Give us a highlights package of your TDFKAL. What were your goals for the Tour and have you met them? Did you have some major stage wins? Are you going home with the yellow jersey (or other equally wearable item)? Or did you spectacularly crash into a Labrador or run off the side of a mountain? Did your equipment break down mid-race, leaving you stranded on the side of the road waiting for the team car? We want the blow-by-blow account using your very best sportscaster voice, Franglais, and/or cycling metaphors! (The use of Phil and Paulisms is optional but looked on favourably!)

est fini! My courverture de forst was cast off at 14.54 AEST Saturday 26 July- a lot earlier than I thought it would be. When I applied to join the KAL, I wasn’t sure whether there’d be any slots left. As my first KAL, I was a little apprehensive, the Tour is one of the greatest races, and the knitting would be of the same calibre. I chose the maillot pois aux rouge, not because I needed something to help with the PhD procrastination, though help it did, I chose to contend in the Queen of the Mountain series because I had a few alpine peaks to overcome – a large piece (the sheer size of blankets/shawls daunts me), lacework (I love lace, and I’ve managed to get the hang of small pattern repeats, but nothing big) and stagnating stash (I bought this wool to make a hoodie, but the moss stitch has driven me mad, so I had mounds of beautiful green stash staring at me). I had also signed up to a Mystery KAL – where the pattern was fed to us week by week, but nobody knew what the FO would be. What was I thinking?

I began with the first day of the Tour casting on with Judy Becker’s small circle cast-on – and managed to get my first section and first category 2 climb completed with some surprise.

Section 2 and half of section three saw me near the front of the peleton, and with brief periods in the tête de la cours, things seemed to be shaping up well for me to hit the really complex section of 576 stitches and 50 rows of lace with 12 48 stitch repeats in the section. This is usually enough to make me run screaming from a pattern, but I was determined that I was going to get to the top of l’Alpe d’Huez and in good time.

And did I ever – it was slow going – I found that, while my sprinting isn’t that bad, I was able to make the descents relatively safely – I nearly slipped off into the shale on the Col du Galibier, but a quick tink of 36 stitches helped to isolate the problem and allowed me to continue through the Alps relatively unscathed. And to make my tour, I finished the lacework as Sastre crossed the line at l’Alpe d’Huez. It was a painful stage, but I’d managed to climb my mountain – it was now the flats to the finish, and to see how I managed the time trial.

It would have been cast off or crochet the edging and get it all done on the first post-Alp stage to Saint-Étienne, but I was committed to the hard yards, and, having no real idea how it was done, followed EZ’s recommended garter stitch border for her pi shawl – but instead of 8 stitches, I used 6, and set off to finish my pi with 576 rows (or 1152, depending on how you look at it). It would have been done yesterday before Montluçon, if I didn’t crash out and fall asleep before the race even started… Luckily, I had nothing by a lazy day with my needles planned, and caught up fairly swiftly.

My blanket is blocking on the floor in front of me – I’ll set it tomorrow with a quick blast of steam, but even now, I can’t believe I managed to start, and finish this beautiful piece of lace in three weeks. It has been long, but it has been so rewarding. I hope I can ride again nest year, maybe for the maillot vert.

But have I earned my Maillot Pois aux Rouge? Oui. Le plus certainement. J’ai réalisé beaucoup plus que j’ai attendu, et ai fait quelques nouveaux amies aussi. Et ceux du plus grand qu’on peut réaliser. And that in itself is priceless.

The finished photo/photo montage will be posted with the ride to the Champs-Élyées, with, quite possibly, an action shot to boot.

jusqu’à demain, bonn soir.