Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23, 2009

A great thanks to Betty Ridge of the Tahlequah Daily Press for such a wonderful article!

It can be found here.

#31 OKLAHOMA - Sisterhood

Monday, March 23, 2009
Name: Denise
Ravelry name: LostCityDenise
Location: Lost City, Oklahoma
Occupation: Lavender farmer

As arrival of the shawl neared I began focusing on the women who have been touched by breast cancer, those I know and those I don’t. It is both heartbreaking and heartening. Once the shawl arrived and I knit my rows and began talking about the shawl I experienced another connection.

A reporter from the Tahlequah Daily Press came to our farm to interview me about the shawl. Betty is a knitter and we talked about lace, learning to knit, a local group of knitters that I didn’t know about but was invited to visit, and a nearby historical home that hosts fiber workshops.

Before Betty left she gave me directions to the LYS in Ft Smith which I would visit the following day. Betty is a newlywed and the yarn for husband’s sweater, her current project, was bought at Stringtown in Ft Smith. She said I’d like it, and she was right.

Saturday morning I left the farm and drove several hours to Stringtown, a fun little yarn shop in a quaint building just across the state line in Arkansas. This was my first chance to meet Kay, the shawl’s designer, in person – although we’d talked on the phone and emailed for months. The shop owner, Elizabeth, was warm and encouraging as were all of the women who showed up to meet Kay and I and see the Traveling Shawl. After several hours I left Ft Smith knowing I’d return to Stringtown and happy that I’d met more knitters.

When I returned Christopher asked if I was feeling the “sisterhood” of the traveling shawl. I was – but in an unexpected way – I had met new friends in the knitting world through the Traveling Shawl both in my own community and widespread. The essence of the Traveling Shawl is three-fold for me – honoring those who have experienced breast cancer, raising funds in the hopes of a cure, and sharing the knitting experience.

Below is a photo commemorating the six month progress of the Traveling Shawl taken at Stringtown Yarn in Ft Smith, Arkansas. Kay Meadors on the left, Denise Bell on the right - the star of the show is in the center!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Name: Joan
Ravelry name: SSKnits
Location: Wichita, KS
Occupation: Knitwear designer


Name: Jana
Ravelry name: eLoomanator
Location: Colleyville, TX
In honor of all women struggling with breast cancer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Uniting a Nation Through a Wonderful Idea

Six months ago I was having a trying day but received a message from an Internet friend, Kay Meadors, which altered my day, and my goals as a knitter.

Kay wrote:
"I just had the most wonderful idea! We need to start a shawl and try to get knitters from all the 50 states to knit a section of it and send it to the next state. Wouldn't that be fun?"

That was September 6, 2008. Between that day and the next I count 21 email messages that flew back and forth between us. On September 7th I suggested auctioning the shawl, a project we'd already dubbed the Sisterhood of the Traveling Shawl, off to raise funds for breast cancer research through the Susan G Komen Foundation.

By then Kay had a friend, Jackie, in Oregon on board and I was emailing Merideth in New Mexico to see if she was interested in participating. We were already knitting together a community that would grow into a group that would create friends and excitement across the nation.

Women from all walks of life have participated in the the Traveling Shawl's progress. Librarians, software programmers, ministers, professional knitters, accountants, and stay-at-home moms have all taken a few days out of their busy schedules to knit six rows of intricate lace. Now as a farmer in Oklahoma I will be adding my part. Each knitter is asked to write a short entry into a journal that travels with the shawl. Many have contributed photos and blog entries detailing the time they spent knitting this project. Most of the women have dedicated their stitches to friends or family members who have been diagnosed with cancer and some of the women are cancer survivors themselves.

Thus far the shawl is just past its halfway point. My friend Kay hasn't seen the shawl since she cast on the first stitches of the project and knit the first few rows. On March 21st I will be lucky enough to meet Kay in Ft Smith, Arkansas, a town conveinently located between our homes, and show her the shawl that began as a "wonderful idea" just six months ago.

While the shawl is small compared to the huge fundraising efforts that large companies and professional philantropists conduct, I am quite pleased with the Traveling Shawl and the effect it has had on the people who've encountered it. Knitting is a meditative act for me so next week I'll add my stitches and focus on the people in my life and the lives of my loved ones who have battled cancer of all types. A simple act of pulling yarn through a loop can unite people in a cause, and the Traveling Shawl is a great example of how it happens.