Hello my friends!
First, please accept my sincere apology for the lack of posts and new patterns recently. We have been in the process of a move, and I am finally settled in and ready to get back to the thing I love most- playing with yarn!
I am so excited to share my newest design with you, not because it’s been a hot minute since I released a pattern but because the inspiration behind this design is so special.
A few months back, I received an email from a new yarny friend who wanted to tell me that she loves my signature stitch, the Dolphin Stitch, and wanted to crochet a shawl for her best friend’s mother but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Her friend had passed away, and she was finally at that stage in the grief process where she was ready to crochet something in her friend’s memory.
As you may know, I am no stranger to the grief process, and that morning before I had opened my email I was praying for some inspiration for a new design. I asked my new friend if I could design a pattern in her friend’s memory and if we could share her friend’s story, and she agreed!
I instantly got to work creating a new prayer shawl with the Dolphin Stitch, and I love the way it came out. The shape is a long trapezoid, which drapes beautifully off the shoulder. This is a quick project and will make the perfect wrap for summer activities and quick gifts.
Please read about Terry, the woman who inspired the Harley’s Gambol Prayer Shawl, and the meaning behind the pattern’s name below. My friend Jennie has written some words for us:
Have you ever had a Penny from Heaven moment? I did when Malena released her Dolphin Stitch Square for the Friendship Blanket CAL. On May 18, 2020, my best friend since high school, Terry Mitchell, passed away. She had dedicated 24 years of her life to rescuing and rehabbing stranded dolphins, so I eagerly downloaded the pattern. However, I didn’t have time to participate in the CAL, so Heaven dropped another penny for me, when an email from Malena reminded me of the dolphin stitch. I wanted to make a Prayer Shawl for Terry’s mom, who has been like another mother to me, using the Dophin Stitch. Since I’m someone who needs to follow a pattern, I reached out to Malena and asked her for advice. Her reply surprised me; she was inspired by Terry’s story and wanted to design a shawl in her memory. Not only has she generously designed a beautiful shawl in a DK yarn to accommodate Mom Mitchell’s Texas heat, but she’s also given me space on her blog to talk about Terry and her life’s work.
Terry had a heart as big as the Gulf of Mexico, an infectious laugh, and a love of adventure. She was quick with a joke and whip-smart. She was someone you could lean on, no matter what. She knew when you needed encouragement, a laugh, or a kick in the pants. She was generous with her time, her love, and her talents. It didn’t matter how far I traveled or how much time passed between visits or phone calls. When she said, “Hey you!” on the other end of the line, it was like she was in the room and not a day had passed since high school graduation.
Terry lived her life as if she was racing against time, intent on making a positive impact wherever she went. Fascinated by the ocean, she moved to Corpus Christi to pursue a degree in marine biology. Being involved with the field as soon as possible was important to her, so she volunteered at the Texas State Aquarium. If she wasn’t in class, you could almost guarantee that she would be at the aquarium, giving tours or working “backstage” learning to care for a wide variety of animals. The aquarium was also where she became involved with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network would change her life. The organization is dedicated to both conservation and research, putting Terry on the front lines of the conservation effort and allowing her to participate in emergent scientific developments. TMMSN is a non-profit organization that responds to reports of stranded and deceased marine life on the beaches of the Texas coast, 24 hours a day. She learned how to assess both live strandings and animals that were still able to swim on their own but were entangled, injured, or lost. In TMMSN, Terry found her purpose. Working with the dolphins that her regional group rehabilitated was her greatest joy in life. Even after 24 years, she could recall every dolphin that she worked with and knew where each successfully rehabilitated dolphin was. Even when a battle with pneumonia left Terry unable to work in the water with the dolphins anymore, she continued to be a dedicated volunteer at TMMSN, taking up coordination and educational roles within the organization.
Most strandings have sad endings, even with the fastest and best-trained responders on hand. The main causes of marine animal strandings are illness and injury, as well as being too young to navigate on their own. Sick dolphins were the least likely to survive and injured dolphins were quite likely to be good candidates to return to the wild. Otherwise healthy, but orphaned dolphins were the ones that Terry would get to spend the most time with. One of those dolphins was an Eastern Spinner Dolphin named Harley. Stranded as a baby, in April 2004, she took almost a year to rehabilitate/raise. Eastern Spinner Dolphins get caught in tuna nets, which may be why Harley was orphaned. She could not be released, since she didn’t have a pod to return to, so she lived at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida until her passing in 2011. When Terry and some of her teammates were able to travel to Mote, she told me that Harley clearly remembered them and was happy to see them.
Spinner dolphins are known for their leaping, spinning, playful behavior and Malena’s Dolphin Stitch leaps acrobatically from the yarn. Because of the bond between Harley and Terry, I thought it would be appropriate to name this pattern Harley’s Gambol. It is my hope that this pattern honors Terry’s life work, Harley’s success story, and Malena’s creativity. I pray that you will be inspired, too!
In honor of Terry, Harley and all other marine animals, a portion of the sale of each Harley’s Gambol Prayer Shawl pattern will be donated to TMMSN. Grab your copy below, and please say a prayer for Jennie, Terry’s mom, and everyone else who was touched by Terry as you work up your new shawl.
Learn how to do my signature Dolphin Stitch:
I have a couple of new projects on my hooks right now, and I am excited to share them with you soon!
If you have an idea for a new design or a video tutorial you’d like, please feel free to reach out and let me know- I love hearing from you and am always so delighted when I can make a little impact in someone’s life through my love of yarn!
Until next time, Happy Hooking!