A huge step towards making the Netherlands my home is finding 'those' places that eventually become favourite spots to hang out, shop or visit... And friends, I have already found a goodie! It is always a little daunting being the new kid in town, but with that also comes the excitement of exploring a place for the first time and I did just that, by jumping on the bus (and then metro) and heading into the city of Rotterdam.
After already making friends online thanks to our mutual passion for hand made items, I headed straight for the best wool shop in town Ja Wol, belonging to my new friend and knitting mentor Saskia of Sas Knits It Again, and I was not disappointed!
Being a creative minx and Jack of all trades, Sas happened upon her gorgeous store following a life time love of knitting and everything involved in this woolly world of wonders. Learning many of her skills (and trust me, there's loads!) from her beloved grandmother, she embarked on a career in marketing and communications in the music industry, indulging in her hobby during her down time, never knowing what fantastic opportunities lay just around the corner for her. Several years and an adorable family later Saskia finds herself lady of the manor, owning her own hive of creativity and production, selling all manner of treasures, including yarns and all tools needed to knit, crochet or embroider yourself silly, books, buttons and even ready to go kits for beginners to advanced crafters.
Ja Wol, situated in a seriously design-cool street in Rotterdam, holds home to workshops and lessons, as well as brilliant and warm hearted advice and truly hilarious and fantastic conversation. Sas herself was incredibly welcoming, taking me under her wing and providing me with a sanctuary to visit any time, quickly becoming the first strand of friends/ contacts of my own (out side my comfort zone of Dutch family).
The workshops are suited to all level of crafters, taught by wonderfully friendly people in an easily understandable way. If you head over here you can see a huge selection of some of the finished items made by the gang, and get a great idea of the range of classes available.
If you find yourself in the area you really truly must pay the lovely ladies here a visit, stop by for a coffee and a chat and treat yourself to a ball of wool or two (good luck deciding which to take home, I must have paced up and down the shop 65 times before finally choosing!)
The friendliest place to indulge in some knitting nerdiness, full to the brim with colourful choice, talented folk and maybe even a biscuit or two!
I can't wait to pop back in for some more supplies and to visit my newest of pals. The only trouble is deciding what to make first, with my lovely new yarns!
Have you found any great new craft suppliers, independent shops or market stalls holding the best hand made treasures around? What new hobbies or crafts have you decided to explore lately?