header logo


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Karin from Interweave Shares How Heart Disease has Affected Her

Karin Strom is the Editorial Director at Interweave for Yarn Group and we are very lucky she was so willing to share her Stitch Red story with us! You might want to read this with a box of tissues nearby as her story is quite personal and touching.

Why did you choose to get involved in the Stitch Red campaign? What does the Stitch Red campaign/fighting heart disease mean to you?

Karin's close friends - poster kids for survival
My mother-in-law had a heart attack recently, and then open heart surgery. She was doing well, but recently took a turn for the worse. Her prognosis doesn't look good.  It has made me start thinking more about how much heart disease has affected my life. My father had 2 heart valve replacement surgeries many years ago, and eventually succumbed to the disease. My mother had congestive heart failure, and my father-in-law had a quadruple by-pass several years ago and is doing well. On top of my father-in-law's quadruple by-pass, last year his wife had a heart attack, too.

The husband of one of my dearest friends had a heart attack a couple of years ago, and they are literally the poster kids for surviving heart attacks. [See photo above] All of this has affected me deeply, but it wasn’t until I started reading the Stitch Red blog posts, with heart disease stories from yarn industry folks, that I really put it together how much the disease has affected my life.

The bottom line is that for all the amazing advancements of surgery and medication, heart disease is still an uncontrollable disease. So much depends on lifestyle, and taking care of oneself. Genes, too, of  course, but it's great to see people making wise choices about what they eat, exercise, etc

InspiRED Peplum Pullover
What product have you created for the Stitch Red campaign? What was your inspiration behind it?

Red has always been my favorite color. I think it’s flattering on just about everyone and there are so many great shades of red. I agree with Bill Blass who said, “When in doubt, wear red,” and I agree with Diana Vreeland, who believed that every room needs a touch of red.

Interweave has put together a pattern collection featuring red designs – clothing, accessories and home décor items - that have appeared in our publications. It’s called InspiRED to Knit. With each red pattern (pictured left & right) sold on InterweaveStore.com, we’ll donate 5% of the profits to The Heart Truth®, a National Awareness Campaign for Women About Heart Disease. 

What is a heart healthy tip or recipe you would like to share?

An InspiRED table runner!
I’m pretty careful about what I eat. I generally stay away from red meat and processed foods, and try to eat a lot of seafood, veggies and grains. My husband, Gabe, has given up dairy and gluten and lost 35 pounds, but I tend to be an “all things in moderation” gal (we're right there with you, Karin!). It would be very hard for me to completely give up the occasional dish of ice cream or chocolate chip cookie.
I do subscribe to the French theory that a glass of red wine with dinner helps stave off heart disease. Hope it’s true! Seriously, though, given my family history, I’m very concerned about heart problems.

What gets your heart racing?

Actually, I’m working on being calmer and managing stress better - yoga helps me with that. I know I need to fit more exercise into my life. I do try to walk as much as possible and I have my eye on a classic Raleigh bike that reminds me of the bike I had growing up. 

We truly appreciate you sharing your story, Karin! Thank you!

Many of us at Jimmy Beans are working on managing our stress levels as a way to stave off unwanted heart problems, so we are very glad Karin brought that up. Many of us believe in the power of knitting to relieve stress and calm our busy heads. How do YOU stay stress free?


  1. I really need to stay stress free.
    I have had a few things happen in the last year that have kept the stress at high levels.
    At the end of Sept my father had a stroke. In Feb my mother had a thoracic aneurysm. They are both recovering. One of my younger sisters (I am the oldest of 7 siblings) has an 11 month old daughter who has Hypoplastic Left heart syndrome (essentially born with half a heart)--in her short life she has already had 4 surgeries.
    I have a vascular issue (DVT).
    There are a few other issues but I am trying to manage the stress through walking, and yoga and I knit too. Knitting got me through 3 kidney stone surgeries in summer of 2010.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear. It breaks my heart thinking about an 11 month old dealing with problems she can't control or understand - sending smiles & good thoughts your way!

      Working on the Stitch Red campaign I am always amazed by how much people truly are affected by this devastating disease. When I was younger I had a heart murmur (which is nothing compared to a stroke, heart attack, etc.), but I remember needing to take medication and visiting my cardiologist regularly. Luckily, by the time I was 16, I had grown out of the murmur. Since then I haven't thought twice about heart disease, until my dad was diagnosed with high blood pressure (again, not as serious as what you've been dealing with), but it really made me think how one small thing can lead to greater, more problematic heart issues. Now I badger him about staying healthy - I need him to walk me down the aisle!

      Wishing you good healthy, many yoga filled mornings to relax, walks to clear your head, and a few knitting projects to keep your hands busy!