At Aunty Olgitsa's house in Podvis

Just before we left the village for our return trip to Australia, we dropped into Strina Olgitsa's house to say goodbye. I had a terrible flu and her kitchen was lovely and warm, she had just baked fresh bread and was making large flat crepe like pastries. She lays each individual one on top of each other to make a layered pile. She calls them pitoolitsi and you eat them with drinking yogurt. The pile is cut in diamonds, so they're a bit like baklava without the nuts and syrup.

We were discussing weaving (of course) so she brought her special rugs in to show me. She had woven them when she was around 30 years old with her mother-in-law (my husband's baba). The yarn used was a heavy wool, commercially dyed black and red (favourite colours of macedonian weaving). The wool was obtained from the village sheep and carded and spun by the women. These inlaid designs are very common here and is the easiest way to get the preferred geometric shapes. Although the wool is heavy, it's surprising that the rugs have drape. It's akin to tapestry weaving but they're woven on low horizontal floor looms.

Olgitsa and Ali

The Ethnological Museum Skopje, Macedonia

If you visit Skopje then make sure you try and find this little Museum in the old part of town. It's a little out of the way but well worth the visit if you're interested in traditional costume and crafts. The exhibit shows the domestic crafts of early Macedonia and includes a lifestyle diorama of 'home life.' Absolutely beautiful handwoven and decorated aprons, head-dresses, kilims (rugs), and bags. The skills involved in creating these pieces are very impressive. The building is very dated and the lighting does, at times, make it difficult to see the detail of some of the items, but don't let that put you off.

Me snapping

Scarf Bazaar in Istanbul

The street bazaars in Istanbul are a must. I love Istanbul - the food, the colours, the weavings, and it's such an old, old place. To think you can walk down the same streets as Emperor Constantine did in the year 350. Beautiful crafted pieces abound in all sorts of fibres and skins. I've bought some beautiful handwoven pieces in this city and they're so inexpensive. Great value!

Scarf Bazaar