Breast Cancer – Goodbye

I lost a sweet knitting friend a couple of weeks ago to breast cancer.  She was a valiant fighter and an optimist.  This was her second bout of breast cancer.  She leaves behind a loving husband and a beautiful daughter.  And many, many friends who will miss her easy smile, quick wit and happy spirit.

It’s a horrible disease.  The statistics are staggering.   I think it’s something like 1 in 6 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  Think of yourself and 5 of your good friends.  It’s possible one of you will be touched by this illness in your lifetime.  If it happens once, it’s too often – in my opinion.

Please, please be proactive.  Do your monthly self-exams, get a physician to check your breasts each year.  And get your mammograms on schedule.  Do not pass them by.  Do not think that this can’t happen to you.  It can.

Three years ago, I  found the lump in my breast.  I am one of the lucky ones.  Today, I am a survivor.  And I want to continue to be a survivor and to raise awareness about this gawd-awful disease.

For the next several Mondays, I’m going to be featuring flash mob videos from around the world.  People out there dancing and prancing and living.  People remembering loved ones they’ve lost. People trying to raise awareness.  People like you and me.

So, today, I dedicate this post in loving memory to my friend Janet.  You are missed.


Favorite Yarn Shops

Several years ago when I went through breast cancer, I consoled myself with a few(cough, cough) online yarn purchases.  Okay, a lot of online yarn purchases.  But I considered it a necessary therapy to get me through a rough patch in my life.

Even though I was too sick to knit, the yarn packages helped me so much.  I’d feel the yummy yarn and look at all of the pretty colors and dream of what I would make with it when I was all well.

Unfortunately, chemo leaves you with a brain that is mush.  Forgetfulness is horrible.  So I don’t remember a lot about what yarns were going to become what patterns.  LOL.  But I do have the yarns, and I do still squish and feel them to brighten my spirits on days when the weather is yucky.  Like today.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 places where you can order some beautiful yarns.  In no particular order here they are.  I am not affiliated with any of these shops in any way other than as a customer.  I am a co-moderator for the Knitspot clubs, but that’s it.  More about that later.

Here they are:

  1. Fibre Space
  2. The Loopy Ewe
  3. The Verdant Gryphon
  4. Cephalopod Yarns
  5. DoodleBug Yarns
  6. WEBs Yarns
  7. The Woolen Rabbit
  8. Miss Babs Yarns
  9. Wooly Wonka Fiber
  10. Bare Naked Knitspot Club and Fall in Full Color Club

All of these places have given me great customer service and beautiful luxury yarns.  Life really is too short to knit with ugly yarn.  Pick a few places on my list and visit them.  You may find yourself with some new yarn to give a home to

And I cannot say enough good things about Anne Hanson’s Knitspot clubs.  She is winding down the first club – Fall in Full Color.  It will be back in August with new colors and new Knitspot patterns to delight us.  But for now, we’re gearing up for the Bare Naked Knitspot Club.  Anne is going to be sending us all natural (un-dyed) fibers starting in the middle of February.  Oh my!  Neutrals are out of my blue/green comfort zone, but Anne is such a talented designer, that I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for this club.  It’s like a birthday every month when the package arrives.  And we have FUN in the clubhouse.  We talk about books, diets, yarn stashes, what we’re working on and just life in general.  It’s a safe, warm place to hang out.  No stress. Just good friends and fun.

And if you need a bag or three to put your new yarn and upcoming projects, I’m recommending one of my all-time favorite bag designers.  Check out Michele’s site 3 Bags Full here.

Hope I’ve got you cruising the internet and hope you have a few things coming your way.  You deserve it  : )


A Little R and R – Feeding Your Creative Soul

Like most of us, I work hard all week-long. When it comes to the weekend, I’m ready for some quality R & R.  Kicking back and relaxing and having some fun.  And for me that means knitting or something related to yarn.

So, what do you call a three-day weekend spent away from home with 48 other knitters?  Much-needed rest and relaxation, that’s what.  This year my local knitters invited me to a yearly retreat at Kerr Lake, Va, called Knitting at the Lake (KATL for short).

Here’s the view of Kerr Lake from our balcony.  It was way too cold to sit outside since the temperatures were in the 20s, but as pretty as it was in winter, I can imagine spring, summer and fall would be stunning.  It was relaxing just looking out of the window.  Peaceful, serene.  And don’t all of us need some peace and serenity in our busy lives?

As writers, it is imperative that we find ways to feed our soul and refill our creative wells.  Knitting and knitters do that for me.  If you don’t have an addiction a hobby or interest that does that for you, I urge you to find one.  You’ll be so happy you did.

But back to the KATL retreat.

Kerr Lake is in Clarksville, VA about two hours from where I live. We had knitters from all over Virginia and North Carolina in attendance, plus a few from as far away as Ohio.  I love getting to meet and know new people.   Everyone at the KATL retreat was so friendly, supportive and welcoming.

Clarksville is a quaint town filled with lovely old homes and many unique shops.  Friday night we ate in an old Victorian home that had been converted to a restaurant.  I highly recommend The Lake House for dining if you’re ever in the area. Great food, reasonably priced with excellent and friendly service.

I had an awesome roommate.  She was adverse to having her picture taken though.  I can’t understand why.  She’s a beautiful lady.  Try as hard as I could, this was about par for the weekend with my photography.

She’s an excellent knitter and a delight to be around.  Her Ravelry nickname is Frequent Frogger because it seems she is always pulling her knitting out.  In her defense, I have to say that when you go to a retreat, you need simple projects because there is so much talking and laughter that you simply can’t concentrate on lacy or intricate patterns.  I may be frogging my work, too.  Seems one of my cables is twisted in the wrong direction.

While I was at the retreat one of my local knitting peeps, Nelda, taught a workshop to a select few of us on correcting mistakes.  Before I frog my piece, I’m going to try what I learned in her workshop.

Nelda is an accomplished knitter.  Here are a few of her finished objects.  The first is an amazing red sweater.  My camera washed out the color.  But it is stunning.

And this is a table runner that Nelda made and dyed all of the yarn in the project.  She brought along a color card and I was absolutely amazed at her work.  I want to be Nelda in my knitting life when I grow up.

The Knitting Sisters, a yarn shop from Williamsburg, VA brings just about the whole shop to the retreat and sets up for our shopping pleasure.  You cannot imagine how hard these ladies work!  They let you run a tab all weekend long.  At first I thought this was a good thing.  By Sunday morning, I wasn’t so sure.  But I did get some beautiful yarn, a shawl pin and some knitting related earrings.  Not that I needed anything.

Then Saturday night we had a chance to destash yarns, books, bags and other knitting related items with our fellow KATL attendees.  I was no shrinking violet in this either.  I may have gotten a bit of a head start by shopping in my roommates stash sale in the room.  But I came home with lots of new yarns and 2 two totes that needed a loving home.   : )

Here’s one shawl that I will not be making.  It is probably the most gorgeous shawl I’ve ever seen in person.  The workmanship was excellent.  The color perfect.

You can’t see the beading in the picture, but all of those swirls have beads to highlight them.  This was done by our northern VA knitter Nancy.  And it is truly a work of art.  I wish you could have heard the oohs and ahhs as this was held up.

The weekend was over way too soon and we packed and headed back to our homes.  But not before we made our reservations for next year.  What a great way to start the year off.  What a wonderful way to feed my creative soul.

So what do you do for relaxation?  And how do you feed your creative soul?