Monday, May 19, 2014

Netherlands, Here I Come!

I mentioned a few posts back that my husband and I were planning a trip to the Netherlands, and now the time has almost come!  In just a week, we'll be piling our gear on our bikes and heading to Amsterdam.


I've been planning what to pack and even though I'm generally a light packer, this will be my most minimalist trip ever.  We'll be traveling by bike with just two rear panniers each, for a total of 40L of gear capacity per person.  (That's about what fits in a carry-on suitcase.)  The only thing that will be traveling outside those two packs is my sleeping bag, which I'll admit is a bit large and luxurious.  (I'll carry that on the rear rack between the panniers.)  

Of course, the first thing I thought about when planning my packing list was, "What kind of woolens will I need?"  Since I'm traveling in June, you might think that I don't need much in the way of hand knits, but I know I tend to get chilly at night and in the early morning when I'm camping, even at the height of summer.  And besides, it was the perfect excuse to knit myself a new wardrobe!

If you read my "Dutch" post, you know I decided on a colorful sweater in Brooklyn Tweed Loft.  That's because I wanted a very lightweight sweater that would also be warm.  Loft is a fingering weight woolen spun wool, so it makes a toasty cardigan that doesn't take up much room or weigh me down.  I also expected to need:

  1. 1. A thin, light hat that could fit comfortably under my helmet, but still keep me warm

  2. 2. Fingerless mitts - I don't usually wear these while I'm riding, since I prefer gloves that provide a good grip and protect my hands.  Instead, I like these for off the bike getting prepped or just walking around.

  3. 3. A very soft and light cowl buff.  To keep down bulk and weight, I wanted the kind that's a simple tube that you pull over your head.

  4. 4. A vest that could keep my core warm without being bulky under my sweater or making me too hot

I also thought a pair of hand knit socks would be great, but I didn't quite get around to them.  Next time.

And here's what I came up with!

My Dutch Cardigan:

Richting, a hat also made from Brooklyn Tweed Loft in the colors Woodsmoke and Sap for an accent:

A coordinating set of fingerless mitts and cowl, made with Anzula Cloud, a gentle 2-ply MCN fingering:

And a very clean and simple vest made with a stunning rusty orangey-red color of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock called Henna:

Now that all my knits are made, I'm feeling much more prepared.  All of the designs above will eventually be patterns, but it won't be until after I get back from my trip.  If you'd like to test any of these patterns, keep an eye out on my Ravelry group, Facebook, and Twitter for the testing announcements. 

The whole trip is, of course, a big adventure, but one thing I'm very much looking forward to is visiting Penelope Craft, an Amsterdam yarn shop that I've been told is wonderful!  I'm bringing some samples for a trunk show and I'll be at the shop on June 1.  If you're in Amsterdam, I'd love to meet you!  Keep an eye out for more details.

I'm hoping to post blog entries and lots of Instagram photos while we're traveling so you can see what we're up to.  Have questions about knitting for a bike tour?  About taking a bike tour?  Ask away!  I love talking about knitting and about bicycling, so please leave me a comment if you'd like to hear more about any particular aspect of the trip or the knits. 

What adventures do you have planned for this summer?  If you've taken a bike tour, did you bring any hand knits?  I'd love any thoughts or tips on touring too!


  1. I love how well thought out these pieces are. Excited to hear that the patterns will be available down the road (especially the vest). I bike a lot locally where I live in Maryland and it is so true that wool makes for a versatile wearable fabric. Despite our humid summers, most of the year it gets chilly in the morning and evening here too. Looking forward to following along on your tour through the Netherlands. Safe travels!

    1. So glad you like the vest! I think it'll be perfect for that in-between temperature and for an extra layer while camping. Hope you have lots of fun biking this summer!

  2. Netherlands by Bike. What a lovely collection you have made. Can't wait for the patterns. Have a wonderful trip.


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