Miss Violet’s Pink Ribbon
Tuesday December 12th 2006, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Knit

My friend Lisa Souza at lisaknit.com has been hand dyeing yarn for years; when Stephanie Pearl-McPhee said she may have fallen at Artfibers in San Francisco and swiped her credit card on the way down, well, Lisa used to be the color mastermind behind their one-of-a-kind yarns. She has an art degree and does gorgeous work.

So. Lisa likes to listen to podcasts by Lime N Violet as she works (uh, if they ever do closed captions, count me in?) Come to find out Miss Violet recently found a lump, and was unable to afford the $1000 deductible to get it properly looked at. Lisa to the rescue. Lisa came up with Miss Violet’s Pink Ribbon colorway sock yarn, and within a few days sold enough to donate half that deductible’s worth so far.

Mine arrived yesterday. I sat down with it and figured out how many stitches across it would take to have the pink part come out in exact stripes if you’re not doing a sock. Because, much though I love handknit socks, I do not love knitting them. This was a very soft pure merino–and I say that as a picky and overly-spoiled knitter–good for lots of other things besides socks.

I cast on, ripped, cast on, ripped, six times. Finally seemed to get it just at the right point in the color sequence for the number of stitches I wanted… And then it went off by a stitch or two’s worth by the second row. Oh forget it. I frogged it, and then deliberately cast on at a completely random point and just went with it to see what it would become.

It surprised me by coming to look like a pink ribbon winding like a fire escape down the scarf. Now, as a kid growing up in the suburbs, fire escapes on the old brick buildings downtown fascinated me as a kid: why have staircases outside that end a floor above the ground? My mom explained them to me. I noticed some had folded-up parts at the ends, so that if there really was a fire, that part could be lowered close to the ground. But a lot of them, well, hope there’s a rope attached or a trampoline (or whatever the firemen call them) underneath. Yikes.

The one on my scarf reaches comfortably all the way down to the bottom, thank you, safe and sound. It’s a pink ribbon scarf without screaming BREAST CANCER PINK RIBBON SCARF LOOK AT ME!!! It just quietly is what it is.

So. As I knitted, I wondered whom it would turn out to be for. I hoped it would go to the right person; I hoped it would be meaningful; at the same time, I hoped nobody I knew would be diagnosed with breast cancer any time soon, and that Miss Violet herself would find that all was benign. (I did the false-positive mammogram once myself.) I actually got that thing half done by the time I called it a night.

The phone rang this morning. Nancy, a friend, very hesitant, saying first what she would do and offer to try to make it up to me, and then–she doesn’t do lace, really, she said. She doesn’t knit fast. But she had a neighbor’s 11-year-old daughter over at her house most afternoons after school these days while the kid’s single mom was fighting breast cancer. Nancy was the support and safely-non-family sounding board for the daughter, who was also the granddaughter of an old friend of both of ours.

…Would I, she asked hesitantly, be willing at all–she knew it was the Christmas knitting season, but–to make something for the girl’s mother? She would…

Nancy. I told her, You don’t have to do anything at all. (I was thinking, you already are, for Gracie’s granddaughter, and that’s enough.) You don’t have to apologize. I’ve even got it already half made, and I hope to finish by the end of the day today. There you go. No skin off my nose, and it’ll only take half the skein so I’ll still be able to make another one on top of that. Consider it done.

Timing. The timing of things. Mixed with the generosity of others: Lisa’s giving of her profits to help heal somebody, pass it on. Sometimes, all you can do is look upwards and say, Thank You for making it all come together.

(Edited to add: to Lisa and Rod Souza, celebrating 37 years of marriage today. A very happy anniversary and much gratitude to you both.)

8 Comments so far
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Timing, and generosity and caring for others, all coming together with a glorious scarf. I love the colourway, Alison and I love your stories but mostly I love your generous heart.

Comment by Mary Anne 12.12.06 @ 1:57 pm

I love how it is turning out, Alison. Thanks for rattling my cage to “come see”! People always turn up when you think about someone needing just the right thing and how remarkable that the pink is scissoring and shadowing like that.

Oh, I was ONE of the dyers for Artfibers. The Invisible Queen of dyeing was Nancy Finn of Chasing Rainbows, back then. They kept her a big secret, just like me. I am just glad that I decided to do it for myself…

Love ya. Lisa

Comment by Lisa S 12.12.06 @ 2:57 pm

You are an incredible and wonderful woman, and just in case I don’t say it often enough, I am glad to have you as my friend.



Comment by Kristine 12.12.06 @ 6:10 pm

I just received some Lisa Souza yarn in one of my swaps. It is wonderful! I’m going to make a hat, I’ll show pictures when I’m done!

Lovely story about her generosity. I’ll certainly send my business her way!

Comment by deedeenet 12.13.06 @ 5:07 am

What a wonderful scarf and will make a wonderful gift.

And I recently got some of Lisa’s sock yarn in several shades. Gorgeous stuff! She is indeed very talented.

Comment by Alison 12.13.06 @ 5:20 am

What a wonderful story. & As always, beautiful work.
The power of fiber, fully at play here.
I hope Miss Violet sees your post.
(An aside, they do put up show notes, but it isn’t the same as CC… They are funny ladies)

Comment by pippi 12.13.06 @ 5:41 am

Thank you all! And I can’t wait to see those pictures of other stuff made with that yarn.

Comment by AlisonH 12.13.06 @ 10:14 am

I really love seeing how beautiful that pink ribbon can look! Very impressive. Inspirational, too.

I tried to post this comment earlier today. Somehow then, the site ‘knew’ I was Robin, but it wouldn’t show me the security code.

Now that I have to choose an identity, everything’s easy.

The experience rather gives me the feeling that automagically done is not always for the best.

Comment by Robin 12.19.06 @ 6:39 pm

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