Buying Italian Needlework Supplies
I receive a lot of requests about where to buy certain Italian Needlework supplies. In most cases if I've blogged about something, I've usually included a link of where to get it in the post about it.
For example, on my Italian Needlework Library page, if the title is a link, it will take you to a post about that particular book with purchasing information contained in the post. Please note that unless otherwise stated, Italian needlework books are written in Italian. This means that there is no English language version available and I'm sorry that I can't translate books for you. I do not sell books, this page is my own personal book collection.
Please also note that the online store: Italian-Needlecrafts has now closed and is no longer operating. This means that links to it are broken. I am slowly updating my pages to correct this but your best bet is to search the online store: Tombolo Disegni for Italian needlework books.
The following online stores are recommended because they are the stores I use. I use them because they take either PayPal or credit card payments which is still not the norm in Italy whereas it is for other countries. I don't receive anything for the recommendation and I don't sell any needlework supplies.
Of course there are many other places to order from, these are my recommendations. I don't recommend stores outside of Italy as they are resellers and you will be paying higher prices because they have had to pay to have the items they are selling shipped from Italy. Essentially you are paying at least the shipping twice as well as a markup.
Some notes on shipping
Italy is Italy. Italians have other things to do and most needlework shops are the second or third job. Things take time... usually lots of time. Don’t be discouraged, be determined. If you don’t get a response within a week, email the same message again. And again. And again, until you get an answer. Be resigned to wait. And wait. The few shops I’ve mentioned here are usually very good about response/shipping time - if they have to order something in for you, they usually tell you ahead of time that it might take awhile. Try to remember that the hold up is not usually with them.
Italy does not live online like those of us in North America do. Email is not their first thought in the morning. Life is different in Italy, it's not like at home. Italians do not do business like North Americans, they do it like Italians! They have different holidays than us. Try not to stress out, things just move at a different pace.
Shipping is expensive! It’s not the seller marking things up... it’s the Italian Postal Service - a power unto it’s own. There’s no way around it. If you choose untracked, regular mail be prepared to sometimes wait months for stuff to arrive. In recent years the Italian postal service has raised their rates so high that they are killing online businesses. Who wants to order from Italy when you can order from England and sometimes not pay any shipping? Remember that what you are ordering you can not usually get anywhere else, it's not the merchant who is making a killing on the shipping, it's the postal service! Normally I can expect delivery in about three weeks but it is sometimes longer, rarely shorter.
Gianfranca speaks some English and has a lot of inventory as she also has a bricks-and-mortar shop. She travels quite a bit to sell at shows which can mean that you don’t get immediate responses to requests. You must send her an email with your order and she will send you a PayPal request. Remind her to put the contents in English (provide it for her!) on the face of the envelope or your stuff can get held up in customs. This shop is in a little out-of-the-way town so shipping can sometimes take longer. Gianfranca holds classes in her shop on various techniques and is herself a talented bobbin lacemaker and designer. Website in Italian.
Laura speaks English and has a good selection of threads and fabrics as she also has a bricks-and-mortar shop. This shop is near a big city so shipping is a little faster. Laura holds classes in her shop on various techniques and is herself a very talented embroiderer. Website in Italian.
This is mainly a cross stitch and quilting online store but that means they have a good selection of threads and fabric. Website is available in English, French or Italian.
Mani di Fata
This online store sells the magazines they publish and also pattern books and supplies like thread, yarn, fabric and accessories. Website is available in English, Spanish or Italian.