Knitting in Amsterdam

17 May 2007

On Monday morning, I took the bullet train to Brussels, met my girlfriend there for lunch, as you do, then went on to Amsterdam. Knitting through three countries in the course of a few hours is just one of the many reasons to love living in Europe.

My London knitting friend, Loba, told me about a knitting group in Amsterdam. I was so excited to meet up with this group. So, once I got settled into my hotel room in Amsterdam, I took a nice stroll past the many canals in the town...

...and walked through little side streets with seventeenth century buildings of an architecture definitely not of the British persuasion...

...and on my way to the knitting group, I was astonished to see so many bikes. Bikes everywhere, often not even locked, which is so cool and really says something about the town.

Finally, I arrived at Cafe de Jaren, at Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22, which was a nice cafe, knitting or no knitting. I looked around for knitters but found none. I asked the waitress and she, like most Dutch, spoke perfect English. She said that the knitters are always here, every Monday night. She advised me to go to the bar and wait. She would give me a sign when knitters arrived.

Now it's not really in my nature to hang out in bars alone. But I went to the bar, ordered a glass of vino, and suddenly people started talking to me. Maybe it was the bar, maybe it was the Dutch, maybe it was the knitting needles sticking out of my handbag, but people were very friendly. Which was so cool.

After thirty minutes, the waitress gave me the international sign (she moved her hands as if she were knitting with invisible knitting needles), and I joined the big table of knitters.

Now this is what I love about knitting! You can go anywhere, to any country, and knitters suddenly have a common bond. Even if you don't speak the same language, you can still communicate. It's just so cool.

Everybody was so friendly and welcoming. There were about eight knitters there, all working on different, interesting projects, including the Knitty turtle and, not an ipod sock but rather a little knitted condom carrying case, which somehow I thought was an interesting introduction to knitting in Amsterdam.

Being the square that I am, I was knitting my toe-up argyle sock, which I later found was an impossible task.

The next day I ventured out to find the (apparently) one and only knitting shop in Amsterdam, the de Afstap, at Oude Leliestraat 12. It looked like a nice shop, but unfortunately it was closed. Through the window, though, I could see two lace shawls knitted up in KSH, and a couple Kaffe Fasset sweaters hanging up. I would have liked to have checked out the store; I'm always on the lookout for interesting new yarns and things.