27 September 2013

Just starting....finally by Guest Blogger Gail

Hi! I'm Gail, a Southern California gal, retired & relocated to Anacortes, WA about 2 years ago. I met Kelli Wyll at our LYS prior to moving here while checking out the area. She is one of several women who have been instrumental in my growth as a knitter. Along the way we've become both friends & co-workers and I started following her blog.

When I read about Melissa's choice to publish her pattern and use the sales as a fundraiser for Emerging from Cancer and then read Rachel's story, I knew it was time to join my first KAL. I am knitting this project to honor the memory of my sister, Jan, who lost her battle with a very aggressive breast cancer less than 6 months after her diagnosis. Initially, I thought about choosing a pink yarn for this project, but that just didn't suit my sister's memory. The very last word you would choose to describe Jan is "girly." So I searched for a yarn that would symbolize her independence, strength, courage, and vulnerability. I found it in a baby alpaca yarn from Juniper Moon Farm called Herriot in a color named Granite. This has to be the softest yarn I've every used! The color is hard to describe ~ something between black, gray & brown. It's luscious! I've only finished two pattern repeats so far, but already I'm both entertained and challenged by both the pattern and my memories. Thank you, Melissa & Rachel for providing the inspiration for this journey.

When I figure out how I can add a photo, I will. Meanwhile, you can find me on Ravelry as islandbirdknits.

26 September 2013

Thank you!!!! Rachel, Melissa......and Tanna! by guest blogger Steph@woolythyme

What a story!  What a pattern!!!  I'm rather embarrassed to admit, that I still get somewhat lost in 'blogland', frustrated when I discovered a blog that I should have been following for years, but grateful when I'm finally lead there.  Tanna (from a previous post here...and of BrickStreetBungalow) wrote about Melissa's pattern and Rachel's story, and their friendship.....and like everyone else here, I was moved beyond words....moved to action... immediately downloaded the pattern, rummaged in the stash, and luckily discovered some pink Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran that apparently was waiting for this very opportunity---yes, it was about 5 minutes from reading the post, that I was knitting on this pattern.
The serendipity of all this is more apparent when you understand that I ordinarily only buy fingering wt or lace yarn (an occasional leap into the 'thick' dk stuff) and hate knitting on anything larger than a size 6 needle.  That aran was there....some size 7s were found (!)....and (surprisingly!!) I truly loved every stitch of this wonderful pattern.

I'm part of a charity knitting group at my church...we meet today....shawl is going with me -- as both a donation and hopefully inspiration for some others in the group to do what I did.....run home, download the pattern, rummage in the stash......and cast on!

Melissa and Rachel...thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your talent and your story.

Hugs to all!!!


24 September 2013

Thank you to Melissa and Rachel...by guest blogger Tanna

Hi, my name is Tanna and I'm a long time stalker of Girls in Sheep Clothing... and a Few Boys, too.  I'm stopping by this morning to express a special thank you to both Melissa, for her wonderful pattern and her compassion, and Rachel, for being such an inspiration.

Rachel's Shawl and Rachel's story came at a perfect time to inspire my Pink Scarf Project and I am most grateful.   Links for further information about this wonderful project are on this post if you are interested. 

I always enjoy all the beautiful projects and inspiration I find from each of you here!  I'll look forward to all the inspiration to come!  Thank you all!

blessings ~ tanna

23 September 2013

A pleasure to be doing this KAL - guest blogger Penny

Oct 14: I am re-posting photos, since Melissa and I decided this particular yarn would show off the pattern better against a dark background.

I'll add a photo of Carolyn and I together when she's done. In the mean time, this is my finished "Rachel's Shawl".  

Sept 26 update: Just dawned on me that I ought to post a photo of the test "Rachel's Shawl" that I did for Melissa. The pattern was flawless, as far as I could tell, but I noticed she removed the markers in the one I bought. The original pattern is special -- I like markers even if they do creep around. 

I'm for sure going to make a third shawl after this -- something prettier. It's such a pleasant pattern. We got a lot of bang for our buck with this one Melissa, and YOU did yourself proud. Looking forward to seeing them all. 

Go Hawks!

FYI: Carolyn is also doing this KAL. She's lovin' it!

Looks richer/darker in person!

Go Mariners!

22 September 2013

hello :) - by guest blogger Jesse

I am very happy and excited to be KALing with everyone, and I love Rachel's Shawl! Such a beautiful pattern.

I pulled some yarn from the deep stash (seriously, it was back when I could store all my yarn in one little basket!) and it's putting me right in the mood for autumn. The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Foliage Tonal.

I love seeing everyone's progress!! Hope everyone's staying warm, but still enjoying those pumpkin ales ;)

autumn whoooshed in ~ posted by Melissa

My favorite time of year is finally upon us.  Fall blew in with a blustery front this morning that will bring rain later today.  Perfect, since all I want to do is cuddle up under my Quill, knit and watch football:
I've got 19 rows left of the Old Shale Chart and then it's onto the lace edging.  I can't put this beauty down.  I love the weight of it in my lap and I'm still completely enamored with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  I'm already scheming about what sweaters I want to make with it! 
How's everyone doing on their Rachel's Shawl?  I think we have about 10 people knitting but not everyone is blogging (which is totally okay!!).  I'd love to see more photos ~ the post yesterday by 'the other Melissa' made me grin from ear to ear!  Hand dyed yarn ~ awesome!!  I think Rachel herself is getting ready to cast on and will be doing a post on her blog to get Breast Cancer Awareness Month started with a bang.  I'll post a link when she does (or she may pop on here and post herself ~ wouldn't surprise me ~ she's everywhere :) ~ hehe!)
Enjoy the first day of autumn and if you're like me, hopefully you're finding a little time to tuck away for yourself to knit today!
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!

21 September 2013

Feels like I'm moving too fast... by guest blogger Melissa B.

Rose Garden Wrap progress

A little update from the Gulf Coast...we've had some really quality knitting weather lately (rainy and cool...well, cooler.) so I feel like I've been really trucking on this even though I've not been knitting every night. That and ugh, you know those nights where you feel like all you've done is rip back and re-knit? So tiresome! I'm on repeat number ten; it's long enough to be a cowl now, so it feels like I'm getting somewhere. And oh man, this color with this pattern...I swoon.

(Although, my cat has decided this yarn is delicious...so getting some free energy conference swag was well-timed.  Hello new project bag!)

15 September 2013

numbers ~ posted by Melissa

My Quill ~ the center square is finally finished!  Stats: 36,856 stitches, 896yds (6.4 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in 'Pumpernickel'), 332.0 grams & 30" x 30".
I'm making the larger size even larger by using worsted weight yarn.  Churchmouse Yarns estimated I would need about 30% more yarn than the fingering weight yardage the pattern specifies.  I got 50% more just to be safe.  I'm glad I did.  I'm already sweating that I'll run out.

Five : the number of basins of water it took to soak the excess dye from this 'Long Johns' Brooklyn Tweed Shelter I'm using in my Quill.  I'm so glad I took my own advice and checked for bleeding.  I almost didn't.  I would have had a huge mess since this color sits right next to 'Fossil' in my color scheme, and Fossil is the color of bone.  Yikes.

The Rachel Shawl.  I have one repeat done so far but we're still getting new people added to our knitalong ~ I'm just going to mosey along through this one and enjoy it.  The pattern has been out for 11 days and although pattern sales have slowed way down, we're making a difference!  If you're curious, here are the numbers:
♥ patterns sold : 73
♥ money raised in 11 days : $292.00 (thank you!!)
♥ number of days left to raise money : 47
If you're new to the blog and want to know what we're up to, here are some links ~ take a peek!
Thanks so much to everyone that has contributed so far (hopefully you're enjoying the pattern and the knitting as well as knowing that you've helped to do something wonderful!).  I'm still awed by all the touching comments and personal notes I've gotten on Ravelry.  I can't say it enough ~ knitters are an amazing group of people!
I hope the weekend finds you all spending time with loved ones and dreaming of autumn knitting :)
~ Melissa

14 September 2013

a KAL to dye for! - by guest blogger Melissa B.

Whew, I haven't done a KAL in ages. I'm a monogamous knitter and was working on a hat when Melissa posted about this one, but the hat is done, so I'm jumping right in with Rachel's Shawl.  This will be a Christmas gift for my mom (have you started your Christmas knitting yet? I'm horribly behind).

100% Merino for Rachel's Shawl KAL

I have quite recently started dyeing my own yarn, and thought this might be a fun project for something I dyed myself.  Last night I dyed up about 560 yards of 100% merino in this amazing rosy red, which I think my mom will LOVE.  (It's so hard to photograph red...but I think I've got it pretty close.) It's still a wee bit damp in a couple of places, so I've got it spread out on my balcony to get good and bone dry before I wind it and start knitting.  I'm extra excited since this will be my first time knitting something I've dyed.  Fingers crossed I don't end up allergic to this yarn! :-o

Happy KAL from the other Melissa :)

12 September 2013

Dropping everything for this KAL! ~ By guest blogger Kelly Lightbeam

Yes, you heard me!  I'm dropping everything for this Knit A Long, as far as knitting goes, at least.  I have three Brooklyn Tweed projects going on: Ashby, Sempervivum and Sandness.  It took a little while to get each of them to a good stopping point, but now that I've started Rachel's Shawl, I'm going to stick with just this one for a bit.

I chose a light pink shade of Misti Alpaca, for my little next-door-neighbor lady.  She's always so good to us, and I like to give her hand-knits for Christmas.   She's always very gracious, but I know that she really likes the color pink the best!

I meant to cast on Monday, but I got a little busy with a few projects, like my daughter's first day of preschool (!) and we finally got around to putting tile up on our fireplace.  Actually, we can't take credit, because we paid someone to do the job, but it still feels like a huge accomplishment.

I can't wait to see everyone's finished projects!

XOXO  Kelly Lightbeam

10 September 2013

My Wonderful Journey ~ a post from Kelli

The BT Fall 13, Brooklyn Tweed  Fall 2013 catalog is out.  I'm excited to share my test-knit that is featured in the booklet, the Afton wrap in worsted weight, Shelter, color Soot.  (No I did NOT design this!!!)  Checkout Jared Flood's latest patterns


Kelli    ( I still need to knit one for me to keep)

08 September 2013

Guest blogger -- Penny

Happy to be doing a KAL again -- especially this one. I've been itching to make another Rachel's Shawl and now I have an incentive. I wonder if Carolyn would like to join us? I'll ask her. She just started back to work/school and might be too pooped by evening/weekends. Still, she needs a suitable diversion. :)

We just returned from Colorado. The trip ate a hole in my charity project time, but I'm well under way again. I need to find some yarn first. I was successful buying on ebay recently. Perhaps I'll check there first.

Happy Knitting! I bet Melissa is half finished with her Rachel KAL. Fess up girl.

UPDATE: As you can see... I selected my yarn. I bought it recently at Maker's Mercantile in Kent. I knitted the last KAL with Schoppel and like how it turned out. It will be interesting. I wanted to do something in 8 - 10 ply, but what the heck. Fingers crossed. Will probably CO tonight. :)

edited by Mel (hope you don't mind Penny!) : since I just posted about the kal last night and the post is buried now I'm adding the link to the pattern we're doing : Rachel's Shawl can be found here ~ the link works even if you're not a Ravelry member but you do have to use paypal for purchase. Additional knitalong info can be found here!!

I'm In ! ~ a Kelli post

This is New England Shetland, fingering weight, double stranded... FOLIAGE.  Should be a 'bute Clark'~

Thanks Melissa, can't wait to add this Rachel Shawl to my collection. (OK, I just have the one other,  Melissa knit me for Christmas)

edited by Mel (hope you don't mind Kelli) : since I just posted about the kal last night and the post is buried now I'm adding the link to the pattern we're doing : Rachel's Shawl can be found here ~ the link works even if you're not a Ravelry member but you do have to use paypal for purchase.  Additional knitalong info can be found here!!

07 September 2013

Impromptu KAL for Rachel's Shawl ~ posted by Melissa

I was hesitant to do a knitalong since I decided to charge (and donate) the money from the Rachel's Shawl pattern, but enough people have voiced that they would still like to play that it shall be done!
We're starting now and it will go til...whenever it's done!  If you have yarn and pattern already, and are added as a guest blogger, you're good to go!  If you have never blogged along with us and would like to, pm me on Ravelry with your email address (don't do it here where it's public!) and I'll send you an invite so you have blogging privileges.
If you haven't purchased your pattern yet and would like to:
The link works even if you are not a Ravelry member, but you do have to use paypal to purchase the pattern.  Also, if you haven't been following along this last week, the information about where the money will be going is on the pattern page and can also be found in the last few blog posts.  It's a very worthy cause and will make an event happen next year that may not have enough funding otherwise, so we're doing a good thing!
I just got my yarn (I'm making an aran weight version with Rowan Felted Tweed in 'Pebble') and am casting on immediately!
Thanks again for such a supportive response ~ we've raised $200 $212 $276  $316(!) already!  You all rock!!
I've added some links for easy searching :

05 September 2013

Please Meet Rachel ~ the beautiful Warrior herself :)

Rachel’s Story
Hi Friends of Girls (and boys!) in Sheeps Clothing! 

Melissa invited me here to guest blog and share my story with you all.
Where to begin?
How about how I know Melissa?

I say “know” because I know her through Ravelry and the Internet only.  We met through a knit-along around Christmas time I believe (correct me here if I am wrong Mel?) as we both embarked on knitting a translated (and sometimes complicated) lace shawl for the month of December. Each segment of the lace shawl brought new techniques, new fun in making pretty holes with pretty string. Dropping stitches, messing up stitch counts and trying to understand the language translation challenges together. Let’s just say Melissa’s shawl turned out breathtaking and mine just turned out. :GRIN: I knew she had the lace thing down. 

I worked at a yarn company for a while and I was able to bring Melissa aboard for some sample knitting. Lace of course. Her knitting presented in person was just as lovely as her pictures found on Ravelry. I loved her attention to detail. Also, Melissa’s own family had someone that struggled with cancer and my mom was a 32 year cancer fighter. We chatted a bit here and there about the challenges cancer brought to our families. Encouragement was always in Melissa’s correspondence with me! I am so grateful for her cheerful spirit.
Surprise came in 2010 when I myself was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. My own mother had just passed away from cancer 9 months earlier. What a blow to me this was! I had all my mammograms since age 21 and I did my monthly checks.  How could this happen? I was only 41 years old. The thought of treatments and trying to raise my four kids with my husband during this time seemed very daunting. How did this girl get through it?

My first chemo treatment in “THE CHAIR” and I was terrified. But I brought knitting…


Still knitting in "THE CHAIR" but now with no HAIR.

 I KNIT my way through it!!!
LAST chemo! WHEW. This was a LONG road.

16 infusions total of chemo…followed by 38 radiation treatments.

Towards the end of treatment, I wasn’t LACE knitting. But knitting was my way of coping with what was going on around me. It was my own personal “therapy” and it took my mind off of my side effects. Plus I had something to keep my mind occupied. I had lists of projects, I had things to make for my nurses/turned friends. It kept me busy.

One thing I desperately missed though was feeling girly, feeling feminine. Losing both breasts because of having BRCA-2 breast cancer gene was a tough blow. Then chemo puts you into chemically induced menopause. Add losing your hair (all body hair really!) and being allergic to your wig why it just seemed to add more insult to injury. I was pretty down.

Enter in Melissa.
After some encouragement from me, she took a leap of faith and she whipped up a beautiful lace shawl. 

It took my breath away! 
So delicate yet not at all weak. Have you seen her pictures of this beauty? Way more cool than mine…
This was a pink WARRIOR concoction that said YOU CAN DO IT.                  

And I did!


I fought cancer and so far…cancer hasn’t won.
Today, it will be 3 years this November since I was diagnosed. It’s hard to believe the woman in these pictures was me. It’s like it happened to someone else.
I can knit lace again. I can look to the future again with hope. I thank God every day for my blessings.
Yet I know there are women out there that are just starting their battles. They’ve just been told they have breast cancer.
They may be in the middle of treatment.
They may be struggling to finish their treatments.
They might even be fighting for a second or third time.
Those women are the true warriors. Those women are brave.

Rachel’s Shawl is Melissa’s way of making pretty holey string into making a woman feel pretty amazing wearing it. Not only women fighting breast cancer, geez, ALL us WOMEN desire that, don’t we? 

And for the months of September and October she is generously donating the money raised from the pattern sales to my Breast CancerSupport group and their retreat held each fall. A scholarship fund will be set up for women that cannot afford to pay for this retreat. They will get a chance to relax, to be pampered, to get away from the hospital and treatments to be around those that understand what it means to go through cancer. MinnesotaOncology and Virginia Piper Cancer Institute partner to offer these retreats for women to share, to love and to heal more than what’s on the outside.

It’s what is on the inside.

Please consider buying a pattern today.
October is PINK month.

Breast Cancer Awareness.
It’s more than a ribbon.
It’s about sharing. 

Thank you Melissa for sharing this pattern with me. Thank you for donating to an awesome cause that will help women with breast cancer. AND Thank you for letting me share ‘MY STORY’ here on your blog!

04 September 2013

Four, Three, Two, ONE!! ~ posted by Melissa

It's the official countdown to my first pattern release ~ it should be up momentarily!  I did decide to charge for the pattern after all, but I will be donating 100% of the proceeds through the end of October (which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month) to a charity near and dear to my friend Rachel's heart.  I hope to have Rachel introduce herself to you all soon so she can say 'howdy' and share a little of her journey if she'd like.  She's the reason this pattern came to be and I'm so thrilled to give back to a cause that has made a difference in her life, as well as the lives of others who have been affected by this horrible disease.

The money I raise will be donated to help fund next year's event but here is a glimpse of the good it will help do as shown on this year's pamphlet:

So, although I hope that anyone who spends their hard earned money on my shawl pattern loves knitting it, know that even if it's not the best thing you've ever knit at least your money went to a very good cause.
Thanks to everyone for all your super supportive comments and encouragement last week in getting this thing to actually happen.  If it wasn't for all your nice words, this whole thing probably wouldn't have come together and the way that it's all played out, I really feel like this is what was meant to happen with this pattern after all.
Happy knitting everyone!!  I hope you enjoy making Rachel's Shawl!
~ Melissa
(Rachel, Jeff, Will, Annette, Penny and Lori ~ hehe! ~ you all rock! Thanks for everything!)