Stitch Red is a nationwide campaign in the US that raises awareness about heart disease, the #1 killer of women in the United States. Manufacturers and designers in the Needlearts industry are creating and selling Stitch Red products to benefit the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of The Heart Truth. Yarn shops are carrying these products and hosting Stitch Red events to raise funds for heart disease awareness.
Yarn retailerÂ Jimmy Beans Wool is leading the charge, and they recently released the book Knit Red, which features 30 red, heart health-inspired patterns and personal stories from industry greats.
The team at Jimmy Beans Wool was inspired by the experiences of some friends and family members, includingÂ sales rep Marta McGinnis who had Â survived a major heart attack. Marta was a key member of the team developing the campaign, but she sadly passed away in 2008, and never saw the results of her work.
The main goal of the campaign is to spread hearth health awareness nationwide – Â and maybe even internationally. Heart disease has been traditionally considered a men’s issue, and it’s critical than women are aware of it and how it affects them. Heart disease is most common in women ages 55 and older, but it can affect younger women. Itâ€™s never too early to know the risks of heart disease so young knitters can start preventing and controlling the risks.
Launched this year, the campaign will be ongoing, and spread beyond knitting: the bok Sew Read is being published inÂ February 2013, just in time for American Heart Month, and the goal is to get the sewing community as involved as the needlearts community has been!
Although the campaign is primarily about information and awareness, all of the manufacturers/designers have partnered with The Heart Truth and pledged to donate at least 5% of gross profits of their Stitch Red products. Â Knitters can get involved by purchasing Stitch Red products, and by helping ensure that knitters get involved in the conversation.
I talked to Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool and author of the Stitch Red book, about the campaign. I asked her if she has changed anything in her own life since she’s got involved in the project:
“Iâ€™m already pretty active- I have a three year old son who keeps me running around! I have made a commitment to myself to eat one piece of fruit per day. If Iâ€™m honest with myself (sigh), I have to admit that Iâ€™m always finding excuses to eat chips and fatty stuff instead of fruits and vegetables. I know that Rome wasnâ€™t built in a day, so Iâ€™m just challenging myself to make 1 small change at a time. Once Iâ€™ve made eating 1 piece of fruit a part of my lifestyle, then Iâ€™ll take the next step (2 pieces?! Oh my!). On a more general level, Iâ€™ve just started being more aware of the signs and symptoms and am committed to not ignoring things about my body that seem out of whack.”
Laura’s parting words are wise – that we should all take care of ourselves:
“Make a conscious effort to eat healthy, exercise (even going for a walk counts), and pay attention to your body.”
There will be one winner. Our usual contest rules apply, leave a comment on this post by midnight EST Monday July 16th to be eligible to win. If youâ€™ve won a giveaway in the last year, please give other knitters a chance.