Thursday, December 17, 2015

A thank you for Sue

I was both happy and sad in equal measures when Sue, from ARUK, told me she was leaving; happy that she was starting a new and exciting part of her life but sad that this meant she'd be leaving the ARUK team.

She has been the softly spoken voice at the end of the phone for such a long time, always enthusiastic and encouraging, gently guiding us all to do things we'd never dreamt of doing. There will be many people on a train into London back in 2012 who must have thought I was quite mad when I started howling with laughter having taken a phone call from her asking me to be Terry Pratchett's stand-in at Westminster.

We've shared many laughs, mostly at my fund-raising antics. One of my favourite memories is when I told her that I was going to do a 'running streak', meaning I was going to run every day for 6 months, but she thought I meant I'd be running without clothing which really would not be a good idea for a woman my age!!!

In the 10 years I've been involved with ARUK there have been some massive and very positive changes and Sue has been part of them. I know she is loved by her colleagues and will be sorely missed and even though she's slight in stature she will leave behind a big Sue-sized hole.

Her news came right slap-bang in the midst of my frantic Charity Christmas knitting but there was no way I was going to let her leave without making something special for her.

After much furtive whispering at events and emails with Kirsty we worked out she'd been with ARUK for 6 years. I also gave Kirsty the task of finding out Sue's favourite colour and after much brainstorming with her colleagues they agreed that she wears a lot of pink and after another big debate settled on a 'purpley-pink'.

Hmm, still a bit vague for my liking. However, they also noted that she has several on-brand items of clothing and mentioned her orange cardigan and that's when I had my lightbulb moment - I would make something in the new ARUK colours. But what? Something knitted or crocheted? Something to hang on her wall or keep in her handbag? I had far too many ideas flying around in my head so I ignored it for a while and concentrated on crocheting cows (as you do!) for the White Star Running raffle.

That's when it came to me - it had to be crochet and it had to be something for her to wear. Once I'd got the idea then it was great fun putting it all together so here is Sue's special ARUK cowl, full of symbolism, to remind her of her time with the charity.

I chose the African Flower motif as it symbolises HOPE for the future, just like ARUK. I decided to frame the flower motif within a hexagon, the 6 sides representing the number of years Sue has been with the charity. I've made several of Heidi Bears' wonderful creatures using this motif.

The colours are based on their new corporate branding and I matched them as closely as possible to my running vest. However, last week I got a new, updated vest, in which the purple and the blue have changed quite dramatically so I added some slightly different tones of purple to get it as close as possible.

I started off with the idea of making a scarf but felt the inclusion of 1/2 hexagons a bit fussy so decided a cowl would be better and so I used the coloured hexagons as a central band and then edged them with white.

I used the join-as-you-go method to join the hexagons but deliberately didn't join all their sides in this way so there is a raised ridge in parts but not all over. This is to represent how dementia takes over as the brain cells die and connections are lost - lines become blurred.

Once I'd made my central band of coloured motifs I needed to fill in the half-hexagon spaces with white so I went backwards and forwards within the space using half trebles, decreasing 2 stitches at each corner until it was almost level with the adjacent hexagon. I left it slightly lower than the upper edge
as I wanted a slight waviness to represent the very subtle changes that take place in the brain when dementia is in the early stages.

This next photo, unblocked, show the waves off quite well.

I edged the top with turquoise and deep purple and the bottom with orange and a lighter purple.

I really hope she likes it and enjoys wearing it.

On Saturday I shall be running my 60th marathon and as it's nearly Christmas I shall be wearing something appropriate!

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