Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stitch Scarlet

The image of this book is from the Jimmy Beans Wool website.  Kits for
making some of the items in the book are for sale through this site. 
Click here to see. 

A couple of days ago I had a package from Amazon waiting by my front door.  Assuming it was a book I had ordered for my fourteen year old son’s required summer reading, I left it unopened, but when I moved the box a day after it arrived, I noticed that it seemed too heavy for the paperback I'd purchased.  Curious, I opened the box and to my delight found a copy of Knit Red:  Stitching for Women’s Heart Health, a new book I'd pre-ordered, one which I’d assumed I wouldn't be receiving for a couple more weeks.     

I’d seen a preview of Knit Red at Vogue Knitting Live last January and knew then that I would buy this book.  The book is a part of the Knit Red Campaign, a partnership between Jimmy Beans Wool and a large group of companies in the fiber arts industry, whose aim is to increase awareness of heart disease in women.  Some of the proceeds from this book will go to the National Institutes of Health’s efforts to battle heart disease.   I have to admit, however, that my purchase was not purely altruistic.  Something about the power and passion of red and the opportunity to see a varied collection of designs in this vibrant shade greatly appealed to me, even though I typically don’t wear this color, and have only knit one or two red items, garments which I gave away as gifts. 
This is the only red yarn I could find in my entire stash.  I have to remedy
this omission. 

As I looked through my new book, I was impressed by the array of projects that I wanted to make.  As knitters, I think we have all experienced browsing through knitting books in the store, and finding some that don’t include enough items that appeal to us enough to want to make a purchase.  In this book, however, there were numerous designs that inspire me to cast on.  A gorgeous shawl made with Artyarns pictured in the book also acted as a great inducement to try out this luxurious yarn.  I also enjoyed reading about the designers, as each project is accompanied by a picture and a description of the designer and his or her experiences with heart disease.

Ironically, on the day I opened this book, a close friend called to tell me that, as a result of a routine physical, her health-food obsessed active fifty-year-old husband had just discovered that he had a blocked artery.  He and his wife were in shock, especially since my friend, like so many middle-aged women, engages in an ever-lasting battle to quell the lure of cookies and chocolate, while her skinny husband seems to have no difficulty surviving on tofu, fruit smoothies, and nuts. 
This photo is from Public Domain Images

I went to the hospital yesterday to wait with my friend while her husband had surgery to place a stent in his artery.  There, waiting to be moved to surgery, her husband was reviewing his previous affinity for fast food and wondering if he wasn’t somehow culpable for his illness.  The heart surgeon, however, told him that while 95 percent of his patients eat poorly or suffer from other conditions such as diabetes, the individuals who make up the remaining five percent are healthy and active, but are probably just the recipients of bad genes.  The doctor’s discussion, however, is a reminder that for the vast majority of us, a healthy lifestyle is an excellent way to stave off heart disease.  The book Knit Red also is an important conveyor of the message that women are not immune to heart disease and should strive to eat well and exercise.  The book, in fact, in addition to knitting patterns, includes some heart-healthy, low-fat recipes.  I think I’ll go out today and buy the ingredients for the Shish Kabobs, after I make a trip to the yarn store for some red worsted to make the cabled cardigan shown below. 

2 comments:

  1. Oh wow, that book looks fantastic, I'm going to see if I can find a copy. Thanks for sharing! The cardigan is the perfect pattern to start off with too.

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  2. Your new book sounds very good - always intriguing to find a book like this focussing on just one colour albeit in different shades and how creative to pair it with a campaign against heart disease. I love your artistic pic of your one ball of red yarn curled into heart shapes! And you're right one doesn't tend to associate heart disease so much with women but that shouldn't be so. Enjoy making your red cardigan - it looks delightful.

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