Knitters aren’t Quitters

Like so many knitters I am an avid reader of the adventures of the Yarn Harlot aka Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. On many a morning I ‘come to’ with a cup of coffee and her blog on my phone. As a result I followed her build up to the 600km Toronto-Montreal Friends for Life Bike Rally, ridden in support of the Toronto People with Aids Foundation, last year with a certain degree of admiration. I read about how tough it actually was in challenging weather conditions, and how much grit, determination and, I imagine, bloody mindedness it took to see it through, from the comfort of my own home and having not ridden a bicycle for about 10 years.

This year it’s different. Mr P bought a bike to start riding to work last autumn. Imagining sunny days and fun bike rides together I got my trusty old Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op mount out from storage and took it to the bike shop for a tune up… It actually required a pretty major overhaul. But  I wanted to stick with it rather than just replacing it. I bought my bike for what seemed like a ridiculously high price at the time, from the proceeds of selling my first car, which itself had cost all of £500. I had moved into Edinburgh city centre and no longer really needed a car and couldn’t afford to actually park it. So this past Christmas we were with my parents in Dorset and, full of enthusiasm and with a newly roadworthy bike, we took both our bikes and rode along a new bike track built on the railway line that went through the villages of my childhood.

Such was my enthusiasm, and the good weather on Christmas Eve I even took pictures:

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However, the soreness after just a few miles along a bumpy track gave me a whole new appreciation for serious cyclists. I’d conveniently forgotten that to attain and maintain a comfortable seat when cycling takes a not insignificant a degree of discomfort in the process.

So when I read this post, it really got me thinking.

The organisation is one that I would support without question. Whilst here in the UK and, I believe in Canada, we have a publicly funded healthcare system, which provides medical treatment, statutory services can only meet the tip of the iceberg of needs for people living with HIV. I know this from having worked on the edge of this area for many years. Moreover, whilst healthcare responses have improved greatly since HIV first came to attention in my adolescence, the degree of stigma associated with it does not appear to have lessened. The televised election debate demonstrated this in a less than edifying fashion when a particular candidate decided that people with HIV were ‘fair game’ and spoke in such a way as to reinforce this stigma.

And if you didn’t click on the last link to the post above, please do, and I challenge you not to be motivated to contribute in whatever way you can, and there are lots of ways you can. If you read down past the Team Knit roll call, you can see what you can do to help.

My way of contributing? Well I set about thinking about it. yes, I could tweet, I could post here, I could donate a bit, I could offer up some yarn or maybe patterns as karmic balancing gifts, or I could do something a little more challenging… So I got to thinking whether it would be possible to make a weekly donation, based on taking action and raising the money. Jumping on a bicycle and cycling in solidarity only fleetingly crossed my mind and was very quickly dismissed.

There were 12 weeks from when I read the post and the Bike rally starting. There are 4 members of Team Knit, that would be 3 donations for each team member. If I could raise £20 a week, which seemed reasonable that would be a respectable £240 in total. So that’s my challenge to myself and I decided to go for it.

It was already the Thursday of the first week so I checked my paypal balance and made my first donation of $25 to Pato. I’m afraid that not having checked the exchange rate between the UK and Canada, when my paypal receipt came through I had not met my £20 a week target. The $25.00 donation came to £13.72 – doh, I guess I’ll get the hang of this exchange rate thing at some point…

This week I decided to have a look at my unloved stash. The yarn that doesn’t even fit in my stash storage capacity and decided to list it on the UK classifieds board on Ravelry. Whatever, I did this week it needed to be quick as it’s a busy one for me. It really was odds and ends, so i wan’t too sure about it but I took pictures, priced it low and crossed my fingers. See there’s nothing remarkable or fancy here but some good practical workhorse yarns.

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I was amazed at the quick response and most of it went within the day. What’s more some buyers were additionally generous so in total we’ve raised £27.00. I’ve converted this to Canadian $ and it comes to $49.79, and this has been donated to Jen.

I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing each week, I did try to make a list but didn’t come up with 12 ideas so I put the list away. I’ve a few ideas, and will share these as the weeks go on, suffice it to say at this stage that one involves rhubarb… we’ll see if that one reaches fruition (!) and I’ll keep a running tally of what we’ve donated, because it is ‘we’. Whilst I’m planning this the fundraising will mainly be among Knitters and crocheters and, we are donating to Team Knit, so it is a team effort all round.

‘Knitter’s aren’t quitters’? I took a long time to come up with the title for this post and whilst it is perhaps a little more ‘gung ho’ than I would normally go for, I do think it’s true. We may rip back and frog, we may start over many times, we may tweak and modify but we get there in the end and there’s an awful lot to be said for that sort of persistence and what it contributes to the rest of our lives too.

Bike Rally Donations Tally:

Week 1 (w/c 11/5):    $25.00      £13.72

Week 2 (w/c 18/5):    $47.79      £27.00

Total:                           $72.79      £40.72


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