The Gold Ribbon Craft Hat

I had requests for a simpler hat pattern so here it is: Gold Ribbon Craft Hat

greenhat-1This is just the test knit. It’s green. Green is all I had in worsted weight. It should be done in gold or yellow. The pattern is just being tested now. If you would like to test it join the thread in the Testing Pool on Ravelry

This is a slouchy hat, knit on 5mm circs with only one ribbon cable. The instructions are written so a fairly new knitter can understand and learn a few new skills like knitting in the round and cabling. 

This hat will be used for the Gold Ribbon Craft promo to promote the ebook but also to raise awareness for childhood cancer this September. Hats will be sent to celebrities who will be asked to tweet a picture of themselves in the hat with the hashtags #childhoodcancerhat and #goldribboncraft. If you would be interested in helping out join us on ravelry here

 

 

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Calling all Knitters!

looking for knitters

It’s time to start preparing for a publicity campaign.

Something that Bronwyn’s cancer journey has given us, that is positive, is the chance to met several celebrities. Most of these meetings can be credited to Gilda’s Club, a charity started in the name of Gilda Radner to give support to those going through cancer treatment and their families. It has shown me that celebs are no different than any of us. They have huge hearts and have no problem using their status to support legitimate, good causes.

The Plan: To knit hats in gold yarn and send them to celebrities with info on the project and ask they take a picture of themselves in the hat and tweet it or vine it or FB it, whatever form of social media they use.

The Need: Knitters! We need knitters to knit ether the September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Hat or Speaking of Cancer out of nice yarn {nothing fuzzy}.

What to do with the hats: Hats could be sent to me. I have some direct connections and Gilda’s Club will help as well. It would be great if we could find others who are willing to find addresses and send hats too in the USA, Europe, Australia and other countries. We will work on literature to send with the hats. Something like a card, not to wordy.

When: Knitting could commence at anytime but we will aim to send out hats in August/September.

Spread the word!

Here is a picture from April, 2013, when we met Maggie Q, star of Nikkia and the up coming movie Divergent. Long story short: She pays our rent {found and furnished our Toronto apartment} as Bronwyn waits for a heart transplant. I will be personally knitting her hat! Bronwyn is the tall one. The other two munchkins are heart transplant recipients.

meeting Maggie-2

Contracts Go Out to 18 Designers!

My heart is so full right now. I am so touched by the generosity of my fellow designers, willing to donate hours of work to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions these last few days. One child, who’s FB page I have been following, past away from the same form of cancer my daughter had. Another child of only 7 y/o received a VAD, just like Bronwyn’s, for the same reason she did, chemo induced cardiomyopathy.

It’s all so close to home. So much reason to wallow in sadness.

Then I turn to my work on the Gold Ribbon Craft Project and I find purpose and hope in my designs. I see love and caring from all the beautiful designs submitted by others. All but one of the designers who have contributed are strangers to me. They are not participating because we are friends or because I asked them. The patterns they are working on are an expression of their desire and need to make a difference for children fighting cancer today and those not yet diagnosed.

The positive responses I continue to receive from these giving souls spreads a warmth through my weary heart.

smashingwalnuts sneekpeek-1

Here is a sneak peek of the Smashing Walnuts skirt in honour of Gabriella Miller

And All Proceeds go to……

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation! That’s right! All proceeds from the ebook will go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I looked for a charity that has transparency, a trusted history and will have the greatest impact on research that is available to the most children. St. Baldrick’s has all these qualifications. Check out the latest ad campaign by Stand Up to Cancer featuring St. Baldrick’s and starring childhood cancer survivor, Julia Hernandez and Samuel L. Jackson.

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I’m in militant mode!…..

Don’t tell me that it can’t be done!  I have been working on gathering patterns, knit/crocheted in gold to publish a collection for childhood cancer awareness with all proceeds going to childhood cancer research.

It has been slow going…..to say the least.

I know…….I’m a nobody in the fibre world, just another enthusiast among millions.

I know…….designing patterns is a lot of work and a big ask, especially when asking people to do it for free.

AND I know…….children are dying around me because they have run out of options due to lack of research!
…….children, I personally know, are being diagnosed with cancer for the first time. Two in the last month! Add those to the 1,500 children diagnosed this year in Canada.
…….children, I personally know, are relapsing because what is being done is NOT WORKING!
…….children, I personally know, like my daughter, are suffering from huge, chronic and life-threatening health problems because the toxic treatments damaged them so severely. [98% of ALL childhood cancer survivors suffer this fate.]

I am SICK of this crap!

Yes, I know that a collection of patterns is not going to change the world BUT
maybe, just maybe it could help more people become aware of the issues,
maybe, just maybe the funds raised will help find better treatments.

I can’t do the research. I can’t change the policies that allocate pennies to childhood cancer research when compared to the millions invested in adult cancers. I can’t make my daughter all better.

BUT this I can do! Don’t tell me I can’t! Don’t tell me there are not fibre designers out there who, like me, are willing to donate some time to try and make a difference. I know there are! I know the fibre community to be full of big, generous, fluffy hearts of love! I have found a few but not enough. I keep running into roadblocks and people telling me what a difficult thing I am trying to do.

So I am doing what I should have done months ago…..

HELP!

I am asking all my friends and followers to please help! Looking for something good to do this Christmas? This is it: Ask your friends and followers if they can help.

I need DESIGNERS to donate a knit/crochet pattern, in gold [Gold could be anything from delicate and creamy to bright and happy to dark and splendid and it is the color for childhood cancer awareness.] for free. Contact me for more details.

I need YARNIES to dedicate a colourway in September, 2014, to childhood cancer awareness. [Not looking for yarn donations.]

I need a LOGO DESIGNER to donate time and talents.

I need EDITORS to donate time and talents.

I need PROMOTERS to donate time and talents.

I need KNITTERS/CROCHETERS willing to donate time to make some things to help with promotion.

I need ……SMART PEOPLE, with big hearts, willing to help, to donate time and talents, to do whatever needs to be done.

Thank-you and Merry Christmas!

goldcraft-1

ps: still working on naming the project……really need a logo designer ASAP.

The September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Hat

Here it is! The first pattern in the Knitting for Gold project and it is free!!hat for pattern

Get the pdf here: The September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Hat 

There will be three free patterns in all, released over the course of the next few months leading up to the publication of the book. For the first time when one does a pattern search on Ravelry using the phrase, “childhood cancer”  a result is presented. This pattern has been a long time coming…..

It was more than a year ago, while Bronwyn was recovering from VAD surgery, I was consumed with this idea of raising awareness for childhood cancer. First I looked for patterns for childhood cancer……nothing! How about just cancer patterns? Pink everywhere! Great! Just change the colour and, voila!, you have a childhood cancer awareness scarf, bag, hat, sweater, washcloth, socks, headband,  cup cozy, water bottle cozy, tea cozy……and even a chemo hat wearing, chick shaped Cadbury easter egg cozy. I have knit a couple of breast cancer items for friends like the Boobie Scarf and  Tit Bits ……ya…….neither of those transfer well to childhood cancer. Hmmm. Why are there no patterns designed for childhood cancer awareness?

Hey! That’s what we need! Patterns designed for childhood cancer awareness! Boom! That’s what I can do! Ya, I’m just one of millions of knitters. Ya, I’ve never designed a pattern. I’m no one special in the fibre community but something I have learned in our childhood cancer journey is anything is possible. You just have to find the right people to help. I felt confident I would find the right people in the warm, creative and passionate community of fibre enthusiasts.

I started talking to people…..a carefully selected few. Just bounced the idea around a bit and see what happens. People loved the idea but  no one had a clear idea of where to start. I had a feeling it needed to start with me. I needed to make a pattern, I needed to show people what was possible but I didn’t know how. I had no idea where to start with that….. and that is where the idea stayed for months.

In the fall of 2012 I decided it was time I did something for me. Since January 13th, 2012, the day Bronwyn and I were airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in London, ON, my focus had been fully on Bronwyn. My life had ceased. I lived for Bronwyn.

–>Side note: At this point some may like to point out that I have 2 children and that Sinead needed just as much help. I agree. Sinead was in Thunder Bay, finishing grade 11. She came for a couple of visits while Bronwyn was being treated for cancer but, truth be told, I didn’t have enough for her and Bronwyn. When Sinead had to go back to Thunder Bay, after her first visit to Bronwyn in London, in January, 2012 I told her as she cried, “This is going to be the hardest thing any of us have to do. One day this will be over and we will have the luxury of falling apart but that is not this day. You do whatever you need to to get through. Ask for help when you need it because when this is over I need you to be there. I need you to still be Sinead.” I made sure she was surrounded by supportive family and friends and always knew I loved her, was proud of her and she was incredibly important to me but she had to know I could not micromanage her life anymore. She needed to take charge and be responsible for herself. She was and she is amazing! Bronwyn’s story is incredible but there is a whole other story here, Sinead’s Story, and it’s super!

I joined the Downtown Knit Collective, a knitting guild that met within walking distance of Ronald McDonald House… easily assessable. It met once a month… I think I can handle that kind of commitment. They also organized workshops and a Knitter’s Frolic. I didn’t know what that was but it sure sounded fun! It was a breath of fresh air to me. A room packed full of knitters, at least a 100, all click-clacking away while listening to the president give announcements of upcoming speakers and events that sounded too good to be true and congratulating members on their latest publications, names I knew! Designers’ names I recognized from magazines and Ravelry. Wow! Then a few members showed off the wonderful things they had knit over the summer and then the guest speakers…..indie dyers! Two of them! Dye Version and Indigodragonfly. They talked about their business and yarn and new colours for their fall lines…… It was heaven! No one talked about hospitals or doctors or cancer….just fibre.

I walked back to the House glowing. I had found my people!

In October, 2012 I discovered there was a convention for crafters, the Creativ Festival! It was being held in the same building the Fan Expo was in. The best thing I had done that summer was take Bronwyn and Sinead to the Fan Expo shortly after Bronwyn was discharged. It was such a pleasure to make something great happen for them. The best part was sitting in on the Q & A panel with Matthew Grey Gubler and A. J. Smith. The girls are both HUGE Criminal Minds fans. We saw John Barrowman [Dr. Who and Torchword] and John Rhys-Davies [Lord of the Rings] and Stan Lee passed by us so close I could have kissed him. It was wonderful treat for them.Aug 25 [Bronwyn, wearing the shawl I knit her, Bigger On the Inside, and Sinead waiting eagerly for Matthew and A.J.]

Well, the Creativ Festival was my treat!creativ festival -50
[The crazy, colourful, happy crochet display at Creativ Festival, 2012.]

I wandered around, all by myself and drank it all in. The displays, the artwork, the fashion shows, the shopping! I came across a beautiful display of what was clearly hand-dyed yarn but in an amount I was not accustomed to seeing all in one place. Who is it that can create so beautifully in such a large quantity? No surprise I was drawn in and fondling it all. I complimented the vendor and asked his name.

Rhichard Devrieze.

Huh. Never heard of it. I consider myself pretty savvy and knowledgeable in the yarny world. How is it possible that an indie dyer, who clearly is not a beginner, who has so much stock and experience is not known by me? I asked. He answered. Suffice to say he used to dye for another company but they parted ways and he was flying solo. I was an instant fan! He noticed the pins I had on my jacket. I ended up telling him why I was in Toronto. Instant friends!

creativ festival -64
Rhichard in front of his display with his sister, Helena, and friend, Maureen.

Rhichard became one of those “right” people to help me. He took my flier explaining my project with him on business trips to other conventions. He displayed our picture and talked about the project. Nothing seemed to come of it. I tried to sum up the courage to approach yarnies and designers at DKC meetings but just ended up being the weird lady who was hanging around trying to be casual while looking for my moment. But I was not discouraged. I knew it would happen……

…….at the back of my head that niggling feeling that I needed to lead by example would not go away.

Jump ahead to August of 2013. September was approaching. The niggling feeling became an unavoidable urge. With the pressure came clarity. I could do it. I would do it! What to do? I grabbed my laptop and went directly to Ravelry’s pattern search. What was the most popular, unisex pattern category? Hats. Ok. I would design a hat. It needed to be attractive to both men and women and lightweight so it could be worn in September. Rhichard’s fingering merino would be perfect. I already had several gold skeins on hand. I worked about a day on figuring out the basic ribbon cable and cast on. Within a few days I had a pattern. Sheesh, that wasn’t so hard.It's coming-1

Then came the pattern testing…… turns out designing is a lot harder than it looks. My testers were wonderful and patient with me. I found my first round of testers by posting a request to the facebook page we keep friends, family [and many supportive strangers] up to date on Bronwyn’s progress. Twenty- two testers stepped up. Some discovered the cabling was beyond their present skill and others didn’t have the time to test immediately but there were enough who got the job done, find errors, inconsistencies, unclear passages and a volunteer to transcribe my chart into words.

I was ready to look for the second round of testers in the Ravelry group, The Testing Pool. This is a group, full of people willing to test out patterns before they are published. I was eager but intimidated by the whole process. I needn’t be. It was another wonderful experience. The testers that volunteered understood my cause and were willing to help. The wording was further clarified. I discovered I cannot edit my own patterns as I know what I mean and have difficulty wording instructions in a way that others can get it. There I met Renee Burton, a designer who knows her stuff and also a left-handed knitter. Instant bond! I was having difficulty with the sizing of the hat. Which size would fit what size head? It required math and was beyond me. She figured it out, did the math, created charts to show it and gave me permission to use them. I was ready to publish.

On September 1st, 2013 I uploaded my hat to Ravelry. The Knitting for Gold project has officially begun.barry and bronwyn and hat-7 barry and bronwyn and hat-2

Gold Ribbon Craft: A Thesis

The purpose: To increases awareness of childhood cancers which will lead to more money for research to find better treatments and a cure.

The need: One in 330 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. One in five will die within the first 5 years of diagnosis. Many more die later from relapse or side effects of treatments. Ninety-eight percent of all survivors will suffer from at least one chronic health issue and by age 45, 80% will have a critical or disabling health problem. Most of these health issues are side effects of the treatment. In terms of potential years lost childhood cancer comes second only to breast cancer. Four percent of the NCI’s research budget goes to all childhood cancers. In Canada three percent is given. Big pharma puts little research into childhood cancers as they are not profitable. The underfunding is a worldwide problem.

The method: Gold Ribbon Craft is a collection of gold themed knit or crochet patterns to help raise awareness. Gold could be anything from delicate and creamy too bright and happy too dark and splendid and it is the color for childhood cancer. I am looking for designers and yarn dyers who are willing to donate their talents for this cause. Patterns will be quality designed items that are a pleasure to knit and crochet and can be worn and thereby seen by others, designed primarily for adults with a few for children or sized for all. Although some items may be suitable to be a quick project for fundraising or charity this is not the primary goal.

Those passionate about knitting and crocheting beautiful items to spread awareness are looking for well-designed patterns they can be proud of wearing and giving.

The deadline for designs and finished objects is April 15th, 2014. Publishing date will be in September, 2014.

And that’s the plan so far…..

The idea for the gold project came to me last summer, when Bronwyn was recovering from VAD surgery. I felt the crushing need to do something to improve childhood cancer treatments so no other family has to endure what we have. You can read about Bronwyn’s story in the Knitting in a Hopeless Place posts. Here is the capsule version: Bronwyn was diagnosed with AML, a difficult to treat leukemia, on January 15th, 2012. She endured four months of intense in-hospital treatment and was cancer free but on May 16th, while still recovering in the Children’s Hospital in London, Ontario she suffered chemo induced cardiomyopathy and was airlifted to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto where we were told she would die as her heart was too weak and her blood counts were too low to be put on life support. For two weeks the doctors and Bronwyn did everything possible to stay alive on the chance her counts would rise and they did. On June 3rd she underwent open heart surgery to have an LVAD put in. It is a small heart assist device that will keep her alive until she qualifies to be put on the transplant list on January 15th, 2014 and through the wait for a new heart.

This project is very personal to me. I signed my daughter up for torchure because it was the only option available. If you know anything about chemo you know I do not exaggerate. She didn’t go to the hospital once a week for a dose. She had 2-3 different chemos running through her central line over 2 1/2 – 3 hours every 12 hours for 10 days during the first chemo round. This is not unusual for childhood cancer treatment. She was given three weeks for her blood to recover, most spent in hospital as she had no immune system, before being put through another round of chemo lasting days. This went on for four months, four chemo rounds. Blood counts took longer to recover each time. We met a girl whose blood counts didn’t recover for months after the same treatment. This is why the doctors didn’t believe Bronwyn would live long enough to get the invasive treatment she needed to survive heart failure. I hope you never have to tell your child she may die and help her make end-of-life decisions. It’s hell. The recovery from VAD surgery, after being sick for so long was brutal but we were grateful she had something to recover from. Her first steps on July 6th, 2012 were a celebration. She was discharged on August 9th and tomorrow she will start grade 9 making her the first child in Ontario to attend public school with a VAD.

Before cancer Bronwyn was a healthy athlete. She had no heart issues. She was fit and ate a wholesome diet. She was a Highland Dancer competition
[
Highland Dance Competition, Nov. 5th, 2011]

and competitive curler. curling team
[Team Keetch, 2011]

She was handpicked by her coach for a team with Olympics as the goal. It has been hard to watch the team go on without her but they still wear an orange ribbon [the colour for leukemia] on their team jackets.

She is a leader camp gitch
[
Junior Camp Counselor at Camp Gitchigomee, summer, 2011]

and a good friend.
bedroom
[
Bronwyn and Haylie in Bronwyn’s bedroom]

Her friends, dance troupe, curling team and kids and staff at Camp Gitchigomee love her and miss her and Bronwyn misses them. All she wants is to go back home.sleeping giant-1
[The Sleeping Giant in the Thunder Bay harbour. Home.]

It’s what we all want…..but we have a different road to travel. So here we wait in Toronto for a new heart and make the best of it. Bronwyn will go to school, Sinead and Barry will work and I will do what I can to raise awareness. I am committed to getting this collection of patterns published. I must make some good come out of our tragedy. People will say that things happen for a reason. I disagree. My daughter got cancer because we live in a world of sickness. If there is any reason to be found it is because we will create it.

I know the fibre community to be full of passion, generosity and creativity. The Knitting for Gold project is the perfect expression for it. knitter's frolic-1
[
The Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze table at The Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto. Rhichard has been a great support of this project, printing and handing out these Knitting for Gold fliers and talking to fellow dyers and designers about it. It so touched my heart to see he had the picture of us, taken at the Creativ Festival, fall, 2012 where we met, framed and on his table as well.]