letter to a sweater


We’ve been through so much, you and I.

Do you remember when I first laid eyes on you, three years ago? In that Rebecca magazine at the yarn shop? I swooned over the fuzzy mohair-ness of you, and that modernish lace pattern of yours, and your lightness, your length. I fell so hard that I wrote a love story about it, and read it on a podcast.

But I wasn’t ready to commit. I was a beginner, and you were so intense. Just your name scared me: Coat with Lace Pattern. Not just the plainspoken German practicality of it, but the presence of both¬†coat and lace in one name.¬†Clearly you would be no small fling.

But what’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

It took me two years to feel confident enough to take you on. Finally, last September I gathered up ten balls of Sublime kid mohair at the yarn shop and embraced you right there.

It was so exciting in the beginning. All that experimentation, remember? Needles and swatches. You swept me off my feet.

sweater coat with lace in progress

And we had such passion early on. We were together constantly. Your sleeves flew off my needles like a spin around the dance floor. Soon I was climbing up your back, loving your lace. Then suddenly, sometime in November, something changed. All that lace. All those purl rows. I got bored. I got distracted.

So I dallied. There was the Pickle Hat in December, and the Toasty mitts in January. But you must believe that they meant nothing to me. Nothing. I never even took a photo of Toasty and me together for Ravelry.

By Valentine’s Day we were back together, and had that little second honeymoon up in the mountains. I finished your back and cast on for your fronts. That excitement carried us through for a while.

But we had issues. I won’t say we aren’t compatible, but I guess I need a little more from a sweater. You know I’m not a purl kind of girl. Too much of that and my eyes start wandering to other projects. And here I was, having to purl back every other row, all the way up your two…long…fronts. Some weeks we didn’t get together at all. Then there were those two weeks of constant bickering in April. I kept tinking back on your same lace row, again and again and again, and we still couldn’t get it right.

I’m sure all my friends at the park got tired of seeing us together week after week. Me so despondent, you so–unchanged.

But spring fever hit and we slowly became inseparable once again. You started to change in beguiling ways. You decreased! You lost your lace pattern! There was grafting and i-cording and even seaming was new and thrilling. And finally you were finished! We batted our eyelashes at each other and fell in love all over again.

We had those romantic photos taken in the garden. You were all over me.

endless sweater coat

You’re everything I dreamed you’d be. You’re delicate and airy and dramatic. But despite that halo, you’re hot stuff. (What more could I expect, given your mohair.) You’re longer than I thought you’d be, but, well, let’s not go there.

endless sweater coat detail

And that little brown cardigan you may have seen me messing around with lately? Don’t worry. She’s short. And simple.

endless sweater coat from the back

There will never be another sweater like you.

21 comments… add one
  • susan Jul 21, 2009 @ 9:52

    Well that was a hoot-and more. I love the second honeymoon in the mountains and the all over me in the garden. Also the me so despondent and you so-unchanged. What a difference a hyphen makes. Stitch by stitch and word by word, both sweater and letter are wonderfully wrought. Bravissima!

    • patricia Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:16

      And how I love reading your comments, Susan. They’re always little writing gems in themselves. Thanks.

  • melissa s. Jul 21, 2009 @ 22:28

    What a beautiful love story. I wish you both many happy years together!

    • patricia Jul 21, 2009 @ 23:04

      Melissa, you are my blog lucky charm. You were the first person who I didn’t know to leave me a comment (which made you my second commenter ever.) Yours was the first blog I saw to link mine in a sidebar. Then you were my 100th commenter.

      And now? Ta-dah: You are officially commenter #500! When I saw that I had 499 comments earlier today, I thought I wonder if Melissa will manage to be 500? And then tink there was the message in my inbox saying you left a comment.

      Some blogs get 500 comments in a week; it took me a year. But I can’t complain when I have faithful readers like you.

      You’re sort of the Scarecrow to my Dorothy. Thanks for following me down this road for a year!

  • Tara Reese Jul 21, 2009 @ 23:58

    I am a brand-new, baby steps beginning knitter, and although I’m already obsessive about the yarn, I can’t ever imagine being able to knit something so gorgeous. “You were all over me.” Ha!

    • patricia Jul 22, 2009 @ 17:18

      You’d be surprised how far that obsessiveness might take you. It gives you the naivete and gall to take on projects that are far too complicated, and before you know it, you’re knitting lace sweater coats!

  • John Evan Murphy Jul 22, 2009 @ 15:18

    I wear ties to school everyday and over the past nine years I have accumulated a ton a fun, happenin’, with it, saavy, and handsome ties if I do say so myself..In fact, I am kind of a celebrity at school… It gets me some respect and it shows I respect school and education. Kids are always telling me which tie to wear and how I should dress if I want to wear certain ties… It is really flattering.. Can’t help but think it is a good thing to wear ties to school… Anyway, I want someone to make a quilt for me using my old ties…A tie quilt.. Yeah, Mr. Murphy’s Tie Quilt. It would be really cool to have seriously speaking… Besides knitting do you talk about quilting. Quilting is an awesome homeschooling activity… My dream quilt would be old ties on one side and old writing samples from different students on the other…

    • patricia Jul 23, 2009 @ 22:41

      Nope, I haven’t done much quilting, but I have been saving the family’s worn-out jeans for years, hoping to make a big picnic quilt from them.

      Your dream quilt sounds fabulous. Surely you have some creative mom of one of your students who could pull that off?

      You never told me what aged kids you teach. Mr. Murphy. A teacher. Who’da thunk?

  • Kristin Jul 23, 2009 @ 19:06

    Hi Patricia,

    This piece is so fantastic to read–and I’m not a knitter!

    “your name scared me: Coat with Lace Pattern. Not just the plainspoken German practicality of it, but the presence of both coat and lace in one name. Clearly you would be no small fling.”

    It’s the well-defined meaning and of your description that I enjoy.

    I saw you wearing that beauty at the beach. and I have to admit, I was shocked that you would dare. I wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing, because I’d snag it immediately.

    If I had purchased it, I would wrap it up and store it safely in my Grandmother’s trunk. But if I had made it myself, if I had made such a thing so delicate and so pretty and sooooo time consuming, I’d frame it in a case and keep it at the proper humidity to prevent decay.

    I never tired seeing you work on it at park day, but I think it’s funny that you had a few flings in between.

    Cheers to your perfect lace coat!

    • patricia Jul 24, 2009 @ 7:15

      Frame it, shmame it: I knit stuff to wear it! I figure that if I spend so much time knitting something, I’d better get a lot of use out of it!

      You would have laughed at me at the beach yesterday. I wore my handknit skirt over my bathing suit.

      Thanks for the cheers!

  • Emily Jul 25, 2009 @ 0:46

    A beautiful post. A beautiful sweater. A beautiful woman. All wonderful things… thank you so much for sharing. Do you think we could come over and meet your sweater?

  • Diane Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:00

    THAT is AMAZING!!! WOW!!! Beautifully done!

    • patricia Jul 27, 2009 @ 22:03

      Thanks, Diane! There’s nothing like a few well-placed caps to make a gal’s day!

      So glad to have finally found your blog.

  • stefaneener Jul 28, 2009 @ 15:12

    Knitting is a relationship — which makes me wonder about those knitters whose garments simply fall off their needles. Surely they appreciate them less than if they’d spent a long time with them for the relationship to grow and deepen?

    Or maybe I’m just jealous.

    It’s beautiful and you look beautiful in it.

  • Sarah Jul 29, 2009 @ 6:46

    I am glad you bumped into my blog, now I can read yours! Great to meet another beekeeper (and knitter -WOW!) out there. Looking forward to reading more.
    Would you mind if I put your blog up along with the rest of the beekeepers?

  • Jenny Aug 4, 2009 @ 8:57

    Hi Tricia, What a creative way to pay homage to a much loved art form! It is so wonderful to know that we can always share this passion for knitting that unites some many of us in our homeschool group. maybe some year we can all go on a kntiing retreat to the mountains.

    • patricia Aug 5, 2009 @ 22:15

      Hi Jenny! I just found this response in my spam folder–you’re not spam!

      And hey, you have to put your blog address in when you leave a comment, so people can find you!

      Yep, let’s be old ladies knitting in the mountains together.

  • Sarah Aug 4, 2009 @ 11:54

    Cute honey pot and going back to click on the links.

    Lavender, beekeeping, knitting. Oh, yea!
    Love it all.
    Good stuff!

  • wanderingsue Jan 22, 2013 @ 8:43


    • patricia Jan 22, 2013 @ 16:23

      You really are reading through the archives, Sue! Wow right back!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.