Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 8, 2013

Searching for green wool

A delightful weaver near Bagni di Lucca is going to make me a kitchen rug for Casa Debbio. He didn’t have any green wool so I set off with Heather Jarman to find a spinner in the mountains towards Abetone.

Down a dirt road, in a long, low building beside a stream we found a treasure trove of yarn, incredible machinery (lots of it) and a lone spinner and weaver making the most amazing things.

The building was once powered by water and some of the old structures remain.





I love the old door.


Take a look at what I thought was a door knob.


Now come inside the Aladdin’s cave of yarn treasures.


Here is some of the finished product.


…and here is my green wool.



Heather is hoping to organise visits to the yarn man. Contact her at Sapori-e-Saperi if you are interested.


  1. I never cease to be amazed by the traditions that thrive in and around Bagni di Lucca. I look forward to seeing your completed green rug. Will be in Ponte 11-18 June, hope to see you for a coffee in Il Monaco. Andrea 🙂

    • There are all kinds of things tucked away in villages all over the area. I am at Vergemoli now, but I will be be at Ponte on and off.

  2. I love your cat.

    • The little kitten lives at the factory…not doubt there are more.

  3. What an incredible find! Spinning and weaving used to be traditional crafts in the area. I heard that next door to our home there used to be a silk mill where local women and children used to work. Small hands were needed for this type of operation. Lucca was, in the past, a major silk centre. Now, most of our silk comes from China… where it really originated.

    • I heard that it was Napoleon who ripped up all the mulberry trees to plant wheat, completely destroying the silk industry.

  4. What a find, indeed. Sort of looks like an Alice in Wonderland place, and such beautiful fabrics. Can’t wait to see the rug you’ll eventually have!

    • It may be finished before I leave…if I get it to the weaver in time.

  5. the little kitten looks very much at home!!! that pink and white rug would be so at home in my place. would love to walk around in that area. good luck with your rug. chris 🙂

    • There was certainly no shortage of comfortable spots for the kitten to sleep.

  6. That is rather magical! I adore the kitten.

    I was reading a bit about Bagni di Lucca and saw this : “The hospital in the frazione of Bagno Caldo was built in 1826 by the philanthropy of Nicholas Demidoff”. Is there a little park and monument to him in Florence, by any chance? The name sounds familiar.

    • I don’t know of a park in Florence by that name, but the Demidoffs got around, so it is possible.

    • We discovered a little mausoleum dedicated to the Demidoffs on one of our strolls around Bagni di Lucca in 2006. Were they Russian nobility? I wonder….

      • They were Russian. One of the Demidoffs came to BdL and was so grateful that his gout was cured he gave the little temple to the town

  7. Wow! How cool…

    • It was an amazing place.

      • I love how it reminds me of a place out of the Hobbit or something. You have so many amazing things in your town!

      • There are all kinds of amazing things in the hills around us.

      • Yes indeed I can see from your blog. What a wonderful opportunity for you to experience and share with us! 🙂

  8. Fantastic find

    • It is amazing. The machinery is incredible…and there is so much of it.

  9. Yes there are two places dedicated to Demidoff in and around Florence – his estate at Pratolino and his monument at Piazza serristori See my post on the subject at

    • Thank you for the extra information.

  10. What a beautiful craft? That is the sort of place I would love to visit..

  11. So lovely to see a local craft business thriving. And good on you for buying local! I’m sure your green rug will be extra special and worth waiting for.

    • It will be lovely to have something made especially for me.

  12. How wonderful! My mum is a weaver, I’d love to take her to visit this place!what a treasure trove, and the perfect location.

  13. What an amazing place. How wonderful to have found the wool (it’s a beautiful shade of green) and a weaver to make the rug so close to your house. I hope you post a picture of the rug when it’s finished.

    • There will be a photo of the rug in the kitchen at Casa Debbio if it is ready before I leave.

  14. LOL love the door knob aka snail;-)

    • It really did look like a door knob.

  15. Goodness, what a place! His name wasn’t Rumplestiltskin by any chance?

    • I would not have been surprised to see Rumplestiltskin sitting on a stool in the corner.

  16. Wonderful documentation. Its always a pleasure to find artisans like these.

    • It is wonderful that the skills are still around.

  17. I love the woven patterns on the mats. Reminds me of the mats your mother used to weave, Deb. Gives me goosebumps thinking about your Finnish grandfather as a weaver, and your mother learning from him. What a wonderful find for you in your quest for a green woven mat. I’m sure it’ll look lovely in your Vergemoli house! Casa Debbio is made with love from the hands of local artisans as well as your own. It’s been an amazing journey so far for you from “a pile of rocks” into a beautiful stone home in the mountains.

    • Apart from a couple of bathroom lights the house is completely finished. It is looking great.

  18. Great old finds on your journey. Enjoy the new rug!

  19. What another beautiful post!! Just fascinating; you must have had to pinch yourself a few times; thank goodness for the existence of this place; it feels like a ‘secret’ that YOU discovered. And the fabulous fibres, colours, etc. WOW!

    • The man works alone in that huge place designed to employ dozens of people.

  20. Does the yarn man live behind the door with snail doorknob? He should. It looks like something out of The Princess Bride.

    • He drove in from elsewhere, so I guess the snail is guarding the door for someone else.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: