Thursday, March 16, 2006

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  • Branching Out

    Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.
    -Marge Piercy

    You've all heard of Branching Out, the lovely simple lace scarf from Knitty a while back, right? It's taken me about a year to get around to it, but a pattern this classic never goes out of style. I'm using Madil Kid Seta in a lovely pink that I had left over from the Cherry Blossom shawl (Interweave Knits Spring 2002) that I made my sister a couple of years ago. This is the equivalent of the infamous Kid Silk Haze, a silk and mohair blend that is truely otherworldy. It is lovely, although it takes some getting used to, especially on US 8s for a laceweight yarn. As I said, I've had this lone ball of leftover yarn, saw the pattern, and stuck them in a bag together for the better part of a year. I had no particular reason to make this scarf. Until now.

    Enter Sarah and Judy Brady and Purls of Love. Sarah writes about their purpose more eloquently than I can:

    After my mother’s recovery from cancer in 2001, our lives began to slowly return to a certain and welcomed sense of normalcy. With the gift of survivorship, however, came the realization that our worldview was forever altered. Out of the basic need to demonstrate our support to other women with cancer, the beginnings of Purls of Love was born.

    We knew from our experience how powerful a simple gesture could be. We decided to knit scarves, from funky to functional, and to give these scarves to women undergoing chemotherapy. We wanted each scarf to be as beautiful and unique as the women who would wear them.

    I've always struggled with the idea of knitting for charity. I like to knit for people who appreciate it (especially myself). If people need hats to keep their heads warm, it makes more sense to me to buy a whole bunch of warm hats more cheaply and more quickly than I could make them. But now, with Branching Out, I'm branching out into knitting for others.

    Purls of Love is not just about staying warm. The very point is that it is a handmade scarf, a sign of someone caring enough to give the work of their hands. It's not that women undergoing cancer therapy get cold necks; it's that they need to feel like women rather than guinea pigs, like humans rather than patients. The gift of a handknit scarf - practical or frivolous - acknowledges that humanity and the woman as distinct from her disease. A scarf has nothing whatsoever to do with cancer, and therein lies the beauty of the gift.

    I'm making lace. I hope you'll join me.


    Blogger sheep#100 said...

    I am knitting a lace-ish scarf of a nice sportweight alpaca right now and I joined the Mountain Lace KAL and will be doing the Mountain Peaks Shawl. Visit my blog for updates starting about April first.

    3/16/2006 6:41 AM  
    Blogger Chris said...

    Go, Theresa! I'm going to sit this out for now - I have a bunch of other obligation knitting to work on...

    3/16/2006 6:46 AM  
    Blogger Marina said...

    This has really hit home as we got the news that husband's BIL's mother has only a few more days. I'm glad I took the time to knit her a shawl for Christmas last year. I'll be starting another lace for MIL who broke her shoulder a couple of days ago and now has to live in the "main block" in the assisted living complex.

    3/16/2006 6:48 AM  
    Blogger Lynda said...

    What a beautiful idea, I know your scarf will really brighten someone's life. I love that Branching Out scarf pattern, also made one and gave it away...that scarf seems to be one that wants to be made for others!

    3/16/2006 6:57 AM  
    Blogger Wendy said...

    I'm with you! I'm starting a lace class tonight, and at the end of the class, I should have a sampler scarf. Off to Purls it will go.


    3/16/2006 9:02 AM  
    Blogger Pam said...

    The scarf & the pretty pink color will be so nice for someone to receive. Also, for me, receiving something a bit "frivolous" during such a difficult time reminded me that life brings us joyful surprises as well as difficult ones.

    3/16/2006 9:09 AM  
    Blogger Anneliese Kelly said...

    Hey that scarf looks familiar! I finally blocked mine last weekend and have been wearing it proudly all week. My mom was angling after it when I was home, but I told her Terri's yarn must be used and worn by the person it was given to. So thanks!

    Another charity project that I'm working on right now is Guide Post's Knit for Kids through my church. The sweater pattern is ridiculously easy -- and unfortunately you have to follow their pattern -- but I'm happy that I'll be able to finish about 3 of these sweaters by late April (when the church is collecting them all. Plus it's nice to know kids will where them.

    If anyone is interested, go to this site:

    3/16/2006 9:37 AM  
    Blogger Anneliese Kelly said...

    I'm not actually illiterate and I know the difference between where and wear. Just distracted.

    3/16/2006 9:39 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Beautiful. I have that exact shade of Madil Kid Seta also bought for the Cherry Blossom Shawl (which I have yet to make).

    I'm sure I can squeeze a Branching Out out of it, or some other laceweight I have lying around.

    Thanks for the great idea!

    3/16/2006 10:45 AM  
    Blogger Laura said...

    Just catching up on many posts... your Canal du Midi socks are gorgeous. That might have to be my next pair of socks on the needles. And the scarf looks lovely. Purls of Love is a great idea -- I think it's great that they are collecting something that has no relation to the disease. I'd love to help, but I am slightly overextended at present. If there's no deadline, I will put it on my to-knit list!

    3/16/2006 10:59 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Theresa, you have no idea how hand knit items affect those of us going though every awful step of cancer! This is so thoughtful! It makes the whole nasty process a little easier knowing there are others out there who understand how hard it is. Thank you!

    3/16/2006 9:27 PM  

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