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I had a moment this month where the sun was shining, the sky was a brilliant blue and I felt genuinely hopeful for the first time in a while. It also just happened to be the same day I got my first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine.

I’m so ready to get back into a classroom and see my students and get out from behind the screen that I was honestly excited to get a shot. My husband kept looking at me waiting for me to burst into tears, but I just started to feel a sense of relief and hope.

It isn’t just about getting back into the classroom, it’s also about getting to see my friends and family again. It’s about giving hugs and being in the same room with my Mom. It’s about spending time with friends.

I’m very fortunate to have an awesome group of women to knit with, and we have been craving the warmer weather to get to the park and have a socially distanced knitting day again. Winter has felt like it lasted for forever and I’m ready to get outside and see people outside of my pandemic pod.

So as I was thinking about meeting up with friends I thought about the projects I would want to knit that are perfect for a park meet-up and that make me think about spring and joy and friendship. 

Friendship by Sylvia McFadden

Although I am a sweater knitter, I love a shawl. They’re the perfect portable project, and I live in shawls and light jackets as spring arrives. I’ve had this pattern in my favorites for a long time, but just hadn’t cast it on yet. A large lace panel and a squishy garter stitch border will be fun to work with in the spring, and I might just make it for my best friend.

In the MDK Shop
We've got a worsted to love. La Bien Aimée color is beloved—subtle, bright, and everything in between. This delicious 100% merino yarn feels wonderful against the skin.

Low-Key by Elizabeth Smith

I know I recommended an Elizabeth Smith vest last month, but she released a new one shortly after that I had to cast-on. Knitting it was an absolute delight.

I knit mine in a springy speckled green and have already worn it multiple times. It’s a high-low hem vest knit in worsted weight with a simple purl stitch detail running throughout. What I love about it even more is that you can customize it—add a cowl, make it tunic length or make it the way I did. The designer gives you options for this great project to take with you on the go.

Emma by Deb Hoss

This lovely all over lace top might require more of your attention as you knit, but it is perfect for spring.

The lace makes me think of light breezes and warmer days to come. Plus it’s another reason to branch out into trying cotton yarn if you haven’t already. I can also see myself wearing this in the fall layered under one of my blazers for work. It can become an all year round wardrobe staple. 

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Handknit Cotton DK is ready for your spring and summer knits. Tap over for our bright and wearable palette of shades.

Super Simple Summer Sweater by Joji Locatelli

I’ve knit this sweater for myself and Jellybean—such a simple pattern to follow.

If knitting with wool is too hot to even think about as the temps go up, I suggest knitting your favorite patterns with cotton.

I like my Super Simple Summer Sweater as a layer in spring and as a sweater to throw in my bag in the summer in case the AC is too cold. And it transitions right into fall and winter. A circular yoke with top down construction that has minimal shaping will also be a good project to knit on the go. Maybe Jellybean and I need another one.

I am so hopeful for what spring will bring, but I’m still being cautious and wearing my masks and washing my hands. Here’s to the warmth of sunshine on our faces and the joy of time spent with the ones we love. 

Save it for later. Keep Dana’s Edit recommendations handy in your MDK account. Here’s how.
Photo Credits: Deb Hoss, Joji Locatelli, Elizabeth Smith, Dana Williams-Johnson, SYLVIA Mcfadden

About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • Very inspiring and a joy to see all your lovely creations,
    Carole xx

  • Just seeing you and Jellybean in those beautiful spring colors made my morning! I felt the same hopefulness with my first vaccine dose, and the next few weeks can’t go quickly enough!

  • I am lucky enough (and old enough) to be “fully vaccinated” and I can tell you that the second shot is even more thrilling than the first! Here’s to spring and knitting outside!

  • Got my first shot and the fear and anxiety dropped by half. Next shot is a week from today. It made room for some hope.

  • I absolutely love your sweater and Jellybean’s matching sweater. Your smile, too, is fantastic! Thank you for adding to the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • I know what you mean about taking the shots. I have been working with physical rehab patients on the front lines in a special program. We get tested 2x/week. When they offered us the opportunity to get the vaccine, I took it. I have felt joy and a new and tangible hope ever since. I miss my family and friends. I miss my knitting teacher and knitting with a group. I have even stopped a good deal of my knitting blog activities and Instagram activities (it’s all about the knitting and quilting for me) because I have been so exhausted. Now, however, spring brings us a special kind of renewal and blessing.

  • You and Jelly Bean are wearing beautiful sweaters: of all that you have shown us, this might be my favorite. I love to have a spring sweater ready any waiting when spring arrives and I am on the last inch of mine. I had my second shot last week, and everyone in my family who is elgible has had at leas their first. It was very exciting to geth that second shot, and in another week I will be able to call myself fully vaccinated. My kinitting group is already planning an April gathering!

  • Yes shot joy! Love that you read my mind I have been looking for some summer patterns. I did not recognize the joji pattern with your creative use of colors.

  • It’s always a better morning when Dana has something to say,

    • Exactly!

    • Amen!

  • Dana enjoy your park knitting with friends. I think you are a lovely woman! You encouraged me to knit the Emma sweater! Happy Spring!

  • Congratulations to all on getting your shots. All positive new ahead. Dana and Jellybean, love your spring knitted treasures. I think I’ll try the vest, once I finish 2 pairs of birthday socks. I can’t wait to knit with friends, in real life, as many of you said.

  • Thank you for this post!

  • Dana, I always have hope when I see your smile and your gig sweaters.

  • I LOVE Dana’s Edits, every single one!! Best wishes, Dana and everyone at MDK!

  • Yay! Dana you got your vaccine! Me too! Robins are back in Michigan so things are looking up

    • I got my first shot this week. I’m looking forward to having lunch with my knitting friend who has her 2 shots.

  • More gorgeous sweaters for you and Jellybean! Lucky dog! He looks great in spring colors, I must say.

    I know what you mean about getting your shot. I got mine last weekend (J&J, one and done) and the sense of relief was PALPABLE. I am one of the last in my knitting group to get vaccinated, so no more displaced feelings of being an “untouchable,” LOL! We normally have a monthly “Picknit” at a local park, and we’ve been missing it terribly. Our Southern California weather will soon permit such activity, and you can almost hear everyone salivating in anticipation! Stay safe and sane, and keep on knitting your rainbows. Thanks for sharing with us, Dana!

  • What a lovely St. Paddy’s Day sweater! Got my 2 shots(2nd made me feel a bit flu-like for 2 days but worth it) Will get to see my 95 year old dad!

  • Thank you Dana! Your beautiful smile and your cute matching sweater for you and Jellybean just made my morning so much brighter! I am tempted to do the same thing for me and my little girl puppy Maddy.

  • There’s something about your smile, Dana, that lightens my heart, even when I’m grumpy and ready to throttle someone. It doesn’t matter what you’re knitting or advising, if you’re at the top of the post smiling then I’m gonna read it and emerge with a heart at least 2 sizes bigger.

    Thank you!

  • Thanks again for your words and your knitting inspiration. Your Joji sweater gave me an idea of what to do with some yarn in my stash that I wasn’t sure how to use. Getting ready for our second shot on the 30th. We are humble and grateful to finally have a chance to put some of this isolation behind us. Your students are lucky to have you as an inspiration.

  • Beautiful knitting from a beautiful person. Thank you!

  • Hooray for spring, and hope, and renewal!

    Tiny note: the link to Low Key is currently pointing at the page for Friendship. (I’m sure it will get fixed soon, but in the meantime in case it helps anyone:

    • Thanks, Julia!

  • Thank you for giving smiles and encouragement. I needed both today!

  • I felt the exact same way right after my covid vaccination. It’s liberating! Still mindful of masking/hand washing/distancing, but a new day has dawned and it now can include PEOPLE in the same vicinity! Happy Spring!

  • You have such great taste! The turquoise matching sweaters put a smile on my face on this very gray day. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dana, your smile makes me smile. Thank you

  • Thanks, Dana! And I too love the simple summer sweater. Great for anyone who hates sewing.

  • Thank you so much for this uplifting post! Seeing you & Jellybean in matching sweaters has literally made my day 😀

    I had my second vaccine about two weeks ago, and let me tell you: the relief and hope you felt after having the first dose will increase exponentially after the second. Although I was brought down temporarily by the side effects, I was so happy to get my armor. I can’t wait to hug my dad, and I can’t wait to teach all my students in the same room with me next fall. Hybrid classes and trying to teach over Zoom are where classroom chemistry and spontaneity go to die.

    Happy Knitting, Happy Spring!

  • Ms. Dana, I look for your posts every Saturday. It is wonderful to see you and Jellybean looking so happy and well-dressed in lovely sweaters. I know last year was rough in MANY ways and I am glad to see you with a sense of new hope. May you go back to in-person teaching with a big smile and full immunity. (As a teacher I love teaching online, but i KNOW that is just me!)

  • I love this photo of you and Jellybean in your matching sweaters! You are beautiful!

  • I love your color choices! Reminds me to look for a bolder color to try. And here’s to hope and sunshine and spring on the way!

  • Dana Williams-Johnson, you are a delight and an inspiration. I look forward to your columns and the fabulous photos of you and Jelly Bean.

  • Yay for renewal! So many pretty things to make. Sylvia McFadden’s (aka @softsweater) shawls are my favourite. I love my Friendship shawl; I added extra repeats to mine and extra rows of garter to make it supersized. She’s also a sweater designer so be sure to check out her stunning Loveable Sweater. As a bonus, she’s got another lacy pullover in the offing. Sylvia is a lace magician!

  • Love the sweaters and the picture of you and Jelly Bean! I would have moved right past this design due to the horizontal stripes. Your choice of speckled yarn makes the sweater and I will now be making this pattern. Thank you for such an uplifting post today. My husband and I are feeling so positive and strong after our second dose.

  • I felt hopeful just reading this. Thank you! Also, you and Jellybean and your sweaters look great!

  • Wow this looks nothing like the pattern. I would not have thought it was the same. Did you alter it? I’m loving your version. Maybe its the springy colors that make a difference???

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