A weekend in Amsterdam

Avertissement préalable : vous voyez le genre de personne vissée à son appareil photo, en particulier en vacances, qui immortalise chaque moment, jusqu’à prendre un cliché des toilettes des restaus ?

Warning: there are people who spend holidays literally behind their cameras, taking pictures at every second including toilets in a restaurant.

Well I am not exactly like that and given I do not have a smartphone I can’t really make up for my photo laziness. So my apologies this is not classic traveling post fraught with dozens of amazing pics.

 

 

A weekend in Amsterdam… Our accomodation option was a room at a family’s place via Airbnb. That is partly because budget hotels (well, around 80 euros per night for a double room with private bathroom) have rather annoying booking policies, either demanding that you should book at least three nights or Saturday AND Sunday nights.

 

We therefore spent two nights at a lovely family’s in iJburg, a large residential, family-friendly neighbourhood located on an artifical island with amazing modern architecture and parks, truly a nice and interesting urbanistic space – the weather was so great we even went to the iJburg beach!

 

iJburg island is ten minute away from the Centraal station via tram.

 

For another striking architectural experience, the Entrepotdok (Eastern neighborourhood) is the place to go – it consists in former warehouses turned into accomodation and offices by a lovely canal.

More generally speaking, walking about the Eastern part of Amsterdam is a good way to escape the crowded streets of the city centre. You can relax in the Oosterpark and/or drink a craft beer in the brewery by the De Gooyer Mill.

 

Of course we also went to the Red Light District and the Historic city centre. The former, although it is definitely a must-see, can become slightly tiresome due to the massive groups of noisy, intoxicated tourists, not to mention the aggressive cycling that makes the helpless pedestrian fear for their lives. In short, it is funny but slightly oppressive.

Still for the must-see visits/sights, we wanted to go to Rijksmuseum which attracts millions of tourists thanks to Rembrandt’s canvas (the Night Watch is like a Dutch Mona Lisa) and Vermeer’s, but the museum is full of surprises with a cool V&A musem twist (jewelry, doll houses (!)) and a XIXth century gallery where I discovered Isaac Israels’s paintings.

And of course, the Jordaan district complete with picturesque canals, lovely cafés and trendy shops is very agreeable walk in the city.

 

 

Couple of tips if you plan to visit

– Museums are expensive, even for permanent galleries, about 15 euros. There is an Iamsterdam pass which costs 40 euros which can be an option if you want to do several museums (which we did not because the weather was so nice).

– I was disappointed by the food offer: you should know that most restaurants are simply closed for lunch (when it’s cheaper to enjoy fine restaurants). People just go for eetcafés, but they can be pricey for random food quality.

Amsterdam has a Chinatown just by the Red Light District which is a decent option: during the weekend, we had dinner in a small Indonesien restaurant (THE exotic food in Holland), Bunga Mawar which has small selection of dishes, home-cooked food and cheap prices.

By the way, you don’t order tapwater in a Dutch restaurant, you pay for every drink.

 

 

 

So, Areyoumsterdam ?

Knitting in Amsterdam!

 

Hiya – or should I say Hallo, since I am about to tell you a few things about the weekend I have just spent in Amsterdam with my boyfriend.

I will write on our visits and experiences in a separate note, today I just wanted to give some helpful information for knitters going to Amsterdam.

 

 

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There are two main yarn/knitting supplies shops in Amsterdam, but I have only been to Penelope Craft, which is in a very nice, quiet street (Kerstraat 117), a stone’s throw from the Rijksmuseum – the ideal shopping place after having broadened one’s mind.

 

 

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The shop offers a wide range of gorgeous yarns, from local skeins (I will come back on this in a minute) to superstar yarns (Cascade, Madelintosh). The decoration of the place is very characteristic of indie yarn shops, with a Scandinavian touch and lovely knitted throws and amigurumis.

I particulary liked the “Unattented partners will get a beer and free WiFi” sign – only my boyfriend did not dare enter this place of knitting decadence and waited outside while I was doing my shopping.

 

In the end, I bought:

– Two skeins of hand-dyed yarn by Loret Karman – local Dutch stuff! Unfortunately, the shop was out of her Dutch Palettes, a collection of hand-dyed skeins made after Dutch paintings.

I picked unisex colours intending to knit a scarf for both my boyfriend and I to remind us of the weekend!

 

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– And a now traditional impulse buy, namely a skein of Danish tweed silk (BC Garn).

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The shop also has a weekly knitting group on Thursdays.

The other knitting shop is De Afstap, I have not been there but I read it had an impressive range of Rowan yarns beside Loret Karman hand-dyed skeins. It is very close from the lovely Jordaan district.

 

…Now who said that yarn was not exactly what I should have brought back from Amsterdam?

Stashbusting

Apologies for the short interruption of the blog, I have been rather busy and the two knitting projets I am currently working on are quite long and slightly tedious to make  (one is all 1×1 ribbing, the other consists of monochromatic granny squares).

But today, I wanted to deal with a very major knitting issue: stashbusting. Because, with food just like with yarn, it is not satisfying to only achieve grand projects: one has to skillfully cope with leftovers.

 

 

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Any knitter, crocheter or seamstress, any crafty person repeatedly faces this problem: the absolute necessity to get rid of remaining yarn balls, to bust their stash, in a word to clear the place and to stop stocking yarn – for a (little) while.

 

Why leftovers?

Two major causes account for this strange phenomenon. The first and the most obvious one is simply that it is impossible to foretell the exact amount of yarn that is needed for a specific project. Even if it was the case, because yarn is mostly sold in 50/100grs balls, some projects merely require and in-between length of yarn.

The problem is that beside this mathematical fatality of knitting, a lot of knitters actually make their cases worst by compulsively buying and stocking single balls of yarn for which it is eventually very hard to find a satisfying project.

 

Hence stashbusting.

 

a) Granny squares: a lot of knitters enroll in granny challenge to bust their stash by knitting a great deal of squares that will eventually turn into throws/blankets, bags, tops, pillowcases etc.

 

 

 

Of course, you’d better be into vintage design and gypsy fashion. But it is pretty cool.

 

b) Babywear: with one ball of slightly less than a ball, it is quite easy to make a baby hat or baby booties and anyway babies do not excatly mind gaudy clothing.

 

c) Les amigurumis : while amigurumis often need specific shades of yarn for the main body (flesh/fur), their clothing is completely up to you – who will complain should you decide to make an orange&purple&navy jumper for a doll?

*Also works for pieces of clothing for toys.

d) Generally speaking, stashbusting applies for all kind of accessories for which you do not feel too picky about colour palettes: slippers or headband for your gym workout or your skincare sessions.

 

Any other suggestion?