Thursday, May 24, 2007

Can knitting help?

My sister in law, Helen, recently told me of a good friend who's recently been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She has 2 children under the age of 3 and is faced with not only her own death but knowing that she'll never see so many things in her children's lives, like seeing the baby take his first steps, or teaching her daughter to read, or..... so many things she won't be around to experience and be a part of. And there's really nothing anyone can do to help her right now. But as Helen said, the thing we can do is something for the kids. Helen is an active, energetic person and has gotten together with a number of mutual friends to do some fundraisers and other events to get the story out and to raise some money to start a trust fund for the kids as well as to help defray some of the day to day expenses the family is facing right now. I can have only a small sense of what this poor woman must be feeling in the thought of leaving her kids, and as so often happens in the face of hopeless odds, my inclination is to do what I know best how to do, and that is to knit something. So I'm making children's sweaters for a raffle drawing that will be held at one of the fundraising parties Helen is working on. It's all I can think of to do.

I went through my stash and found several colours of basic knitting worsted wool and decided to try the Pinwheel Sweater for Women and Children by Shelly Mackie; it was a free pattern from elann I couldn't find it last time I looked but there's a very similar design on their website right now. It's a really addictive pattern to make that starts out as 8 stitches in the center and increases every other row in a circle to the armholes; stitches are held for the sleeves as the body is finished, and then the sleeves are added afterwards. The original design is in multiple colours starting at the center and progressing out in rings of colour; I had a lot of leftover Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the Black Purl colourway that I thought would be fun to try. It doesn't show so well in the picture but it shades from pale lavender through greys, purples, to black. In one colour in about a size 2 it took about 300 yards exactly. It can supposedly fit a wide range of sizes; the pattern says it will fit babies to 4 years old, so it seemed like a good choice for a raffle prize when the wearer is unknown right now.

I had so much fun with the pattern that I made a second one in denim blue Paton's wool. Each sweater only took 2 days of commute knitting and evening knitting to finish. Let's hope that it will bring some joy to a little girl in the near future, and help in some small way to help Helen's friend.

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