When I first learned to knit (I was wee!), I would work with whatever yarn my mom or grandma or aunt would give me out of their leftovers. Given that I was mostly knitting Barbie blankets or sleeping bags or teeny little scarfs, just about anything worked and I didn't need a whole lot of it for any one project.
As a more grown up knitter (one with some funds and mobility, at least), I would decide to make something, find a pattern I liked, then find yarn that would work with it at Michael's or Len's Mill or Lewiscraft (remember them?). I would buy just enough yarn for the project with I hoped less than a full skein leftover. My pile of yarn leftovers and the occasional full skein grew. But still, it wasn't a "stash" -- the yarn was more the means to an end.
I've started to look at yarn differently now. Getting in touch with my inner fibre-Gollum. More often, I find myself falling in love with the yarn, buying it, and then figuring out what it wants to be. I'm starting to understand those who have ridiculous yarn hoards that they'll never use and yet they keep adding to. I'm determined not to become one of them, but I get the impulse, I really do.
On our recent trip to Holland, I ventured in to a couple of lovely yarn shops.
In Amsterdam, Stephen & Penelope at Nieuwe Hoogstraat 29 was a gem of a place, just a block or so away from the not-so-family-friendly areas many tourists associate with Amsterdam. The service was friendly and relaxed. The lady working in the store was astute too; she immediately provided The Dave and the kids with the Wifi password and ensured they were comfy so I could browse in a relaxed fashion. Genius.
And in Voorburg, Wollig at Herenstraat 95 offered more treasures. I was very glad to stumble on this place--actually, The Dave stumbled on it and told me about it--because I hadn't realized there was a LYS so close to where we were staying. Their Web presence is pretty much exclusively Dutch, which is why I didn't find it in advance. Service was fluently bilingual and they carried some patterns and books in English as well.
My rules for purchase:
- It needed to speak to me (look at me, touch me, love me)
- I needed to be pretty sure I couldn't get it at home
As you can see from the nice little pile in the picture, NO PROBLEM. A bunch of skeins, different weights and colourways. Some from Holland, some from Germany, and a couple of delights from Ireland. None to my knowledge carried by any local stores here. And a beautiful book about traditional Dutch fishing sweater ("gansey") making, with information about what the various motifs mean and how to achieve them.
No defined plans for any of these treasures yet, but soon my pretties...