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A very lovely store. People are very friendly and helpful, and the people who work there seem to be very happy to work there and get along very well.
Great wool selection for the Netherlands, a lot of yarns that you can't get in Amsterdam, as listed above. It looks like it might be only sewing machines from the outside, but if you look a little further, you see the wool collection. Nice selection of sock yarn, from German Zitron trekking, to Colinette to Noro Sock and Noro Sock Silk Blossom. Also they carry Drops yarns, mostly the Eskimo and Alpaca. The stock was low on the Eskimo, but it's July!
If you're in Amsterdam, it may seem far away to go for wool shopping, but the town of Hoorn is quite beautiful, and worth a stroll beyond the main shopping street. Also, the best appeltaart of 2009 is located there (as rated in the Volkskrant).
It's located on the water, so there are many spots to sit and have a drink overlooking a harbour, or water, which is quite peaceful on a nice day. I was there yesterday (04/07/09) and the weather was outstanding, so I'm a bit biased. I might not be so effusive if it had been the typical Nederlands weather!
The Afstap is a nice little shop, but it has its pluses and minuses. The selection is very focused on Rowan and the RYC brand yarns, with minimal stocking of alternates. I get the impression that they are aiming at the high end boutique knitter who can afford to spend €10 + on a ball of yarn. Usually when I've asked for help on a project, I've pointed to the more expensive Rowan yarns, even if a cheaper substitute might be available. It may to boost sales, or that they have a sales relationship with Rowan to push their yarns.
The shop itself is clean and well organized and very centrally located.
The customer service is here and there, if they're busy with someone they may ignore you for a while, but in my recent experiences, the staff has made an attempt to say hello, ask you if you need help at least once or twice. Probably because they've been burned on several websites for ignoring customers. It seems that they are making an effort.
What a mess!! It's a totally disorganized store, but it's the only place in Amsterdam that I have found Phildar yarns. They also have a decent selection of yarns, also Lana Grossa, as mentioned previously. If you have a pattern, and you know what you're looking for (cotton blend, wool, weight, etc), just go ask for help right away. There's no sense in browsing, the shop is a mess, and bags of yarn are piled everywhere. They will help you out no problem.
The neighbourhood is mildly interesting. It's outside of Amsterdam center center, and tends towards middle eastern/Turkish cafes and bakeries. If you're coming from out of town, I wouldn't make this a must see. It's a "I can't get out of town to go to a nice place, so I'll settle for this one, because I can take a tram there".
I love this store! They must hate me because I love browsing in there, and rarely buy anything. However, it is my go to gift shop.
They are not a knitting shop, but they do have a wall of Manos of Uruguay at the back, 100% wool and Silk Blend. A random selection of Bamboo needles as well. If I'm looking to knit a scarf, I'll buy my manos from them. The two owners are also really nice people and quite friendly.
Really nice shop, but caters more to the crafter, rather than specifically the knitter. But even so, they have some nice Phildar yarns, knitting needles (dpns, straights and circular). Lots of clover accessories. They have some Dutch yarns. They have supplies more geared toward smaller projects, but if you're in luck, they may have enough for a sweater. If you have a specific project in mind, they will be happy to order the yarn for you.
They do have a great selection of Phildar pattern books in Dutch, and some other crafting books (amigurumi books in English - Yay!).
The staff is friendly and helpful. They also have a nice table at the front for people to work on their projects. A very cheerful place in the East part of the 'Dam, and one block away from the Oosterpark.
If you're visiting from out of town, you could plan a cycle route along the Amstel and then take a left on Eerste Oosterparkstraat and then right on Kastenjeweg. It will be on the first corner to your right.
I visited Modilaine on a Saturday afternoon. It seemed like a very nice, friendly store. They stock Phildar, Lana Grossa, Rowan, and Gedifra, and probably more. A little but of everything. A really good selection of pattern books, but the Phildar ones are all in Dutch. Some English Language knitting magazines, such as Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting (or Designer Knitting as it's known over here), and original publications in English. Unfortunately, nothing out of the way that really was exciting to me, no indie dyers, and that sort of thing. They don't stock everything from each line, but the standbys from Rowan, and others. A nice shop, but nothing really mind-blowing if you're used to the selection in the States.