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The Fabric Maverick goes to Italy almost!

April 23, 2009

lady.jpgI am so excited that we are offering a trip to Italy. I do not expect it will be exactly like "Under the Tuscan Sun" but who knows! Life is an adventure. Since I cannot go on the trip, the next best thing is to talk to Alanna Nelson from Tactile Travel.

 Fabric Maverick: "I understand that you are a sewer. Do you have a particular sewing interest? How did you start sewing?


Alanna: "My mom taught me the basics of sewing when I was in Junior High. Not all projects were successful ( I particularly remember the polyester pink plaid wrap around pantsuit) , but somehow I just kept going. This spring I finished my first trench coat and unlike the pantsuit, I'm really pleased to wear it. Since the early 90's, I've been a passionate quilter. Patchwork was a great way to meet people when I lived in Italy and Italian fabric really impacts my quilts.


Fabric Maverick: "Alanna, I think that we all have a pink plaid pantsuit story in our past. It is the defining moment as to whether we will continue sewing. When did it occur to you to combine your love of travel with your passion for sewing?"


Alanna: "My Master's degree in Tourism Planning (go Aggies!) certainly kept this in my brain for a long time. But I didn't put this into action until 2006 after we moved back to the United States."


Fabric Maverick: "For customers who are not experienced travelers, can you give them some tips about what to pack for this time of the year, what to expect from security, medicine? Would it be helpful to know a little Italian?"


Alanna: "Early October weather in northern Italy is quite pleasant with temperatures in the upper 60's. Layering is the key! While on the ferries, you may need a jacket or shawl, but while lounging on a terrace after lunch, the sun is warm and lovely. Always be ready for rain!  As for security , remember that scissors are not welcome on board flights, so keep them checked in your bags. A package of dental floss goes through without a problem, however, and that can take care of cutting thread on board."


Fabric Maverick: "I would never have thought of that. I'm glad I asked."


Alanna: "You're welcome. Don't forget to bring your prescription medicines with you. A copy of the prescription is always helpful in case of chaos! I scanned copies of my eyeglass prescription, passport, driver;s license and credit cards and emailed them to myself as attachments. If I need copies, then I can just print them off my email!"


Fabric Maverick: That's a great tip. It is good to be prepared for an emergency."


Alanna: "Also If you don't speak Italian, don't worry. One of the best ways to communicate is with your body language. Whenever you walk into a store, it's polite to say 'Buon Giorno (good day) or Buona Sera (good evening... used after 4:30 or 5 PM). Grazie (Thank you) and 'Arrivederci (good-bye) are also important. Italians are friendly and you will find that simple greetings and a smile go miles. Of course, on our Trek, I'll teach you some vocabulary that will help your fabric shopping as well!"


Fabric Maverick: "I think that I'm getting a little jealous of the winner already! I notice on your itinerary that you mention workshops. Can you tell me a little more about the workshops? Is their any preparation needed?"


Alanna: "For the Textile Trek, I have a personal coach give a workshop about creativity. I encourage everyone to stop, look, listen and remember all of the time, even after they go home! The workshop encourages you  to observe yourself as well the world around you. During our Italy trips, each person has their Tactile Travels journal to record memories, images, or store bits of interesting  things they find along the way. I hope the experiences learned on the Trek follow you home, as well as your journal!"


Fabric Maverick: " Is there plenty of downtime for exploring, good food and ,of course, vino?"


Alanna: "We combine the structured time with free time during the week. I encourage people to use their free time in a way that suits them. For example, you have an all day Lake Como ferry pass to use as you wish. Some people fit four towns into one day and others sit on the balcony overlooking the lake and sew! As for dining, we are in Italy  and I love food and sampling wine! Menus try to focus on specialties of Lake Como and Piedmont for the fall!"


Fabric Maverick: "What is the most unusual thing that has ever happened that you might want to share with us?"


Alanna; "In 2007 I visited Civita di Bagnregio with an Italian quilter in preparation for last year's Quilt Umbria. To reach this isolated hilltop city in northern Lazio, you walk about 500 yards on a footbridge over a deeply eroded valley. It was June and we'd left Rome without an umbrella. After all, it doesn't rain in Rome in June without plenty of warning. We noticed clouds and decided that this was a good enough reason to have lunch overlooking Civita. Scattered showers punctuated lunch (the terrace was covered) but it looked clear as we headed onto the footbridge. About halfway across the bridge, it started raining. We ran to the city walls and found shelter under the arches until the rain stopped. After visiting the town, we meandered back to the entrance and decided we better walk quickly. We really need to sorint, because this time we were treated to a torrential downpour! Totally soaking wet were the two quilters when they reached the car. After that the sun came up and we didn't see raindrops the rest of the day...but we did see several rainbows!"


town.jpgFabric Maverick: "I don't think I would have liked being on that footbridge!. You know I could be persuaded to go on this trip if you can guarantee that I will meet George Clooney (George Clooney has a house at Lake Como). I don't imagine that will happen. I don't know about anyone else, but I believe that there is a trip to Italy in my future!"


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I like to say that i came to the USA in 1965 from Italy,I love this country,but I also like to say that m little Italy is A very beautiful and romantic country I was 19 when I left her but she will always be in my heart,this trip would be a dream come true for the winner.Thank you for this opportunity Bruna

I would love to go to Italy. That is one place I have not been that I would love to go and visit. The trip sounds awsome. I am a quilter and I would love to see some different fabrics for a change.

We went on a whirlwind tour of Europe to see where we would like to visit longer. Italy won hands down.I want to see art museums, fabric stores, meet quilters and their groups,see their sewing machines, embellishments and lots of other textile adventures. The men are charming too!

This was an enjoyable read!! :)

If there's one thing that I love about traveling to other places, it's that for the past three years or so, I always try to take back at lease one piece of fabric! :)

Fabric and buttons are The perfect souvenirs! They tell you so much about the natives in the land you're visiting! :)

50000 entries???? How can I compete with that?
I went to Italy with a tour but I didn't get to pick my own itinerary. I would love to learn about fabrics. I understand our shopping style of touching material is not welcome. What a wonderful idea for a sweepstakes. Please feel free to select me!!!!!

I don't seem to be able to get the info on how to enter this sweepstakes as it doesn't come up . Great idea if it would work!!!

Thanks for sharing your experience Alanna. I gained lot of knowledge from you.

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This page contains a single entry by published on April 23, 2009 8:00 AM.

The Fabric Maverick says...Aimee Pflieger Dolby is my kind of designer! was the previous entry in this blog.

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