Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Amsterdam and a Dead Phone!

When Olive told me that she had booked her trip, I immediately got online and started plotting out yarn shops.  I have been to 1 of the yarn shops in Amsterdam but I also found another one on Ravelry when I did a yarn shop search (under yarns). 

With a little help from Google maps, I plotted these 3 shops to visit:  de Afstap, Kitsch Kitchen and Penelope Crafts on my normal, “old school” folds out map.  Yup, I did not use any GPS advice and we didn’t have to ask for directions!

De Afstap:  it’s a small cozy store located in the Gray Area of Amsterdam.  (I just like knowing that there is a neighborhood called “the Gray Area” because everything in our home is always black and white and hardly ever gray).  De Afstap sells mainly Rowan yarns but also has other brands as well.  But the really nice surprise is the big collection of knitting and crocheting books and as well as magazines.  Most are written in English but there several written in Dutch as well.  The shop also sells a nice assortment of buttons and accessories and a great selection of knitting needles.  I left the store after purchasing the book called Classic Elite Knits, a hat by Kate Davies called Peerie Flooers and of course the yarn to go with this pattern (Rowan Fine Tweed).
Olive goofing around in front of de Afstap!  
Kitsch Kitchen is just a fun shop to see.  In Arnhem, Brassa carries several things from Kitsch Kitchen but I didn’t know that there was a whole shop dedicated solely to Kitsch Kitchen in Amsterdam (hence, the name).  They make a wonderful assortment of small and large bags and other odd items like bicycle seat covers to diaper bags all out of bright colored Mexican oilcloth.  Olive had stumbled across this store on one of her previous trips with her boys; however, the shop was closed.  So we added this non-yarn shop to our day out shopping in Amsterdam.  I bought a new carry-on bag for when I while travel to the US and scored a Hawaiian hula girl for The Shaker.  He has always wanted one and Kitsch Kitchen had it!  He was very happy that we bought him a gift.
When you are looking at the map of Amsterdam, the city is shaped like an upside down letter “U.”  So when looking at the map and holding it with Amsterdam Central train station at our backs, we had started off on the right side of the city.  We had been to 2 places on the right-hand side of the city and now we had to walk about 15 to 20 minutes from the Kitsch Kitchen store to the Penelope’s Crafts located over in the Leidseplein area of the city.  We walked along Prinsegracht heading towards Leidseplein.  There were many fun shops along this street to see:  a store that sells hand-painted Delft ware (new and antique), jewelry shops, men and women’s clothing and other unique shops to see.  There was also a really nice vintage vinyl record shop where my phone died!

Hand made felted products from Kazakstan on Prinsegracht

My homage to Michael Connelly's character Harry Bosch
The Shaker's Hula Girl
Now I should tell you that I live cannot live without my mobile phone.  I have a Blackberry and when Olive and I are not together we communicate through the BBM feature on our Blackberries.  I usually have it fully charged. When I left my house in the morning, I had 3 bars left on my battery. So I am snapping pictures with my phone and posting some photos on Facebook to our friends, but I still had battery power, well, when we got in front of the vintage vinyl record shop, I went to take a picture of Olive in front of the store for one of her sons, when the phone died.  I have now learned the importance of having phone number written down on a piece of paper and placed in my wallet for situations like this arise. So I am sorry I have no photo of us at Penelope Crafts.   

Penelope Crafts is located on a side street off of Leidsekriusstraat among several international restaurants.  Now for my fellow Americans who live abroad and are missing their American hamburger (like me), The Hard Rock Café is located about a 5 to 7 minute walk from Penelope Crafts.  But if I was working at Penelope’s I would be constantly hungry because the smells on this street were just amazing.  We went in and met the owner, who is an American, named Malia. She has a great cozy shop.  A nice comfy area for you to sit and knit or to relax while someone is shopping.  She has some Amy Butler fabrics and patterns, knitting books, and of course, yarn, mainly, Cascade Yarns.  I left her shop with 8 skeins of Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn to make Ann Budd’s Cambridge Jacket for The Shaker.

This is where Olive’s influence has really come in while visiting us. I know that I usually just make hats, scarfs and socks for The Shaker and no one has asked why until Olive showed up.  Olive: “Hey, why haven’t you knitted a sweater for The Shaker yet?” Me: “Because you haven’t been truly shopping with that man and seen how picky he is about the cut of the sweater or the color.”  So we were out shopping with him the previous weekend and she saw first hand about how picky he really can be.  But that didn’t stop her like it did me.  No, she came home and looked at my pattern books and sat The Shaker down with a few choices.  He said that he liked the look of the Cambridge Jacket; if I knitted it he would wear it (which he wears everything I knit – he’s just that way).  Now when we were in Penelope Crafts I called him to tell him that the phone died and to ask him what color would he like the Cambridge Jacket?  Now get this!  He said, we could choose the color!  Talk about pressure!  We liked the Delft royal blue color, the grape juice purple color and then the heather purple color.  We choose the color with what he usually wears with his store bought sweaters, light blue.  We picked the heather purple … and The Shaker liked it!

The Martini Knitter

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