The highlight of the Summer has been cycling. Every year, we go to the Cevennes – a remote, hilly part of the South of France – because we love it!. We pack up the caravan and bikes and head down to the ferry as soon as school finishes. It takes a few bike rides, but gradually I unwind and get fitter, then I surprise myself by wanting to do longer, harder bike rides.
This year marked a milestone. My daughter was old enough to come and join me on a few rides. She rode her first proper mountain climb.
The scenery is stunning. Tiny, twisty, broken roads winding up through the trees.
This was the bottom of the Col de l’Asclier – at the top there’s a statue of Robert Louis Stevenson (writer of Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) – he walked across the area and wrote about it publishing, “Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.” Here’s the view from the top:
Back in England, we’ve done tandem rides and longer local rides near home. My parents-in-law are looking after the children for a few days so my husband and I are are going to seize the chance to ride the Sea to Sea. It’s a 136 mile route travels across the North of England from Whitehaven on the West coast – across the Lake District and Pennines to Tynemouth – across the East coast. We’ve talked about doing this ride for years but never had the chance -so I can’t wait.
Knitting has taken a backseat… but also my project was much bigger than I anticipated. I finished the Funchal Moebius wrap and it was worth the effort. My last few posts were about tension and I was worried that the work would not flatten – it did though. The pattern instructed me to iron the wrap to block it and this had a magical effect. It smoothed the ruckled effect perfectly.
The finished object is striking….
I’ve learnt a lot about the need to perfect my tension though. Up until now, I’ve been so happy to complete a project with neat, even stitches. However, I am becoming more conscious of fit and recognising how it necessary it is for the overall garment.
OK- sounds obvious. But everyone has to go through this for themselves. Everyone has to knit a project without swatching and realise that they should have bothered with it.
My lesson went like this:
During the wrap, I was worried about ruckling so as the project went on, I became more conscious of keeping the floats loose at the back so I made them longer. When I finished the garment, I realised that doing this had made me loosen the tension across the project – the top edge didn’t quite match the bottom edge.
When you look closely, you can see that the top is wider than the bottom. Also, the shapes get slightly bigger.
I’m not bothered about this – you can’t see the fault when I wear it but this made me think.
The next point that bought it home to me was the jumper I knitted for my husband. When he wears it, it looks fine but he doesn’t find it comfortable. He said it felt a bit too big and that it just hung, “it didn’t have any tension”. He doesn’t know about knitter terminology, this was just how he found it. I do know that I knit a bit loosely so I took on board what he said and started to be conscious of keeping the year a bit tighter.
Originally, I’d started a jumper for my son earlier in the summer and knitted the back at my more regular tension. However this week, I started the front (being conscious of tension) and noticed that the diamond pattern looked smaller:
Quite a big difference!!
To make the jumper fit, I needed it at the looser fitting so I pulled it out and started again, knitting loosely. I’ve been lucky – I hadn’t done too much.
But this has made me realise how much control you have over tension just by the way you hold the yarn – not just through the needles.
In future, I will be knitting tension swatches.