Yarn Shopping in the Red Light City

Amsterdam 1

I am a lucky girl. Andrew travels around the world for business from time to time, so I sometimes get to ‘tag along’ if the destination is attractive. Living in the UK at this time of the year makes most destinations look attractive! 

Andrew had a meeting in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago so I managed to convince him to let me be his travel assistant. As I become a yarn addict in winter, the first thing I did after he agreed was to Google yarn stores in Amsterdam. I knit and knit and knit until spring. Knitting keeps going beyond spring, but production takes much longer during warmer months as I have too many outdoor hobbies in summer. 

I found a few yarn stores which are right in the centre of Amsterdam, so I brought my mystery knit-along project bag (that’s for another blog), camera, iPad and iPhone with me. What else would I need in the big red light city? 

Oh boy, apart from ourselves, we brought our ‘perfect’ English weather to Amsterdam with us! I ended up not needing a camera because it was so wet to even take it out for a shoot. I should have bought an umbrella and a waterproof jacket. 

I got ready at a leisurely pace and had breakfast at the hotel. Then, with enthusiasm, I embraced the rain. First stop was Stephen & Penelope, I follow them on Instagram and always admire their yarns and projects. After walking in the rain accompanied by gale force winds, my first scheduled stop was no longer my first stop as I found they have moved to the other side of the city. It was in fact just one street behind my hotel. Typical! I decided to head to my second stop as it was kind of en-route back to the hotel/first stop. 

Stephen & Penelope moved!

I visited de Afstap. I must say, the photo on the web looks better than the store itself. The store mainly sells Rowan products so I was a little disappointed until I found the famous Crazy Zauberball! Crazy Zauberball is very hot in the sock knitting community right now. It is by Schoppel Wolle, a German yarn house. The yarn is created by two multi-coloured strands and produces the most amazing colour. Their selling point is that each sock will be unique with crazy moulin effect even for the simplest stockinette knitting. Quite a few UK yarn stores have run out of the colours I really want, so I got lucky and, as a further bonus, it was slightly cheaper with the pricing in Euros.

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At this point, I was already happy enough, so I was a bit more relaxed and took a few photos on the street, slowly heading towards my original first stop. 

The effort was not wasted. It was my dream come true when I arrived at Stephen and Penelope. It was bright, warm and colourful. The store lady was very friendly and spoke perfect English. As soon as she realised I came from the UK, she just let me take my time, touching and browsing every item in the store. We need more yarn stores like this in the world especially in Warwickshire!

There were a lot of modern knitting books that I have never come across in any local yarn stores. I recognised some of the editors, which are also on Ravelry. They also stock our infamous PomPom, a knitting magazine issued quarterly. The store stocks a lot of hand dyed yarns, which are mainly produced within the Continent. This is quite good for girls like me who are quite conscious of carbon footprint.  I got a lot of inspiration from the store. I spent nearly an hour just browsing the books. I bought a couple of books in the end:-

  1. The Knitter’s Book of Sock by Clara Parkes ; and 
  2. Knitting Fresh Brioch by Nancy Marchant. 

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I cannot wait to start one of the projects inside Nancy’s book! It is a very unique knitting technique where you create a scarf or shawl that is reversible. What a great find. 

It is always nice to get some goodies home. For me, sourcing local fabrics and yarns for projects gives me something to remember the trip by, and adds a little story to the garments. 

Get in touch if you are planning a trip to Amsterdam and would like some yarn shopping tips. I would love to hear from you. 

Happy knitting (or crocheting)!

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