I hate that everywhere I go now I am reminded of the 32 year battle my mom went through with cancer. Oh I didn't have it "bad"...we had her with us and she was an awesome Mom. I wouldn't trade her for anything. But there were bad times. Scary times. 11 year old's don't always understand the memories. And then my own battle is brought first and foremost into my mind when I see a pink ribbon. The wound is still very fresh. It will be 3 years next month for me. It feels like a lifetime ago. And yet, like yesterday.
I love that the pink ribbon binds me to others where words just can't be spoken. It's a look--it's a common "knowing" and it's unspeakable. Women going through breast cancer have something different about them. It's something we don't want anyone else to have to experience. Picture your worst enemy. That girl that unmercifully teased you in 3rd grade. I wouldn't wish breast cancer upon Kelly (my bully) it's that horrible. But with this horrible disease, there are blessings.
Many joyful make-you-cry blessings.
That is what I am posting about today.
It's about Rachel's Shawl.
Using the link above it will take you to a shawl my friend Melissa designed for me. It was a project that took a turn and rested, and now it's morphed into something even better. Rachel's Shawl pattern sales will raise funds in the month of October for a cancer support group near and dear to my heart: Emerging from Cancer with Unity/Mercy Hospitals here in the Twin Cities north metro area. This program is for women struggling with or recovering from cancer treatments. It was an important part of my healing journey.
Melissa is a brand new designer with a knack for lace knitting and she so wonderfully organized a Knit A Long on her blog here: Girls in Sheep Clothing stop by and see more gorgeous photos and stories by REAL knitters. Tell her Rachel sent you.
Now for my part.
I am knitting Rachel's Shawl in honor of someone I haven't met yet. I don't know her...but she is battling for her life right now. She may be sitting in the chemo chair, she may be undergoing burning radiation treatments in hopes of getting every last icky cancer cell. My prayer, my hope for her lies in my knitting of this shawl.
I am using some gifted yarn--the best yarn in my book--Royal Alpaca from Blue Sky Alpacas. The color I am using is Vermillion. It isn't pink per say--it's more of a deeper shade of pink/red/purple. This picture doesn't exactly do the color justice but here is what I have so far:
This is where you come in.
Do you know someone going through breast cancer treatment right now?
Is she fighting like a warrior yet needs a soft hug?
Maybe from someone that has walked in her shoes?
This shawl is for her.
Please, leave a comment with her name, something short and sweet and how to contact you.
I will use random # generator on October 31st and send her my shawl.
No strings attached, no catch. You don't have to pass this blog post on or anything.
My hope is there aren't many names in this comment section. Because I just hate this disease that much.
But I want to bless someone. Someone who needs HOPE.
So my Rachel's Shawl will be passed onto to someone in need too.
Please, now, meet Melissa.
Show her some love and support--cause she made a rocking fantastic shawl that you will LOVE to knit.
I asked Melissa some offbeat questions and she took the time to give back some great feedback to get to know her a bit. She is so much fun. I am thankful for her love and support!
|Melissa is on the right.|
What was the hardest/easiest part about designing Rachel's Shawl?
For me it was overcoming the 'can I really do something like this?' feeling that comes with every first. This is my first design and an unexpected opportunity so I had to take a deep breathe and pump up the confidence level before saying 'yes' when you asked me to contribute to your project.
If you could knit with any fiber out there and cost wasn't a factor, what would you choose and why? Is there a fiber you haven't tried to knit with?
Fiber is a hard topic for me. There are so many more that I haven't tried versus those that I have. I dislike novelty yarns and anything too fussy. I love a good woolly wool (I'm making Quill right now, a super sized blanket version, with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter and am completely enamored with it). I haven't tried most of the exotic fibers (bison, camel, etc) since I haven't come across them in person and unless they pass the 'touch test' I can't justify the expense so I won't order them online.
What is your favorite place to knit and why?
There is a lot of truth in perfect posture making knitting a much more pleasant experience. My favorite place to knit has always been in my car. My feet reach the floor (and with very short legs, this is a rarity!!), there's lumbar support, the steering wheel is a great pattern prop and I have 2 cup holders...one for my coffee and one to hold my cake of yarn.
Do you have an embarrassing/funny knitting story?
Embarrassing? Moi?? Only one??? Hehe! Of course I do! My Ravelry friend, Karen, sent me some lovely yarn from the Pennsylvania Endless Fiber Festival a few years ago. A gorgeous skein of Nantucket Heather in 'Merlot' by Times Remembered. I was so anxious to start using it that I didn't pay close enough attention when I slid a pair of scissors underneath the skein wrapper (you did what?!). One big snip later and a moment of horror when I realized I had cut through the yarn in about 30 places. DOH!! It spit-spliced nicely but it took a LOT of spit!
A little known secret about me...
I touched Ray Charles' hand. Yup. THE Ray Charles.
DPN's or circulars?
I have a newly found love of sock knitting (finally!) and adore my dp's. I have no desire to learn the magic loop technique. I use circulars for everything else. I gave all my straight needles to a new knitter last year. She was thrilled!
Random question: What posters did you have on your walls when you were a kid/teen?
I never really had posters but I do remember when I moved away from Maryland in the 6th grade, my friends threw me a going-away party and I was given a Shaun Cassidy album that had a poster in it. It was the first poster I ever owned (good grief, does that date me or what?!)
Are you a picker or a thrower?
I am a thrower. A really slow thrower. People tell me I should learn to pick since it would help me to knit faster, but I knit slowly because, well, that's how I knit. I think I would also be a slow picker, so why change?
Which brings to mind another embarrassing knitting story. The very first time I asked someone this question, what I actually asked them was if they were a picker or a flicker...which still sends me into a fit of giggles every time I think about it!
How long do you spend knitting in a day?
I usually get about 45 minutes of knitting done in my car while I drink my coffee before starting my work day. On a good day, I get a lunch hour. Lunch takes 10 minutes, which leaves me another 50 minutes for knitting! That's my guaranteed knitting time. The rest is done in bits and spurts whenever I can fit it in.
Cancer seems to impact all of us one way or another. The difference between helping someone going through cancer and HELPING SOMEONE GOING THROUGH CANCER is sometimes a very small thing. Do you have a story to share how someone helped your family cope with cancer?
Funny you should ask, Rachel. I've told so many people over the last few years that for me, you were the person that made the biggest difference in how I coped when my family was affected by a cancer diagnosis. You never know how some small thing that you do might affect someone, and sometimes in an enormous way. When my dad was diagnosed 5 years ago, I was overcome with immediate despair and such deep hopelessness that I'm not sure I could have shaken it off on my own. My family had never been touched so all I knew was that cancer kills. Period. But thanks to you and a short email you sent me about your amazing mother, her lifelong battle and a spirit that was still filled with much joy and hope after decades of trials, I had an epiphany that the fact my dad was diagnosed did not mean all hope was lost. My attitude completely changed and because of the new hope I felt, I was a much better support for my mom while she coped with my dad's surgery and months of aftercare. I would not have been a positive support for her if not for your heartfelt note. I am so thankful to this day that you took the time to give me the perspective that I did not have, and that I'm not sure I would have found on my own.
A renewed wave of gratitude washed over me as I wrote that, which brought thankful tears to my cheeks even after all these years. You helped me so much and in turn helped my mother and my father. And that is why I am so glad I'm able to do this for you and help you ensure that an event which meant so much to you and your recovery has funding to continue.
I owe you a debt that can never be repaid. Thank you, my friend.
Thank YOU Melissa!