Sunday, March 30, 2014


This past month has been spent swatching.  I made a baby hat yesterday, but really I haven’t actually completed anything of substance in so long and I’m aching for a full knit - something I can do from start to finish - from design concept to knitting to pattern creation.  I’ve been working on design concepts for lots of secret things, but I do have something I’m excited to share that’s no secret.

At the end of May, my husband and I are headed off to Northern Europe for a month-long trip that will include riding our bicycles around the Netherlands and Denmark, camping, and looking at lots of yarn, textiles, and art.  Of course this is really exciting in lots of ways, but it’s also a perfect excuse for me to make myself the perfect touring sweater.

I generally think that wool is the best fiber for active pursuits in chilly weather, though I’ll admit I do wear bike shorts (under my wool jersey skirt) and a technical rain jacket in heavy downpours.  For most things, though, wool is more comfortable, warming, breathable, and water resistant than technical fabrics, not to mention being less likely to hold onto odors.  In woolen spun form, it can also be incredibly lightweight for its warming ability.  So of course, rather than bringing along a synthetic fleece for those early morning rides and evenings around the campfire, I’m going to make sweater that’s exactly what I want.

It didn’t take much thought for me to decide on Brooklyn Tweed Loft as the perfect yarn.  Since we’ll be traveling by bicycle, I’ll be hauling every piece of clothing and gear that I bring along.  So I want the lightest sweater I can get.  Loft, as a woolen spun yarn, weighs almost nothing, but it blooms beautifully into a cohesive fabric that’s quite cozy.  It also comes in an incredible palette of colors.

In order to decide on which colors I wanted, I really just looked in my closet.  I tend to wear leggings with skirts as my everyday outfit, so I wanted a sweater that would match as many of my skirts as possible, while still being sort of bright and bold.  Bright colors (particularly orange) put me in a good mood, so I like to have a colorful wardrobe.  The purple-y navy, Old World would go will all of my skirts, so that’s going to be my main color.  But with so many great colors, I wanted to have color work, so I picked Embers, a rich rusty orange, and Woodsmoke, a very pale taupe, to go along.   

And here’s my first swatch!

Since I’ll be biking in this sweater, it’s important that it’s good for layering, so I’m going for an oversized fit with drop shoulders.  I really prefer a loose fit when I’m riding my bike since it helps keep the sweater from getting stinky too quickly, and there’s nothing worse than felted underarms.  To add to the versatility, I’m going for a cardigan, which will allow me to open it up for venting or button it up to keep out the chill.  I'm actually a bit ambivalent about this, as I tend to wear pullovers more and am generally more drawn to making them, but a cardigan seems like the practical choice.  What do you all think? Cardigan or pullover?

This is my cardigan concept and I have to say, it has me pretty excited.

I’m calling it Dutch in honor of our main country of travel, and, after finishing the sketch, I realized that my colors are sort of sophisticated versions of the colors in the Dutch flag, making it even more perfect!

I’ll be working on this in the coming months and publishing it after I get back from my trip.  I’ll be logging my progress here, so check back to see how it goes!

I’m also currently running a test for a different cardigan - check out the call for testers in my Ravelry group.


  1. Since you'll be riding a bike and the wind will often be in your face, if you want to keep warm when it gets chilly, I'd go with a two way zipper. :-)

    1. That's a good point! A zipper would probably be easier to deal with than buttons while riding.

  2. That's right: orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family so you can't go wrong there! :-)


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