Resting with (Big) Plans

Thanks so much for the well wishes guys, and for the understanding about the challenging weekend. Things are looking up today. I feel cheerful, and sort of confident – at least when I remember that being a few days from departure always makes me sort of crampy. This morning I started packing my camping gear, and making a list of the bits and pieces that i need still, and I dropped my bike off for one more little tune-up to make sure it gets me to Montréal. The last thing I need is my bike working against me.  I’m making sure that thing runs like a bomb.

It’s great timing for my bike to go into the shop, because this week I’m doing something delightful called  a “taper”. Tapering is when you (I’m going to oversimplify here, to make things easy) essentially say “this is as strong as I’m going to get, now I need to be well rested” and you dramatically scale back training.  I’ll go for a few rides this week, a couple of hills, a little sprinting, but just enough to keep me loose (that makes me laugh – I am never “loose”) but not tired.  I’ll rest, stretch, I’ll go to yoga and walk, and eat good food and man, scaling back training is a happy time for me, because it means I scale UP the knitting, and boy, am I so ready.  Less knitting is one of the biggest sacrifices I make for the Rally, and I can promise you two things.

1. Despite the fact that everything I need for the Rally – my clothes for a week, my riding gear and all my camping gear needs to fit into two Rubbermaid bins – I have made room for ample yarn, because the MINUTE I land in Montreal, it’s going to be a knit -fest. Just as soon as I can move my hands. (Even with gloves, tape, and good positioning, 6hrs a day of road vibration coming through the bike tends to make my hands numb. It’s a cycling thing. It goes away.)

2. August is going to be KNIT-O-RAMA.  I am going to knit the daylights out of August. Do you know what my plans are for August? I’m going to sleep, knit, and try to get invited to cottages. That’s my whole thing. I’ve held on so long. I can stand it no longer.

(By the way, I’ve had not just one, but two events cancel for September, so if anybody is looking for a knitting teacher that month, I’m open to ideas. Shoot me an email.)

In the meantime, I am knitting.  I have made a hat. It started as Merino Twist Worsted, from Sweet Fiber:

sweetfiber 2015-07-21

and ended up, really quickly, as the Bridgeway hat.  (Really fast. Like, lightning.) The world’s top knitwear model didn’t come home for dinner tonight, so the hat is here modelled on a fence post:

fencepost 2015-07-21

and then amongst the astilbe.  From here it’s straight to the Christmas box, which is looking very, very lean for July.  (Note to self, fix that in August.)

gardenhat 2015-07-21

After that, I applied myself to a pair of socks, and these ones are for me. I’ve been working on them at every steering committee meeting for the last several months, and they’re Miss Babs sock yarn, in the completely appropriate colourway “biker chick“.  I’m packing them. If things get cold on the rally, these bad boys are on my feet, keeping me warm, and reminding me of all the days I’ve put into getting here.

bikersocks 2015-07-21 bikersocks2 2015-07-21

While I turn my attention to another pair of socks (and the Christmas box) shall we do more Karmic Balancing gifts? I think so.

Darlene has a beautiful and unique gift. She’s knit this incredible scarf (The Lily of the Valley scarf from Knitted Lace of Estonia) out of Zephyr laceweight (50/50 silk and merino) and embellished it with Swarovski crystals. Darlene says “I knit one border and put it aside, then cast on again to knit another border and knit the scarf. Then, I kitchenered that single border (hundreds of stitches!) to the knitted scarf so that each border would point the correct direction on its end of the scarf…. I am so darned proud of the finished garment and delighted to share it.”
darlenesscarf 2015-07-21
Darlene would love to send this beautiful shawl to a Canadian Hospice Volunteer.  If that’s you, drop me a line or a comment, and I’ll write to you and Darlene to make it happen.

Julie Rosvall (Shipston Designs) has five sets of her beautiful knitting cards to give away. She knits a swatch, then etches that to copper plates, inks it, and prints it. Beautiful, aren’t they?  Susan D, Catherine S, EM, Mary M, and Anita F should enjoy them so much.

shipstoncards 2015-07-21

Meg is feeling generous, she’s got a skein of Wollmeise 100% Pure Merino Sock yarn, in “Meilenstein” for Diana K.

woolmeisesock 2015-07-21

A Wollmeise 100% Merino Lace, in “Vamp – We’re Different” for Janis M.

woolmeiselace 2015-07-21

And from her very own shop –  Ladybug Fiber Company, 80% Superwash merino/20% nylon sock yarn, 400 yards, self striping in “Ladybug” for Sarah G.

Ladybugstripe 2015-07-21

Michele at Three Bags Full has the most darling little Emma Clutch going out to Leigh D.  The bike theme is perfect.

threebagsfullbag 2015-07-21

Melissa went for a stash dive and came up with a gift.  Two beautiful skeins of  Dragonfly Traveller in “Stone Circle”  that she’ll be sending to Sheila P.

indigodragonflystone 2015-07-21

Maria found two presents in her stash, Three Irish Girls, cotton rayon sport. 4oz, 330 yds
Colorway: Charmed I’m Sure, for Paula B.,

mariairish 2015-07-21

and not one, but two skeins  of Mendocino  89% superwash merino wool/20% nylon
97 yds, 50 g for Meaghan W. Thank you Maria!
mariamendo 2015-07-21

Marissa has two super-charming bags from her Etsy shop to give away. The first is a Marvel Comics bag for Linda S,

marissacomic 2015-07-21

and the second is a Star Trek themed bag for Clairone D. I know that if they’re not dorky enough to love those bags, they won’t have to look far to find a friend. Dorky knitters are everywhere. (Raises hand.)

marissastartrek 2015-07-21

Here’s three for the spinners in the crowd, courtesy of the very generous Susan H. She’s sending along some beautiful things.  First, Falkland top from the Spirit Trail Fiberworks club for Jessie M,

susanfalkland 2015-07-21

Second, another Spirit Trail club fiber. 4 ounces of 60%superwash merino, 20% Yak, 20% bombyx silk for JoAnna S,
susanwoolsilk 2015-07-21

Third (oh wow) a 4 ounce bag of light brown Yak down that will be winging it’s way to live with Cindy W.

susanyak 2015-07-21

Karen Robinson has a lovely gift, not only her beautiful pattern, Blanchefleur, but the yarn to make it.  Two skeins of Round Table Yarns Camelot, in Glastonbury and Excalibur that she’ll be sending to Jane V.

blanchefleur 2015-07-21

Alexis sent a letter, and let me tell you, I like her style.  Not only did she include a charming picture of herself and her kids so that the email would be less anonymous, she’s sent along offers of what she calls “Extravaganzas!” One is a “sock extravaganza” and I hope that Lissy F knits lots of socks, and has lots of sock knitting friends to pay it forward to.  In this lot is: Essential (the line now called Stroll): Peacock Multi (2 50-g balls) and Princess Multi (2 50-g balls) Stroll: Blue Violet Multi (2 50-g balls), Pansy Multi (2 50-g balls), and Make Believe Hand-Painted (1 100-g skein) Felici: Martinique (2 50-g balls) Gloss: Winter Night (2 50-g skeins)

sockextravaganza 2015-07-21

Alexis has also included a “Lace Knitting extravaganza” and I think that Barbara P will be thrilled! This lot includes: Baby Loop in red (light sport mohair boucle with nylon binder, 970 yd, 8 oz) Ariel in Foxy Lady (65% cotton, 35% rayon novelty blend, 475 yd, 8 oz)
Cascade Fingering in Spring Frost (100% silk, 666 yd, 150 g)
Glitter Alpaca in Java (99% fingering weight alpaca, 1% glitter), 4 50-g (214-yd) skeins
KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud in Papaya, 2 50-g (440 yd) skeins
Unidentified yellow with shades of peach, looks mohair-y, healthy-sized skein from Joslyn’s Fiber Farm, Unidentified pale turquoise, looks wooly, 2-ply, 2 decent-sized skeins from Joslyn’s Fiber Farm

yellowlace 2015-07-21  foxyladylace 2015-07-21 turquoiselace 2015-07-21 kpalpacalace 2015-07-21 winterfrostlace 2015-07-21 bouclelace 2015-07-21 glitterlace 2015-07-21

Enjoy! See you tomorrow with more gifts. The list is almost bottomless. I’m knitting socks.

43 thoughts on “Resting with (Big) Plans

  1. Not sure if it’s just me, but I think some of the photos have randomly repeated themselves.

    Very best wishes for the bike rally. Ride safe, look after yourself and have fun!

    Can’t wait to see what your needles get up to in August!

  2. I love how the world looks so much better on the day after a good rant. I’m glad we could be there for you to vent to. Have a wonderful week of knitting and tapering and packing and getting ready. We’re all cheering you on.

  3. Rest up and “taper” off….except for knitting of course. I took 4 projects to California last week and ran out of yarn on two of them – arg! I had more at home but had to wait until today to get back to them. Yay!!! Btw, the hat is beautiful, even on a fencepost 🙂

  4. Have a great rest week. You know you can do this. You’ve done it before! Harder without Jen this time though. I’ll be rooting for you, cheering you on. The Biker Chick socks are perfect for this trip. 🙂 Go Harlot go!!!

  5. It seems many are having a challenging yfew days–experienced a crazy-hate-spiral sort of day myself–blerg! Good sleep and knitting cure much though!

    Thank you for doing this, all of this; the rally, the books, the blog, and giving so much of your time to strangers. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made, for being a catalyst and giving us the chance to help others, too.
    Thanks for demonstrating that you can be terrified and do a thing and in the process, learn that you’re stronger than you ever knew! Thank you!

    May this be your finest rally yet! And here’s to getting your knit on in August!

  6. For you I hope that the September slots stay open so you can continue resting and knitting and filling up the Christmas box (I love the hat) to your heart’s content.

    Go Stephanie next week!!!

  7. I don’t cycle much, but my husband rarely cycles without handknit socks now. He even has several in colours to match his various kits (one of which I dyed to match) and he chose another skein of yarn this past weekend to match another cycle kit.

    I spent a lovely afternoon over drinks with one of his cycle friends discussing knitting and spinning and various fibres (he doesn’t do any of this, but his aunts did and he paid attention).

    My husband is now well-known for wearing his handknit socks on the bike.

  8. This has nothing to do with the subject of this post but I wasn’t sure where to ask it. I’m wondering if people really wear all the triangular shawls they knit. I just don’t get the fascination as they always look like a bib or a neckerchief, a la American westerns, on me.

    • I wear mine and am usually knitting a new one. The only secret is that you have to act like you look fabulous wearing it. That fools everyone into believing that you do. They will even ask you for help with their own scarf/shawl! Maybe also try one that is a little larger or at least has a longer wingspan?

      • Thanks for your reply. Too funny! I’ve resorted to rectangular shawls which take longer but I’m more likely to use, whether as a shawl or scarf.

      • I collect shawl patterns, and don’t actually end up knitting them, though I’ve made a few as gifts. But since I’m short and wide, when I finally get sround to making one for myself, it will probably be a crescent shaped one. Check on Ravelry – there are lots of patterns there. And once you learn the basic construction, you can probably adapt the stitch patterns from triangular shawls.

    • I saw a blog post where the author mounted hers on the wall as art! For a smaller one she hemmed the long edge and put it on a dowel. For a larger one she made an artistic long hanger from branches and draped the shawl over it.

      • Great idea! They ARE lovely so I wish that I was more inclined to wear them. I wish there were more rectangular shawl patterns out there as those are the ones I tend to wear more.

  9. Miss Stephanie, you are an inspiration to me. I’m not much for competing in sports, although I have done it in the past, and while I can see all the hard work, time and planning you’ve put into your training, I’m sure there is worlds more that you’ve done that I’m not seeing you talk about. I am especially inspired by the way you’ve helped Jen do what she needs to do for her family, and you’ve done what you need to do for yours. Its really something to see a super fit and strong athlete cross the finish line, but its something else entirely to see a woman cross the finish line who looks like me, who doesn’t do it for a living, but chooses to do it because its the right thing to do. I am inspired by every athlete that finishes the race, but especially the unlikely ones.

    I am honored by all the rides and bike rallys that you’ve taken me along for, all the planning and timing I’ve seen you do through the Blog, and I will be thinking of you, and cheering you on as best as I can from Montana.

    Cheers, the PWA is lucky to have all of you on Team Knit riding for them, and having you especially bringing awareness of them to Knitters and Readers across the globe.

  10. So glad you’re feeling better. A good rant always helps. I really truly wish that I was there and could drive (if we depended on my cycling skills, well . . .) to each spot and help you put up your tent. But since I’m in California, I’ll just wish you well and keep you in my heart.

  11. If you are interested in booking a workshop to replace one of the cancelled dates in September, kindly consider the Indianapolis Knitting Guild. We need to talk! 765-669-3330.

  12. In case I don’t get to comment closer to the event, all the best for the Rally. You are a very inspiring person, reminding us that doing things that are hard (and not always great for our dignity – ‘saddle soreness’, I’m talking about you here!) are worthwhile, and enable us to grow and to help others. Please remember whenever it all feels so very hard that you have a large group of people cheering you on from all over the world, and we admire and are grateful for all you do for others. Go team KNIT!

  13. Oh, I do feel your biking irritability as well as the joys of the taper—I’m training for an 84 mile bike ride August 1, the Pan Mass Challenge. I will do my last long ride, 60 miles, tomorrow then get to onward to the taper! Your point that you are a better and stronger biker than a year ago rings so true for me, who will turn 66 on the day of my event!

  14. Biker chick colourway, huh?

    I wonder if there’s a dyer out there who’d be up for doing a Bike Rally colourway? We could all be knitting Bike Rally socks on next year’s ride!

  15. Pledged again for several reasons – you are riding “alone” … sort of AND I got my credit card bill and realized that the exchange rate is such that I needed to give more to reach my personal support goal ! The biggest reason is the good work that the money accomplishes. While riding – and resting – think of the legion of knitters who are cheering you onward !

  16. I bought Miss Bab’s Biker Chick sock yarn and was so excited to see it knit up. It’s my next project after I finish these on my needles.

  17. Please tell Darlene that her scarf is an amazing work of art! I cannot think of a more deserving recipient than a hospice volunteer. And I absolutely adore the bicycle clutch bag.

    • Hi! I am Darlene and I am feeling so excited! A fellow hospice volunteer responded and the Lily of the Valley shawl will be heading to her this weekend. Her name is Bernice. She provides information in her local community about advance care planning. She also provides care to people at end of life. From having observed the nursing staff where I volunteered and how they interacted with people during end of life, I can affirm that these care staff are angels on the planet.

      Dying well is just as important as living. In the hospice at which I volunteered about half of the folks had their lives shortened due to HIV or AIDS. The work of PWA is important as it contributes significant tangible support to those living with chronic illness so that they may live as well as possible in the circumstances.

      I know that contributing a completed knitting project is not in keeping with the ‘usual’ gift items. I was very clear when I finished knitting this shawl that its home was with someone else. I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground since then and am so delighted that it has found its proper home. Thank you, Stephanie, for accepting this gift and linking the shawl to her ‘forever home’ with Bernice. Yeah!

      Stephanie, I am holding good thoughts for a great ride. Even without Jen at your side, I can’t imagine anything worse than last year’s ride in torrents or rain (and no, universe, that is not an invitation to help me expand my imagination!) May calmness go before all riders this year.

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