I already know from your comments that you people are lovely, wise, witty, and creative (yes, even YOU lurking at the back, there), but now I know that you’re generous too. Thanks to you, £1646 and rising is going to pancreatic cancer research. You’re awesome. More than awesome. Awesomer! Awesomest! Thank you. One day when you read about a new treatment for pancreatic cancer, you can smile in the knowledge that you’ve helped that happen. A heartbreakingly high number of you have commented on my JustGiving page about the loved ones you’ve lost to this vile disease. But through your donations, you’re helping to create hope that in future, people won’t have to suffer the grief that you’ve been forced to endure. Thank you, dear friends. And there is still time to donate if you are so inclined. Here’s another link to my JustGiving page, because if I’m going to pester you, I may as well do it thoroughly.
By way of an update, I’m 959 miles (88% of the way) in to this race from Land’s End to John O’Groats, with ‘only’ – and I use that word rather loosely – 125 miles to go. Due to my own (breast) cancer treatment, I’ve sometimes been playing catch-up with the miles because there were times when I was too ill to run, but right now I’m slightly ahead of target to be done within a year, i.e. by mid-August.
I think about you lovely lot whilst I’m running, and it keeps me going through the torrential rain, and the blazing heat, and the ankle-sucking mud, and the snow, and the sunburn, and the hail, and the blustery wind – a surprising number of which can occur within the same run. Actually I don’t mind running in the rain – you reach a level of sogginess where you stop bothering to avoid the puddles, because it’s not as though you can get any wetter than saturated, you know? “Yeah puddle, what ya gonna do, replace some of this water with other water? Ha! Go right ahead.”
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘What on earth is the woman blithering on about?’ then you might want to read my previous post, here.
There has been a lot of knitting here, too, and I can’t wait to be able to show you the designs that I’m proud to have created for a certain gorgeous company… but I mustn’t spoil the surprise. So instead I’ll pepper this post with pictures of other things I’ve designed in the past. Predictably, this recent design work involved stranded colourwork inspired by the natural world, because that’s the way I mostly roll. I promise to show you in a couple of weeks’ time, once it’s a bit less of an if-I-show-you-then-I’ll-have-to-kill-you type of scenario, OK?
The design process and the pattern-writing were careful and thorough. But when it came to knitting the samples of all the colour/design/size combinations in time, lets just say that things got a weeny bit hairy. Several all-nighters were pulled, small children and medium-sized husbands were neglected, and the vegetable garden was respectfully begged to fend for itself for a couple of weeks if it would be so kind, even though we were in a mini-heatwave at the time and it was a crucial stage in the dinner-growing calendar.
Yet still, there was a yawning chasm separating what needed to be done from what could humanly be achieved in the hours available. Enter stage left and in shining (knitted) armour @buttonsandpickles – that’s her Instagram name – a friend with a bottomless heart and speedy needles. Without her help, I would have failed. But between us, we did it. And whilst usually I enjoy the anecdotal possibilities of things going wrong, this situation inconvenienced other people, so I ain’t laughing. Anyway, the knitting is done, and you’ll see it very soon.
So now I’m back to designing my own stuff. Current design mood = dragonflies, because it’s the time of year when the juveniles of these ancient beasts emerge from our pond, crawling up a reed to shed their exoskeletons before flying their maiden voyages. Their distant forebears in pre-dinosaur times had a wingspan of up to 75cm (that’s 2’5″), which definitely crosses the very important boundary that separates “Gosh, what a delightfully fascinating and beautiful insect” from “YIKES, IT’S A MONSTER! RUN AWAY!” You really can have too much of a good thing, y’know?
Given that this post is about both running and knitting, I’ve been thinking about how the two activities are almost exactly the same. No please, hear me out. Think about it: if you’d never done either, you’d look at the marathon or the laceweight Fair Isle jumper in the same way – as crazy, unattainable, gigantihumonganormous projects. And yes, viewed in the whole, I suppose both of them are. But the secret to success in both cases is identical: commitment to dogged repetition of the tiny units that make up the whole. Step after step after stitch after stitch. Not looking forward too far, but sometimes allowing yourself the pleasure of looking back at how far you’ve come. There’s no point in a one-off burst of activity – instead, the route to success lies in relentless persistence and an almost meditative repetition of tiny, not-in-themselves-difficult units. A zen-like immersion in the details that ultimately make up the difficult whole. Seriously. I’ve run a marathon and I’ve knitted a well-over-100k-stitch underwater picture. Outwardly they’re very different but the mindset is the same. Just keep going.
And that’s all that any of us can do, really. Just. Keep. Going.
Thanks for your thoughtful words and actions. Due to age and arthritis I can neither run nor knit your complex beautiful designs. My husband has a multiplicity of neuroendocrine tumours so I need reminding of living a step at a time so your words are so helpful
Teresa Rastoskey says
You are indeed a yarn artist. My baby blanket, Jedi robe making knitting needles applaud you and your creative mind and nimble fingers. Happy running and joyful knitting.
Teresa in soggy Michigan USA
You are one amazing woman!!
Megan Drennan says
“There’s no point in a one-off burst of activity instead the route to success lies in a relentless persistence” this is also a great description of the weight loss journey I have recently embarked on …one of many such journeys in my past life, only 6 stone or so to lose! This time I am succeeding at last and it’s thanks to a psychology programme called Noom which is changing the way I think about food.
Knitting is also involved since I spend time not eating but instead knitting blankets for dementia sufferers. Win-win. Love your blog,always encouraging and entertaining and good luck with the fun raising… decided to leave that typo in!
Megan in Llandudno. X
Must look up Noom ! I’ve lost 10kg with WW points system, so far: only 20 or so more to go. :\
Life in a nutshell “just keep on going”. I am happy there’s such an amount raised. Good to hear. I do hope this is about the book, Is it? I am so curious.
Lee Mitchell says
Keep on hitting those puddles!
Love your posts – and your knitting, especially when it overlaps with my loves – which are nature. And when I was sitting in the garden the other day (immobile with a torn ligament….) I was so pleased when one of our young robins landed on my foot – and immediately remembered the lovely photos in your blog.
And that’s why I’m whispering “I think that is a four spotted chaser” (great photo too!)
—which is, of course, what you are sentenced to do by each one of us out here who loves you.
Anxiety confession, Phil: “Due to my own (breast) cancer treatment, I’ve sometimes been playing catch-up with the miles because there were times when I was too ill to run” .. And here was I, thinking all that was over ! Just goes to show how almost inconceivably stupid an old fart can be – AND one who lost her husband to (lung) cancer. Jesus christ on a bicycle ! – I am a very silly woman.
125 miles to go, eh ? – a doddle. [grin]
Love to hear about the medium-sized husband; and simply cannot think of the twinnage as ‘small’.
Love most of all to simply hear from you.
Rebecca Eveland says
It’s not difficult to immediately know that you’re quite an amazing person and an inspiration to those desirous of injections of wonderfulness in nature, physical challenges, life, family, fiber arts and more. I must donate to your cause, which passed me by last round, as chronic migraine interfered, laying me low for weeks. I’ve lost a number of friends to this horrible disease. Off the wall: In my position as Head, Surgical-Training, Bioskills Centre, we were one day engaged with our General Surgery folks. With donated tissue (I believe you’ll understand my meaning here), Dr. “Matt” immediately exclaimed, “Rebecca, get your hand here.” What I want to share is that we had a cancerous pancreas from a donor. Dr. Matt had found the primary tumor mid-pancreas, which was shaped like a Michelin tire. This is such a tough CA to defeat. Ten years ago lavages of chemo into the peritoneum were not uncommon. Hopefully our clinical researchers are continuing to move forward in their fight against this horrible disease. Thank you for providing the link once again. …I’m so happy that you’ll be sharing your new knitting project with us soon! Every time you hint at a new project coming down the road, honestly, it gets my fibre juices flowing. Thank you for everything you share with us, which inspires us and gives us a lift up, often on a gloomy day (even if it’s 116F outside, as in my case today).
anne spencer says
Oh well done. Well done indeed. I’m so proud of you. Your victory should be shouted from the rooftops.
Keep on keeping on!
You are an AMAZING LADY! Your courage and stamina take my breath away. I know you must have some low moments, but your ability to pick up and go on, one step or stitch at a time is heroic. Sending ????????????
JAN CRAGGS says
Just a word to say, I’m in awe if your achievement, wishing you good luck, health and a finishing line! I’ve just completed your Deer in twilight cowl, it’s as impressive in the hand as it was in you initial pictures. Pattern was inspired and inspiring. Soft bed, hot water and coffee on tap coming your way soon.
Your blog is incredible. And it fills me with hope and longing each time. No, I don’t run – never will. But I do try to go for sedate evening strolls every day. And I crochet small pieces. And write a little. You do so much each day I am in awe! Thank you!
Oh, HOW I wish I could see the comments !
Does anyone else have this problem ?
NOW I see them ! Wrote mine at around 6.20am this-morning, and saw nary a comment until 4:40pm ! Ah, the mysteries of WordPress ..
Lynne Guzha says
Thanks for your lovely posts, amusing and thoughtful.. I keep reminding myself how wonderful it is to have a garden, somewhere to sit in it and needles with yarn. It’s good to know other people feel the same. Congratulations on your magnificent fund-raising!
Amanda S. says
When I was living in the Chicago region, one of my favorite displays at the Field Museum was set in the Late Carboniferous and featured life-size replicas of those huge dragonflies and tetrapods. I’d known about the dragonflies, but not about the tetrapods. Came to know a man who was studying dragonflies and the effect of water pollution on the larvae. He was the one who showed me how the different species hunted at different elevations above the water so as not to compete with each other, just like warblers foraged in different areas of trees. Good times.
Katie K says
I am honoured to call you a friend and will always be happy to help out.
I LOVE YOU!
Born To Organize says
Congratulations. You inspire so many with your words and deeds.
The Twisted Yarn says
And you inspire me with your garden and your care for others. 🙂
Born To Organize says
Awwww. Thank you. xo