With Love

Dear Blog,

I love you guys.  Yesterday when I posted about hoping for another thousand, to get a matching thousand, I was hopeful.  Today I’m inspired- and truthfully, a little stunned by the collective power of knitters.  I was so shocked at the outpouring of decency and goodwill and willingness to help others, that last night I was almost ashamed.  I don’t know why, but I sat there looking at the donations and kept thinking that I don’t deserve this help, and that I’m way too ordinary, and that if any of you really knew how terrible I am at riding my bike you’d never count me among your own, and I almost posted "Guys. It’s too much. Please stop. I can never, ever live up to this." and a friend stopped me.  I was getting weepy on the phone with her, and she said something important. 

She said "Nobody is giving you anything.  You have agreed to do your best with fundraising and riding, and in exchange they’ve agreed to do their best to make things a a little better for people with HIV/AIDS who are coming to the end of their lives.  It’s all kindness Steph.  It’s all kindness.  Don’t you dare stop them.  It’s more kindness in the world, and you have nothing to live up to, and for s**t’s sake. Can’t the world use all the nice it can get? "

I don’t know if I totally believed her, but I didn’t post.  I just let it happen, and today, knitters are still doing something amazing, and I just don’t know what to say, or what to do, or how to ever thank you, or how to tell you that someone who is one of the crappiest riders going to Montreal is now the top fundraiser for the whole rally… or how to tell you about the look on peoples faces when I explain that it’s knitters. It’s just how knitters are… and how much what you’re doing is changing the idea of who cares about this, and how crazy wonderful knitters are, and how I think it’s because you’re knitters that you do this.

I’ve been telling people for years that knitting changes your brain. Changes the way you think and teaches important lessons, and that one of them is the idea of cumulative action.  Cumulative action is the idea that small actions aren’t unimportant if they are combined with other small actions. It’s a lesson that not everyone learns.  Some people go their whole lives thinking that unless you can do something big, there’s no point in doing anything at all… and they have trouble seeing how one small action in their life could ripple and matter.  They can’t see the possibility, and so the don’t do what they could.  The problems seem too large for a small action to change anything. 

Here’s the thing though, there are no knitters like that.  None.  Knitting teaches you that one small action does matter. That one small action, like knitting a stitch, isn’t unimportant. It’s vital.  One small action repeated many times is a sweater. Or a shawl. Or a pair of socks to hold the feet of someone you love, and that idea? The concept of cumulative action? It makes knitters the most remarkable fundraisers of all.  Other groups, they have to rely on the part of their community that understands that… knitters? Our whole group gets it.  Our whole group sees that one small thing – put together with many other things can create something enormous, and wonderful, and magical.

Why are knitters like this? Because they knit, and they have learned everything they need to know about little things mattering.

I love you all, and I don’t know how to thank you.  I guess I’ll just do my best, and hope that whatever small gestures I can make really matter.

Fondly, and with great affection and awe,


(PS. Lise, who clearly has this whole giving-knitter thing down, has very, very generously offered her amazing Tread Softly as a bid item. It’s a gorgeous beaded circular shawl, and she’s willing to let it go in exchange for a donation.  As before, if her beautiful work is meant to be yours, please send an email to stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca, and I’ll let you know if it’s your destiny.  You’ll make the donation, and Lise will mail it to you, because darn it, she’s nice like that.)

(PPS. Did I say I love you?)

198 thoughts on “With Love

  1. Knitters rock! I sponsored your daughter rather than you because she wasn’t at her goal yet. I hope you’ll give us a total $ donated figure when it’s all done. How inspiring! (And we love you too)

  2. You could be telling this to United Way, Red Cross, and other fundraising organizations — about how they just need to be hitting up Knitting Nights at LYS to meet fundraising goals.

  3. Stephanie, we’re doing the easy part by donating money. I’m awestruck by your perseverance after so many crashes. You deserve more credit than we do–for sure.

  4. I wish you all the best as you ride for something important. Each time you pedal and stitch, you are making a difference in the life of someone, that perhaps, you may never have the opportunity to meet, but it’s the time you spend doing this that you are giving the gift of time to someone else.
    I have been following your blog for a few years now and enjoying the inspiration in knitting that you bring.
    Cheers and God Bless you and your team at the rally.
    -Elizabeth D.

  5. OMG, Tread Softly is beautiful. I wish I could afford to bid on it. I’m sorry I pledged so little, but my head is barely above water these days…

  6. It was you saying that a whole whack of $5 would make a difference. So I sent my $5. I’ll skip soda for the week, it’s SO SO SO worth it. Ride your bike and have some fun! Be inspired by the small stuff! Hugs and prayers for all the riders!!

  7. It was you saying that a whole whack of $5 would make a difference. So I sent my $5. I’ll skip soda for the week, it’s SO SO SO worth it. Ride your bike and have some fun! Be inspired by the small stuff! Hugs and prayers for all the riders!!

  8. Being the top fundraiser will release you from any expected perfection in your performance, you can ride any which way you do….knowing you are contributing a brick load of money for the cause….ride on, Mz Harlot, ride on…..

  9. You’ve inspired us all with your strength and determination. How many times have you fallen and hurt yourself but gotten right back up and ridden some more, because of the cause? Writing a cheque or charging a credit card is nothing in comparison. Your challenge is huge (riding over 100km, then doing it again several days in a row? I couldn’t even imagine!) but your training and your willpower will get you through! Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back!

  10. You have been given the amazing gift of bringing out the best in people. Don’t be ashamed of using it, we, humanity, need it so desperately and you allow us to help you bring out that best and shine a little bit of light into the dark and scary places in the world.
    It’s us that thank you.

  11. You do realize that you wouldn’t have been able to stop the knitters from donating, even if you requested them to, right? Because nothing stops a knitter on a mission!

  12. Just have FUN!! as strange as that seems.
    You have really done your part already, arranging the donations now its time to spend time with your girls and friends.
    Maybe next year hubby will come along also.
    When you are 70 you will look back and LAUGH ,then people will look at you and say “REALLY you did that”
    PS your friend got it right.

  13. I contributed to help people with AIDS.
    I also contributed to help freak out the Muggles.

  14. People are doing this for HIV/AIDS and Jordana Paige has finished her imperfect bag sale for Preeclampsia. Knitters everywhere are giving today, yesterday and tomorrow. It is just stunning!

  15. I’m with Cara @ 3:15, you saying “every $5 helps” motivated me to add my $5 to Sam’s total. I can afford to add my pittance to the pile for the karmic balancing (not the goodies, although…) and satisfaction I feel knowing that I’m helping a bitty bit. Ride on, Harlot! You rock.
    P.S. your humility and feeling unworthy shows that your mother raised you right.

  16. sometimes it’s just nice to be given the chance to be nice.
    we forget to open the window to nice.

  17. Last time I looked (I think yesterday) it was $14,256 approx, today $20,000! Isn’t that wonderful.

  18. We love you too Steph!! AND….you are an extraordinary ordinary person like all knitters!
    I think all of my donations went to other family members because I just knew that you would exceed your goal. Do the others still need more donations?
    You really are such an awesome person and I’m so glad our lives have intersected.

  19. Steph, you are so humble and human and such an incredible force to be reckoned with! Thank you for articulating the vague feelings that whirl in the back of my brain as I knit my way through days and evenings. You make me proud to be a knitter, because I get it when I read your words. Thank you! and way to go!! I’ll be sending you bicycle balancing vibes on your ride.
    True, you will be able to look back and say “Really? I did that!” Like me in the Flash Mob at Sock Summit. Thank you again and again!!

  20. Many knitter are nice, but I think that you, Steph, bring out the best in us.

  21. I’m so glad your friend talked you off the ledge last night, and she’s exactly right.
    As has been said here a lot, donating is the easy part compared to what you and your team are doing.
    If you really, really, really feel the need to do something in return: wear lots of padding and just stay on the damn bike. No more falls would be a lovely payback!

  22. Ride safely, y’all. I spread the love around to Erin’s sponsor list.

  23. For the last few years my parents have done similar fundraising for a local (Victoria) MS fundraiser. Finally this year I got my act together and donated a shawl I had knit (June Regina by Miriam Felton) to the auction part of the dinner fundraiser. If I could knit all year and donate a dozen pieces every time, I would. People (in this case, almost exclusively non-knitters) seem to get an extra degree of awe when something is knitted for fundraising/donation purposes. Kudos to you.

  24. Freaking awesome. I can’t wait to see what MSF comes up to one of these days.
    We Rock

  25. I sponsored Pato because he hadn’t reached is goal yet. I just wish I could have given more. Have a good time and just know we are all cheering you on! Knitters Rock!

  26. I felt a little inadequate giving the little I could, but then ended up with a karmic gift. Then I felt a little inadequate in the face of all those massive donations, but this post reassures me, that it is all the little bits coming together to make a wonderful whole…whole lot of kindness, a whole lot of compassion, and a whole lot of enthusiasm for reaching beyond our limitations to do enormous good in the world. Ride team, ride!

  27. You are the most inspiring- and least annoying- fundraiser I know! Seriously, everything you’ve written about this has been so genuine and you’ve totally restored my faith in small things that add up to big things. (I’m not a very good knitter, so I forget this sometimes.) By the way, instead of feeling bad about your riding ability, you should feel proud that you are taking this on. I think your ride is even MORE meaningful because you are not an expert bike rider and doing this is a challenge for you.
    Also, you guys have an awesome team name! I don’t know if you haven’t mentioned it on here or I just didn’t notice, but (Bob Marley and) Derailleurs? YES.

  28. Hey Steph, you never pretended you were the best rider, in fact you were very honest about the fact you seem to fall a lot. The cause is a great one and at least for me, I am more impressed that you are making this ride when you are not a super biker.
    I stole the term Cumulative Action for a sock yarn scrap blanket I cast on today. I was dreaming of the blanket for some time, but always think a blanket is so big and I could never make one. I realize I can do one, just one stitch at a time.

  29. Awwww….your post today gave me goosebumps and made me a little weepy.
    Thanks Steph, for being an inspiration, and reminding me why I knit.

  30. Everything you said about knitters is true. But it is also the truth that you have created an environment that facilitates kindness. Your writing and humor and style and values create a virtual community where we all come to be in your ‘living room’ for a moment. You make us laugh and you make us think, and you constantly celebrate individuals and groups and call our attention outside of ourselves. So when you identify a cause and create that community feeling around participating and helping other people, you inspire your community to be the best it can be. That isn’t something you need to live up to- it is something that you already are. And the downstream benefits are many people feeling positive about contributing to something bigger than their own five dollars. You are a leader and you should be proud of your leadership and the good that it does in our world. Knitters are certainly kind and good, and you also inspire that kindness and goodness to come out and be aimed in the direction of those who can benefit. That’s great leadership! Peace!

  31. What a wonderful post, ride hard, do your best and we’ll do our best. Not only does one small action matter, small decisions do, too. Like my decision to substitute dk for fingering “oh it’ll work.” Well, no, in fact, it doesn’t work. If fingering is what is needed, dk will not, in this case, work. Kind of like life. Respond with what is needed, not what is convenient.

  32. Very teary after reading all this and equally stunned. Congratulations Stephanie for inspiring people. I feel small compared to you and everything you do. We love you just the way you are – unselfish and giving. Big hugs and thank you.

  33. I think you are amazing to do this ride for charity and you have trained so hard. Please just do your best and be safe — as you can see, there are a lot of us who need you to get back to TO in one piece to keep the blog going! Since you’ve met your goal, I’m donating to Erin. Have a safe and fun ride!

  34. Thank you.
    Ride safely.
    We’re all so proud both of you and to be part of this wonderful knitterly family with you.

  35. Stephanie – you and “the blog” keep reminding me that there are, INDEED, a world FULL of warm, caring, compassionate people who will reach out to others in need with no regard for their own benefit. Go, ride, wrapped in the love and admiration of all of us!
    Maggie – you are a whole bunch of extra special “stitches” for donating that GORGEOUS shawl for this cause. I count myself as just one stitch in this great big yarn-y thing – and feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy because I belong to this community we call “Knitters”.
    …..going to get a tissue now

  36. Steph, you and your team are bigger heroes to me than anyone at the Olympics. You are people who already have full lives and have chosen to meet this challenge, no matter how much time it took to prepare nor how many bumps and bruises you got. May the wind be at your back and may this terrible disease be conquered.

  37. When I read that you were riding this year, I just wanted to jump on a bike and join you. Unfortunately, this was not possible.
    I have been donating to this project for a long time. When a classmate of mine passed away from AIDS/HIV years ago, PWA and Casey House were there for him at the end of his life. They helped him maintain his dignity.
    My friend was an avid cyclist and he will be watching over you on your ride, Stephanie. One of his favourite things to do on long rides was to lift his head and look around at where he was passing through, especially as he was going down a hill.
    Spephanie at some point on your ride, lift your head as you are going down a hill and just let out a big whoooohooooo. It will be heard.

  38. Just get out there and do the best you can. We did the best we could. and besides, you make me proud to be a knitter whereas most people make me feel like a crazy old lady who likes to knit… so I owe you one.

  39. YOU are the amazing one–you are actually getting on your bike and riding! We all do what we can, but don’t sell yourself short! Thanks for the inspiration.

  40. I have goosebumps all over me in response to reading your post.
    May the wind always be at your back,
    May the road be gradual and downhill,
    May you stay on your bike without a spill,
    Obviously the force is already with you! We love and honor you and the very hard work you are doing in kindness for others.

  41. I just ccalled out to my husband, to get him to read this post, “The Yarn Harlot rides again!”. You may be the crappiest rider on the rally (but I doubt it, you’ve been working hard!), but you are *clearly* the bestest fundraiser on the rally….and that, actually, is the point! The riding is just the schtick to get the fundraising and awareness to happen, right? I think you have done quite well, be proud!
    And, why not ask the knitters? They get it 😉

  42. Wow! Like Wow! I just peeked. You’re so right. Knitters are wonderful people and totally get it about small actions. Will a sock in progress be riding with you to give us updates?

  43. I sponsored Ken because he hadn’t met his goal and I love the idea of him and Sam on the tandem bike. I can certainly forgo a couple of skeins of yarn (and not even miss them) for such a worthy cause.

  44. We’re proud of you. You bring us all a lot of joy by sharing your life with us and by making us laugh and cry with your exceptional writing. This is just a small way that we can show you how important you are to us, and how important this cause is to us.

  45. You inspire us all. Your words move us, and you’re the one on the bike. I had to quit riding my bike a couple years ago (my Achilles tendon said, “uh, you’re not going to do that anymore.”), but even when I rode, my hands went numb after 15-20 miles. The idea of riding as far as you are, well, you might as well be riding to the moon! That’s FAR!

  46. Since you’re so far ahead of your goal (not that that’s a bad thing), I decided to sponser Erin and help her reach hers. I don’t think I’m alone; as I was on her page I got to see her percentage towards goal rise – that was very cool. Have a safe and fun ride. Look forward to hearing all about it!

  47. Just sent your awesome total up another 25 bucks. Best $$$ I’ve spent all week. Love you Stephanie. And truly, I’m doing it because of YOU. Your friend is wrong in that respect-we do it because we all love and admire you and know you pick worthy causes. Decency and niceness have your picture next to them in the dictionary. I know, I looked ’em up!

  48. I sponsored Amanda, just to keep things interesting between her and Sam :0). I am still in awe of the power that this blog taps into, but watching the MSF page should have given me a hint of what knitters can do.
    Best of luck and I’ll pray for a nice cool breeze for those days for you.

  49. This made me cry. Thank you for all you do and for making us feel like we are making a difference!!

  50. The other thing that resonates with all of what everyone has said about this, is that you are out there doing something way out of your comfort zone and that provides inspiration to all of us who try to keep learning and doing new and different things to stay alive- and kind. We do love you and you have taught us all so much.. more than just new ways to knit and make lovely things

  51. Thanks for reminding us it is easy to do good, and thanks for doing the bike ride.
    It should rain all weekend to give you clear weather next week.

  52. What a great friend you have. She is absolutely right. Thanks for putting your uhhh butt on the line for such a worthy cause.

  53. I have long been convinced that the ONLY thing that really changes the world is a lot of people doing small things–their own bit–with a common purpose. Thanks for your help in motivating lots of people. Not all people who are famous are also kind, and use their “bully pulpit” so well. Brava, Stephanie. I’ll assume the match donor is pretty excited, too!

  54. I agree with Deidre at 3:58. You create a warm and loving environment here in this weird space. That is not easy to do. We are responding to that warmth and you. Have a wonderful, fun, crappy ride (crappy rides are more memorable than ones that have no issues!) and report back to us when you have caught your breath. Joy!

  55. It isn’t just knitters – I think it covers all of us who work with small things. I’ve seen the same type of support from beaders and from stitchers and from quilters….
    Every stitch matters!

  56. I sponsored Sam way back when you asked and it made me so happy to be able to do something for one of your girls. This week I have felt embarrassed that my country won’t let people at high risk attend an HIV/ AIDS conference, but helping your group raise funds is my own personal protest. It is really wonderful to see what happens when people can come together.
    And, I think you are so brave to get on a bike. My balance is so bad that I don’t think I would last very long. My last attempt was so sad I decided it would be my last.

  57. “if any of you really knew how terrible I am at riding my bike you’d never count me among your own”
    Maybe it’s because we are also terrible at riding our bikes (at least that far) that makes us happy to count you among our own. One foot in front of the other, one rotation of the pedals after another, one donation after another, one stitch after another, we know you can do it–and your doing it gives us hope that we can do whatever it is we want to try too!

  58. To veer off topic for a mo, I was catching up on your recent posts and love your Tuesday observation on yarn that is “so soft it makes babies seem like sandpaper”! Very poetic! These and other snippets are what make us all loyal followers.

  59. Wow. So awesome. More than double your goal?? Beautiful and awe inspiring and humbling. Hurray!!
    (I make a little shout out to Pato who hasn’t quite met his goal. I’m gonna throw a little knitterly love his way!) 🙂
    You are an inspiration to all of us.

  60. I’m pleased you have a wise friend – she is absolutely right that people are in fact giving you nothing! You are the catalyst and the figure head and the encourager, (and lucky for you and not me, the cyclist) but not the receiver. Awesome to hear you are the biggest fundraiser, I love surprising people with knitter activity!

  61. I read this aloud to my partner and my voice broke and we both had tears in our eyes. You are ‘just’ an ‘ordinary’ woman (ha!) taking on an extraordinary challenge… how could we not honor that with our love and also our money? I’m so proud to be a knitter and to be one of The Blog!!

  62. Beyond moving me to tears with your post, I really like your point about cumulative actions. I’ll be using that idea in my future responses to those who say “oh, I just don’t have the patience for that” when they watch me knit or spin. What a beautiful viewpoint!

  63. Totally behind you on the bike-riding–only you’re much braver than I ever was. Back in 2001, my husband and I walked 50 miles in 3 days in the MS Challenge, and were required to raise only $1500 each. Finishing wasn’t required, but we did. (My only “injury” was losing a toenail the next week from blistering underneath it, but it grew back.) I was proud of myself for walking so far, but 600km on a bike just boggles my mind. You go, girl–and don’t worry about how “well” you ride. Doesn’t matter— it’s all about helping people with AIDS.
    Love the phrase “the collective power of knitters”–and YOU are the one who has brought this awesome power to bear. Have a wonderful ride!

  64. Just do your best, Steph, that’s all any of us can do and all we can hope for from others.
    I’m glad my little addition helped towards the extra $1000 and helped Ken toward his goal. Whenever I start to think I don’t have enough to give more, I remember that in almost 60 years of life, I have never once regretted any act of generosity – whether it was leaving way too large a tip when I only had a choice between $1 and $10, being nicer than I felt to someone, or donating to a cause when common sense says to pay bills first. On the other hand, the moments I still regret and recall in those 3 am moments of shame, are those when I was stingy or mean.
    So give generously! You’ll sleep better for years to come!
    (a few team members are just inches from their fundraising goals…)

  65. I am donating right now to whoever on your team needs it to reach their goal. I AM A KNITTER, damnit! 🙂

  66. You make me so proud to be a knitter–seriously! Just be careful on your ride and come back safely. We need you. You are our knitting leader and inspiration.

  67. I cried a little when I read your post.
    I feel like you are the needle that brings us together, that makes all those small actions into a bigger thing. You make us whole and show us who we can be.
    Love, right back at you.

  68. Go Stephanie! I just made a donation and the total was just short of $30 thousand. The power of one voice never fails to amaze me.

  69. Steph, we are all with you in spirit and love to be able to channel our goodness to a worthy cause. May the wind be at your back and may the ground be soft when/if you fall.
    We love you more than you love us!

  70. Thanks for the link again. I went in search of it yesterday and got distracted. Got on track today and voila Amanda and Samantha have been sponsored; looks like they could use a little help from your friends, too.

  71. I am SO not sporty enough to attempt an event like this, it was my pleasure to give to this worthy cause from the comfort of my couch.
    We knitters are full of awesome and I am happy to be a small part of that. Like you have said “if we can afford to knit we can afford to give”
    We love you back!

  72. Thank you so much for having the bravery to do what you are doing. I have no money to give, just cosmic support and the warmest wishes. You are making a HUGE difference just by making the effort. I am proud as a knitter to have you be the one to represent our nobel craft and art. Remember, it’s the little things that count and if knitting is an accumulation of little things, you have a whole pile of success! Peddle safely, peddle well, peddle your best.

  73. I love this analogy so much about the little turning into the big that I’m going to shamelessly steal it for my music students. See? Your blog keeps on giving!

  74. Knitters ARE awesome. Every little bit makes a difference, and we are so proud to be able to help you make this kind of a difference for people who need it. What a nice way to end my day – knowing people care enough to help, and you and all the riders care enough to ride. Thank YOU.

  75. Go, Steph, go! You are doing a wonderful thing!!
    So wonderful, in fact, that I’m even willing to forgive you for showing us the way to Scottish Fibres and that interesting-looking Ronaldsay top. How could anyone be expected not to want to try spinning some of that? Probably just as well they were down to two colors….

  76. My husband died as a result of ALS 4 months ago today. In his memory I donated the amount necessary to help an uninsured patient as that was our problem. People in our work community helped us and I want that good karma to continue.
    Blessings on you for stepping out of your comfort zone.

  77. Just checked to see how close Steph was to $30,00, and discovered that in the few minutes I was reading the blog, she blew right past it. I’m so proud of you and your team, Steph, and so proud of us all! (I bet your mom is beaming at the bravery of both her daughters.)
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be thinking of you with thoughts and prayers and all good wishes during the ride.

  78. Congratulations to you and to your whole team! I have worked in non-profit fundraising for 10+ years, and your description of cumulative action is the best I’ve ever read. I wish more people understood that there is no such thing as a small gift and that all gifts, all action can have an effect. Thanks for expressing that message so beautifully.

  79. Just one more thing–when you and your team explain that you’re representing knitters, could you take a picture? I’d love to see the looks on their faces…
    Be careful out there, and may you all stay safe on the road.

  80. Dear Stephanie, I think people — especially knitters — want to do more good in the world. But it’s so rare to find people or events or causes that so transparently open up opportunities for contributing kindness. So when we do find those pathways of light, we open our hands and hearts and wallets. The point here is that you are a beacon for integrity and generosity and we – the blog – the knitters – etc. – trust you. You help people trust the momentum of kindness. THAT is a tremendous gift. And now I’ll stop babbling and hope that you understand what I’m trying to say. 🙂

  81. Just made my stitch err I mean donation :)Good luck with the ride, no matter how it goes we are already proud to be a part of your team!!!

  82. GO! Stephanie! GO!
    btw: you are doing all the hard work, I’m just sitting here watching you.
    GO! team, GO!

  83. The other thing that knitters “intuitively” know is that we are all connected, just like our stitches.
    Helping you help people with AIDS helps us all, lifts us all, and gives us a glimpse of what this world would be like if we all just did the best we could.

  84. Oh. My. Word! I just went to check out your fundraising page and knitters sure do rock. There are many reasons (obviously) but to know that no matter how great or small everyone’s donation has made a difference, that is a mighty powerful thing. We don’t expect you to do anything but your best. You may crash and it is entirely possible that there may be tears but you will be riding with your family and supporting each other and we will all be here wishing you all our very best wishes and supporting you from near and far, in person and in spirit. Congratulations on being the number 1 fundraiser, keep telling everyone it’s all because of knitters. I imagine the looks on their faces are priceless 🙂 GOOD LUCK!!!

  85. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
    – Edmund Burke

  86. I SO wish I could LIKE some of the comments above as there are SO many EXCELLENT ones! I am thrilled and proud to be a tiny stitch in this colossal “yarn bombing” of a different kind. Knitters do indeed ROCK!!!

  87. Just left a donation. Thanks for the reminder that my $20, while small on it’s own, is part of a larger whole!

  88. I sponsored Samantha, rather meagerly I fear, since both hubby and I are currently in between jobs, but I could not NOT donate SOMETHING.
    You and your team’s commitment to this ride is inspiring, and reading your posts have made me laugh, cry and cringe (road rash!!).
    Please be safe, have lots of fun, and know how powerful an influence for good you have been.

  89. I don’t know about the other people here, but I love how karma comes around, and I like to do everything I can to ensure it is good karma.
    I have been admiring the karma-balancing gifts that others have been receiving. As much as I would love to receive one of them as a gift, I know that I am not in such dire financial straits that a gift would be the only way I could get these lovelies.
    So, in thanks for them donating their products, I have patronized several of the donors. Yesterday was Jordana Paige’s Purses for Preeclampsia (take 2). Like many others, I was madly hitting refresh, and finally snagged a bag, when I found out that the system being used did not like my address. Not the end of the world, as the bags still sold out in minutes, the money is all going to a good cause… but still.
    The lovely people at Jordana Paige were kind enough to set up a special listing so that I could follow through on the purchase. I’m not sure that I can say how full of awesome that was.
    And I never would have known about this sale, supporting another cause, if it weren’t for you supporting this cause… again, I love how karma comes around.
    The warm fuzzies you have spread amongst us are breeding.

  90. Ms. Harlot, you resonate with people because you are your true self and willing to share that truth with us. This is exactly what life needs from us, to be who we are and do what we do. After you wear yourself out riding why not hitch a ride on the SAG wagon? You can knit!

  91. We love you too Steph, so much so that you inspire us!
    I have a thought for you and hopefully it will help in those final miles to your goal. Think of the petals on your bike as a needles and every push down is a stitch taken. Every ridden stitch adds up to those miles you need, like rows on rows of knitting. Remember that every stitch mile is a hug from us to you and your cause.
    Stay inspired, be safe and try not to hurt too much on August 4th after the ride. It’s my birthday and I would hate to think of you in pain. I rather would love to see your victorious smile, knowing that no matter how you faired you did it with all your heart. *hugs*

  92. You post audience shots from so many places. I’ve often noticed that there’s an unmistakable common quality about those gathered people.
    Today you named it and explained it so beautifully.
    You give us all so much. Here are a few thought and one tip that may help you on your way.
    I once rode from where you are now to the end of the dock at Tofino, BC.
    Less training than you’ve done I’m sure. But arrive we did.
    Here’s the thing:
    It’s really a lot the same as knitting.
    I bet you’ve already been noticing,
    at least on the better days,
    but you’ll really know it when you get out on the road
    and relax into the rhythms of long distance riding.
    Pedal, pedal, and pedal some more? Garter.
    S curve?: Just another heel.
    Narrow shoulder? nothing but a bit of short row shaping.
    Forced to weave through construction barriers? : steeking!
    Uncountable rotations of the wheel producing one grandly long unbroken fibre stretching from here to there?: yes, it’s spinning, light hand and all.
    And everything you’ve said about cumulative action applies in spades.
    In other words, far from being “one of the crappiest riders” you may actually be among the very best, the very readiest.
    Just so long as you stay upright! So here’s the tip – one knitting rider to another –
    the little secret to a spill-free ride all the way to Montreal:
    Look right at where you want to go, not toward where you’re afraid you’re going to go.
    Honestly, that’s it. A lot like the rest of life really.
    Sending one more small donation. Bon voyage.

  93. Many many stitches of love to join our world – and to wrap those in who need it desparately.
    I am lucky to live in a country with a social health system, a health system which is just helping my mom fight cancer. So time to give a little back – just one stitch at a time
    Good riding and safe return to all your team!
    Love from Germany

  94. I’m so proud to be a tiny part in this and wish I could have done more. Good luck to you and ride safe.

  95. You know, your not being an amazing biker is part of the reason I wanted to sponsor you. I really respect the work, effort, and pain you’ve given to this cause, especially since I’m sure it’s cutting into your knitting time! Kudos to you for your efforts and for the money you’ve earned. Best wishes for the ride.

  96. Yes, Stephanie, we are all itty bitty stitches in a massive sweater of good will and kindness. I donated to Amanda and Pato because they were a fair way from getting their total at the time, but now? Now, only one of your team has not yet reached their total. And that one? Only $40.01 away!
    Only one. And that is because you area focal point of knitters. When you mention that you’d like a bit of money for Tricoteuses san Frontier, we all donate. When you suggest that you’re going on a 600km bike ride but you’re really bad at it and this is why… we all donate. Why? Because we all want to contribute what we can, and you remind us of that.
    You are a focal point. and That. Does. Matter.

  97. Just went and looked at all the pages and saw that Pato was only one not at his goal, and that he was only $40 away, so I fixed that! It is so worth packing lunches for work next week! If you all can ride that distance, I can get up a little earlier to pack lunch.

  98. YOU are incredible. I am crying like a fool right now. What an amazing, beautiful, humble and lovely post.
    Way to go, Stephanie!!!!!!!!!!!

  99. Ths is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a long time. And your friend is completely right. It’s kindness, a group of like-minded people who care. And you are so totally worthy of this. We love you too.

  100. We love you for so many reasons, among those being that you are authentic in all you do. Thank you for your hard work and letting the world know how generous knitters are. I am honored to know you and be inspired by your actions. Do take good care of yourself and know that we are behind you (in spirit!). Allison

  101. I am not sponsoring because you are the most awesome bike rider on the planet. But because you are putting your arse on the line (and the seat) and doing something really hard for a really good cause. It is the very least I can do to support you.

  102. Erin is still short of her goal. And Pato is one cent short! Anyone out there with a few bucks that has not already been committed?

  103. Steph,
    I donated a 2nd time, because you are doing a wonderful and selfless thing – and the result of your fund-raising will make life better for so many people.
    I won’t “enter the draw” because my tax receipt will be enough ‘reward’ for me!

  104. Good luck with the ride. I just made a donation. First Old Age Security payment came and I’m sharing. ; )

  105. Your act of telling stories about knitters is a way of changing the world, also. When you tell us who we are and we agree, we are becoming something, in this case, something kind, thoughtful, and patient. The personal is political. Go you.

  106. Just donated to Erin, since she isn’t at her goal, yet. Wish it could be more!

  107. The Blog doesn’t care how graceful you are on your ride (other than we don’t really want to see you suffer any permanent damage).
    The Blog is just impressed that you (and your group) are tackling it!
    Enjoy the ride…have fun! Congratulations on your successful fund-raising…and in August, you can knit to your heart’s content with an aura of “I did it!” on top!

  108. Ok, I’m in for $50. Consider it payment for great writing. Have a wonderful ride. Over the top people, take her over the top.

  109. I have two words for you: gel seat. Just made another contribution…not only because this is a deserving cause but also to do my small part to show the world that knitters are truly the best! May all the knitters be the wind at your back throughout the ride to help you along.

  110. Just had to go and make a small donation. To Erin as she was still a bit short on her current goal. That team fundraising amount is amazing and humbling. Have a safe and joyful ride!

  111. I love how in mere hours you go from a crisis of confidence and wanting to tell everyone to stop donating, to getting a grip on yourself and upping your goal to what would be the highest ever for the ride…just because you want to show the world what knitters can do. That despite all the stereotypes about PWK (People Who Knit), we are unexpected and surprising and capable of working together to do great things.
    I love that you are so open about your insecurities on this blog. That you don’t try to act like the knitting, or the riding, or the travel and public speaking is all a piece of cake. That it’s hard and challenging and scary and painful but you do it anyway. Because seeing you overcome these things gives people who read your words confidence to overcome their own challenges.
    I realize that this very openness, which makes each of us feel like your close friend and confidant, might sometimes lead to awkward encounters with total strangers, and I’m guessing that sometimes it must feel like all these people think they have a right to a piece of you because they know you so well and feel so close to you. But you keep doing it.
    I was going to say that I love that you have created this community of online knitters…but I don’t think that’s quite right…what I think you did is think of these individuals knitting and purling away by themselves in their living rooms around the world, or gathering in small groups in yarn and coffee shops…you looked at them and thought of them as a community. A community that just hadn’t happened yet. And you gave them a place to become that community. And you gave them causes to contribute to, because you believed in them and their ability to step up.
    And, in this world where sometimes it seems like people are completely losing the ability to set aside religious and political and ethical differences, and where the price of broad support is not speaking your mind about *anything* for fear of offending *anyone* (as opposed to the price of partisan support, which requires you to narrowly define your supporters and viciously attack anyone outside that definition), you have managed to host this community without having to hide how you feel about a number of potentially explosive issues. (Of course, this says something about the community too)
    The Blog is very proud of you, and very proud of what you have enabled us to do.
    Go Get “Em!!!!!

  112. Good luck on your ride! You are well prepared, you have a good support group and a lot of tenacity, no doubt you will make it! Remember to have some fun, too! What a great adventure.

  113. I have never posted a comment before, but I have enjoyed your blog for quite a while.
    I have always been told that when you train for something, what ever for, the training is more strenuous than the actual event. Now, 600 km is a long way, but you sound like you are quite ready. Good luck to you and your team.

  114. this has been the highlight of my morning, reading all of these positive comments. Stephanie, to make this gigantic effort of time and serious committment, to such a great cause, leaves me speechless. My grama made over 400 quilts from donated fabric for christian relief. when i asked her if it was worth all the time and effort, she told me that we should all do our part, and every little bit helps. I admire her more than any other person ive ever known, and your effort reminds me of something she would have done.

  115. This is exactly the sort of argument I have with my husband, about small things mattering. I think the way the two of us lead our lives is very telling. One small step at a time can still get you somewhere.
    Thank you for all that you do. Both as the ambassador for knitters as well as the many lives you will touch with each fundraiser you do. As someone who has been privileged to work on HIV vaccine research at the NIH for the last year, I can tell you that everyone in the field knows how much each little bit helps.

  116. Last night I was going to donate to help get that matching $1000, got distracted, and didn’t get it done. Today I see that we (because we are with you on that bike in spirit!) have a loftier, yet definitely reachable goal – awesome! My donation is in! Blessings to you and the team!

  117. Love this! I’d like to also believe it’s because we knitters know that, simply said, Nice Matters. Best to you & the team.

  118. Reading your blog and the comments has brought me to tears several times – and although I donated to Erin a couple weeks ago to help reach her goal at that time, I wanted to throw my few stitches into your WIP to help you reach your new goal, so I’ve donated again for you today. What you are doing and how you appreciate your donors and care for the cause makes me feel more positive about, well, everything. Thank you!

  119. I haven’t been keeping up with my favorite blogs lately, so I’m just getting caught up. I donated as much as I could: I wish it could have been more, but glad I was able to contribute in some small way.

  120. Stephanie, you could not be ‘ordinary’ if you tried! Everything else I wanted to say has been very eloquently expressed by everyone in the comments above, so just ….. ditto.
    Re: blogging from the road – like you’re not doing ENOUGH those days????? Well, Canadian Tire does carry small solar panels for recharging stuff, and I guess you could strap one to your back, but really – you’re going to be kind of busy, and when you’re not busy you’ll be exhausted. Just be sure to take your camera for lots of pics and maybe a video or two.
    Wishing you a safe and wonderful rally, O Harlot of Great Heart and Inspiration!!!

  121. I am not a graphic artist but Someone Seriously needs to do up the “We Can Do It” poster with the woman holding aloft knitting! 🙂 Is anyone on the blog a up to the challenge???

  122. Incidently, I seem to have 5cm/2inches of sock ribbing on dpns in front of me. As an adamant ‘I’m-not-knitting-socks-when-I-can-buy-them-for-a-dollar’ sort of person, I have no idea how this happened (but I suspect you had a hand in it). No one is more surprised at this than I am.
    Chunky, warm, wooly socks. With cables, for goodness sake. ON DPNS!!! And … er … I’m enjoying it. *hangs head in shame*
    If I’m not careful, you’ll be making me spin something next …..

  123. In the USA right now there are lot, a scary lot of people trying to stomp out the rights of gay people and they would really like to stomp them out entirely. While AIDS is not exclusively a gay issue, it’s close enough for me. I’d like to give a stitch or two if that kindness can counteract one iota of the meanness we have here. I’ll give in honor of my mother, since Sunday (your start day) is her birthday. She’s the one who just gave me a list on some of her notepaper. At the top of the notepaper it says, “Stand with President Obama for Lasting Change. Silence GOP Lies.” My mom rocks. She’ll be 85 on Sunday.

  124. I made it back from vacation just in time to get a donation in under the wire. Good luck on your ride and your fundraising goals! Thanks for inspiring people to do so much good in the world.

  125. Thank you for the reminder. I’ve been so wrapped up in lots of stupid and scary stuff lately that I started to feel like nothing good will ever come of any of my efforts. As so often, your blog delivered just the right food for thought at the right time. I might not be able to do much, but I CAN do one stitch at a time.
    Your whole amazing family team, may you be safe and only fall on the soft bits of road.

  126. I love how you put it together – many small actions can make a impact and many knit stitches can make a garment. Like one of the other commenters, I gave to Ken because he hadn’t reached his goal yet. Thank you for what you’re doing with the ride and training for the ride and fundraising and raising awareness.

  127. Aw Stephanie, we love you too. This post made me cry! I’m so happy that you’ve reached that thousand that will be doubled. I knew if I added my bit to it, it would happen. As you say, that’s how knitters are. Did you read Woolly Wormhead’s post about finding her dress? Kindness of knitters (crocheters weavers spinners…) I know with all my heart that you will ride well, and ride your best, and that you are riding for a cause that I want to support, because I have friends that may be helped by it someday. Ride on, Steph!! You go girl!
    p.s. has everyone on the team reached the amount needed? How can I find that out?

  128. you rock! and I finally remembered to make my donation, so hopefully you will raise your new goal, because, well, knitters rock, too! (and crocheters!)

  129. I don’t know if anyone else has suggested this,but perhaps you could in some way yarn bomb your bike as a symbol of all the knitters who have supported you?

  130. I read elsewhere last week that the guy being interviewed like to hang out with knitters when he was stressed. Good idea, guy.
    None of this has to do with you being a great biker, but with being a person willing to do something difficult to help other people. You are a good example, and we love you too.

  131. Wowya! Even though I know the lesson mentioned in knitting, I still sometimes forget it in other parts of life. Thanks for the reminder!
    I too am impressed by all of you who are picking yourselves up after scraping your bodies along the road, and riding more, right then! You are all amazing!

  132. Yay! I just donated to you and Erin, as you were both short of your latest goals.

  133. Hugs and fearless riding. One pedal push at a time you are helping make a little more kindness for those that need it most.

  134. Just went to your page to make a donation and was awe-struck by your new goal – and that you are just 3% from making it – yay! Have a great and safe ride. No wonder your daughters are such incredible young women, look at the example they have in you!

  135. So FUN to join in the swell of kindness.
    God Bless you and your team on your ride!

  136. As of now (5:17pm on Friday), Steph is at $42, 175!! She is so close to her goal, I would like to encourage (you can read that as “challenge” if you like!) anyone reading this to please donate to her–I would love to shock the world and get her to $45,000! I have no affiliation to her, other than being a blog reader, but I think what she’s doing is as awesome as she is! I donated earlier–not much, but it’s what I can afford right now, and every little bit helps! We knitters rock! 😀

  137. I checked out your page yesterday about this time of day, and was astonished and amazed by what I saw there! Then today, I checked in again and am nearly blown away by the realization that you have been right about knitters all along…this is living proof of the force the “little people” can muster given the right..well, circumstances. It is true, enough of us knitting one little stitch or giving an hour of our time or a little of our $$; well we are a force to be reckoned with. Get out there Steph, we’re all behind you 1000%
    Many mental hugs, and lots of good wishes for you and your team on the ride. I am in the states, and this happens to be a cause near to my heart, after losing way too many friends in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

  138. WE DIT IT!
    Just checked and we’ve passed $43K!
    People need to sign Steph up as an inspirational speaker; way to go, good lady, and thank you for leading the charge.

  139. What Steven A. said. What Erika said. What LizFM said. What we’re all saying together: thank you, Stephanie, for bringing us together as a community by your humanity, empathy, and re that bike, more courage than I’ll ever have. Ride safely!

  140. You just raised over $44,000, this is very bad for you. Do you think the bike rally is ever going to let you NOT participate? You will have to do this ride every year now until you are >70 years old!

  141. I have plenty of yarn. I just donated the money that I was contemplating on using to buy some more. 🙂
    Have a great ride!

  142. It’s now 7:06pm, and I have to admit, I’m awestruck! (that WHOOSH sound you heard was The Blog blowing by the fundraising goal that Steph had set and leaving it in the dust!!) I think her current total is $44, 540?!?!? Can I get a WHOOOOHOOOO!!??! Steph, if you read this, you *have* to get some pictures of the Muggles when you tell you them of this–I’m sure that it will be priceless!!

  143. Erin was the only one of the family who hadn’t met her goal yet, so I pledged my money via her page. Your readers are amazing, and so are YOU! I’m hoping the knowledge of all this support lifts you up and coasts you along the difficult parts of the ride. May your road be smooth and the wind be at your back.

  144. “Can’t the world use all the nice it can get?”
    I’ll say. Boy. I’ll say.
    Thanks for creating a space where we can express our nice.

  145. One last thing– my husband says that maybe next year, you could ride a tandem bike and let your partner do the steering, while you sit on the back, knitting away while you pedal.
    As for this wonderful knitter phenomenon–what goes around comes around. I’ve only been following this blog for a few months, but I love the way you live your life, the way you write, and your attitude that reminds me of my sister. I’ve read all your books, and they make me wish I lived next door to you. The bike rally is merely reaping what you’ve sown.
    Once more, have fun and be safe!

  146. I’m happy to sponsor you, but I do think that bicycling isn’t meant to be your sport.

  147. It’s at $43,010. Oh heck, odd numbers bother me, it’s the ancient programmer in me. I want to round up. Let’s see if we can make $50,000.
    (Here’s another $100.)It’s adding up to making a real difference for some people who need the love.
    If you were a great bike rider, the challenge would be less. I can imagine your fear and I can see your courage.

  148. “If you were a great bike rider, the challenge would be less. I can imagine your fear and I can see your courage.”
    Quoting MaureenJ for TRUTH.

  149. You tell the Blog that you love us. Hopefully, you understand how much the Blog loves you. Even more important, we respect you for all of the reasons the commenters have listed tonight. You truly inspire us, not just in knitting, but in trying our hardest to be better, kinder, more generous and patient than we are inclined to be. You inspire us in this way because that is how you live your life and we see that in all your posts. You walk that walk. And, as you often point out, knitting helps with such efforts. Safe and happy ride to you.

  150. *snif* Mrs. Pearl-McPhee, you are a constant inspiration, and you have (and will!) earn every penny that’s been donated to your cause. I’m so grateful to you and all of your generous sponsors, all of you guys are proving that you’re selfless, caring, responsible, and are doing your best to make the world a better place.
    I only wish that more youths like me could look up to all of you as role models for awesome adults.
    Ride with love, Mrs. Pearl-McPhee, and know that my prayers go with you, every mile of the way.
    Knit one, everyone!
    -Maddy L., age 14

  151. May each
    Be a
    And Our
    Be your legs
    We will keep ourselves aware
    So as not to drop a stitch
    Hugs Kisses Prayers!!!!
    (My stitches just got smaller, Thank you 🙂

  152. Just recently I have started a giant garter stitch blanket because just like in one of your books (sorry I can’t remember which right now) there was a woman going through a tough time and it was just enough to make a few stitches every day in the right direction to getting better. Your post today was beautiful and thank you. Everything lately seems so large and unattainable I had not applied the basic principle of the blanket to every aspect of my life. The little things can make a big difference and I feel so special (along with I’m sure everyone who contributed) to be apart of your ride with you as you accomplish a major goal. It helps make me re-believe in idea that we can accomplish big things if there are enough of us that care.

  153. Hot damn but this is awesome! And it just gets better and better. Wowzer! I hope the ride goes really, really well.

  154. I thought I couldn’t afford to help, especially since I am soliciting help myself, to pay for my beloved’s recent hospitalization. But then I just forgot about reservations, and worries about resources, and I donated. I pray that our money goes round and round and helps those in need!!

  155. $8,640 + $8,631 + $8,025 + $2,517 + $10,655 + $12,090 + $45,530 = $96,088 raised by the team so far. That’s so fantastic and I am so proud to be a small part of it!

  156. Reading all the above, I can hardly find anything to add, all said so well. Ditto! Not only do you have the heart and the smarts, you inspire me (as well as thousands of others) to use mine as best I can.
    Olympics, olshympics, I’m looking forward to following your journey with love for you and everyone else on the Bike Rally

  157. I bet everyone’s noticing that $50k, so unimaginable at the beginning, is now just one more chart repetition away
    (Remember how Stephanie thought Omelet(te) would never be done and then suddenly it was?)
    According to the sponsor page, 1065 people have contributed $46,250. So just another $3.52 from each of us would do it.
    But here’s my idea: I’m going e-shopping at Webs.
    When the cart’s whittled down to those irresistables – you know the ones —
    so beautiful
    so useful really
    and such a bargain right now
    I’ll save a bundle if I get these now
    We really should eat what’s in the cupboards this week anyway…
    Those ones.
    Resist I will, and I’ll add that amount to the kitty here.
    Pick your favourite e-yarn shop and join me?
    She doesn’t leave till tomorrow after all!
    Let’s put the wind at her back.

  158. Oh, such closeout bargains! 3, count ’em 3 string bags that are not to be (not yet anyway!). Into the kitty it goes.

  159. I cried when I read this, and I’m not usually a “crier.” I was crying not only for the power of knitters, the power of “cumulative action” but the power of a mass of humans trying to make the world a better place.
    I’m a long time knitter, and I live in a place where there aren’t many of us. I sometimes forget how powerful we are in numbers.
    I work for a non-profit organization that works with the homeless, and like many non-profits in this day and age we are dealing with less funding and more need. Not only do we have more people coming through the door, but they are frequently coming in with more needs to be met, and not just material needs. I feel like I spend a lot of my time giving everything I’ve got to helping the people who walk through my door, and it’s not enough. There are too many people who need help, and not enough people to help sometimes. For me, this ride and fundraising is a great reminder that there are a lot of people who are trying to make positive changes. It helps remind me that there is a balance.
    Part of the frustration is that many of our clients are recovering drug addicts/alcoholics or just out of prison, and they haven’t realized the “cumulative action” process. Small steps and small changes add can add up to a better life when you make the changes positive. Sometimes, too many clients make negative choices, and the cumulative action ends up working against them. In this case, it’s a relative handful of people giving everything they’ve got to ride a bike to help balance out some of the bad. Positive steps.
    I’m posting this blog post where I work on Monday so everyone can see it.
    Thanks to all who help!

  160. *sniff, sniff, sniff…bahoohoobaaoohaaahaaa*
    Thanks for reminding me of this lesson. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Now, I’m going to try not to drown my children with my leaking orbitals and make all the needed little gestures happen.

  161. No problem Stephanie, it’s because knitters as a whole aren’t the worlds most athletic people, and most of us are probably also crappy bike riders, and we are more than happy to give a donation to let you ride for us ! Way to go, you can do it!

  162. I work for United Way, and collective action and collective impact is what we’re all about. But like you said, so few people understand the importance of doing something small and combining that small action with those small actions of hundreds or thousands of people to make a huge impact. As my organization’s writer, I have been trying to explain this for 2.5 years. You have just handed me the metaphor I need – knitting. THANK YOU.

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