A day at Abilmente Craft Fair: must see in Italy

Abilmente Logo


Last month I spent a day at Abilmente. The biggest Craft fair in Italy! I had heard wonders about this fair and it did not disappoint me. I arrived bright and early at 9 on Saturday morning right as they were opening (thankfully I was staying within walking distance)

Il mese scorso sono stata ad Abilmente. Come forse saprete e´ la piu´ grande fiera del settore in Italia. Ne avevo sentito parlare molto bene e il motivo c’era. Sono arrivata alle 9 di sabato mattina proprio all’apertura (per fortuna ho potuto arrivarci a piedi)

Abilmente entrance

When I saw the people outside I thought my getting up early was a good idea…not many people were there yet…little would I know that behind those doors there were hoards of women waiting to get in!!! Think Rock concert type of crowd with trolley! 

Quando ho visto il numero di persone fuori mi sono detta che era stata una buona idea svegliarsi presto…non c´era troppa gente… Che illusa! Dietro quelle porte c’era orde di donne che aspettavano di entrare!!! Immaginate la folla di un concerto rock con in più i carrelli!


See…I was not exaggerating! The crowd was like this in all the aisles!

E non stavo esagerando! Tutte le corsie erano piene di gente così.

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My gear was up to the task: Sneakers, jeans and dressed in layers!

Ma il mio abbigliamento era all’altezza di cotanto compito: scarpe da ginnastia, jeans e vestita a cipolla!

My trusty shopping trolley

And I was equipped with my trusty trolley…certainly carrying it around all day long wasn’t easy but it meant I didn’t have to carry bags! I love it…it’s even insulated!

E avevo anche il mio fantastico carrello…ovviamente portarlo in giro tutto il giorno non è stata impresa semplice ma almeno non ho dovuto portare le borse! Lo adoro è anche termico!

Knitted Fiat 500

A fully knitted Fiat 500…certainly I don’t plan to do that any time soon but it was really cute!

Una 500 in maglia…sicuramente non penso di dedicarmi a fare una cosa del genere…ma era carina!

Abilmente Ethical fashion

A unique feature at Abilmente are the exhibitions and conferences: this year it was Ethical fashion and Nancy Crow, Self-Portraits: Focus/Mono Prints

Ad Abilmente ci sono anche delle mostre e conferenze. Quest´anno il tema era la moda etica e Nancy Crow, Self-Portraits: Focus/Mono Prints

Burda Exhibition - Abilmente 2013

In the Burda area there was a really nice Burda exhibition…with old magazines, vintage Berninas and even some original dresses from recent magazine issues. It was nice to see the pink dress in real life. I’ve been wanting to make it since last year (not pink though).

Nella sezione di Burda c’era una mostra con vecchie riviste, vecchie Bernina e anche dei modelli originali delle recenti riviste. Mi ha fatto piacere vedere il vestito rosa dal vivo. E´ dall’anno scorso che penso di farlo (non in rosa).

Burda workshop - Abilmente

Burda also had organised a workshop together with Bernina. Participants were asked to bring two pockets (meant for a dress) they could decorate with the cording foot or the fabulous needle-punch tool that felts wool and lets you add very nice decorations to your projects

Burda aveva anche organizzato un corso con Bernina. I partecipanti dovevano portare due tasche per un vestito e decorarle con il piedino con 3 scanalature o con il piedino punciatore che infeltrisce la lana e crea dei motivi molto carini

The wool box Abilmente

There were hundreds of exhibitors…as usual not much garment fabric (3 if you include a Japanese fabric stand)…but I got to discover a true gem. An Italian wool and yarn small-business called  The wool box. The pictures don’t do the yarn and wool any justice. I was really impressed by what they do. Not to mention they are located in Biella, what I would consider the wool processing capital of Italy.

I was fascinated to listen to their explanations about sheep breeds. Their wool processing chain is fully traceable something I found quite unique. They only use natural dyes that’s why their yarns come in little colors. The only exception is Gryla their new Icelandic yarn. What you see in the bags is wool ready for spinning. I had never seen that before.

C’erano centinaia di espositori…come al solito non molte stoffe per abbigliamento (3 compreso uno stand di stoffa giapponese)…ma ho scoperto una vera chicca. Un produttore di lana e filati italiano che si chiama The Wool Box. Le foto non rendono giustizia. Quello che fanno è davvero interessante e la loro sede è a Biella, che è forse il principale centro laniero in Italia.

Mi hanno spiegato delle razze di pecore. La loro catena di produzione è tracciata al 100% cosa davvero unica. Usano solo coloranti naturali e per questo le loro palettes di colori sono limitate ad eccezione del Gryla, una lana islandese filata in Italia. Nei sacchi c’è della lana da filare…non l´avevo mai vista.

The wool box - wool

Seeing those gorgeous yarns…and the super cute capelet made with it…I couldn’t resist…Ah, if you are interested they have a sale right now. 100 grams of gorgeous Italian Wool for 6 euros

Non ho resistito alle fantastiche lane e al coprispalle…Ah, se vi interessa questa lana al momento c’e´ un´offerta 100 gr a 6 euro…ed e’ tutta lana Made in Italy.

(Image property of The Wool Box)

The wool box

Polka dot mug


And I also got this mug! I had been looking for a polka dot mug for a while…and I couldn’t resist getting a grey one! And it’s made in Italy Livellara

I really enjoyed going there…Even had time to visit Vicenza and buy chocolate at the street fair they were having! Pity I didn’t schedule to stay one extra day because Verona is only half-hour away… So…if you ever consider visiting an Italian craft fair and combine it with sightseeing…Abilmente in Vicenza is the place to go. The crowds are massive but crafters have stamina right!

E ho comprato una tazza! Ne cercavo una a pois da tempo e non ho resistito quando ho visto questa in grigio! E’ della Livellara.

La fiera mi è piaciuta molto… Ho anche avuto tempo di visitare Vicenza e comprare del cioccolato alla fiera! Peccato non essere rimasta un altro giorno perche´ Verona dista solo mezz’ora…Quindi se avete voglia di andarci fateci un pensierino… La folla è pazzesca ma noi creative siamo molto energetiche, no!

Abilmente 20134


If you are up for a crafty and cultural weekend…there’s an Abilmente craft fair in Spring and another one in October 2014…Shall we organize a meetup?

Se avete voglia di un weekend creativo culturale…il prossimo Abilmente e’ in primavera e poi c’e’ quello di Ottobre 2014…Organizziamo un incontro?

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Author: Sewing Princess - Silvia

Join me for a journey to making my own wardrobe, pattern drafting and getting involved in the sewing community


  1. Hi Silvia.. I’m your new reader and also new kid in sewing world.. But I’m falling in love with sewing since high school.. So now I take pattern making short course in Burgo.. My first dress is on progress!! Yeaaaayy!! Can’t wait to share with you..

    Btw, I live in Indonesia but we have plan to move to Milan.. I hope we can meet up, I love to share Indonesian traditional fabric.. Those are gorgeous

    • Tara, thanks for your comment. It’s so exciting you are taking a course at Burgo and diving into the sewing world. I had been dreaming to make my own clothes all my life and only started properly in 2010. I’d love to meet up in Milan when you get here. Indonesian fabric must be gorgeous to work with! See you soon then!

  2. Wow…I’m never complaining about the crowds at Harrogate ever again! ;-)
    You do look like you had a great time though. The knitted Fiat is adorable.
    PendleStitches recently posted..That was the week that was

  3. OMG, what a crowd! Looks like you were well prepared!
    If you decide on a European Blogger Meet-Up in Italy, I would definitely try to be there…
    Wendy recently posted..Tutorial for drafting a mini-skirt

  4. This sounds like a great fair and you were certainly ready to brave the crowds. I’m also glad you’ve got got the knitting bug in you – that yarn looks lovely.

  5. Silvia, let’s organize a meet-up! I feel so impatient to meet European sewing bloggers in person, that I can fly over everywhere right away ;) The Spring fair sounds like a great plan!
    Thewallinna recently posted..Sew-along Part VI: trimming, seams and lining