Amy Clarke Moore: The Ten-Year Cardigan

Today we proudly present the first in our series of posts by Guest Star Editors—this one is from Amy Clarke Moore, editor of Spin-Off magazine.

This is the time of year that I pull out the brown cardigan I’ve been knitting for my Dad for since 1996. I work on it every year between November and February (the beginning of the holiday season until his birthday in February) with the hope that this will be the year that I finish it. In the ten years that I’ve been working on it, my Dad has lost about 30 pounds—so the sweater will be a little roomy. I’m so fortunate that he is so understanding and patient.

Also—even though I’ve managed not to run out of yarn and I haven’t (yet) lost the pattern—it does take a little bit of remembering each year to figure out where I am. I started leaving notes to myself to help out. Of course, then I have to figure out what my cryptic note to myself means. I thought that I left it last year having knitted a little bit too much on the back and I needed to do some frogging, but now looking at the note, it looks like maybe I frogged it a little too far and have to knit back. I’m sure Sandi’s frog could help me figure it out.

I have to confess that I made a decision error when starting this project—I let my Dad choose the yarn and while it is a lovely brown and a wonderful yarn, it does not inspire me. I tend to choose reds, oranges, and pinks most often, and also gravitate to greens, blues and purples—but always in groups—no one solid color by itself. Of course, that wouldn’t be appropriate for my Dad. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not afraid to wear color—I have seen him wear some pretty colorful shirts—but usually they are just one color—not a riot of colors. Or plaid. I want to make him something that he’d actually wear (and that my brother and sister won’t make fun of!).

And also, I probably shouldn’t confess this to a group of knitters—I so much prefer handspun yarn. I thought I’d be saving myself time by knitting this sweater for my dad in millspun yarns. . . but it turns out, I probably would have finished it years ago if it was handspun. All my projects in the UFO basket are millspun—I tend to finish my handspun projects or use the yarn in other projects if the project I initially embarked were misled. I mean! That’s handspun there. A little bit of me got caught up in the yarn as I was making it. I can remember the books on tape I was listening to when I spun it, and catch a whiff of the sheep barn mingled with the aroma of roasting almonds at the Sheep and Wool Festival where I browsed dreamily among the booths looking for fiber.

But maybe this will be the year that I finish my dad's ten-year sweater. And I really do want to finish it. I’ve been imagining my Dad wearing it these ten years—knowing how much he enjoys a good, hardwearing garment that will keep him warm while he goes about his work. I’ve finished the sleeves, worked a little too far up the back, and am nearly done with the right front—there isn’t that much left to do.

I also discovered that I prefer working on circular needles, even when I’m doing rows instead of rounds—so I made a lot more progress once I switched the needles out. It makes it easier to stick in my bag and take with me—which helps me get things done as I am a waiting room kind of knitter.

The hour between when my toddler Hannah goes to bed and when I go to bed is usually reserved for beading (if I haven’t put myself to sleep reading her books and singing her sleepy songs), and Saturday mornings are the best time to spin—when the sun is streaming into the living room and Hannah is playing quietly (or not so quietly) with her toys, so knitting occurs here and there in the unexpected free moments when I’d be waiting or in a meeting when it is better for my hands to be occupied with knitting (otherwise I’d have to sit on them). Apparently, I can’t just sit still—or that’s what my grandmother used to tell me. “You can’t sit still, can you!” Nope. But that means that most of my family members have socks or scarves or hats or sweaters that I made them over the years—not a bad thing for a waiting-room knitter.

I know I'm not the only one with 10-year projects (mostly because I've been reading Knitting Daily and have read the responses!). Do you also work on them a little at a time or do they lie dormant for years? Also, would you call my dad's cardigan a WIP (work in progress) or a UFO (unfinished object) or does it matter?

Learn more about Amy, spinning, and Spin-Off magazine on the Spin-Off website.


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


Knit Cardigan Patterns From Knitting Daily: 7 FREE Knitting Patterns

Every knitter has dreamed of the perfect cardigan pattern that he or she might knit some day. From a cozy cable knit to luminous lace, this free ebook will be your dream come true. This is a wonderful and varied collection of cardigans-which is one of the most important pieces in your wardrobe. You'll want to make every one of these knit cardigan patterns, so download your free eBook now and get started (and don’t forget to tell a friend so they can enjoy their own copy!).

Download Your Free eBook Today



Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog

82 thoughts on “Amy Clarke Moore: The Ten-Year Cardigan

  1. Amy, your Dad’s cardigan is definitely a wip. But I have a question for you about it. Is it just possible that your afraid he won’t like it? Or make that love it? I mean by now, you’ve built up some mighty big expectations about it! 10 years…hmm.
    Enjoyed your post. And I love Spin-Off!

  2. I know what you mean about homespun yarn. My homespun never lasts very long, because it is just too gorgeous and I put too much work into it to not use it immediately.

    I almost always have a project in mind already when I am spinning my fiber. The wool I am spinning now is my black sheep’s first shearing, so it is the deepest darkest brown her wool will ever be. This is a yarn that must be worked into a project that someone will understand and appreciate.

    So I understand how the homespun projects get done, will the mill spun projects just sit there forever….

  3. Hi Amy:
    My thoughts have been a little Woody Allenish lately, so forgive me for saying, please finish this cardigan this year. UFOs, like regrets, are forever. Dads sometimes are not.

  4. The sweater looks very nice! I am starting to learn to spin, and am almost through my first 4 oz. (I’ll get it finished today! If I don’t end up in that “zone” where the worst keeps happening!) It’s a yummy, bouncy BFL. The first time I ever squoze/squeezed what I’d spun on the spindle, I exclaimed aloud with a startled “Oh”, because it squeezed me back! You should know exactly what I mean . . .! As soon as I finish it, I’ll be taking pictures and posting on my blog
    . Okay, I’ve posted this, it’s time to git going and finish it.

    So I don’t know if I qualify for a CD spindle, but it’s been frustrating to have one taken up, when I SO want to see how this other colorway, of BFL from Spunky eclectic, looks spinning up . . . So put me in line if you don’t get 50 other people! This isn’t an email, but since I figure I don’t qualify, that’s why.

    Off to spin! Mmmm, the soft softness! Then back to my lace shawl . .

  5. A work in progess, for sure! Certainly never abandoned. Hope you get it finished this year, I bet your dad does, too. 😉
    Inspired by the UFO poll & postings, I picked up a 10+ year old UFO, had run out of yarn. Lost a ball maybe, who knows. I did find something that worked as great stripes & I finished it in a couple of days. Went to sew it together & found a MOTH HOLE in the ribbing! I know how to do Swiss darning & can fix things in the body of a piece of knitting, but I have no clue how to do it in ribbing. Can anyone help. To make it all worse, I am no long the same size I was 10 years ago. And, no, I’m not smaller. 😉


  6. Back in the days before I had my own child I used to knit baby blankets for pregnant friends (I had time to finish in 6 months). One was enormous, knitted as one piece in red, with white animals (from a Vogue book). It took a long time and I got bored and the baby turned 1. So I forced myself to do 4 rows a day. If there were lots of animal legs on those rows it took a long time. If quite plain, it was over quickly and painlessly. So the whole thing got finished and loved before Josh turned 2. However, I do have lots of UFO’s and “bought the wool, haven’t started knitting” things for myself

  7. Amy,
    I admire your perseverance in making your Dad’s sweater. I have had projects that have taken me a while to complete because of various factors. One of the most frequent factors I encounter for delays is the season changed and the weather turned too hot or cold to continue with something. Of course, there is always the attention span problem – I get diverted to something else.
    The sweater looks lovely. This could be the year it finds its way under your Dad’s tree in a gift box, eh? Good luck and happy knitting.
    I love circular needles! My straights are pretty much retired in a pretty case I made just before they found themselves out of work.
    Kathleen C from NC

  8. Well, I have to give you credit for keeping up after 10 years, I don’t think I could do that. In fact if I have something for 1-2 yrs and haven’t finished it – it’s a goner, and I just pack it up and it goes with the pattern and the leftover yarn to a place where I give my used clothing to. It seems there’s too many factors with your Dad’s sweater that you don’t like. I say give it up and start fresh, especially since he’s lost weight!

  9. How about a 30 year project? I started crocheting an afghan before I was married; I found I hate to crochet. I lost interest in it, but still love the colors. So a few years ago I found a new pattern to knit an afghan – and it is still sitting unfinished in a basket in my kitchen. I WILL finish it. One day. When I don’t have anything else to do.

  10. Your sweater for your father looks like it will be lovely when finished. Well, I have been knitting a sweater for my oldest daughter for about 4 years….and it is about 9/10ths done–but I am sort of making the sweater up as I go along–so I need her here to try the various pieces on for size…(anyhow, that is my excuse)and she lives in another state. I really do want to finish it, so your posting here really resonated with me! it is not the yarn–I love the yarns I’m using–all wool, and angora scraps in purples and pinks—but somehow I just don’t finish it!

  11. Amy, your sweater is definitely a WIP.You’re still working on it! I had one sweater that I worked on for 16 years and just finished 2 weeks ago…yay! Keep on keeping on.

  12. First, let me say that your Dad’s unfinished sweater looks pretty handsome in the pictures you have posted. I am sure he will love it and I bet you could get up enough determination to finish it this time around. I have projects that I am working on that have made me mad enough to feel challenged and not let them get the best of me. So currently, I am working those out and will be done with them. Each time I finish one of those UFOs, I allow myself to start a new project. This helps me a lot to have something to look forward to.

    Some years ago, I used to work in a friend’s yarn shop and my job was to finish projects for customers who purchased yarn and got just so far on what they were working on and knew they could bring it in to me to finish. The shop didn’t charge much for that service and it was fun to work on something that already was near completion. I guess that is where I got used to the endless task of weaving in ends that were left at the yarn changes.

    I love knitting. I hope you get your Dad’s sweater completed. Then you can start another one for him with lots of colors. 🙂

  13. Amy, I love the imagery of your spinning and knitting times. I’m the same way, I love to sit and spin watching the birds visiting the bird feeder in the morning. Speaking of spinning, I hope there will be some patterns and techniques on using luxury/exotic fibers in knitting. There are so many old classics and many new ones out to play with that it seems like it would be a good topic. Keep up the great work!
    Juli in NM

  14. I have a 10 year project, actually it is more like a 13 year project now. When I was still married I designed a Salish Indian sweater for my then husband. I used Priscilla Gibson-Roberts book to help me. The yarn for this monster cost over $300, it is double Lopi in beautiful creams and shades of brown. My husband cut buttons from deer antlers. We divorced when I was 3/4 of the way finished with the sweater. My husband asked if he would ever get his sweater, my response was, I guess it all depends on when I finish it.

    The sweater fits me perfectly but still sits with half a sleeve finished and one whole sleeve missing. One day I will finish it. Somewhere in my mind I think if I finish it I have to give it to him. Maybe I can just give it to one of my sons.

    Susan in the unseasonably warm Northwoods of Minnesota

  15. Just curious did your dad pick out yarn that was brown and your changed it to blue and hoped he wouldn’t notice or maybe due to some missing cones and rods in the ol’ eyes blue looks brown to him? I read the post twice to make sure and it said you were knitting him a brown sweater, but maybe the film was 10 years old too and changed to color. Either way, looks like it’s going to be a nice sweater and maybe the next thing you can do is let him pick the color of for your homespun so he gets his next home knit faster. It’s true, one tends not to leave projects to mold when the yarn is so yummy in their hands.

  16. Glad someone else noticed the brown to blue thing, I was about to take my computer in to have the color fixed, either that or my eyes. It’s a beautiful sweater either color.

  17. I’m so glad you have your father to knit for. I don’t. Please finish the sweater so he can enjoy something you made with your hands for him. Yes, it’s a WIP but it’s sad that you put it on the back burner. When we are knitting for specific people, we need to fulfill that. It’s the right thing to do and not really something to joke about. Especially if they know about it………It’s a promise broken if we don’t finish in a timely manner. You need to finish it now as a top priority. I don’t believe we should live our lives in fear or doom but we need to be smart and do what’s important for those we love as soon as possible, not when it’s convenient. Bring joy to your father, please.

  18. My dad passed away last year, before I could finish the knitted gloves that were intended to keep his hands warm. You’ll want to finish your dad’s sweater.

    On a lighter note, ten years ago I started a sweater for my then-two-year old granddaughter; her little sister just received it. If only I had enough grandkids for the rest of the UFO’s.

  19. My working definitions
    WIP=a project which is in your regular rota of things you are working on, at least one hour per week
    UFO=a project not getting at least an hour a week of attention (maybe not counting weeks of vacation or being sick or kids being sick, etc)
    So a 10 year cardigan only knitted for a few months a year = UFO

  20. Although I enjoyed reading this piece, it made me sad and anxious, too. I have no idea how old you or your father are, but as Penny said, Dads are not forever. I lost my father this year, and while I did not have a WIP on the needles for him, I do regret not having knitted him a sweater. My advice is to make the sweater about him and his enjoyment, not about you and your creative process. Sorry, but I guess there’s a little Woody Allen in all of us.

  21. I don’t want to be too negative but I’ve lost my father. Your Dad will not be around forever. Finish the sweater so he can enjoy it. Don’t let it be a source of regret in the future.

  22. I believe your Dad’s sweater is a WIP because you continue to go back and knit it. I have 2 UFO’s from 1984! One is a vest that is outdated now and the other is a sweater that is also outdated. Must be waiting for them to be back in style before I can pick them up and finish them.

  23. ****Hi, this Amy****
    Wow–it’s so great to hear all your comments. The sweater is really brown–the blue is from my photography–sorry about that.
    It’s good to have the encouragement to finish the sweater–thank you. I’m going to go knit.

  24. The handspun phenomenon is one I have noticed myself. I will always reach for the handspun UFO, (or WIP) over the millspun project and therefore finish them much more quickly. Always a slow knitter, I’ve suprised myself since learning to spin at just how quickly I can knit when my handspun yarn is the medium of choice!

  25. Welcome Amy….Love your Dads ongoing sweater…He will too, someday….I made my Dad a sweater years ago….I had purchased some lovely soft grey Alpaca and had stopped by to show him what I had spent my birthday money on…well, he loved the feel..’not so springy like that stuff you usually play with’….’could you build me something out of that’??…… guessed it…I had him sit down with all my ski sweaters spread out and he picked the designs he liked and I knitted him the cardigan to die for…3 years later he asked if he could trade it for some nice was way too warm to wear…’and maybe it could be unknitted’…..I made a bajillion notes on design and did just that…have a pullover that Dad designed….I enjoy just looking at that one…all the memories….JH

  26. My oldest UFO is probably a sweater for my father-in-law that I began in 1992. I say “probably” because I can think of several other older UFOs that I can’t remember if they are hiding in my stash or if I finally gave them away to charity. Also, I can’t be 100% sure that my mother tossed the Barbie skirt I almost finished knitting back in 1968.

    The sweater is my own design and I knit much of it up quickly until I got stuck trying to figure out how to do saddle shoulders. I was a much less experienced knitter at the time, and pretty poor at mattress stitch, so I let the sweater rest for a few years. When I next picked it up, having figured out saddle shoulders and seaming, I realized that I had misplaced my design notes. I was distracted by other projects before I could reconstruct them. In the intervening years, I have looked in on the sweater periodically. It is a bit too large for my father-in-law (I went for oversized in those days), but might fit my father (if he loses about 40 pounds).

    I’m not sure if I will ever finish it. The good news is both my dad and my dad-in-law have received many hand knit items from me over the years; even better, they appreciate all my handmade gifts, even when they arrive belatedly.

  27. I’m confused. Amy talks in her article about knitting a brown sweater, but all of the photos accompnaying it show a blue sweater! A wee bit o’ color blindness??!!

  28. Your story makes me want to pick up my husband’s 6 year sweater and work on it little by little. Like you I don’t want to give it up, although the sweater will be way more colorful than what you are knitting – think Kaffe Fasset. I would say your project is a work-in-progress. You do work on it each year, and for a consistent period of time. My project hibernated for about 2 years before I picked it up again. It will not be done this year for Christmas as I foolishly overconfidently planned. Maybe I should have it on a 10 year plan – since it clearly will not be done in 7.

    Great story!

  29. It’s brown – photographed blue – see Amy’s response above.

    Amy, I too encourage you to finish the sweater this year for your dad. Where are you at on it. How much is left? We can start a support group if you like, to encourage you along.

  30. “WISP”– I love it!

    I’m more of a “finish it” kind of gal and the 10 year thing makes me a little nervous, too. I have very few ufos.

    I do, however, have a 4 year quilt that I started for an aunt upon her diagnosis of cancer. It started out as a simple patchwork that I intended to quilt by machine to save time but she died too quickly, before it was finished. I set it aside but I do pick it up every so often and now it has lots of embroidery, beads and silk flower embellishment. I’m not sure why I “can’t” finish it. I’m really not ready to put it down. As I was typing this I formulated the plan to finish it up over the course of the next few years so I can give it to my neice (her favorite great-neice) when she graduates from high school 5 years from now. Thanks for giving me the space to work this out!

    Maybe your Dad’s sweater can be for a “milestone” birthday?

  31. Well, Amy, you rec’d some wonderful comments. Who wouldn’t be inspired to finish the sweater after all the encouragement? I knit all year long, not just certain months. The other night I realized I have about 8 projects going at the same time that I want to get finished before Cmas so I set a timer to work on each project for 30 min. That was quite a few hours, but I feel like each project got it’s own special time and none were neglected. I really like Sarianna’s WISP terminology…Work In Slow Progress. Knit on!

  32. Hi,

    I just wanted you to know that your articles on UFO inspired me to go through each of my bags and work on completing the ones I liked and letting go of the ones I will never finish or don’t like. I down to my last UFO and hope to complete it by next week. I will still have two or three projects I am working on. They are current projects.

    Thanks for the inspiration,


  33. Hi,

    I just wanted you to know that your articles on UFO inspired me to go through each of my bags and work on completing the ones I liked and letting go of the ones I will never finish or don’t like. I down to my last UFO and hope to complete it by next week. I will still have two or three projects I am working on. They are current projects.

    Thanks for the inspiration,


  34. I would call it a WiW (Wip in Waiting). You work on it when you can, but you have a definite pattern. Unlike the hat I have hidden in the closet, because it is out of one of the filmiest, scariest yarns out there, you will actually work on and finish the sweater. If not this year, then soon.

  35. I just took out my second-oldest WIP (the oldest is a baby blanket for a 12-year-old). A very complicated multi-color intarsia, cabled, and bobbled pullover on size 2 needles I was knitting under duress for a disliked spouse of someone dear. About 5 years ago, I looked at it again and realized I wasn’t going to make something for someone I didn’t like, and cut the back to make it short enough for me, then started making the front. But I can’t stand working on something that requires me to look at the chart every row for long, so it went back into hibernation. I’ve just looked at the pieces again and decided it will never be a pullover, but I am going to make a small group of hats and mittens out of the pieces (merciless cutting and sewing for mittens, careful frogging and shaping for hats, and who knows what I’ll do with the absurdly out-of-fashion sleeves.

  36. I want to make a comment on the fact that you’ve been working on a sweater for your dad for 10 years. Stop everything else you are doing and finish his sweater!!! I don’t know how old he is or what kind of health he is in, but he may not be around to wear it if you don’t make it a priority NOW!

    I lost both of my parents to cancer way too young. My mother at 71 and my dad at 77. Diagnosis of cancer to their passing was less than 4 weeks in both instances. I finished a cardigan for my mother while she was in the hospital dying. She got to open the sweater on Christmas and she was just bearly conscious enough to realize that I had knitted it. She never got to wear it. She died in the hospital.

    So just realize that you may be on borrowed time. Quit procrastinating and finish his sweater!

  37. I too am a spinster who knits or would that be a knitster who spins? I love the fluffy fiber, the feel of it as it glides through your fingers as it is spun and the knitting of it is just indiscribable. And the end result is a completely unique creation. What am I doing here? I should be spinning!! Or knitting!! or a little bit of both!

  38. Amy – The best baby sweater I ever received was a sweater started by my husband’s aunt who had started it for you oldest son in 1949 and finished it the day my first child was born – April 7, 1982.

    UFO – WPI? Why put a label on something you can hide in a basket and if you don’t tell, no one can will know.

  39. Amy- I think that I would call it a WIP. I know how hard it is to work on a sweater in a color that you would never choose. I recently made a cardigan for my father in GRAY with only some cabling on the very bottom band and the rest was stockenet I also had a hard time finishing it. I got it done but not without some hard times. Hang in there you will get it done

  40. Thanks to Amy I now feel relieved of excess anxiety and shame regarding my year long sweater in progress (still only 1/4th done). I am a very slow knitter and find myself drawn to do other quicker projects that end up taking priority over the slow going one. This summer I made a promise to myself to knit one row on it each day and that goal worked well for two months… I just hope that when I finally finish my sweater in ten years that it will still fit me!!

  41. I don’t know how old your father is, but if I were you I would get that sweater finished even if you have to knit into the spring and summer. Fathers don’t last forever.

  42. Hi Amy,

    In my mind, your dad’s sweater is a WIP because you work on it and intend to finish it. And yes, I have projects that are that old (and older). A UFO is a ‘never intend to finish’ project because of a myriad of issues; hate it now, ran out of that yarn, learned what I needed to learn by doing it to that point, etc. Your photos indicate you’re closing in on it now and maybe with some encouragement, you can finish it this year.

    I made a ‘too-big’ aran sweater for my daughter which now belongs to her mother in law, and started another one for her, but now she’s changed sizes. I have to either rip and start again larger, or hope that she’ll lose weight (yeah, that’ll happen for her just like it did for me. ha!)

    I am finishing the 2 pr of socks for my daughters, however, and need to start the traditional socks for my husband so I can give him his one finished sock wrapped and under the tree. The second one gets made over new years. It started as a joke, now it’s a tradition.

  43. Amy, you’re almost there! Do you think this year is the year?

    I’m curious, what is a CD spindle? I’m very interested in learning to spin, but I have no idea what that is! 🙂

  44. Every time I solemnly promise myself that I will USE UP YARN and FINISH PROJECTS before buying more yarn and starting more projects, I remember — They will sell me MORE NEEDLES! And eventually, I do finish things — or sometimes I ravel them and start something else entirely with the yarn. I have absolutely no idea how many UFOs I have. I usually start new projects until I run out of needles, and that slows me down for awhile (until I can get to a store that sells the right needles! LOL) I usually carry at least two projects, and sometimes three, to work on while I wait, anywhere I go. More complicated projects, or projects that have reached a more complicated stage, are hidden around my easy chair. REALLY complicated things are waiting for a time when I’m the only one home and there are NO distractions…In spite of my haphazard approach, I actually do finish a lot of things. 🙂 It’s such a relief to hear that there are other people hiding UFOs, also! 🙂

  45. Well I started crocheting in 1999 after 9/11 because they would not allow my cross-stitch supplies on a plane. Eventually, I worked my way into knitting, and I haven’t done much cross-stitch since. I do have a couple of cross-stitch items that are getting close to the 10-yr mark, and some of my crochet items are getting up there in years. Fortunately, they are usually in Red Heart yarn and I don’t have to worry about moths! I just finished a Tunisian crochet charted afghan for my sister last year (5 yrs WIP). A baby blanket that I started for a friend of mine when she was pregnant 4 years ago I dug out and finished for my husband’s niece a couple of months ago. woohoo!

    However, my stash is so large, that when my choice is between starting something new from my stash and working on something old from before, I usually go to my stash. (WIPs and stash take up the same amount of space right?)

    With all the current interest in spinning, I am thinking of taking that up as well, and eventually growing my own cotton (we don’t wear a lot of wool in SoCal). My husband just rolls his eyes and sighs.

  46. I agree with you regarding knitting with handspun. The only thing better is spinning wool from your own animals – that’s the BEST!!! I am knitting a Harry Potter sweater now using the wool from one of my wooly alpacas and it’s hard to put down.

  47. Please, PLEASE, finish your Dad’s sweater. Put everything else on the back burner – this is possibly the most important sweater you have made or will ever make.

    My longest UFO was a baby sweater when my cousin was expecting in 1959. I got all the pieces done, but had not put it together when Janet was born. I put it away and gave a ‘store-boughten’ baby gift. Janet finished college and medical school and got married. When HER daughter was born, I sewed the pieces together and presented Rebecca with ‘her mother’s sweater.’ It became a cherished family heirloom, and has been passed on to Rebecca’s first child.

  48. Wow! 10 years! It looks like you’re almost finished. I hope your dad gets his sweater in february. I wouldn’t call it a UFO because you do work on it. UFOs are projects that haven’t seen any new stitches in awhile. It’s definitely a WIP.

    The oldest project I have is the Clementine Shawl from last year. Not that old at all! I try to finish things up so I can make room for newer projects.

    I never realised that I finish my handspun projects before everything else. I would say “How odd” if it wasn’t completely understandable. After all, it’s handspun.

    That’s great that Spin Off is enabling new spinners! It’s been my obsession (along with knitting) since last year and I always try to get more people to take it up.

  49. Amy’s WIP for her dad looks blue to me – unless the pictures are something else. I love blue and dislike browns and any shades of brown, so I too would be at 10 years + if using a color I really didn’t like. For motivation – my dad is no longer around to enjoy any of the things I make, please finish so he can brag to his buddies about his hand knit sweater from his “favorite” daughter!! ;>)

  50. Hi from Southeast Texas, I just finished reading all the comments…how wonderful it sounds to knit wool sweaters while it snows outside. We get about 2 good weeks of winter here a year. I cannot even imagine having my own farm animals to supply the wool for would be a dream. The only sweaters I have knitted have been from cotton. We grow a vegetable garden, maybe I should think of growing cotton too.

  51. I am relatively new to knitting, so not too many UFOs (yet), but one is getting dangerously close unless someone can help me. The problem I am having is with edge stitches. They seem to be either huge or tiny and I can’t seem to control it. I thought I had read somewhere that you can slip the first stitch to alleviate this. Is it that simple? Thanks.

  52. Amy–I think your Dad would love a sweater from you, but even an old guy deserves something trendy, don’t you think? Pick something that inspires you. You are professionally involved in knitting and yarn, and this is major part of your identity. Certainly you have grown over the last 10 years! Knit him something fabulous that gives him all the benefits of the you that you have become! He’ll love it–it’s from you! Dorothy

  53. There’s an interesting physics of light thing about brown and blue – brown can reflect light as blue. One of the Luna (I think) moths looks blue, from reflected light, but if you were to shine light through its wings, they would look brown, which is considered their true color.
    As for WIPs (3, I think) and UFO’s (alot, but the oldest is less than 15 years old becuase we moved, and I abandoned (donated) any I had before the move.
    Some things just need to be finished, like this sweater.

  54. I have a sweater that I started for my son when he was in 4th grade–He isnow 25! I have a lot of WIP-I just really like to start new projects! How do you get motivated to finish things?
    I used to have a cardigan sweater pattern that was from one of the women’s magazines (from the ’70’s). You started with the collar (in garter stitch) and worked your way down-it was called a coat sweater; anyway I’ve never been able to find the pattern since. I could finish the sweater in just a few months! Anyone have any idea where I could find that pattern?

  55. I, too, have two sweaters I started more than 10 years ago. One was supposed to be for my niece; I found the back the other day and decided to finish it for my daughter, who has a few years to grow into it (read: a few more years for me to finish it). The other is one I started for myself, back when big slouchy intarsia sweaters were in style. It’s about halfway up the back. Both of those projects taught me that I don’t like sweaters with endless areas of stockinette – BORING.

    The one for me is probably going to the frog pond – I spent too much on the yarn to just forget it!

  56. No, I’ve never had a project going that long. If it’s not done after a year, it becomes yarn again and gets used for something else. Also, did you say it was a brown cardigan? Looks blue in the pictures.

  57. OK, I’m trying to look at the photos and imagine how the sweater can look so blue but really be what one would describe as brown. Compared with the planks underneath it (what color are they?)
    My mother died while I was trying to knit a complicated Jean Moss sweater for her. I handed it off to friends to finish for me so that I could give it to my sister or someone else in the family. I couldn’t and can’t bear to look at it again.

  58. By my definition, Amy’s 10-year sweater is a UFO during the March-October times when she isn’t working on it, a WIP in November-February when it is getting some attention. Good luck!

  59. To Syd G. Go to for yarn substitutions. The yarn weight is fingering. The gauge in the pattern is after washing and shrinking. The prewash gauge for the guernsey wool is 32 stitches by 36 rows. Whatever fingering weight yarn you get, you’ll need to adjust the pattern to fit your gauge.

  60. Amy is my kind of knitter, I loved her article and could relate to 10 year projects and waiting room knitting. My waiting room knitting keeps me sane, hurry and wait especially at the airport. And as far as a 10 year project being a WIP or UFO I just consider them to be in time out.

  61. My dad started a thick cabled sweater for my Mom when I was small. He decided to make it longer than the pattern, and thus ran out of yarn when he got to the sleeves. He couldn’t find any more. That sorry pile of sweater pieces made several moves with our family, and was part of our family lore. (I now have kids of my own in college.) A couple of years ago my mother handed me the dusty bag and announced that I was inheriting the family sweater because she hoped I might actually finish it. I despaired. The pattern was long gone. Yarn labels had disappeared. But amazingly enough I succeeded in finding a yarn that came very close. It might have been the same yarn, if you factored out 30 years of yellowing. I sewed the pieces together, and contemplated the sleeves, not knowing how the sleeve cap was to have been shaped. I decided to go with Barbara Walker’s top-down set-in sleeves, picked up stitches, and worked down the sleeve in the round in a seed stitch pattern taken from the body of the sweater. It didn’t look perfect, due to the difference in yarn, but it could now fulfill its sweater destiny. I gave it to my parents that Christmas, and they were thrilled. But she never wears it. They live in a much warmer climate now! So yes, you can finish a stalled project after many years, but sometimes it’s just not worth it. Things change! Better to get it done, or decide to move on.

  62. As soon as I started reading this post, all I could think was, I wish my dad was still here so I could knit him something. If you decide to finish your sweater, it’ll be a memory you’ll treasure long after the knitting is done.

  63. If the sweater is not going to fit him and you don’t enjoy working on it, I would make something that you can finish for him soon. Perhaps you really don’t want to finish this sweater for some reason, and maybe you just need to face up to that and quit.

    If it helps any, I made a totally inappropriate sweater (my second, as a child) for my beloved grandfather. It didn’t fit, so he put it in the dryer. Then it fit, but was more appropriate for a teenager than a grandfather. When he died many years later, although I never saw him wear it, it was still there in his closet. He had kept it from 1960 til 1984…a quarter of a century, because I made it for him and to remember me.

    So give your father something you have made, I don’t think it really matters except that YOU MADE IT FOR HIM WITH LOVE.

  64. If the sweater is not going to fit him and you don’t enjoy working on it, I would make something that you can finish for him soon. Perhaps you really don’t want to finish this sweater for some reason, and maybe you just need to face up to that and quit.

    If it helps any, I made a totally inappropriate sweater (my second, as a child) for my beloved grandfather. It didn’t fit, so he put it in the dryer. Then it fit, but was more appropriate for a teenager than a grandfather. When he died many years later, although I never saw him wear it, it was still there in his closet. He had kept it from 1960 til 1984…a quarter of a century, because I made it for him and to remember me.

    So give your father something you have made, I don’t think it really matters except that YOU MADE IT FOR HIM WITH LOVE.

  65. Amy,
    I have an 11-year project. 11 years ago, I decided I would use the travel time to visit my husband’s family (5 hours) to knit a blanket. It sits mostly forgotten, and about 3/4 finished, in the bottom of my studio closet. I call it a wip, because I do still work on it from time to time. Wonder when I’ll finish it?????????
    I’d call your Dad’s sweater a wip.
    Mary Wiley

  66. When I was a child in the 50’s, my Mum had a UFO for my dad. It was all cable in very fine wool (we call it 2 ply here in Australia). She had the front and back done and never got around to doing the sleeves. She had knitted lots of other things as there were 7 kids and she could knit a baby’s matinee jacket in a night! But the jumper sat in the bottom of her wardrobe waiting. Some time after I was married, she decided to just make it into a vest by adding ribbing to the armholes besides the neckline. It was at least 20 years in the making. Well, my Dad loved that vest. He wore it often when he went out at night until the yarn wore away. He was a lovely uncomplaining man and understood that Mum had lots of work looking after 7 children. Another memory I have is her telling me that during the Depression before she married Dad, she earned extra money by picking up the runs in women’s stockings for a penny an inch!

  67. This article made me chuckle. I recently “gave up” on a sweater I started to knit in 1978! The fronts and back were done, just needed sleeves. This sweater had sealed the Curse of the Boyfriend Sweaters. Twice I had knit (or started to knit) sweaters for my boyfriend at the time. Twice these men broke up with me just after receiving the sweater or before the sleeve fitting. After that, I stopped knitting sweaters for the men in my life. My husband of 16 years still gets nervous when I start a project…he wants to make sure it is NOT for him!
    By the way, I was able to donate the second Cursed Sweater to an assisted living facility where the residents like to finish these unfinished projects.


  68. Time to ‘fess up. I have an afghan in the beautiful tones of aqua and olive that were so popular in 1966! That’s when I started the project. It was to have adorned my dorm room bed. It’s about 3/4 completed. I get it out every 10 years or so and work on it. I just can’t get rid of it!