We are now just a month out from the start of the Tour de France (July 5th, 2014), so it’s almost time for my annual Tour de France Knit Along. I feel like my knitting mojo is returning just in time! I’ve put aside a lovely bag of yarn for prizes in preparation for the Tour, and I’ll tell you about them next week.
Five years ago I was working on transforming my idea for a shawl into the Eiffel Tower Shawl. It was finally ready just before the 2010 Tour de France, and that inspired me to create a KAL with Tour-related prizes. Each year since then I’ve done another KAL during the Tour with a French theme: the Sunflower Field Shawl (agriculture), Childeric’s Bees (history/archeology), and the Père Lachaise Shawl (architecture/Paris).
This year I’ve come up with a design specifically inspired by the Tour de France. I first became a faithful follower of the Tour during my first maternity leave in 2005. Over the years of watching I’ve learned more about racing, teamwork, and the peloton. The highlight for me was being in Paris for the final stage of the Tour de France two years ago.
The idea that’s been percolating in my head for months is to do a shawl that shows the different shapes that the peloton (the main group of riders in the race) takes. When there is a crosswind, the riders form echelons: diagonal lines across the road giving as much shelter as possible. When a particular rider or team starts comes to the front to pick up the pace in the peleton, it turns into a pointed arrow or diamond shape, with riders trailing out the back. When the riders are struggling up a brutal mountain climb, they become a long winding outline of the hairpin bends of the road.
I’ve taken these shapes and turned them into a semi-circular shawl pattern. I’ve done a trial run with some light fingering weight yarn and I’m working with fingering weight yarn at the moment. I expect that a small shawlette can be made with 1 skein but for a full-sized shawl you’ll want 2 skeins (around 800 yards) of fingering weight yarn.
So start gearing up for the Tour KAL now! Search the stash for one or two skeins of fingering weight yarn in solid or semi-solid colours. Make sure you’ve got appropriate needles ready to use. Stay tuned to the blog for more details about what’s to come.