My name is Els Klaassen, and I live and work in Amsterdam. I have two sons and seven grandchildren. My grandchildren are currently all students. I started Dutch Winter Warmers when I was seventy years old. Throughout my career I’ve worked for a number of companies in a variety of functions and used to have my own art gallery in Amsterdam. Now I have my new knitting business! You’re never too old to set another goal or chase a dream, right?
I’ve been knitting for years. In the winter months I knitted jersey's, scarves and cardigans for family and friends. You can imagine how happy I was to knit for all the grandchildren when they came along! I didn’t use standard designs for my knitwear, but intricate and complex patterns I discovered while researching the origins of folklore knitting, and Scandinavian, Austrian, Irish and Dutch patterns. Knitting fascinates me!
I like beautiful things, art and design. The stereotypical image of a knitter is a grandmother in a rocking chair, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Knitting has been taken up by new practitioners and already occupies a special place in the world of fashion. Knitwear is not only unique it’s also fashionable and stylish.
The first things I made were fingerless gloves or, as I call them, handwarmers. But not just any old handwarmers. They had to be durable, made of beautiful wool and in natural colours – things that would make you happy and be worn with love.
My products are sustainability with beautiful Texel wool. I use wool’s glorious range of natural colours, from shades of gray and brown to white. Sometimes I’ll use one colour, sometimes a combination. The things I make are beautiful, functional and unique. I’m also currently working with Hindeloopen sitsen, traditional Dutch fabrics that were used for the distinctive traditional costumes worn in Hindeloopen and in other Dutch fishing villages.
I cannot knit alone anymore. That’s why I work together with other women of my age who also love to knit. It’s incredibly satisfying to make something that’s not only beautiful but also attracts interest. The design process alone - creating and making new designs with old and new patterns and fabrics – fascinates me.