My mother Eva has been a medical secretary for the majority of her life. A couple of years ago she retired but then a good colleague of hers - Pia - got sick with cancer and my mother decided to fill in for her during her treatment. It was just that one treatment ended up being two and three and four... The cancer spread quickly and what initially looked like a quick fix ended up being a long medical journey spent either in hospital or at home for Pia.
During this long time of treatments my mother and Pia developed an incredible bond. They spoke almost everyday about everything good, bad and ugly. Maybe just because they were just "distant" friends from the start. Maybe it was easier for them to bond just because they never were so emotionally close but "just" colleagues. Maybe it was because they were in a similar age being singles with grown up children... I don't know but I know my mother spoke about Pia often.
She told me the stories, how incredibly positive this woman was. Never giving up, always plugging along making it through and finding the silver lining in pain and illness. She also told me there were rather serious and full out ugly conversations about side effects, life, death and how the cancer spread and showed up in new places. How she lost her hair, weight and natural shine. How she got older over night. But she kept her hopes and good spirit up. She was a real fighter.
My mother showed Pia my blog and told her about me, her only daughter living abroad. Pia came to love my blog. She said that she would always find strength and happiness through the colors and the creations I published. The pictures and the stories. Pia LOVED and ADORED my Gypsy blanket, the kaleidoscope of colors in the traditional granny squares. When my mom told me this I decided to make her something warm and cuddly to cheer her up in her fight against this terrible disease. I decided to make her a shawl.
I started on the shawl in early summer 2013. I wanted it to be "granny" with a modern Scandinavian twist. Timeless but not boring. I played around, inspired by dutch designs like this but I wanted it less eclectic and more "stylish". I got distracted and the shawl took longer to make than I thought as I put it aside several times because of family matters and life itself. And then late summer came and my mother told me Pia was getting very sick again. I rushed through the last sequence, the lace edging, and finished the shawl. But this time things looked really bad, my mother said. She asked me to hold on to the shawl for a week or so before sending it as she didn't know what was going to happen. A couple of weeks later Pia passed away. Her fight was over. She had told my mother she was ready to give in. Her fight came to an end.
I have never met Pia but it was with great sadness I sat there with the Nordic Shawl wrapped around my own shoulders and not hers. I felt like a failure as she never got the chance to enjoy and cherish this shawl I made for her. And that is when I for real decided to write out the pattern. For others to enjoy. For anyone, healthy or ill, to make and wrap around themselves on chilly days. Never in a million years did I expect so many would love this pattern as much as I do.
Every time I sell a pattern I think of Pia. I am proud to see my shawl everywhere in Cyber world. Every color combination makes every shawl different from another. This shawl can truly be anything you want it to be. It is timeless and simple. Just the way I wanted it to be.
My mother is so proud and says it feels like Pia is still alive through all the Nordic Shawls that are made. Maybe you think this is a rather sad story but for me it is not. After all, I think it has a happy ending. My intention was not to commercially design a pattern when I made this shawl. No, my intentions were very personal and that is why this Nordic Shawl is so special to me.
When writing this post, reflecting over the story and all the sales I've had of this pattern I felt strongly that I wanted to something more than just dedicate this pattern to Pia. I decided to donate 1 dollar of every sold Nordic Shawl pattern up until today's date to bring awareness to cancer which is a decease that will effect us all at some time in our life. It might be someone close, someone distant, a neighbor, a family member, a partner or a friend...
I'm so glad that my pattern can contribute to the Cancer Research and it really feels like the most natural thing to do. A big THANK YOU to all of you who have purchased this pattern. Over 380 dollars (I have to count the exact numbers...) will be donated this week to the Swedish Cancer Society in the Memory of Pia. The Nordic Shawl have somewhat fulfilled its purpose in a different way than planned. I am incredibly happy to see so many of you all wearing it! It is fantastic. It brings a big smile on my face. And I know it would bring a big smile on Pia's face too.
You want to donate? Visit links below and make a donation now.
The American Cancer Society
Donate Now to The American Cancer Society
Cancer Research UK
Donate Now to Cancer Research UK
Ge en gåva nu till Svenska Cancerfonden
Or search for Cancer society in your home country.
Coming up next: Block your shawl to let the lace edging shine!
PS Stay tuned for the Nordic Shawl Potpourri later this week.
The Nordic Shawl pattern can be purchased here.
You can by Ideal yarn from Bergere de France here. Makes for a warm and cuddly shawl.
Want a summer version in cotton/acrylic mix? Buy Tilda yarn here.