We moved to Bos en Lommer, Amsterdam just over 5 years ago, mere weeks before I gave birth to my little girl, so we discovered the neighbourhood as new parents...aka sleep deprived and slightly overwhelmed.
Bos en Lommer is a residential neighbourhood in the west of Amsterdam, a diverse and ever-changing area within the famous and beautiful city I am proud to call home. You can find Bos en Lommer adjacent to the bottom of the lovely Westerpark and around the smaller but family friendly Erasmuspark.
I discovered the cafes surrounding my new home on those initial blurry eyed pram pushing walks, desperate for caffeine and a friendly face and luckily, I found them, often tempting me with delicious pastries alongside my hot drink order.
Eventually I was successfully convinced by my husband to start taking some time out and actually sit in the cafes and knit, to enjoy some time on my own and help me start bridging the gap between who I was pre-parenthood and who I was now. With my familiar and self soothing knitting and a chai latte to accompany me, each visit was blissful and felt sacred and restorative.
I have, and continue to teach beginner knitting lessons in some of these cafes, and continue to head to them for, rare but gorgeous, solo knitting dates. This year, being back to teaching knitting lessons in person alongside my online knitting classes, I thought it was time to share some of my favourite cafes to knit in, in case you find yourself in Bos en Lommer with your knitting and some time to savour.
Why Knit in a Cafe?
Taking time away from your home environment and domestic responsibilities for personal time aka not work related activities, is really important. If you are anything like me, it can often be hard to relax at home when you keep thinking about the washing, dishwasher, bathroom, cooking etc etc. Finding a relaxed and friendly local cafe that serves a quality beverage (and maybe even a cake or two) and makes you feel comfortable to be in your own company can be a real head cleanser. When you add in some knitting, which is proven to regulate breathing, clear your mind and help you gently explore your creativity, then you have hit the self care jackpot.
Personally, I enjoy hearing the hustle and bustle around me in cafes, the odd moment of people watching and just being quiet with my knitting and my breathing. Plus having someone check whether you need a drink or snack is always enjoyable...
You may worry that knitting in public would make you noticeable to others and draw lots of attention, I find the opposite to be true. Knitting in a cafe seems to allow me to blend in and the lack of attention creates a sense of space around me that can feel quite centered and peaceful.
Of course not every cafe will afford you the perfect knitting environment, but the ones I am recommending below, do.
What Do I Look For in a Cafe to Knit In?
A Tempting Menu - obviously you want to enjoy what the cafe has to offer, whether that is a special tea or coffee or a signature cake. I cannot claim knitting is hard work, but we all appreciate a treat for our creative efforts don't we?
Good Lighting - you do need to be able to see your knitting. You don't want harsh, strip lighting but equally, that dark, ambient type lighting that some cafes opt for is just not going to be a good knit fit.
Relaxed Staff - people at the cafe who are happy to check on you and your refreshment needs but are not going to harass you should your knitting make you a slower sipper than usual. Here in Amsterdam, the service can be quite hands off, annoying if you are in a rush but perfect if you want to be left to take your own, gently paced knitting or even reading time.
Comfortable Seating - ideally you want to be able to sit back, let your shoulders drop and truly relax as you knit. Tension in your upper body is going to travel into your hands and make your knitting less enjoyable. A good sofa, cushioned bench, armchair or just comfortable hard back chair is definitely a necessity for me.
A Good View - not essential but being able to people watch, whether that be your fellow cafe patrons or the world outside from a window, is always a bonus. Personally, I like to take in my surroundings as I knit in a cafe and feel like I am taking a small step out of my day to day responsibilities rather than feeling fully isolated.
Should the idea of knitting in a cafe appeal to you, but you are yet to learn how to knit, or maybe want to brush up on your rusty knitting skills, check out my Knitting Lessons. You can join one of my group classes or learn online with me in a 1:1 setting or follow my pre-recorded beginner knitting lessons and learn on a schedule that suits you best - maybe even in a cafe!
My Favourite Bos en Lommer, Amsterdam Cafes (all linked):
A multi purpose companion space to the art gallery nearby. The walls often feature new artists and photographers and the atmosphere is always relaxed. You can have a delicious dinner or lunch here, enjoy cocktails or, as I do, knit in a cosy, well lit corner anytime of the day with a range of great drinks to choose from. I teach in this cafe and have done for years, the owners are lovely and friendly and seem to enjoy all forms of creativity in the space they host. Despite being relatively large with views of the bicycle packed street or the newly landscaped garden to choose from, there is always a nook to settle into and enjoy a good, undisturbed knitting session.
P.S. The chocolate chip cookies are divine, especially if you are lucky to time an order with a batch fresh out of the oven.
Run by the lovely Hakan, this gorgeous Bos en Lommer cafe serves some serious beverage treats. My go to for a delicious Matcha outside of my home and I know from my coffee drinking friends that the rest of the menu options are great. Everything is so beautifully considered and tasteful from the menu to the mugs and cups the drinks are served in. The cafe is 2 sides of huge windows so you are always guaranteed good light and you will be both welcomed and left in peace to knit to your heart's content. Plus they have a loyalty card to add more encouragement to treat yourself to a regular cafe knitting session.
3. The Abbey
Such a lovely local spot for a drink, hot chocolate or incredible dinner, we are so delighted to have The Abbey in our neighbourhood. With comfy booths available on a quiet afternoon or a perfect people watching window seat, this cafe, bar and restaurant is a great knitting spot. I like to come here for a re-centering knit and fresh mint tea before being joined by a friend for a chat over a glass of wine. The staff are lovely, the menu very tempting, good light and great buzz. Definitely a firm favourite on my local knitting spot list.
More of a theatre and community creative space, Podium Mozaiek offers everything with a great restaurant and during the day and afternoon, a lovely quiet cafe atmosphere. With comfy seats in corners or out in the middle of it all, you are certain to find a delicious juice or hot drink and be left in peace to knit to your heart's content. They even have a collection of toys and kids books should you have a little person in tow. And should all that knitting work up an appetite, don't miss out on the mezze dishes on offer. The hummus is fantastic.
Having a Knit Emergency?
In Bos en Lommer, Amsterdam but missing knitting needles, stitch markers or even yarn? No problem, luckily we have our very own Local Yarn Shop (LYS) right here in the neighbourhood. Head to Wolboetiek Sylvia (Bos en Lommerweg 226) for all your knitting kit needs, open every day bar Sundays.
Fancy Sharing Your Favourite Knitting Cafe?
Do you have a favourite cafe to knit in, either here in Amsterdam or wherever you are based? Would you mind sharing it in the comments so others can find them too whether they are visiting the area or also live nearby?
Maybe you have had your eye on a particular local cafe and been planning to head there for some knitting time either on your own or with a friend, I hope this blog post encourages you to go for it. I would love to hear how the experience was for you.
Looking for Something Easy to Knit in a Cafe?
Sign up to my newsletter, The Loop and get a free Beginner Knitting Pattern Bundle in your inbox instantly. 5 easy, beginner friendly knitting projects ranging from scarves, cushion covers and blankets. So grab your knitting needles and yarn, head out the door and treat yourself to some responsibility free, creative time.
PIN it for later
If you need any knitting tips, guidance or support check out my free Knitting TIPS page or book a Personal Project Session with me and together we can break your knitting pattern down (while also recording the session) and get you knitting with confidence and joy.