Thursday, October 26, 2006

What Is This About?

If you are new to Travels with Swatchy™, welcome! We are glad you are here. But you are probably asking yourself, what is this swatch and why is it travelling? Here is the story of how our blog came to be:

Knittah is disabled and homebound as a result of CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome). You may have heard of the illness under the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephamyelitis (ME). Whatever you choose to call it, CFIDS is a serious and debilitating illness that affects more than one million people in the United States alone. Travel is extraordinarily difficult for Knittah due to the severity of her illness. She wrote and recorded an essay for the podcast Cast On about how knitting helps her cope with disability, and how her knitted gifts must travel out into the world with friends and family because she cannot. Noricum lives halfway across the continent from Knittah, but she heard the essay and reached out. She offered to carry a knitted swatch on her own travels, and provide Knittah with pictures. From this simple idea, Swatchy™ was born.

IMG_0749 Noricum takes Swatchy to wool shows, yarn shops, and other places. Much like other knitbloggers photograph their knitting as they travel, Noricum takes pictures of Swatchy as they visit different places and people. Other knitters have posed with Swatchy as well, and the photographs are posted on this blog. Knittah participates in all these excursions vicariously through Swatchy, and through posting her own thoughts about these places.

But the Swatchy project is about more than entertainment. The object is not to see how many places Swatchy (and his brothers and sisters) can go. Instead, this small knitted doll is a vehicle for raising awareness of CFIDS. Knittah and Noricum hope that visitors to this blog will learn more about CFIDS through the real-life example of how devastating the illness has been to one person’s health. Ultimately, Travels with Swatchy™ is about hope: the hope that one day, Knittah will be able to follow Swatchy in person and not just on the web.

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