Slovenia was special.
I’ll be up front about the fact that before we started planning this trip, I didn’t know that much about Slovenia (even having lived in a bordering country, Hungary, for a year). A small country on the Adriatic Sea, sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, it has a population of just over two million people. It’s mostly mountainous, and there’s a lot of forested territory. We entered the country from the Italian side, as we were coming from Venice, and as it was a clear day, we had beautiful sweeping views of the snow-capped Julian Alps the entire time.
And then we got to Ljubljana. We were utterly charmed by this city, and I think it would be hard not to be, especially when it’s all lit up for Christmas. The center of the town is the historical center, full of cobblestone streets and bridges criss-crossing the Ljubljanica river. I’ve been fortunate to see some pretty spectacular lit-up-for-Christmas city centers in Europe in my life, but Ljubljana’s was unlike any I’d seen before. Mostly forgoing the typical snowflakes, bells, horns, and traditional holiday imagery, many of Ljubljana’s holiday lights were astronomy, math, or art/design themed. My very favorite was probably the street full of shooting stars, pictured above.
I also managed to find what I later learned was the only commercially-made yarn in Slovenia – made by Soven (website in Slovene only). Not purely a yarn company, Soven deals in a wide range of woolly industries, and carry not just their yarns in the store but also a selection of knitted goods (both hand knits and machine knits), a variety of bedding materials, wool insulation for construction, and more. Quite a different type of company than I’m used to interfacing with! I spent the most time looking at the yarn, of course, which came in a range of solid colors, both dyed and undyed, as well as a selection of marled yarns. I kind of fell in love with this pink/cream melange above.
I commented on Instagram that there seemed to be a lot of knitters/crocheters/weavers around, and put out a general call for information on Slovenian textiles. A Ravelry member sent along a very sweet message with some info, particularly on the lace-making tradition (thanks Neža!), which had caught my eye. If you’re interested in lace, I recommend checking out this link on Idrijan lace that Neža sent along. It’s bobbin lace, not knitted lace, but it’s incredible beautiful and the lace school in Idrija has operated continuously since 1876, which I think is quite a feat. I’d still love to hear suggestions of links or texts to check out on Slovenian textiles, and welcome suggestions in the comments!