This morning I rode over to the park and took a few shots of the Summer in Kansas Shawl so I could show it to you in all it’s glory.
That is a lie. I took 93 pictures.
I couldn’t stop.
I was not even deterred when a small clutch of elderly gentlemen stopped what they were doing (playing chess) and came over to interrogate me in a language I don’t speak.
I managed to convey, using a graceful series of gestures and the sock in progress that I had in my bag, that I had knit the shawl.
They managed to convey – through words I didn’t understand and kindly pats on my arm that they thought that was great.
One of them stroked the shawl, and then tapped his forehead with a finger, beaming at me in a stern sort of way, which I took to mean that he thought I was clever.
This was revoked when I laid the shawl down for those last two pictures. I don’t speak Ukrainian (I think it was Ukrainian) but it was clear he thought I should get it up out of the dirt. (I was tsk-ed at.)
I wasn’t able to explain to them why I was taking pictures of it, which was the part they seemed to find perplexing – but we had a pleasant, if mutually befuddling ten minutes. I’ll tell you what I couldn’t tell them. Pattern: Summer in Kansas, Yarn- the rather classic Zephyr wool/silk in "Ice Blue". 4.5mm needles, which I wish had been 4mm, because I think this shawl could only be improved were it a little tighter. That’s personal preference though, and I’m not really disappointed at all. The big needles also mean that it’s a monster. About 2.2 metres along the top edge, and just over a metre down the centre line.
Beautiful thing the second?
These guys. That’s my daughter Megan, her buddy Pato and our hero Ken (Ken is the technical genius who makes this blog go). The three of them have, as they did last year, signed up for the Friends for Life Bike Rally to raise funds for the People with Aids Foundation. The three of them will, with about 400 other riders, embark on an epic journey, riding the 660km from Toronto to Montreal over a week in July.
Last year Meg and Pato were the two youngest riders (17 years old) and as proud of them as I was at the end of it (and I was stupid, crazy, wildly proud) I wasn’t sure they would do it again. It was long, it was hard, and they’re young. Young people change in their priorities all the time. (Also, I can’t even talk about the way that Meg was chaffed, and where. She’d kill me. Trust me, it was ugly.)
This year, you could have knocked me over with a skein of cashmere when the three of them were among the first to sign up. Ken and Meg are kicking it up a notch, riding a tandem together. This makes them (as far as I know) the only KNITTING TEAM on the rally! (Pato doesn’t knit- yet… but he is wool friendly. I’m thinking about forcing him to learn to get a bigger pledge from me. Would that be wrong? Knitting’s a life skill. I’d be doing him a favour.)
Last year, your knitter support put these three squarely in the top fundraiser slots, and all three of them got the gold jersey for their efforts. The organizers were stunned by two things. First, the fact that the two youngest riders had raised so much, and second, by the statement from the three of them (That’s Team Knit to you) that "you can do anything if the knitters are behind you. The Knitters are a force. You don’t understand about knitters."
This astonished most of the other riders, and the organizers, and well… not me.
I am almost never surprised by what knitters can do – it is what my kid and friends can do that thunderstruck me. A shawl is pretty rip roaringly easy compared to a 660km ride. The three of them are training dutifully, getting ready for the big ride to change some lives, and I’m just so impressed that they are decent like this. (Ken’s been decent for a good long time now, it’s the younger ones that seem to be really turning out.) If you’re moved to support them you can do so by clicking on the links below. They will be ever so grateful.