30 July 2007

Stage Twenty: Marcoussis > Paris Champs-Elysees

Well the corks on the champagne bottles were popped hours ago and the Tour riders have all retired for one last massage and probably a very big night out celebrating. True to tradition, there was no attack on the Champs-Elysees, so the yellow jersey standings remained unchanged after Stage 20, and, as predicted, Tom Boonen held onto the green jersey. In addition to the yellow, Alberto Contador takes home the white jersey for best young rider, and Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez won the polkadot jersey. We haven't followed the team classification too closely on the KAL, but for the record, Team Discovery Channel (Contador and Leipheimer's team) won that honour.

There are very few spectacles in sport quite like the Champs-Elysees filled with cyclists on the final day of the Tour. It is this kind of beautiful sight which keeps Tour fans tuning in year after year, despite the drug scandals and bad press. The Tour is full of magical moments, unbelievable scenery, gruelling mountain climbs, lightning-quick sprints, requiring strategy and tactics of a grandmaster in chess and a few favourable glances from Lady Luck in order to succeed. Kind of like knitting!

Lots of our knitters have come home to Paris triumphant, sporting beautiful finished works. Some of our knitters have not quite finished their projects but have made amazing progress nonetheless. We want to give as many people as possible a chance to show off their Tour projects, so there will be one or two more project updates to follow this one - so please keep tuning in! And don't forget to stop by your fellow Tour KAL'ers sites to give them a hearty pat on the back for a job well done.

Here's Lene looking very smart, sporting her newly completed Maggie Tweed cardigan!
Natalie has finished her neckwarmer with her handspun yarn and is having an 'end-of-Tour sale' on her Tour-theme-named yarns - why not stop by and pick up a bargain on some beautiful yarn!
Despite her injuries, Susan still managed to complete this amazing Kauni cardigan! Here's a shot of the back, since we recently saw the front.
Blogless Tam gave it her all and still has a little tiny bit left to finish on her Juno - good luck!
Zarah has captured the essence of France with her completed 'Julia' sweater, modelled here with an Orangina - tres bien!!
Jen finished her 'Anniversaire' socks... formidable!
It's not knitting but it's still craft...my father managed to make not one but two eyeglass cases, reviving his plastic canvas cross stitch skillz from a decade ago. Note the Tour-appropriate colours!
Kris started out the Tour with 10 WIPS and finished four of them. Well kind of four. It depends on if the buttons have to be applied to a cardigan in order for it to count as an FO. Anyway, this irresistible little number is a top for her 4-month old niece. Mignon!
Mrs Pao completed her Kiri shawl with flying colours and time to spare! Magnifique!
Blogless Anne emailed to tell me she's finished three socks during the Tour, the companion to an existing first sock...
And another pair!
Sharon showed remarkable commitment to one project which I think she has found is against her nature... here is her wrap, with 8 pattern repeats done - halfway complete! She is planning on doing one repeat a week until it's finished, and allowing herself to glance at other projects now from time to time!
Donni finished her first Bayerische sock... I think she's in love!
Jane sprinted to the finish with her entrelac socks... say hi to Tom Boonen on the winners' podium for me!
Riggwelter finished her chunky cardigan and provides on her blog an impressive run-down of her achievements over the past three weeks! (Full marks for the Francais!)
Dotty has finished the first sock of a pair, it's a mighty fine specimen:
Meg's mum finished one apres-ski headband and is almost finished with the second. Hot chocolates all round!
Blogless Lisa emailed me a photo of her nearly-finished Anthropologie Shrug - looks fabulous!
And some more updates...
Arja has finished the body of her Mermaid.
Ann has also finished the majority of her Mermaid. That mermaid, she seems to be a lot of knitting!
Amelia has cast off Myrtille and is blocking it now.
Beverly started chickami but has had an even more important deadline rear its head (really! check out what she's using as motivation to get her draft dissertation finished!) - so no finished tour knitting but something started at least.
Paisley is looking forward to her first early-to-bed night since Wimbledon! Me too!
Amber finished her third shawl in three weeks!
Christina finished one Jaywalker as the icing on the cake of a long litany of achievements during the Tour!
Maylin encountered some pesky stitch count problems a mere 14 rows from the end of her Swallowtail Shawl but last I heard she was going to try to 'smudge' it and finish it off.
And despite spending most of the Tour incapaciated by a back problem, Peaknit managed to get through most of a pair of Roza socks - demonstrating she definitely has what it takes to be a top-class TdF rider!

As the buzz of the Tour recedes into the distance, we will all be left with an inordinate amount of free time. Sometimes the end of the Tour can leave us feeling a sense of emptiness and despair - we miss our dear friends on the Tour, including Phil and Paul, we miss having something to look forward to every single day, we miss the excuse to eat lots of cheese and croissants etc.. I thought I would provide some tips for avoiding Post-Tour Depression to help us through this trying time.
  • Go for a bike ride. If that doesn't do it for you, assign yourself to one of the Tour teams and pretend you're the leader/sprinter/mountain specialist/domestique.
  • Refer to your family or group of friends or coworkers as the peloton. Occasionally send someone off to collect drinks from the team car (aka refrigerator).
  • Travel in the slipstream of your friends by refusing to walk next to them in favour of walking behind them.
  • Refer to jaywalkers as breakaway riders while waiting to cross at the lights.
  • Eat your lunch out of a bag slung over your shoulder. When you're finished throw your water bottle over your shoulder. Extra points for eating only Energy Gel.
  • Wear spandex everywhere. For that matter, wear a helmet everywhere.
  • Stand on the roadside and shout Allez! Allez! at passing bicycle couriers. If you don't have bike couriers in your town, shout Allez! Allez! at the neighbourhood kids on their bikes.
  • Utilise Phil- and Paul-isms in your everyday speaking.
  • Excuse yourself from situations by saying you have to take a Natural Break.
  • Join the Cycling Knitters webring.
  • Mark the dates of the 2008 Tour in your diary now!
Check back here soon for more updates and the announcement of the winner of the final prize drawing!


Susan said...

I would like to raise a glass of champagne to our "team leaders" for pulling this KAL together and leading us through it!!!!

THANK YOU. Can't wait for next year.

The_Add_Knitter said...

What a fantastic kal, I am really enjoying the projects that people have finished. And yes, now we are left with a glaring hole in our days:(

Elaine said...

Wow - what fabulous projects everyone has made. If you haven't had a chance to stop by my blog, you can take a look at my photos of the TdF in London - both the initial time trial and the launch the next day. Also, there's a photo of my jacket (knit but not blocked or sewn) which has now been partly blocked (and I think I've decided the armpit is too shallow so I'm going to rip out the cast off and add a few rows - great time to measure Elaine - after you block the piece!)

Thanks again and I'm so excited about winning my very first blog contest!

Gretchen said...

I was teary-eyed yesterday, as the riders were being awarded their final jerseys and trophies. I will miss Paul and Phil tremendously! And Bob, and Al, and the scenery, and the scandals, and the triumph...

I will fill the void with trying to finish my project (a little more than a third done- hey, I have four kids!) and helping my oldest daughter do a total room makeover on her bedroom. Alas, she does not care for a cycling theme.

Great knit-a-long! And I will be back next year!

mishaele said...

Thanks so much to you all fora great Tour! This was loads of fun!

Kristen said...

I love the post-Tour suggestions, LOL, and will try to do as many as possible!

NotSoCarbonNeutral said...

Oh dear, all those fab finished projects make my efforts look half-hearted. If only I had fewer children and more time. Still it was fun trying to finish before the 29th even if did fail completely to finish anything!

"Blogless" Heidi said...

This has been massive fun and a real incentive to finish a project that was in a real spot of bother. I'll miss the updates and Phil and Paul (I love the idea of continuing P&P speech)and the camaraderie of the KAL Team. 'til '08!

Chelsea said...

Thank you for organizing such a great KAL, everyone! I thought that it was so much fun to read about others' progress and FO's. I still have more Birch-time to commit to before I can really talk myself into loving this experience and yarn. ;) I love using KSH, but I always pick things to use it on that I don't seem to have problems following. I don't know why, but this pattern keeps making me make mistakes. Maybe it's too many stitches to keep up with. Who knows?! Anyhoo - great job, everyone! I got a pair of socks done that had been giving me many problems, so I'm happy for now. I've got another pair started... Birch is patiently waiting for more progress. Au revoir, all! I do hope that we are able to gather again next year, as Levi takes the yellow onto his own shoulders for the final days of le Tour! ;)

Chelsea said...

Whoops - when I said "experience," I meant the pattern, not the experience of the Tour or the KAL - I loved those experiences. ;)

Donna Lee said...

Those are some impressive finished projects. This was my first kal and I really enjoyed keeping up with what everyone was doing. Thanks Meg and Debby. What a good job you both did, keeping us up to date on the good and the not so good.

Anne said...

Great fun...I am definitely looking forward to next year. By then I should have blog issues sorted!

hege said...

I love your post-Tour depression fighting tips! I will start training now so that I can join next year :)

Mary Heather said...

I love the tips and everybody did a great job on their projects!

5elementknitr said...

Good Job Everyone! I didn't finish my project. No jersey button for me, I guess! Better luck next year...

Ina said...

Thank YOU for a great KAL! I was feeling down after all the scandals but must admit Saturday's time trial was indeed the race of truth. And the allure of the finish in Paris never, ever fades.

Riggwelter said...

What a wonderful finish in both the race and here. there is some amazing knitting and crafts going on here. I am sooo looking forward to next year.
I have joined the cycling/knitting webring and often shout allez! allez! to anyone who gets in the way!
Thank you to Meg and Debby, the new Phil and Paul for a wonderful KAL.

Christina said...

well done everyone. I look forward to next year!!! Now, when's the Vuelta on???

peaknits said...

This was a lot of fun, even bed ridden as I was:) Gave me lots of time to at least watch the Tour, right? My second Roza is past the heel - a true mountain, because I never cast a second sock on so quick as I did this one!:) Thanks for the inspiration!

Nikki said...

Congratulations to everyone!!

Tam said...

I actually went to bed at a reasonable hour last night; I have never watched Le Tour before and now I am so hooked that I have already picked my project for next year!
Throughout Le Tour, whenever I was out in my car and saw cyclists I would say they are on Le Tour of whichever suburb I was driving through!!

Kate_knits_a_bit said...

Meg and Debby,
thanks for organising this KAL - c'etait magnifique!! Fantastique!!!
It was lots of fun seeing the different things people were tackling, and the ways they dreamed up to make a link between craft and sporting endeavour!
Je vous remercie mille fois.
À bientôt!

sloth-knits said...

Hi, thanks for organizing this knitalong. I was between homes much of the time and didn't have a chance to post until earlier this week, but I did manage to knit most of an Argosy scarf.