One of the reasons I moved to San Francisco was to get involved in HIV prevention and counseling. Back at the end of 2010, I reached that goal, and a short time later was lucky enough to find a paying job with the same amazing organization.
Days and weeks and months go by, and it's easy to find comfort in the daily routine. My work allows me to watch the lives of others as they work to become healthy, strong individuals. It also allows me to see the benefits that come from the monies raised in fundraisers like the AIDS Walk. It's for these reasons (and more) that I decided to walk this year.
It's not the first time I've walked and raised money for organizations that work with folks dealing with HIV. Back in 1991 (when I was just 16) I joined forces with my educational teen theater troupe, the Positive Force Players, and we marched through the streets of Phoenix, AZ.
I also had the opportunity to volunteer with the NAMES Project as the Quilt made a stop there on its nationwide journey. Today I realize that the organization I work for was providing mental health services to clients all those years ago.
In 2010, with the help of my friends and family, I raised money for AIDS Project Los Angeles and completed the LA Marathon. All those months of training coupled with the exhausting feeling of crossing the finish line has taught me that we really CAN do anything we set our minds to.
This time it's not a marathon... but it's certainly still an important event. This time, I'm walking with my friends at Project Open Hand, and the money we raise will help so many incredible organizations that really do change the lives of people in need. (They provide food to seniors and the critically ill in the San Francisco bay area.)
The hard part, for me, is asking for donations. Money is always tight, and we are all on budgets... So I decided to provide some prizes as added incentive to give (and to encourage action)! Some generous individuals and companies have provided a number of "thank you" prizes that will be given away in a drawing after the walk.
For every $25.00 you donate, your name will be entered once into the drawing. To join in, first make your donation HERE.
Then, review the prizes and goodies on my walk page HERE, and fill out the form on that page with your information and you'll be entered to win!
What can you win? (I'm so glad you asked!)
The grand prize:
Yes, seriously. a Sidekick. The most amazing, incredible, fantastic wheel you'll ever put fluff in! It's up for grabs, brand spanking new, and will end up in the arms of some charitable giver! In addition, the good folks at Purlescence Yarns donated a prize pack AND lessons to get you started!
Other amazing prizes include:
More prizes are to be added. (Visit my website to see the complete list, along with images)
One more way you can help: Share this blog post with your friends. We are raising money for amazing programs, and at the same time, we are reminding people that it's important (and often free!) to get tested for HIV. Knowing your status and communicating with others is one of the best ways to help.
From the bottom of my heart, I have to thank you for taking time to read, share, and give.
Head on over, to the donation page HERE and secure some chances for these incredible prizes!
Thank you for your support!
Back on February 4, 2014 I was the recipient of the Daily Point of Light award! What's funny is I didn't know about it until their office contacted me to get my shipping address! Founded by President George H. W. Bush, the program recognizes people or organizations who work to make a difference in their communities. Most people who know me are aware of my desire to use the fiber arts as a tool to educate and empower others with information about various issues.
The project that earned this recognition was Good Deeds, Volume One: Hats, which includes knitting (and crochet!) patterns surrounded by information about breast cancer, and the incredible resource Breast Cancer Connections. 100% of the proceeds from this collection benefits Breast Cancer Connections, and the e-book suggests making hats for a charity.
This honor was unexpected, and I'm humbled by the experience. (Of course, it couldn't have happened without the help of all the contributing designers and models!) In addition to the certificate, I also received this letter on President George H.W. Bush's letterhead:
On the Points of Light website under my date and award number, you'll find this summary:
AWARD NUMBER: 5146
Thank you to those who nominated me, and thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to do good for others!
I knew right away what yarn I wanted to use for this vest. Zauberball Starke 6 by Shoppel-Wolle (distributed in the United States by Skacel) slowly changes color (and you know how I love color changing yarn!).
The original proposal included the patterned front, just as it looks. I had imagined a solid stockinette back that would make the project feel more approachable (finish the patterned front, and the back will be super easy knitting!)
Folks who design for magazines (or books, or other publications) are always on a short deadline. This project had about 4 weeks from the date it was accepted to the date the finished sample and pattern had to be delivered to the publisher.
Well, I knit the patterned front to the armholes, and then cast on and knit the back to the armholes, only to realize that it was WAYYYYY too wide. (See? Even designers have to rip things out.)
So, I went down a needle size (of COURSE... that will get me the correct gauge, right? wrong.) It still was not quite right. So I talked with another knitter friend and he suggested I do some sort of different pattern for the back. As I was ripping out the second back attempt I saw the beauty in this suggestion. It'll make the front the same weight as the back... and the back will be really easy to knit because it'll be the same row of patterning over and over and over!
So, thank you to Bill for your suggestion. I couldn't be happier with the back on this piece, and really, I think it could be an alternate design for a vest front!
Besides the basic knitting skills you'd imagine are needed for this project, it's helpful to know how to lock the floating yarn every other stitch. This technique creates a beautifully finished interior and it also keeps the tension even in two-color knitting.
There's a tutorial HERE that demonstrates the technique.
Other good news about this pattern is it made the COVER of Cast On! It's my first cover, and I am really proud of the way this one looks.
Cast On Magazine, the educational journal for knitters, is included in your membership to TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association). More information about the organization and the magazine can be viewed on their website HERE.
Have a great weekend!