Amsterdam … plus yarn shopping at Stephen & Penelope!
Amsterdam is certainly well known for many different things .. the fabulous grachten, the “coffeeshops”, art and architecture .. and yarn-shopping, at least among us knitters!
We spent some wonderful two weeks in Northern Holland, Harleem, staying at a cute, little house with an impossibly steep staircase. There were so many highlights, so many great day trips and visits. And one of them was certainly our trip to Amsterdam, just a quick 20 minutes train ride from Haarlem.
I have never been to Amsterdam before, just saw the usual pictures here and there … The city is absolutely lovely, stunning, there is so much to see and do! As it was a very hot day and the family already quite a bit tired from the beginning, we decided to get to know Amsterdam on a canal tour. Good decision!
Those “grachten” are so beautiful, the story behind it amazing and awe-inspiring. To think, building an entire city on swamp, using wooden piles to stabilize it! I especially liked the story about how many wooden piles were used to build the Royal Palace: as many as the days of the year, with a 1 in front and a 9 at the end - 13659. And that was in 1655….!
Having always been into architecture, it was delightful to see those beautiful house fronts along the Grachten. Did you know that taxes used be set by how wide your house was?! This is why many of them feature a very narrow front, but go up high and as deep as possible. So to show your wealth, your one remaining option was to adorn the roof of your house with an elaborate gable… love it!
But one of the more important stops for me was “Stephen and Penelope”, the yarn shop by Malia (not Penelope!) and Stephen West! And I had been sent there with a mission as well, to get one special exlusive colourway of hand-dyed Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn… mission accomplished, as you’ll see later! I spent so much time in that lovely shop, delighting in all the different yarn brands, knitting patterns and books on display. And I’m glad to have two such wonderful girls who didn’t mind me spending so much time there - they went on their own search of which skein to get!
What a beautiful selection of Malabrigo and Madelintosh. Lots and lots of Quince yarn, which I absolutely adore and which fills up my non-Siidegarte yarn stash quite a bit (.. so many Quince projects in my queue, oh my… ).
Like every knitter, I LOVE getting more yarn, filling my stash up just a little bit more -- finding and getting this very special skein. But, as a yarn dyer .. well, there’s quite a supply already at home, so usually some good sense kicks in - and I get sock yarn. Because I don’t (yet!) have any sock yarn in my yarn base line-up…
So, it was to be two skeins of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn, one as a gift for a dear friend, the other was Taminas choice. Very typical colour choice for her - she's the wild one in the family, no doubt!!
I got myself two skeins of sock yarn, on a beautiful Hedgehog in *my* colours, the other one …. - unsurprisingly, again in my colours…
There was one special brand of sock yarn, I have never heard of it before: Onion, a Danish company. The mix of their sock yarn is quite unusual, merino and nettle! It’s not hand-dyed yarn, but beautiful and unusual, so I got myself a few skeins. And Eneas did as well, I was lucky enough to steer him towards that brand - a bit easier on the budget - and not the Hedgehog or Madlintosh ones. It is always so funny to see this cute little man walk through the yarn stores with so much composure and just a bit of self-importance, to listen to his knowledgeable comments and remarks - hilarious, to be honest! He picked a green and blue of the nettle sock yarn, and the first sock is already finished, exactly to his very precise requests.
And yes, before you have to ask: I did see Stephen West. But he was in such a rush, getting a suitcase out and still posing with a few fan girls in the shop, I just waved a quick hello and let him run off. It was certainly nice to see him in his “home shop” though!