Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
-Walter Elliott

On Saturday, the Tour de France begins.  3,642 kilometres of mental and physical endurance.  Yet endurance requires far more than simple hard-headedness (though I am sure all athletes have some of that too).  It is the ability to pace yourself, to not go too fast, nor too slow, to understand your limits and then surpass them at the end.

Knitting is like that too.  Whether you are casting on your very first length of garter stitch or are preparing for a hand-spun shawl in 2000 yards, you must be willing to go the distance.  You must ask yourself if this is something worth doing, something you will love and fight for, and not something that will be resigned forever more to the WIP cupboard.

Short races, as Walter Elliott put it, can help with that.  In the Tour de France it is the prologue and 20 following stages that help the cyclists to keep their pace and track their progress.  In knitting, it is rows or sections or, in most shawl patterns, charts.

The brilliantly talented Natalie Servant has created a shawl in celebration of the Tour de France.  A triumph in four charts, it depicts the Eiffel Tower.  Of course, the moment I saw it I knew I had to have it, and have even pulled out the perfect yarn from my ever-ready stash.

Handpaintedyarn.com lace in Bonbon

Isn’t it lovely?  Gorgeous golden-brown shades, very reminicent of Paris in Autumn.  Not the strongest of yarns, but if I’m careful I should be able to block it out with no problems.  This one only really gets grumpy if you try to frog it.  And even better, the colourway is French!

Another joy is that Natalie is running a competition for those who knit this during the Tour de France.  Check it out – you’re still eligable even if you just want to see how other people’s efforts are turning out, and the prizes are gorgeous.

So anyone out there who happens to be fans of lace, or cycling, or even Paris itself, get yourself over to Ravelry and buy a copy of the Eiffel Tower Shawl.  It looks to be very well written and clearly charted; I’m certain you won’t regret it.

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