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My Beautiful Stiff-As-A-Board Sweater

May 28, 2008

To my delight and horror I have found The Second Sweater I Ever Knit (garage cleaning can be a truly scary thing for a knitter).

I actually found this uh, "early work of art" a few weeks back, and have been gathering up my courage to share it with you all. Why courage, you ask? Well, first of all, I knit it when I was fourteen. Secondly, I knit it rather badly.

There it is in the photo. It's on Bertha because I'm fairly certain that anyone with arms couldn't get into that little pullover without dislocating something--like a shoulder, maybe, or possibly a neck. The armholes are tight, the neckline is small, and the waist...well. I must have been knitting for a life-sized Barbie doll. And the fabric...how shall I say this? The fabric could stop bullets, it is so stiff. See how the sleeves stick straight out from the body? Talk about a sweater holding its shape. That cute girly sweater could do double-duty as body armor.

To be fair: This really was only my second sweater ever. And I confess, I was blinded by a girlfriend crush. C'mon, you remember those horrible high school things, where you desperately wanted to be friends with someone who didn't even know you were on the same planet? Ah, yes. I was one of those super-dorky nerdy kids--big glasses, really dumb clothes, always in Honors Calculus but never picked for ball teams. The Beautiful Susan had red hair, green eyes, gorgeous clothes, and was just as good at sports as she was at math. I adored Susan...from afar, of course. I couldn't really get near her, because, well...I was a dork and she was a cheerleader. See? Doomed.

So, with the clear logic of teenagers, I decided to knit her a sweater. Yeah, I know. It makes total sense, doesn't it? I couldn't speak to her, couldn't be seen with her, but I could win her friendship with a handknit sweater. (Go me.)

I chose ivory yarn, because it would compliment her skin and her hair. I chose acrylic, because that's all there was at Woolworths. And I chose a puff-sleeve, textured, cropped-waist pullover pattern, because I thought it would make her look like a move star. And her size? I totally eyeballed it, because of course, when you're fourteen, you are gifted with extra-sensory perception and you know all things, right?

Oh. My. Goodness. Let us now count the ways in which both I and this project were doomed.

Not only was the gauge wrong for the yarn, and the yarn wrong for the gauge, but each and every stitch was knitted through the back loop. See how the ribbing at the bottom twists to the right? The whole sweater does that. The pattern did not require the stitches to be knit through the back loop, of course. I was just kind of going through a stage, shall we say.

The result was a sweater that might be considered by the police department for use as body armor. Knitted Kevlar. People in the Witness Protection Program could wear sweaters like this, be perfectly safe, and stylish, besides.

I thought perhaps blocking might work out the kinks a bit. So I washed it gently, let it dry, and breathlessly tried it on myself. (That, by the way, is how I discovered the part about not being able to get it on or off without nearly dislocating someting. I serously considered calling 911 to have someone come and help me get out of it.) The sweater was completely and utterly hopeless.

OK. Maybe not quite hopeless. It was never going to be worn by anyone other than Bertha, perhaps, but I've kept this sweater for quite a long time, unwrapping it periodically and viewing it rather fondly. Why? Certainly not because it reminds me to check my gauge, or knit my stitches properly.

I keep this sweater because a fourteen-year-old-girl spent her own money and hours of her own time knitting a sweater out of love for someone, someone who barely knew she was alive. In the end, of course, I was far too shy to even show the sweater to The Beautiful Susan; I packed it away in a box, taking it out now and then over the years to ponder it with affection: Why I would possibly invest so much in a gift for someone I barely knew? And why was I keeping it, year after year?

Because knitting is not always about perfect stitches and accurate gauge. Sometimes knitting is a way of telling a story to ourselves, and to those around us.

That sweater will never be wearable. But I think, out of all the sweaters I've knitted so far, it's kind of my favorite. I like the story it tells.

-- Sandi




Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? Working on the Drawstring Raglan!




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Comments

on Jun 29, 2008 11:13 PM

Pingback from  ways to show affection to girlfriend

Eliza wrote
on Jun 12, 2008 11:19 AM

Did you get a haircut? it's totally adorable!! LOVE it!

Do you ever wonder what happened to Susan? I bet she's reading this right now, and had a girl crush on you! :)

KateL wrote
on Jun 10, 2008 12:06 PM

Late as it is, I too, would like to add that I LOVE your new haircut/colour and that as a reformed Nerd myself I can completely empathise with your story.  I only took up knitting 3 years ago (i.e. I finally learned how to do it!) and my first jumper was for my then 4 year old son.  I carefully chose the yarn, swatched, and lovingly knitted a pea-green raglan crew-necked sweater.  I added two blue stripes at the bottom and above the sleeves.  I also carefully made it a size or two bigger so he could wear it more than one winter.  & what happened?  The sweater was too warm for him to comfortably wear in school as we then had one of the mildest winters on record.  The next year the sweater still fit him but he had by then developed a dislike for clothing pulled over his head and rejected all things woollen as "itchy".  I ended up giving the sweater to a friend's little girl who felt cold whilst visiting.  & she hasn't worn it since because it's green (my favourite colour) and not pink (hers).  By the way, I also twisted my stitches as I was doing funny things with my knit stitches (diagrams are for losers, right?)  Your posts are great - I just love them!

LauraM wrote
on Jun 8, 2008 8:34 AM

That is the most beautiful knitting story I've read!  I am so impressed that you knit a sweater at 14, and that you have kept the sweater all these years!

needlebee wrote
on Jun 6, 2008 10:26 AM

Sandi,

(You look great), I can relate to that story so well.  When I first started to knit, I never had the courage to knit a sweater but rather blankets and afghans... they were easy for me... until I got married and my husband had the audacity to encourage me to knit him a sweater... so I took the bait and started to knit him a sweater... that he Finally liked and with yarn that he finally wanted... and I told him that you can't knit a pattern with just any yarn.... but no did he listen...no.  So I go about knitting the whole sweater when placing the final stitches I decieded to have him try it on before I start weaving in the ends... and come to my horror I don't think this sweater would have fit Shaq O'Neil (american basket ball player).  It was huge...the sleeves were so long and everything about that sweater was so long and wrong... I just couldn't help but start lauhging so hard... I had to catch myself... to this day I laugh because it was so funny to see my husband swallowed up in this sweater.... oh well... now he listens to me and leaves the knitting up to me.  Needless to say I ended up froging the sweater and crocheting my baby brother a blanket... I still have balls of yarn left from that sweater...

StephanieP wrote
on Jun 6, 2008 9:17 AM

I think the sweater is beautiful.  It gives so much life to Bertha, I'm sure she appreciates it.  (look how pretty bertha looks in that ymmy creamy sweater!)  And, as I was told, the sweater will always fit somebody.  

You are a sweetheart to share such a poignant story.  You don't even want to discuss my first sweater (which, by the way, is the Central Park Hoodie, and it looks lovely, but the yarn is scratchy.  I'll be doing another one with nicer, softer, yummy yarn soon)

Stephanie

SusannZ wrote
on Jun 6, 2008 8:43 AM

Dear Sandi,

I loved the story.  How poignant.  Talk about a fearless knitter!

Susann

tazodel wrote
on Jun 5, 2008 10:29 AM

Sandi,

What a lovely story, so honestly and openly told. It reminded me that sometimes it's the journey, not the destination, that truely matters. Thanks for sharing that journey with your readers.

Adele

KristenH wrote
on Jun 4, 2008 12:45 PM

I totally agree with everyone else--great new hairstyle!

Oh man--your story brought back all the angst of my high school years.  I was also the dork in honor calculus who sat right in front of the smart cheerleader.  I didn't knit her a sweater though, I was way to shy for even that kind of gesture!  Well, and I didn't learn to knit until I was 32.   I taught myself when I was laid up after foot surgery and going stir crazy.  And since I misinterpreted the diagram in my book, I also knit my first scarf entirely through the back loop.  It wasn't until the next scarf, when I decided to try stockinette that I realized something wasn't right.  Oops!

Meanwhile, it will no doubt amuse you to know that this post was trapped by my very sensitive spam blocker.  No doubt the "stiff-as-a-board" part caught it's attention.  ;)

DawnD wrote
on Jun 4, 2008 8:12 AM

Sandi,

Love, Love, Love the new "do", have to tell you, I think its FABULOUS!

As for your sweater you at 14 still knitted better than I do at my age....haha still a beginner knitter though.

Love the story you are such a wonderful caring person and reading your story gives me hope that there are still good people left in this hideous world we live in.

God Bless the knitters I think we are the only kind caring people left!

Lennette wrote
on Jun 4, 2008 7:43 AM

Sandi - I love your hair!  And I love the sweater story.  I think all of us nerdy girls had those crushes.  Luckily, we outgrow them and realize that we don't have to do anything to win friendship.  

RhondaS@2 wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 8:22 PM

Still another lurker coming out of the woodwork to say thank for this story.  I share the opinion of a lot of the commenter -- I was pretty impressed by a 2nd sweater done by a 14 year-old.  I hope someday to have a 1st sweater to look at years from now and wonder "what was I thinking".  And I'll be happy if it looks half as well as your did.

Ditto on the hair -- very nice!

LeticiaB wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 7:17 PM

Aww, Sandi!  I have a girlfriend crush on you now!  

I was the geeky nerdy girl in high school too.  I am a super nerd so the popular kids would cheat off me but not actually speak to me otherwise.  

Just look at us now!  We're so cool!

Lety

ErinE wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:36 PM

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!  It's nice to think about the archeology of knitting projects.  I know I will never get rid of early knitting projects--although I sure won't wear them.  

Thanks again!

--zenia

paloma wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 4:09 PM

Sandi,

I was very touched by your story.  (I'm wondering if you know what ever happened to Susan.)  Also I love this:  "Because knitting is not always about perfect stitches and accurate gauge. Sometimes knitting is a way of telling a story to ourselves, and to those around us."  That is so true.

Best wishes,

Paloma

KatarinaH wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 2:20 PM

Oooh, Sandi ... I know how you must have felt then and how you feel about it now. I'm deeply moved by the way you told us this heartwarming story, and ... may I say it? Well, I just love the girl you were and the woman you are! By the way, you look great with your new haircut!

Regards,

Katarina

MaroH wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 2:00 PM

That's a wonderful story! Thank you for having the courage to share it with us.

BTW, I really like your new haircut!

amyable27 wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 1:31 PM

Oh Sandi,

that is soo sweet. you are a pretty tough critic; the sweater looks Not Too Bad from here.

I always think that when knitting something for someone else, your love and hopes for the person seep into the yarn somehow as you work on it. Maybe Susan will get in touch?

xxA

mikboy wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 12:39 PM

Hi Sandi!  I'm Emily, and I'm 11.  I'm actually working on my second sweater right now.  It's knitted in Merino 5, color 0061 seascape.  So far I've made the front and have started on the back, and it looks fine.  I think that in the picture your sweater looks fine.  Thanks for sharing the story.

Em

Lili wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 12:26 PM

Ah yes, the Personal Project Archive! I also have a "Museum" of projects and pieces I've made over the years. Some of them have no  practical use, except as a sort of 3-D journal of my path in life. Everything I've made vibrates my thoughts and emotions at the time i was making the item, as well as recording my needlework expertise..

BeverlyR wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 11:49 AM

What a sweet, sad, funny, heartwarming story.  It speaks volumes about you (anyone would be very fortunate to have you for a friend).  I just recently knit the back of a heel that has a Kevlar feel to it...I'm re-learning color knitting (stranding and weaving).  P.s. GREAT HAIRCUT...LOOKS FABULOUS on you.

JewelieD wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 10:49 AM

Sandi, first, I must agree with everyone else, the hair cut is fabulous. It was the first thing I noticed in that picture...

I love the pattern of the sweater, it's really pretty. It's a shame it wouldn't ever fit anyone.

OK, here's where my question comes in...

I'm always knit very tightly. Now, my stitches look good and even, and I've been knitting for around 4 years, I think. Whenever I do a gauge swatch I either have to use one or two needle sizes larger, or the next size larger yarn, which, I'm sure you can guess, results in either a very loose knit that you can see through (larger needles) or a very stiff fabric.

I actually knit one Endpaper Mitt and it could stand up on it's own because I had to use sport weight instead of fingering.

So, is there any way for me to remedy this problem without doing a ton of math or trying to pay attention and knit more loosely?

ViolaN wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 10:09 AM

Sandi..I loved your story..my first knitting project was a pair of bedsocks, knit for my mother who was in bed with a broken leg (she had been in a horrific car & train accident) and was finally home from the hospital.  I was 10 yrs old, belonged to an girls group that were taught sewing and knitting  in school (an extension of the Dept of Agriculture prior to the 4-H being formed) .  The bedsocks were yellow to cheer up my Mom and meant to keep her feet warm.  I have no idea what ever happened to them.  I do like the pattern in your sweater.   Viola

CVWGma wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 9:57 AM

Sandi,

Loved your story, it speaks to me on so many levels.  Likie the first baby sweater I knit while awaiting the birth of my daughter.  I was so proud of it until sshe was born weighting only a little over five pounds and it was way to small for her, lesssson learned, check the guage.  I now have a teenage granddaughter and she is experienceing what you did except she is the recipient of the adoration.  You really hit the nail on the head.  By the way, from the picture the sweater "looks" great.    Geri in Illinois

catmomnw wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 9:52 AM

Yep, I've been there before, but with a boyfriend sweater my second year of college.  I didn't even get to finish it before he headed out of my life.  It was a beautiful Aran wool sweater.  I knit it reasonably well, but missed a repeat or two on the sleeve and gave up.  I go tthe back and front done, but still have those sleeves to finish.  Haven't parted with it or frogged it either...  8-)  Wondeful story.  Thanks for sharing!

prmartin wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 9:45 AM

Oh, Sandi -- I had no idea anyone else knew what it was like, being me at that age!!!  

I wasn't an obsessive knitter yet -- I was still doing embroidery then.  Hours and hours of it, stitches so fine I can't even SEE that small anymore.  Her name was Debbie, and I actually finished the embroidery -- an elaborate picture of lupine flowers.  I sewed it into a decorative throw pillow and I actually GAVE it to her.  Even as I did it, I knew it was weird and wrong -- we barely even said hello as we passed in the halls.  Debbie was obviously very uncomfortable and didn't have a clue what to do with it, other than to say "thank you" and "you shouldn't have."  I was mortified, and I'm still mortified when I think of it.  

And I wish I'd had the good sense to keep it, or give it to my sister!  I'll probably never do that kind of needlework again.  I don't have the time, I don't have the patience, and I'm so obsessed with knitting now, I may never embroider again!  

Be glad you kept the thing!  And rest assured, there are some of us out here who understand EXACTLY! :-)  

Now, I still sometimes get the urge to make the grand gesture, the over-the-top gift, but I try to establish a policy of making presents for the people in my life who are WORTH the effort!  

Thanks so much for sharing.  That pathetic teenager in me feels much better now. :)  As for your sweater, it IS beautiful.  Maybe you could sew up the openings and stuff it and make a funky throw pillow?  And I had spiral ribbing for years before I stumbled across a wonderful shopkeeper who FINALLY explained what I was doing wrong!

GiselaB wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 9:33 AM

I can't possibly add to all of the wonderful comments that have already been made, but nevertheless, your story was very touching and very sweet.  It sounds like Susan never knew what you did for her and possibly, you have no idea where she may be right now.  However, I think this story says a lot about the person you are and the generosity that you possess.  You continue to share generously with all of us the wonderful techniques, patterns etc.   And that makes you a very special gift to all of us.  Thank you for opening our eyes to see a part of you that under other circumstances we would have never known.

Lynn G. wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 9:14 AM

I think you should find Susan through your high school's alumni list and share both the KD blog and the sweater with her. I'm sure she'd be delighted (and blush, but that would be worth it).

You're really blossoming in your writing as well as in your physical appearance, which is clearly radiating outward from the inside.  I like the new haircut a lot, and the color looks deeper (did you color it?), but it's your smile that puts the icing on the cake.  Congrats on a job well done.

on Jun 3, 2008 8:56 AM

What a gifted, beautiful girl you were.  And what talented, beautiful woman you've become.  Thank you for sharing. Meg

CherylJ wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 8:45 AM

Oh my gosh, even with it's flaws, that sweater is amazing for a 14-year old. You did a great job. I love your hair too!  Cheryl

ShelleyD wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 8:24 AM

I have never left a comment on your editorials, though I enjoy them immensely!  I just had to say what a lovely, heartfelt story that was.  

And you look amazing!

Vis Major wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 8:02 AM

Sandi, thanks for "fearlessly" sharing your sweater story with us; reading it brought back memories of my own experiences as an awkward teenager.  And, your new haircut does look fabulous on you - check you out, Ms. Gorgeous!  :)

LauraV@2 wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 7:46 AM

Sandi, Thank you SO much for sharing your wonderful heartfelt story with us.  I too find that each piece I knit (even if the outcome is not so great) tells it's own story.  Thanks again!

JanMoreno wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 7:41 AM

Sandi, I loved your story--what a sweetie you were (and are)! I did kind of the same thing. There was a girl I just adored--difference is she was sort of a friend, but like you, I wanted so much to be like her. So I made her a dress (I couldn't knit then) out of unbleached muslin--sort of a puffed sleeve hippy dress, the kind you can get in Mexico with embroidery on it? But mine lacked embroidery, and it also lacked any sewing know-how at all. But she accepted it and thanked me warmly. She really was a sweet girl. Wow--you've brought back memories, I can still remember hunching over my mom's sewing machine at the dining room table, sweaty, frantic, and trying to figure out how to keep the bobbin from tangling.

Genevieve E wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 7:35 AM

Me too, me too - loved the story, saw my 14-year old self in it, although *I* was not clever enough to finish a sweater at 14.  Let alone a sweater which looks good on Bertha, anyway.  I appreciate ChristineL's comment, that even cheerleaders like Susan might have had the good sense and taste to admire the 14 year old Sandi.  (Cheerleaders are people, too.) The seeds of the wonderful, thoughtful person, great writer and terrific knitter were there in that nerdy teenager.  I am sure Susan would be honored by your friendship now - as we all are. Thanks so much for this blog.

AndreeK wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 7:08 AM

I love your haircut, and your story is soooo sweet!!!!

ElizabethG wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 7:03 AM

What a love you are for sharing that story with us. All the pain of being a kid that age is tightly stitched into that bulletproof sweater.

(I also really like your new haircut! :) )

ChristineL@4 wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 6:48 AM

Sandi,

Speaking as a former team captain of the cheerleading squad- you didn't give Susan enough credit.  She probably would have been happy to count someone as obviously wonderful as you are as a friend.

I think you should look her up at the next reunion, or find her on facebook or whatever... life changes and sometimes the former head cheerleader ends up being a single mom, working so hard to support her family that she has no friends and no life of her own... you never know what a kind word would do for her now, as well as what it would do for you if you happen to find out that Susan actually admired you in high school as well.  

WintorB wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 6:43 AM

Delurking to say that your haircut is adorable and so very flattering - wow!  The story was inspirational to say the least...i've kind of hit a knitting-slump recently but something in what you wrote spurred me to get back in there and start caressing the yarns again :)

RhondaC wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 6:31 AM

I had a similar story, a sweater started for the boy I was dating in high school.  We went our separate ways and the (unfinished) sweater was set aside.  25 years later, we met again and married, then I found the sweater and decided to finish it.  Wong size, wrong gauge (what's that?), wrong yarn (acrylic which I needed more of), wrong style, knitting in secret for Christmas.  It's so small that neither of us can wear it, but the skills I learned in finishing it unlocked the door for all my future knitting.  I soon knit a "real" sweater (he chose the yarn and pattern this time).  It's his favoirte (10+ years), and it's wearing like iron (yarn was a bit heavy, but I made it match the gauge).  And although it pains him to hear me tell the pitiful story of the acrylic sweater, he has it somewhere.     ----------  Love your new haircut!

JanielS wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 6:28 AM

Oh, it might be wrong for alot of reasons as you stated, but I love the pattern.  Is it available?

RebeccaG@2 wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:56 AM

That was a moving story, indeed - brought tears to my eyes - who among us has never experienced unrequited love?  whoa!  

My very first sweater was exactly the right length, but about three sizes too wide because I was like, "gauge swatch???, Whatever..."

Knitegrity wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:55 AM

I've never posted before but this story was just so funny and very sweet as well. What a kind 14 year old you were and have never stopped being! Thanks for all your sharing AND your fabulous knitting knowledge!

AnneW wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:52 AM

Hi I loved your story. I think I was the same sort of 14year old as you! You sound so lovely that I'm sure Susan would be gald to have you as a friend now, and if not well then she would not be worth having as a friend ! I made DH a sweater in my much younger days which was far too big and not very well knitted and bless him he did wear it for a while. I like your hair like that. Anne

DeloresN wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:52 AM

Reminds me of my first sweater, made for my boyfriend.  I was 15, self-taught from a book that was ancient even then.  When I finished the pieces, the instructions said to sew the seams...but didn't say to do it with yarn...so I used sewing thread (sewing, right?).  (!)

MikkiB wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:44 AM

Hi Sandi, I'm a little late in reading your piece, but wanted to say I enjoyed it.  Your story really speaks for the love that we put into the items that we make.  I think if Susan reads this she has her sweater.  Remember as we get older we think better and Susan would probably wish you had approached her.  But we know that in teenage years approaching may not have ended as we would have liked.  On a flip side I always wore mini and micro mini skirts and dresses when not in my school uniform.  I bet if my mom read this and could knit, you would see a bubble thought next to her head reading "kevlar skirts - ummm".  Your sweater is cute.

I also have a question, one of the comments spoke of 100% cotton not shrinking.  Why doesn't it shrink?  My 100% cotton tee shirts and blouses sure shrink.  I've been shying away from cotton yarns .Thanks.

KathleenD wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:42 AM

Sandi, I love your new look...talk about girly crushes? Let me confess I have one on you! Bet you would be the best friend ever - plus! a just-a-call-away knit buddy. Works for me! My first sweater was bullet proof also - a summer cotton which you could wear coatless on the coldest days. Oh well....

SuzanneL@3 wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:41 AM

Sandi, Your comment made me remember one of the first sweaters I' ve knitted.  I've decided to knit a sweater for my first boy friend.  He was 6'5" and by the time I finished the sweater we had already broken up.

It was difficult to find someone who could fit in that sweater

ilovesocks wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:21 AM

Sandi, I appreciated your honest and very well written story.  (I wonder if you couldn't find a kid who'd fit in the sweater?  I wear acrylic sweaters and they aren't so terrible, and your sweater really does look cute in the photo).

ElizabethW wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:08 AM

Sandi - your "knit through the back loop" reminded me of something that happened to me. I have been knitting since age 8 and so thought I was a good knitter. In my 48th year I went into a yarn shop in Buffalo to browse and saw the owner making socks. I noticed that her cuffs (K2P2 rib) were straight as arrows, so I asked her how come her's were straight and mine wanted to wrap around my ankles like Virginia Creeper. She told me I was knitting incorrectly. "How can you knit wrong?" I asked - who knew knitting through the back loop was not the only way to do it? That's what I was taught and that's what I did - never saw any reason to change until then.

Love your style - keep being you - Liz

M.C wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 5:07 AM

Thank you very, very much for sharing your beautiful sweater and the more beautiful story it tells.  I've been sitting here reflecting on those teenage years, and I just remembered a bright yellow, acrylic, crocheted, bubble stitch sweater I attempted.  After finishing the front, I gave up knowing that the sweater would never fit -- anyone.  But, you are so right, there's a story in that attempt, and I thank you for bringing it into the light of today.    

AIRknitter wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 4:56 AM

Sandi,

GREAT HAIR!

I believe that the sweater is part of your karma. Now Bertha will always be dressed in something made with love. I think I heard her say, "I'll never be naked again". So thank you Sandi.

Knit on!

Aine

JustineE wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 4:40 AM

Hi Sandi,

You look great with your new hair cut. I can't see with my eyes that there is anything wrong with your 14 aged sweater. I have a funky vest where one shoulder is longer than ther other....lol - Justine

SueW wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 3:52 AM

Am I the only person not to have seen this new hairdo?

I love the idea of being "from the future" (UK).

I agree with everyone else Sandi - this is a wonderful story; beautifully written and helping to bring us all closer together wherever we live.

Sue W., North Wales, UK.

JulesG wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 3:51 AM

Sandi,

Thank you for the great story. It reminded me of a tiny sweater I had made for my son while I was pregnant. It ended up becoming a winter pullover fr his Mr. Brown (teddy bear) because the sleeves were just too small and tight for a little 6 week old to wear it more often than once. But this one time I just loved my son in this sweater - my very first ever.

Thank you again for this story. It was wonderful to read about your personal experience.

And I love your new haircut - reminds me of the one I got a few months ago. *big grin*

CarolK wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 3:14 AM

Sandi,

Great story!  As a new knitter, I am amazed that you could do that at fourteen.   Looking at the sweater, I think you may still find someone to love it.  Since the arms are snug, and the waist very fitted, how about donating it to a deserving pooch?  We may all be asking to dig out the pattern to share.  

Have a great day!

AlysiaM wrote
on Jun 3, 2008 2:42 AM

Thanks sooo much for that touching story Sandi.I'm always inspired by your openness. I was utterly selfish as a teen and only managed to knit a couple of ill-fitting sweaters for myself, after which I gave up knitting altogether until quite recently. I've yet to attempt another sweater - funny that :) - but have discovered the joys of socks and a first bit of lace, and it's brilliant to have so much help and advice on Knitting Daily and so many gorgeous patterns in Interweave Knits for when I feel ready to attempt sweater knitting again.

You're looking absolutely wonderful in that photo with your new hairstyle by the way! It's a great shape on you.

PamelaB wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 11:48 PM

I so love this story!    I adored my French Teacher and used to leave little posies of violets and primroses in her locker where we had to leave our French homework.  Every French lesson was a torment because I was so dreadful at the subject and I couldn't shine in her eyes!

The hair-do takes years off you and I join the band of admirers - although there is NO way I'm going to knit a sweater for you!!!!!!!!!

JanineL@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 11:42 PM

Lovely story Sandi :-) I'm glad I wasn't the only 14 yo knitting away at school - although I was knitting for my boyfriend ( who is now my husband) ;-)

MelanieD@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 11:20 PM

Sandi, your heart is absolutely enormous.  How totally wonderful a story to share with all of us!  Thank you for taking that risk.

lenjynn wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 10:58 PM

Thanks for the great story of the sweater.  Fun how we can all relate.

I recently finished my first sweater.  I think there is something to that wrong gauge (thought I had it right) and wrong yarn for the gauge (there is such a thing?!!?).  It looks good- on a hanger or if you lean while you stand.  The arm holes are a bit too tight, the sleeves are a bit long and one side of the cardigan is longer than the other.  (I even knit them at the same time and counted every row- how did it happen?)  I have thought about trying to block it (yes it is acrylic- eek!) and I have thought about frogging it and turning it into a lovely afghan.  Perhaps I should take that picture for posterity.

You look great Sandi.  Thanks for helping us to be Fearless!

CarolM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 10:03 PM

My goodness, you should be proud that you were able to knit such a complicated design at 14!   And were brave enough to try something different even!  

Paula@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 9:34 PM

It is such a pretty sweater.  My 14 year old knitting that has lived in my cedar chest for 50+ yars is a pair of knee length cabled socks.  Made for myself, I didn't know that yarns were different.  Mom gave me some worsted acrylic from her stash.  She was sure I wouldn't finish them, so it didn't matter.  I finished them.  Never had them on,  Talk about stiff!  I've used them over alll these years as "extra" Christmas stockings when visitors forgot to bring their own.  Oh, yeah,  the toe of one is finnished in painful-pink,  Festive looking with the off-white of the rest of the sock(s),  Love 'em!

DebiR@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 9:27 PM

Sandi, this reminds me of the beautiful Melissa Leapman sweater I painstakingly demolished with good old Red Heart Acrylic, for one thing. Then I somehow ended up with decolletage, rather than the high neck in the photo. I did, however, get the intricate cables right, and it made a stunning pillow!  I must say, you look terrific - the weight loss, the new do - go, Girlfriend!!  Debi R

jinky wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 9:23 PM

hey, love the story and the pattern (just some modifications needed), is there any way it can be re-written? or make a pattern similar to the one you made? I love to knit it for my eldest DH she's turning 10 this November.

LaurenK wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 8:49 PM

That was a tragic yet beautiful story.  Mine is the opposite.

Years ago, I knit my younger sister a sweater out of an ecru acrylic yarn.  It turned out beautiful!  But...Sis didn't care for it!

When telling my best friend, who drove a country school bus, my dissapointing story....she said she loved it and would certainly wear it.

I gave it to her....and to this day we talk about the great, warm sweater I knit for my best friend...who wore it to death!!

Lauren

on Jun 2, 2008 8:47 PM

Sandi, I think you have captured the essence of being 14!  Such a time of mixed-up emotions and logic!   I absolutely love your story telling ability and I also desperately love the fact that you kept that charming sweater all those years.  

Your hair is darling.  Charlene

JaimeG wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 8:44 PM

Sandi, Seriously? You can't make this stuff up! Can't wait to see you and the new 'do this weekend.

ErinV wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 8:18 PM

What a beautiful story. When I was 14 all I thought about was boys! It made me think about the sweater that my mom knitted for me when I was about that age.  She tried knitting for a bit, managed to knit my dad and I very bright red, very itchy, very acrylic matching sweaters.  But I keep it up front in my closet because I know it was made with love.  I still haven't managed to quite finish my FIRST sweater, but I want you to know that because of your stories like this, I am becoming a fearless knitter. This week I did my first lace project and managed to incorporate it into socks!!  THANKS SANDI!!!!

~Erin

ps. your haircut is BEAUTIFUL!!

DeborahF wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 8:11 PM

First, I love your haircut!  Very cute, very flattering.

Second, thanks for sharing your sweater story.  So moving, and so "relatable" - if that's a word. I knitted things for people I'm sure they never actually wore.   I still have my first sweater - unwearable, although it was for me.  28 years later, I finally gave it to my doggies to  lie on, because we have hard floors.  It's being used and loved at last.  :)  

You should always keep the Susan Sweater....

mazbarth wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 8:01 PM

Thank you Sandi for setting such a great example of how to come to grips with all those projects that were made with so much love from the heart that turned out looking like they came from a "loony bin"!   We've all had them and now we can relax knowing we weren't the only one! :)

TamaraM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 7:40 PM

Wow, I just realized, looking for my post to show up, that a whole bunch of people are commenting from the FUTURE!  Vito and Annalisa and MicheleB et al must be in Europe, as they're at least 5 hours ahead of my time here in Vermont.  

How cool is this global knitting community??

TamaraM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 7:36 PM

Darling, both the story and the new haircut.  

Thanks for your writing--I always enjoy it.  I agree with the reader who said that Susan would be quite moved if she were to read about this now.  Or freaked out, depending on how she's matured! :-)  

"Stalking through craft" is a wonderful way to put it, HattieH!

VitoF wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 7:30 PM

Thanks for sharing your touching and inspiring story. It is a reminder of less than perfect outcomes whether of knitting or the heart.

AnnalisaO wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 7:22 PM

I like the fact that love is still alive in its many healthy forms...as I read this I wondered what kind of woman the beautiful Susan grew up to be, and if today she would appreciate the gesture she knew nothing about at the time.  I know I would!  Even if there is no visible return for it, love is never wasted. It is it's own reward.

I agree with you, making something from our resources, be it time, money, skill, is the greatest gift we can give to someone.  Thanks for sharing!  

MicheleB wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:39 PM

Great story. And the sweater reminds me of my first sweater, which took a lot of tugging to get over my head! I was 16 when I knit it.

Love your haircut!

HattieH wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:37 PM

Awwwwwwww.  

I remember making hair scrunchies in junior high for the cool girls.  Stalking through craft is such a girly thing to do.  That was a great story and very brave.  

AndreaLea wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:35 PM

I think this is an adorable sweater.  I wish there was a pattern available for it.  :)

MarciaC wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:28 PM

Sandi,

Your story brought back some memories of my school days and trying to get the attention of someone who doesn't even know you exist.  I did enjoy the story and although it was not a happy one it did have me laughing in parts.  Mostly about the descriptiion of the Stiff-As-A-Board Sweater!  I know you are an expert now and you can knit for yourself.  You certainly have the attention of all of us who view Knitting Daily.

MarciaC

MSueM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:20 PM

I second MichelleD's comment.  I appreciate your sharing, Sandi.  I must say that my first 'big' knitting project was a scarf for my 'boyfriend'.  We were at college in Ithaca, NY (think cold then turn down the thermostat some more!) and over a Thanksgiving week long break I knitted, knitted, and knitted some more...light blue acrylic yarn...5-6 skeins plus at least 8-9 inches of fringe on each side...but a good 20 inches wide.  

Well, that boyfriend proposed, was accepted and last week we celebrated 27 years of marriage.  Guess it was a good investment in the acrylic.  

I've moved on to all kinds of fibers, patterns, and stitches.  Still, when he gets that scarf out and wraps it around his neck 13 to 14 times, I know it's love rememberd.  We live in NC, USA and it truly doesn't get THAT cold here!!

Thanks for sharing and for being such a good role model.  While the sharing might seem a bit voyeristic (sp?) at times, know that you are loved in ways you don't even know by peopel you don't even know...and that Beautiful Susan could be of your 'groupies' here....if she was as talented as you say.  :-)

Hugs,

Jennifer wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:20 PM

Oh, Sandi.  I wasn't good at calculus & didn't have a CLUE how to knit, but I sure understand the rest of it. <G>  They couldn't PAY me to be a teenager again.

& your heart was the same then as it is today... sweet & kind, with a sense of innocence & purity.

Thanks for sharing yourself with us.  Jennifer

MichelleD@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:09 PM

Funny how the net gives us an intimacy we may not share in person.  I, like most who survive puberty, had similar experiences.  Thank you for bring us all a little closer to you by sharing such a personal piece of your life.  This I would say in person... the new doo looks great on you!!

ReginaD wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:08 PM

Sandi,

Chalk it all up to a learning experience.  I know you have improved a lot since you knitted that sweater!  I knitted a sweater for myself that turned out too big (oversized) but I wore it anyway.  Hey, I like your new hairstyle!  

Regina D.

on Jun 2, 2008 6:04 PM

You write really, really well. I look forward to your writing. This is a great story. MaryB

Treeba wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:02 PM

This is your best post yet! Great story. I love the haircut too, and will add one piece of advice given to me which really made the bob look work with glasses: bangs! ;D

AllisonF wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 6:00 PM

Sandi,

This is the best post I've ever read - thank you for sharing a part of your life that we all have been through in one way or another, at one time or another.

Allison

Waterhouse96 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:52 PM

Is that a new haircut I see? It is SO flattering! Go Sandi!

RikiK wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:50 PM

I see I'm not the first - and probably won't be the last to tell you how great you look in your new hair! AND, I look at that sweater and I still can't see anything wrong with it! You did a beautiful job! And boy did the story resonate with me. Thanks for the story ... thanks for being such a fearless leader for us all!

Riki in Bangkok

KathleenO wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:48 PM

Sandi,

It's always a pleasure to read your stories. You are so articulate and yet approachable. I'm sure every reader feels you're sitting down and having a personal conversation with them, just like old friends.

What a beautiful and touching story. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us! I'm glad you've kept that sweater (and the story).  :-)

~ Kathleen

P.S.: Yes, I also like your stylish new hairstyle! It suits you.

GloriaF wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:44 PM

I think your sweater looks great for a first one.

Mary EllenB wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:42 PM

Such a lovely story. I'm glad you shared it and I'm glad you kept that sweater.

IvernaM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:34 PM

Being comfortable in your own skin is highly under-rated. Your story brings back memories of what a nerd I was for so long....in a redneck rural town, I loved weird things like Shakespeare and French. I had a much loved, very exacting crochet teacher - yet another piece of weirdness. I mean,  what kind of a kid takes it into her head to learn to crochet and develops a friendship with someone old? She was 68 years older than me. I am so glad I did!  

There have been moments I could cheerfully have burned my first crocheted sweater. The many 70's colors in a striped pattern of polyamide acrylic would melt instead. I ran across some of the leftover yarn, in its original wrapper, so I know what the fiber content was. It was actually fairly well made, fit fine. I wore it until I had outgrown it physically and psychologically. It's rather worn, too. I have difficulty at times with the fact that my mother treasures it.  I was a 12 year old kid, enough already! That was then, this is now.

I started the Irish crochet lace for my wedding dress before my husband proposed. I'm not sure where I had seen Irish crochet when I was a kid, but that was why I wanted to learn to crochet, so I could do that. I'm comfortably somewhere between the elaborate tiny lace and that 12 year old's sweater now. I'm enjoying bulky yarns and big hooks and the increased freedom of expression, compared to 35 years ago.

Lately, I have been making garter stitch rag rugs on #17 circular needles. My husband, who enjoys the one by his chair, was astonished last night when he realized that I'm KNITTING these. Tried crochet, it was too hard on my arthritic hands. But garter stitch is about the full extent of my knitting skills. What I'd really like to learn is how to do cables, and lace. Crochet cables seem a poor second to the real thing! But, for the first time in my life, I have a nearly full time, permanent job, so arranging the time to have someone teach me may not happen soon.

JonellC wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:33 PM

Even  experienced knitters produce some interesting versions of clothing. 35 or more years ago I made my husband a sweater, a lovely thing with 3 strands of blue tweeds knitted together, heavy enough to hold back a noth pole snow storm, and we live in southern California. He hasn't let me forget it yet.

AdrienneM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:26 PM

New to this site, I always read your stories (aside from knitting up a storm, you are a heck of a writer!).  This one was really wonderful.  Very human, very touching.  I still haven't knit my first sweater, having only recently moved on THANKFULLY from the dishcloth beginnings, but have been saving patterns and been worrying the process over in my mind.  Now, I think I can try.

Thank you, for sharing a beautiful part of you.

ArleneT wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:16 PM

I loved your story. Gee, you could do a EZ modification by cutting it down the middle,knit add-on plackets and make a cardigan but I guess it still would have to be for Bertha because of the arms. Congrats on the weight loss and the hair cut looks great. From a former Calculus-Chemistry-NonCheerleader High School Student myself-- Arlene  in CA

BarbaraM@3 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:15 PM

I see I am not the first to notice the new haircut.  You look fabulous, Sandi!  

Wow, that was brave sharing the girl crush sweater.  

on Jun 2, 2008 5:12 PM

What a wonderful post!  This is the kind of writing that keeps me tuned into KD.   I can totally relate to this story, too....thanks for sharing with us!

ArianeL wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:12 PM

Thank you for sharing that touching story! I can totally relate! (Oh, and nice hair cut, too.)

BetteN wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:09 PM

Sandi,

Ah yes, the wisdom of the teenage years. Thank GOODNESS we survived. The most important thing in the picture is YOU. What huge changes you have made, in body, in hair... We NOTICED! That kind of courage makes knitting fearlessly look like playing in a sandbox! Kudos, Sandi!

DebiR wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:09 PM

Sandi, We all have a piece or two hidden in the depths of a cedar chest or sometihing. Your's looks cute on Bertha.

But Whoa!  Ms Thing!. Great hairdo and look at that Bod.. I am

so envious of you. You are my hero.. GO GIRL GO!

LindaS@3 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:08 PM

Darn, Sandi--your 'failure project' looks better than most of my current ones!  I ripped out my second sweater (homespun, too short, too baggy, single twist pulling to one side, etc.) and made a lovely market bag out of it!   you should revisit the sweater in more forgiving measurements for the rest of us to try!   I'm impressed. At 14, all i was doing was granny squares. mercifully, none survive!

KeturahY wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:06 PM

Sheesh, you knit that at age 14? That's amazing, even if your stitches were knit through the back loop. I love the stylish pattern you used (yes, it's still stylish)!! If you still have it or remember who published it, please let me know. I would love to knit one - in the proper gauge, of course.

Thanks for sharing. You had me laughing so hard it was easy to cry at the end. (Perhaps you should consider writing scripts for chick flicks? Just a thought, not an insult.)

And yes, I too noticed your mah-velous haircut! It's very flattering on you.

P.S. Add one more nerdy female to the list. I'm terribly bookish and enjoy intellectual conversation.

Chemist Christine, love the name!

ConnieR wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:05 PM

I usually don't make comments, but just had to write after reading your story.  Thank you for writing it.  I was touched and moved.  My first sweater I actually gave away to the intended victim.  I think it ended up too big.  It took me a while to figure out I just needed to use  smaller needles!  I wish I still had it, i think i would enjoy cuddling into it on a damp chilly day, especially one that requires hugs to make it feel better.  Thank you for reminding me of those days, and letting all of us recognise ourself in your experience.  Tanks for reminding us of our uniquenessess and similarities; our humanness.  Connie

Jeanne wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 5:01 PM

What a tender and bitter-sweet story.

As a librarian, I know how useful archives can be and I have archived sweaters.  Sweaters I no longer wear but that hold a special place in my heart for any number of reasons.  Some are there because of the skill involved in knitting it and others are there because of their personal significance.  I haven't assigned them call numbers....yet!

justDucky221 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:54 PM

I like your new haircut Sandi!

Figpox wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:52 PM

Sandi, this is my first post...your wonderful story brought me out of lurkdom. You have been living the Fearless Knitter ideal forever...thanks for sharing something so close to you. Which is, of course, Fearless.

And I'll add to the rest of the folks raving about your new haircut...it does look amazing! Happy liberation from long tresses!

SandyS wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:47 PM

Hi Sandi,

I laughed out loud when I read about you trying on your sweater... I've been there when you start to panic a little thinking "I'm never going to get out of this sweater". Great story, very sweet, what a nice kid you were...and are. (((Hugs)))

ChristineF@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:45 PM

Oh....that is so precious!   Isn't that just like some of us?  to have more nerdy females around would be wonderful....the sweater is actually very pretty and stylish.

Chemist Christine

MadokaG wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:42 PM

I loved this story and your new "do".  

My first sweater, knitted for moi, was a gorgeous yellow variegated acrylic yarn, bought with my own money, at our local drug store.  Everything was perfect - the color, the style, and the even stitches (my mom taught me at 8 year old how to knit.  By then, I was 18+, thereby making me a "master stitcher").  I remember putting it all together while watching "Poltergeist" with a couple of friends, because it gave me something distracting to do with my nervous energy.  I finally pieced it together and put it on, only to find out that it was perfect in every way, except that you could fit at least 2 of me in it!  I was so mortified and disappointed that I threw it in a ball somewhere never to be seen again - except that somehow my mom found it.  She unpieced and unraveled the yarn, and reknit the sweater for me as a surprise.  It was my favorite sweater for many years.  How cool was that?

graylagran wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:28 PM

i must say, this is your best post ever. i wish i could find my first sweater, just so i can examine its imperfections. and my second sweater? i wear it now because my apt. is super cold in the winter, and i've "forgiven" the holes around the neckline pick up.

a post like this is what me appreciated wendy bernard's "knit & tonic" blog, because she has no fear in posting the winners & losers.

we learn from our mistakes, and my favorite quote from your post is .... " ....and the yarn wrong for the gauge".

i think that is an "issue" unto itself. getting gauge is one thing, having the right yarn to begin with is another.

CandaceM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:27 PM

Sandi - you are my hero!   I, too, was a much ignored nerd (until i dyed my hair blue and shaved most of it off in the very early 90's - god help the Grunge generation aka GenX).  Your story truly touched my heart and made me think of the very first sweater that I knit when my elder daughter was only four years old.  It was a rather wretched garter stitch boatneck pullover, brown and white stripes, from one of the "Learn to Knit" books from Wal-Mart.  I made that poor kid wear that sweater to Nursery school.. and she loved it.   Thank you so much for your story...

Carol Y wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:27 PM

This is so funny - I came to post that I love your new haircut too! I have a similar story except that I was the recipient of an unwearable sweater knit by my loving gma. She couldn't figure out how to seam it up so sent me the pieces. I sewed it up, but it's truly awful and is made out of similar acrylic. Washing was no help. I wonder if killing the acrylic will help with the fit and feel, but it will still be ucky. I keep it to remind myself how much gma loves me.

izze wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:27 PM

Kill that sweater! No, really! Since it's acrylic, you can steam press it which will melt the yarn a little and make it soft and drapey. Then maybe someone will be able to wear it. It has nice shape and it's worth a shot, eh?

LynW wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:26 PM

I don't care what.... whats-her-name would have thought about the sweater Sandi, your work at age 14 was lovely!.  It was what was in YOUR heart then that has made you passionate about helping others create.  I'm dyslexic... knitting wasn't even on my radar screen at 14 so I'm impressed.  

I join the others in raving about the haircut.  Its just beautiful!

Lyn

bigskybw wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:24 PM

You are such a great writer.  I could identify through the whole story.  May the nerds of the world unite!!!  Keep up the great work.

AnnaM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:21 PM

Sandi, you look lovely in your new hair cut, and congratulations on your weight loss, too.

Your story is , in my thinking, a soul story, and is an eternal one. Thank you.

AprilB wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:21 PM

Go you!  I laughed the whole way through your story.  More!  More!

spvaughan wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:17 PM

thank you...you made me laugh and remember my inadvertanly felted flat dress!

(((hugs)))

SuzanneV wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:16 PM

Oh, I was writhing with sympathetic agony through that entire story.  There is not enough money in the world to convince me to be 14 again.  (Is it cowardly of me to be so relieved that you never actually gave it to her?)  But as a fellow nerd and once-young crafter, I am impressed that you managed a whole sweater on your own at 14!

Thank you for sharing such a personal and touching story.  (Mine will remain safely buried in my calloused psyche.)

ToniD@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:09 PM

From one former 14 year old nerdy girl to another Sandi (I really think you were describing me!), I LOVE your sweater! I love your story too.  I have made so many things that didn't turn out the way I planned and definitely were not going to be given to that very special someone I was secretly making them for.  The thing I have learned as I continue to spin, knit and crochet is that the old saying is true - "it's not about the destination it's all about the journey".  Keep on, keepin' on! :)

hondamom wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:08 PM

That is such a touching story!  Thank you so much for sharing it!  But a sweater at 14!  A complete sweater at 14 is an amazing thing in and of itself---whether it ever fit anyone or not, but that it was completed at all .  

Again, thanks for sharing your story.

MandyL wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:07 PM

I think that's a sincerely impressive 2nd sweater---I didn't even learn to knit until I was at least twice that age, and I was 37 by the time I'd finished my own 2nd sweater.  Though I couldn't knit at 14, I can relate to your tale of devotion to someone oblivious; at least your sweater shows how far you've come since then!

And I agree, your new haircut is lovely!

McKinleyH wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:06 PM

Sandi, what a beautiful story. As a writer, most of my stories come from things I overhear that have happened to other people and ahve moved and compelled me to use their themes and images in my own writing. Of course, I usually use one little pinpoint of truth, and embellish it to the point where it is truly my own. This story you've told is one story that needs no embellishing to be deeply human, touching, funny, and just the sort of story I wish I had written. Thank you for sharing it! I look forward to your knitting daily emails more than you will ever know. Please take care, and keep the wonderful narratives coming. After all, isn't that what knitting truly is? A narrative. The stories of our lives told in metres and metres of yarn, until it is let go, and themnpicked up by the next generation of knitters, a narrative that never ends though those crafting it spell each other off, a tagteam effort through the ages.

xox

McKinley.

VanessaS wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:06 PM

Sandi, I LOVE your hair! Super cute.

Funny thing - the picture of your stiff-as-a-board sweater really caught my eye and I was hoping you were promoting some new pattern or something lol! I'd make this! Great post. :)

DeniseP wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:04 PM

Sandi - you brought back memories!  I too was and still am a geek ;)

Love your new hairdo!  Now you need an updated pic to post.

SharonR wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:01 PM

Oh, crushes make you do the craziest things! What a great story!

MarieR wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:01 PM

Sandi, while I see I'm not the first to comment, thanks for the great story.  I know the sweater is good, probably, only for body armor, but you should be proud of yourself.  I find it very cute and would love to find something in a pattern like that.  Especially the leaning ribbing, that is a really sweet touch!  Anyway, Love the new do!  It's Faaabulous!

LindaD@4 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 4:01 PM

Sandi,

Talk about "Desperately Seeking Susan" !!!!!

I usually read each of your posts with enthusiasm, but have never replied to one before now.  That is a terrific story, and it's nice when others admit to doing some of the unexplicable things we do in our lives.

It helps the rest of us realize that we might just be sane!

Anyway, thanks for promoting the great art of knitting!

TanjaB wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:58 PM

Thank so much for the touching story - takes courage to tell it to all of us!  Reminds me of the time I made a denim paisley suit (it was the 80's!) for a fashion show - Mom was hemming the skirt at the last minute while I was busy ironing the jacket.  I burned it but I carried it around anyway because it matched.  I didn't impress anyone that evening, but I really appreciated my mom's help!  I wish I hadn't given away that skirt - it would be fun to look at now - I certainly couldn't wear it!

MayS wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:55 PM

I absolutely love your story. It speaks in loving volumes in, and between, the lines. Never let that sweater go. I think it's already priceless now, but will be even more so as time passes.

Ggnatek wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:53 PM

I think this is a sweet story. It reminds me of the sweater I knit for my mother (which would probably fit my cat) and the sweater I knit for my husband ( which would only fit a giant with a very small head). But they were knitted with love. And I love your new hair style.

MichelleB wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:48 PM

Love your story.  I can think of several UFO's in my cupboard that started as something for someone I desperately wanted to get to know or impress.  At least you finished yours!  And for your second sweater I'd say it was pretty good.  My second sweater resides in the bottom drawer in my closet.  The sleeves have always been too tight and the neck line far to low - seems like I hadn't learned to check my gauge very well yet.  I pull it out every once in a while because I still love the color and feel of the yarn.  Maybe one day I'll get brave enough to frog it and try the pattern over again.  

Roxane M wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:46 PM

What a wonderful story!  And how generous of you to share it with us!  

AllisonM wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:46 PM

Well, this sweater may not have fit the intended wearer, but it's still a very pretty pattern and it certainly photographed beautifully!  Thank you, fearless knitter, for sharing your story.

TaraL@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:44 PM

I think it's fantastic that you've held onto your second-ever sweater!  I have my first "How to Knit" book that I keep merely to remind me of how I taught myself despite the worst ever written directions and to show other folks I teach to knit so they know what BAD directions look like.  I think it's important to know where we've been so we can figure out where we're going!  Thanks for sharing your sweater and the story behind it.

P.S.  Your haircut is FABULOUS!  You look gorgeous!

FrancescaR wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:42 PM

That story had me laughing out loud at my desk at work and a little misty eyed. I understand that 14-year old girl so well.  Oh my goodness that really took me back to those tender, tentative and confused years.

Amazing what quixotic things we did when we went at things pell-mell, without a lifetime of failures and successes!    

I didn't knit as well as you -- I was too busy playing music and dreaming in other ways.  But I can SO relate.

KathyS@5 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:40 PM

I've got one better.  The very first sweater I ever knitted turned out to be something that maybe a size 50 could wear.  It was a fishermen's sweater done in 100%cotton.  I didn't realize that cotton doesn't shrink and I tried washing it over and over and putting it in the dryer to no avail.  Hence, it is still sitting in the bottom of my closet.  Maybe someday I will have the nerve to unravel ????? the whole thing or not.  Maybe I will just donate it.  All that work.  Ah, the joys of knitting.

Patricia wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:37 PM

For sure, that sweater looks much better than the first one I ever knit. Of course mine was too big, hehe... Thanks so much for sharing your story!

DorisK wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:36 PM

I love that story.  Thanks for sharing it.  I made a sweater that was so floppy and loose that it was like wrapping oneself in a shower curtain with holes.  I kept it for the longest time and got rid of it a few years ago after a flood in our basement, when it got mildewy and gross due to a really bad clean-up service and the lack of care they gave some of our things.  But I kept it for similar reasons, and therefore had to smile when I read your story.  Oh, and I love your new haircut!

MaryB@13 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:35 PM

You should present it to her at some reunion.... IF you and her actually go!  That would be funny!  Love the haircut!

sgeorge24 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:34 PM

Thanks for sharing your story, Sandi. What a sweet girl you were at such a young age.

Nerds RULE!

NancyW@4 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:32 PM

Hi, Sandi... Beyond LOVING your new haircut ~ I LOVE the sweater story! I've made heaps of sweaters and some, like yours, would only fit Bertha, and thank goodness she won't dislocate! Lopi? A doormat! A bath mat? Dog pillow? I'll stick with wostered thanks! I still have a wonderful sweater I have reknit the sleeves on 3 times! Still too long.I wear it anyway. Thanks for sharing ~ Nancy

JoC wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:28 PM

I'm sure if Susan read this now, she would be quite moved.

MailaP wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:26 PM

What a wonderful and completely human story!!! Thanks!  

I now wish I would have saved the Lopi sweater with the intarsia snowflakes and yoke that extended above my head when I finally bound off for the neck.  

tatterbat wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:24 PM

Thank you for sharing such a personal story.  It speaks volumes about the person you were and still are.  

RobinM@2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:24 PM

Sandi, I love your new haircut!  Looks fabulous, very flattering!  Robin

Cam wrote
on Jun 2, 2008 3:23 PM

Sandi,

I love your new hair cut!  It looks adorable, so flattering on you!