In late September, I traveled across the pond to the Netherlands for the first time. The trip was a 40th birthday present to myself. Perhaps more importantly, it was also a chance to meet multiple crocheters whom I had admired from afar. I’ve expounded on the virtues of social media elsewhere, but without it I would never have had the opportunity to meet so many talented and kind people so far away from home.
All-Star Crochet Lineup
Instagram has introduced me to master crocheter designers including Marianne Dekkers-Roos of MaRRose, Atty Van Norel of Atty’s Love for Crochet, Jose Dammers, Janneke Assinke of Jip by Jan, Wilma Westenberg of Wilmade, and Inez Goede of Goed Id Handwerk. Traveling to Amsterdam allowed me to actually meet these amazing women and even better, to crochet with them!
In addition to the designers, I also met up with two dear crochet friends, Gwen in Dordrecht, and Danielle in Schiedam. Over lunch, tea, and crochet, I got to know these lovely ladies and to peek into their parts of the world.
Not only did I get to meet a bevy of crochet artists, but I also got to visit beautiful yarn shops and to glimpse some gorgeous crochet scarves. The first stop I made, with Marianne and Atty, was to Stephen and Penelope, in the heart of the city’s labyrinth of narrow streets and canals.
After that, we visited a boutique that carried items designed by the inimitable Sophie Digard. I have long admired her work, and felt like pinching myself to make sure that I was actually touching these breathtaking scarves.
Later in the week, kind Marianne brought me to Echtstudio, a sort of yarn paradise that I’ve not yet come across in the US. Upon entering the bright, beautiful space, I nearly gasped in amazement at the sheer quantity of balls, skeins, and hanks in more colors than I have ever seen.
Marianne patiently waited while I filled a basket full of yarn to bring home with me (which necessitated buying another bag!). I was particularly taken with the cotton yarns by Yarn and Colors. To say that they came in a broad spectrum would be a massive understatement. I hurriedly (but lovingly) picked out an armful, which turned into my Tilt-A-Whirl Blanket upon my return home.
When I wasn’t busy swapping crochet tips or pattern ideas, I was out seeing the sights of Amsterdam. I took a canal tour, which I would imagine is high on the must-do list for all tourists. I was taken with the beautiful architecture (crooked as some of it might have been).
I also visited the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank House, which are probably right up there with the canal tours at the top of the list of Amsterdam tourist attractions.
I don’t consider myself a foodie, but I certainly like to eat. And I had plenty of opportunities to sample some incredible cuisine while in Amsterdam. The noisy and energetic Foodhallen was within walking distance of my hotel. I visited several small cafes that I happened upon while wandering through the streets of the city. (Okay, I got lost, more than once, but I eventually found my way to where I needed to go.) The crowning culinary event of my trip was a visit to an Indonesian restaurant in Amstelveen with Marianne, Janneke, and Inez. We indulged in the rijsttafel, or rice table, a Dutch adaptation of Indonesian cuisine. The food was plentiful and delicious; it was a meal I won’t soon forget.
adventures in crochet
Until this year, I never imagined I would travel halfway around the world to meet up with people I had met online. But that’s the beauty of the internet, and of the crochet community. Even though I had only ever interacted with the crocheters I named above online, sitting down with them to share a meal or yarn felt like connecting with old friends. As much as people decry the evils of social media, it’s opened up a whole new world full of wonderful people for me to explore.
Next stop on my worldwide crochet tour: Australia (I can dream, right?!)
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, which help to support my blog at no additional cost to you!