Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Knitting and Cycling (not at the same time)

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

After the excitement of G's Prom and - yes - there was a massive 3 layer chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate bits all over it - we spent most of the weekend cycling and knitting. Which brings me neatly to our summer holiday this year, details of which will be hitting the knitting press over the coming weeks so I thought the time had come to bring the blogosphere up to date with our plans.

(Obviously not everyone's summer holiday plans are announced in the knitting press but, hey, as ever we like to be different)

Over the past few years we've spent two very happy holidays on canal boats cruising the Canal du Midi in southern France. The vineyards, literally, come down to the water's edge, we pick up crusty bread and croissants from local bakeries and it's all very idyllic. There are always loads of people cycling the tow-path and, indeed, we've always hired bikes as well so we can go off on little excusions and from this we've always planned a holiday cycling the tow-paths which, of course, are virtually flat, camping in village camp sites and seeing the canals from a different angle.

So this year we were putting some plans in place and then the boys (G & T) threw into the mix the thought that they'd like to do something to raise money for Help For Heroes. What many of you won't know is that FB used to be in the Army and the plight of the injured soldiers returning from Afghanistan is something we all care deeply about. So - in short - the gentle cycling tour of the French canals has now turned into a charity ride from John O'Groats back home to Land's End!

We leave Penzance on July 9th and then leave John O'Groats on July 11th because, of course, it takes 2 days for us to get to the north of Scotland in order to be able to start cycling back.

So, what on earth has this got to do with knitting and why is it to be featured in all the knitting magazines? Well - I'm driving the back-up vehicle (a 6 berth campervan) and the boys were all concerned as to what I'd be doing all day when I'm not driving, shopping, cooking and cleaning. The answer was obvious - I'll be knitting, of course. And thus was born - The End to End Sweater. The basic premise is that I have to cast it on at John O'Groats and be wearing it at Land's End 13 days later!! Our very own Tina Barrett has kindly agreed to donate the sweater design to us and it will, obviously, be knitted in Cornish Organic Wool. (I did stipulate no 4ply and we've now agreed on Aran weight to give me a fighting chance! We also agreed that the pattern will be unisex but I'll be knitting it in my size, not FB's!) Last week we met up with Tina to discuss plans:

(I might be looking a tiny bit anxious in that picture - can't think why)

I am not the fastest knitter in the world and this may well be the only time in my life that I attempt to knit a sweater in less than 2 weeks. I have visions of the exhaused cyclists snoring around me and me knitting like fury into the night.

All the knitting magazines have been incredibly supportive - this may be the only true "End to End Sweater" ever attempted and we're pretty sure it's definitely the first. So, we're now asking the knitters of the world to support our challenge and our heroes through Help For Heroes. Irrespective of your views on the war that our men and women are currently fighting in, the fact remains that they are coming home with horrendous injuries and charities like Help For Heroes are doing marvellous work in helping them to recover and rehabilitate.

The boys' school (GEMS Bolitho in Penzance) are kindly lending us a laptop for the trip so there'll be nightly updates on our geographical and knitting progress on this blog. (Fortunately we have a 15 and 17 year old to iron out the technical glitches - you know what I'm like with technology)

It's all very exciting and our house is now being taken over by bits of bikes and shorts with padding in strategic areas and maps and training schedules. On Sunday they did a 45 mile ride in the rain and yesterday we did a shorter 12 mile round trip to the pub and back:

That's the view looking over our glorious north coast en route to Zennor.

If you want to see more details of the trip, more photos and details of where you can sponsor us you can see our page at www.justgiving.com/TheHopsons.

We're really hoping that friends and family will meet the victorious cyclists at Land's End on July 24th (all being well) and I'm praying that I'll be wearing the sweater (even if it only has one sleeve!). In the meantime there is training to be done, GCSE's to be completed and a large chocolate cake to be finished.

1 comment:

  1. You should go for a top-down raglan, Julia! You can call it a cropped top with short sleeves if the boys cycle too fast :-)

    I'll be chipping in soon :-)