Because of the annual festival of knitting that the Tour de France has become (and also its sister event, the Tour de Fleece, for spinners). Non-knitters, especially those I know on Twitter, are puzzled by this. There are questions galore about what knitting has to do with a bunch of guys cycling around France.
Not much, is the reply. Except that some mad keen knitters who also happen to love the race came up with the idea a few years ago now to add a little spice and competition to our work with sticks and string and the Tour de France Knit Along was born.
Non knitters also want to know if you have to knit stuff in the colour of the jerseys or anything like that. No. And thank goodness for that. We just knit big or small things, depending on our interests, skill level, patience and time.
It’s a huge, international knitting event. At some point, I got swept up in it too. Having never paid the first bit of attention to the Le Tour, I found myself watching it for the stuff I AM interested in one year, the scenery, the culture, the food and the wine. Yeah, those bits. They sucked me in.
When you add an element of speed knitting, I’m hooked (so to speak). For several years now, except last year, I’ve thrown myself headlong into the Yellow Jersey class and have successfully knitted entire adult garments in the three weeks it took for the cyclists to do their thing. One I’m particularly proud of is my sister’s pale blue alpaca cardigan from 2008.
Getting that done, in pieces I should add, was a fun and satisfying achievement.
This year, the race crept up on me. I almost forgot and then felt I didn’t have the fortitude this year to go through that again. But I literally can’t ignore the opportunity to churn out a new piece in record time. I can’t. The temptation is too great. The decision of what to make was easy. A cardigan i’ve been planning to make for months. It’s time has arrived. It’s the Honey Cardigan by Finnish designer 100% Rain, or Veera Välimäki.
It’s gorgeous, I think. And mine will be a deep, dark grey too. Cascade 220 in fact.
As per the rules, I waited until the race kicked off last night, well about half an hour before if I’m truly honest and began the yoke which is knit using a Chain Cable stitch. If you think about it, that’s kind of on theme isn’t it? Bikes – chains – cables – get it?
It’s enormous fun. Truly. This is a great cable. I haven’t done one like it before. I figure after the yoke is done, I’ll have plenty of plain knitting to whizz through – which is all the better for drinking all that (perhaps French) red wine while taking in the scenery.
Maybe this year I’ll try harder to understand what on earth goes on.