the idea, but in any case, I think it’s going to be a really good thing.

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I’ll post her classes here online, but if you are coming to Rome and happened to find this post, looking for places to buy yarn in Rome, head over.

Milleidee Merceria
via Cicerone 50
(Bus: 30 Express, get off at Piazza Cavour)


14 Responses to “Knitting in Rome, part the 3rd”

  1. Eleonora July 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Here in the Netherlands it is like in the USA.
    That, in my own opinion, it’s the way a yarn shop should be! Like all other shops!

    In Rome, you are supposed to know exactly what you want – like in an hardware store, actually – and just go in and ask for it.

    And I was recalling my own experience at Lana Gatto, exactly like yours!
    Anybody wonders why the shop had closed now?!

  2. Michele Zappavigna (@SMLinguist) July 7, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Really enjoy reading your blog 🙂 I’ve only been to Rome twice but hope to get back there once my kids are old enough to leave with grandparents for a few weeks!

  3. Stefanie Di Croce July 14, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this! I just passed by this place at around midnight last night, took frantic pictures with my phone and then tried to find info online this morning to no avail. I was starting to actually wonder if I had dreamed up the piles of Noro and the unopened boxes of just-shipped Debbie Bliss stacked inside — I mean, the pure cool white little shop did seem more like a slice of heaven than any reality I’ve come to expect in Rome!

    I’m a usual of Ca.Fi.Lan on Via Biancomano down near San Giovanni, but it reminds me of your description of Filati Filpucci. The guys there are super helpful and they do have a large selection of the non-industrial yarns out for finger-driven inspection (they’ll even let you wander down the back aisles of stock if you’re looking for something in particular) — and the young fella working there with the piercing between his eyes keeps their facebook well updated with new arrivals. They never have sock yarn, though. Drives me up a wall because the only 75% wool 25% nylon blend they have is hella thick and great for chunky house socks, but not really suited for anything worn under shoes.

    I’m dying to check out Pippi Calzelunghe ( because their selection looks fabulous, but their hours are so miserly and arbitrary and I seriously refuse to pay the €8 in shipping they want to send a package across town. Ridiculous.

    I can’t wait to head over to this place! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the post!

  4. Lovisa March 26, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve found your blog while googling for yarn shops in Rome, and went to Milleidea Merceria yesterday and I totally loved it! The yarns are all fab, and some of them even fair-trade and organic, and the lady who owns the store is such a sweetheart. I’ll for sure be a regular at Milleidea Medceria!

    She still doesn’t have a homepage, but the page at Facebook is great.

    /Lovisa, a crocheting Swede in Rome.

  5. Un'americana a Roma March 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Thanks Lovisa, or rather Grazie! Isn’t she so sweet? I totally agree. I want to support her business because she is so customer-friendly which is often rare here in Rome!

  6. Lovisa March 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    I know! She was customer-friendly in the same way that salespersons in Rome normally are after you have been to the shop at least like ten times. (Speaking of which, I loved your post about Rome’s comedy club, and totally recognize the whole concept of saling by insulting…) It would have been awesome to have a Stitch n bitch meeting there.

  7. Michelle January 15, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Just found your entry have similar problems in Naples. One place near me is run by old men and I have to ask to look at everything. The other place I can look, but I am followed around like a shoplifter and the wool is not that high quality. Very frustrating when you see everyone else on blogs using beautiful wool made in Italy and you cannot find the same stuff here, Debbie Bliss is a great example. I would travel to Rome for a stitch and bitch.

  8. carinspixelsCarin January 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Yes, going to Rome in april and I always takre back foreign yarn so this is very helpfull for me, thank you

  9. Suzanne Dekker April 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    I’ll be there next week 🙂 will definitely check this out. I’ve not packed any clothes yet, just my sock project and passport so far! Thanks.

  10. Jane May 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I visited 50 Via Cicero this morning to find that the shop is now a travel agency 😦

  11. Shelley Ruelle May 29, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    That’s a shame! It was open not long ago. Thanks for sharing, as I don’t get over to Prati often at all. 😦

  12. Shelley Ruelle June 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    That is a shame! I found a new shop in my neighborhood on Via della Badia di Cava 88. It’s totally on the other end of the city compared to this one, but it’s really well-stocked.

  13. Karen Cook June 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    I came from the states, and walked 2.5 km to find that the store had indeed, closed. I will venture out tomorrow and try to find another.

  14. Shelley Ruelle June 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    A few in the center. Lana della Vecchia near Campo de’ Fiori. Great shop in the Ghetto near Largo Argentina, but I forget the name… in the old Piazza dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, intersection of Via Florida and Via Paganica. Good luck!

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