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Dear Kay,

Back in November, I was knee deep in the Eight Yarns, One Sweater project, taking on water and bailing hard. I’d like to say that I’ve never had a knitting project sink me. But like many poorly conceived journeys, this one was a Poseidon Adventure.

Come, take a deep breath with me, and we’ll dive deep into what happened with Eight Yarns, One Sweater.


No, these are not all the same weight. Yes, that’s fingering weight at Number 4 and mulespun (aka not spun much at all) at Number 8. Did I consider properly whether these two yarns should inhabit the same sweater? No, I was mostly focused on the gaiety of it all, the delightful spontaneity that happens when your stash is bloated enough to cough up eight kinds of beige yarn.

You can read the chronicle so far at Eight Yarns, One Sweater?Westward Ho!, Facing Goblins, and Ecru Swamp.

What follows are murky photos taken as my will was fading, the light was worse, and the whole project felt doomed, doomed I tell you.

This is the back piece, with the mulespun flurf yarn barely holding together enough to form the cables:


Here you see the finished front on top of the finished back. A sleeve, made of a two other yarns, is supposed to connect to these two totally different fabrics.


Here’s the side seam, with four different yarns unable to get a plan going. You can practically hear Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine egging them on.


I actually enjoy sewing up sweaters, when they are made out of one yarn. This was an exercise in letting go, Jesus take the wheel, vaya con dios, YOLO, offering it up, whatever. It went against every hard-earned seaming lesson I’d ever learned. I just kind of stitched until I ran out of stitches.


One of those rules I cling to is that it’ll all come out in the blocking. When I got a look at this sleeve situation, it was just too much. I lost my faith that it would all come out in the blocking. No blocking could achieve unity out of this mess:


I fudged and mooshed and stretched until two sleeves were connected to the body. It looked pretty bad.


Until I blocked it. I soaked this mother until it weighed about twelve pounds. I was going to will this sweater together.


It took about four months to dry. It’s why I stopped blogging last winter: I was waiting for this thing to dry. It was a race against time—this sweater would either dry or be devoured by black mold.


As happens, the mighty redemptive power of blocking smoothed out so much of the weirdness. Even the sleeve of doom looked plausible and by plausible I mean connected to the body in a permanent way. My dark shirt underneath highlights the difference in yarns; with a white shirt, it’s less noticeable.


I’m here to report that there indeed has to be a morning after, and that morning involves a really, really warm sweater.



Only when I look at this picture do I see that the left sleeve is longer than the right. Or maybe my left arm is longer than my right—who knew?

One nice thing about this sweater, other than the fact that I am basically wearing an entire sheep with sleeves, is that each of the eight yarns is loaded up with tender memories of yarn shopping fever: trips to Williamsburg and Martha’s Vineyard and Hot Springs, Arkansas; the intensely positive mojo of Clara Parkes’s Great White Bale project.

And it confirms the belief that if you really, really want something to work out, it will—as long as you’re willing to suck it up and swim like Shelley Winters.



PS Our system for subscribing to our blog is all new, and we’re starting from scratch. Two ways hear from us:

1. Newsletter. If you’d like to get an occasional special newsletter from Kay and Ann, no more than weekly, please sign up below, even if you signed up in the past.

2. Follow Blog. To get an email notification each time we post, just leave a comment, and in that comment window check “Notify me of new posts by email.”


  • Yes Ha!!!! You’re back blogging!! My world is complete again! I love you guys.❤️❤️❤️

    • This was really fun to read.

    • Looks amazing. Happy to see you blogging again
      But Shelley Winters?

  • Thanks for the earworm Annnnnnnnn!

    I’ve seen this behemoth in person and I can’t believe how normal it looks, considering all the different yarns. This thing will get you through The Long Winter.

  • Love the cables & the Poseidon Adventure references! — also can’t get The Morning After out of my head.

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  • It’s lovely to see Modern Daily popping up in my reader again! That is a sweater with a Story, and what better kind is there?

  • Perseverence and a love of process–it had to dry eventually–right?? congrats on a lovely sweater–amazing…hugs, Julierose

  • Who knew that all those yarns would eventually come together and make an actual garment?! Amazing! And aside from the difference in the two sleeves (maybe your arms ARE different lengths, like some feet (and other parts not to be mentioned!), it’s lovely! Great job! And you didn’t give up! YAY you!!!

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  • Oh, my, that is glorious! So glad it worked out. You’re not wearing an entire sheep, you’re wearing a flock, and they’re all getting along just fine. Amazing. Congratulations!

  • Hooray!

  • A beautiful muttly sweater!

  • You’re more daring than I to take on that sweater project – and see it through!

  • Yes please! I wold like two servings, and a pony!

    Great to see my beloved “friends” back on screen.

  • That is one almighty garment of wonder! So honored to have some of my fibers in there.

  • I have been trying to get ‘Leroy boy is that youuuu” out of my head for days. Now it is done.
    I love the sweater. I love that you finished it and that it is a Thing of Beauty with a Story.
    Now what ever happened to the one that was started during that internet show about knitwear design? that looked way cool.

  • I love it! Inspires me to think about my stash very differently too!

  • Happy to read you again!

  • Hooray!

  • I’m loving all the people who just leave “comment.” It’s the thought that counts.
    Also, I clicked the thing about notifications (I believe) but didn’t get notified about this, except you were on my “friends’ blogs” page on Rav.
    And I especially love this sweater! I kept all my whitish yarns together for a long time, hoping to make a blanket one day, but I think some kids needed something to kool-aid dye one day and that project fell apart, but this just makes me want to hoard mismatched stuff all over again! Super!

    • “It’s the thought that counts”–LOL. Very clever!

    • That whitish yarn needs to have a big group hug and turn into a blanket. One of many conclusions with this project is that a blanket is a much better way to use eight yarns in one project. The sleeves alone are a cautionary tale!

      Also: re notification–maybe check your spam folder? We are also using smoke signals so please watch the western horizon each morning.

  • You are one brave woman and one amazing knitter! I barely have the talent to make a sweater out of a single yarn! 😉

  • So glad to see you guys again. I love how this sweater turned out. Can I make a blog post topic request? Styling tips for how to best wear hand knit items (better yet, strange and/or experimental hand knit items) when you’re… too old to be on Tumblr?

    • I think the answer is OFTEN! Wearing strange and/or experimental hand knit items is something to go for every day. Keep the millennials guessing. For me, experimental means that I haven’t woven in the ends. I have at least three shawl scarf shawlette deals that trail yarn, and I just can’t worry about it!

      • Amen to that. “Experimental” covers just about every handknit I’ve ever made!

      • I have mitts that do that too. ;o)

  • so glad you guys are back. I have missed this blog!

  • So glad you are back. I love this story

  • That sweater is awesome sauce! Now that it’s completed and you have a little more free time, will we see a follow-up to Bowling Avenue? (fingers crossed)

  • Your updated “About Us” photo is très fabuleux!!!

  • So glad to see that you have resumed your wonderful writing. Please let me know when you launch a new post. It will make my day!

  • Thank you for sharing your knitting humor.

  • Love the sweater! I’m inspired!!

  • Looking forward to reading your blogs!

  • Hey! Glad to hear from you! Please notify me of new posts by email.

  • Once, in return for a sweater’s worth of Rowan yarn of my choosing, I rashly agree to sew together a number of sweaters for my aunt. I felt as I imagine you did, trying to get the pieces of your 8 yarn sweater together. Sleeves were different lengths, different widths. The side of one front seemed to bear no relation to the back it was meant to come together with. Somehow, through the power of gritted teeth and the magic of blocking, they became more or less respectable finished garments. I was amazed and awestruck. Never never underestimate what blocking can do. I feel like it’s a Knitter’s secret superpower.

  • Dang. The magic of blocking happens again. Isn’t blocking wonderful?

  • I’ve just started a cable cardigan, all out of the same wool, so now realise it will be a doddle compared to your awesome effort.
    Memories of going to see the (original) Poseidon Adventure also came ‘flooding’ back. Fun fact, the Poseidon Adventure was written by Paul Gallico, who also wrote the beautiful novella The Snow Goose. Jenny Agutter stars in that movie and wears a great battered old sweater throughout – all things lead back to knitting!

  • So lovely to see you blogging again. I can’t believe that sweater worked out.

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  • Yes! We like that you guys are friends again? That’s a winking emoji)

  • I am truly thrilled that you both are back to blogging! No other knitting blog satisfies the way yours does. (Believe me, I looked!). Thanks for returning to this venue!

  • Yay! Welcome back 🙂

  • Great story and a really great sweater, sleeve length not withstanding. So glad to have the blog to look forward to again.

  • Now I am ready to start knitting again!

  • What an epic knitting tale! I love your tale of struggle, will to press on, and the trove of memories wrapped into this yarny treasure… Just beautiful.

  • It’s great to have you back! Love the sweater story!

  • I love that sheer section of the sleeve! a nice window, like every sleeve should have one.

  • I can’t believe that I listened to the whole song…..

  • Welcome back! And the sweater looks fabulous!!

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  • Great sweater and story! Welcome back!

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  • Missed you.

  • Yes please!

  • Missed you – and glad you’re back! PS just so you know, those kids who went off to school – they’ll let you take them out for meals when you visit – but they only show you the really wonderful places the week they graduate. Odd truth but a true one.

  • So glad you ladies are back!

  • Glad to see you posting again!

  • So glad you’re back.

  • So glad you are back! Sign me up

  • I also have a pile of mismatched cream/natural wool in my stash. I love that pile and have collected it from many sources. I was thinking of something like a 10 stitch blanket or some mitered square of awesomeness blanket. It’s too warm in California for a beautiful sweater like yours but it does make me think again of my lovely stash yarns.

  • Three posts this week! You guys are back with a bang!

  • Now this is great!

  • It’s beautiful! And it suits you perfectly!

  • Glad you guys are back!

  • Amazing! I was curious about this project – it turned out great and looks like something you will wear alot.

  • So happy to see you back! I’ve missed ya’ll.

  • Your eight yarns create a beautiful sweater! In fact, I followed the links and jumped over to Ravelry to see the pattern because I’d like one just like it. Except maybe with a single yarn because I like to take the easy way out. 😉

  • Cheering ! It’s fabulous. So are you. Who finishes epic projects like this? Not moi! or… not yet.

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  • sign me up!

  • Hooray – you’re back!

  • So glad you’re back! I thought I’d check and – voila! – here you are! Wow – you finished this sweater! Great fit!

  • What a cool sweater, but that’d be stressful to me, trying to make it all fit together!

  • So glad you’re back!

  • Wow! As usual, I’m impressed and inspired. Wonderful sweater!

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  • That took courage–you’re my new hero! Sign me up!!

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  • Sign me up please

  • Love that your back!:)
    Think of the two of you everyday in my kitchen when I stand on my rug and use my dishcloths!

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  • Commenting to get notice of your posts….

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  • What a sweater!

  • Notify me of new posts by email and sign me up for the newsletter. Thanks

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  • I have missed you both. I would like to notified of new posts and the Newsletter to.

  • I did wonder about this sweater. I remember thinking how can that possibly work, but at the same time, really wanting it to. Well , kudos, cuz it is beautiful and one of a kind.

    Thrilled to start my day here, so glad you’re back!

  • Glad you are back!

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  • Enjoyed the read and phtos!

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  • yes!!!

  • The sweater looks very warm, your determination is inspiring for me to tackle some ufo’s.

  • Welcome back…you were missed! Sign me up for it all, I am definitely a junkie.


  • That sweater is ridiculous and I love it!

  • Yay — you’re back. And LOVE this story!

  • So glad to see you back!

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  • sign me up please!

  • Have missed you SO much…please sign me up for everything and anything! I love your tenacity, Ann – and what fun to have a finished project with such a story attached to it! So very happy to have you both back again!!!

  • I’ve really missed you!! So glad that you all are back.

  • Hmm, I’m off to apply the “redemptive power of blocking” to some projects I had dubbed catastrophes. Maybe there is life after gauge-lapse. You’ve given me hope and chuckles. Thanks.”

  • I forgot, please sign me up for the newsletter. (Yes, this is how gauge-lapse happe– oh look, a new blue single ply.)

  • My kind of knitting

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  • Ma Ingalls would be proud.

  • Yay you’re back! and the 8 yarns are an inspiration.

    Me too on Harrisville – a huge fan.

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  • Sign me up

  • So glad you’re back! I’d stopped checking, even, so I have some good catching up to do!

  • I was just wondering about you two. Good to see you back!

  • Yes. Plse sign me up.

  • Yay!

  • So glad you two are at it again. Nothing better than reading a blog post full of really good sarcastic humor (seriously!)

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  • inspired!

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  • Missed you!

  • you women are fantastic whether you are blogging or instagramming: love you all the ways

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  • yay!

  • Welcome back! You’ve been missed.

  • I am so glad you two are back! I have so missed reading about your (knitting) adventures!

  • This gives me hope for all my UFOs!

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  • Beautiful sweater and great post

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  • Hilarious. I’m an instant fan.

  • Love the sweater, live your tenacity and adore your wit! I laughed out loud!!! Thanks!

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  • Love your stuff. Modern Daily Knitting was my first knitting book!

  • How have I never read this blog before; another great Karen Templer recommendation!

    • Thanks for stopping by! We’re here every night, as they say.

  • Yay!

  • Love the sweater and design.
    It was well worth the effort.
    Yarns came together wonderfully.


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  • Love the sweater, freat association of stitches!

  • Loved the sweater from beginning to end. (Did chuckle over the left sleeve length ?)
    The whole “throwing all those beiges together” sounds a lot like something I would do.

  • I would love to receive all your posts!

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  • So glad you’re back. It was a long hiatus (for us the readers, anyway. Probably not long enough for y’all!)

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  • I’m so glad I decided to check for new blog posts, whoo hoo! Welcome back and thank you!

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  • Glad you’re back

  • It’s inspirational!

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  • What a hoot. Loved reading this story…a lot. You made my day.

  • Welcome back! I have almost finished my 2nd boxy after seeing the pattern on your blog.

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  • Hmmm. I’m going to have to start blocking!!!

  • Dang! That sweater looks surprising normal, considering it’s unusual composition. Kinda like a baby with 8 different parents, maybe not all of the same species. I am VERY impressed. Also inspired.

  • I would love to follow your blog.

  • Notify me of new posts by email please

  • Notify me of new posts by email. Thank you.

  • Love you guys. Please notify me of new posts by email.

  • Notify me of new posts by email

  • Very impressive! Never having completed a sweater myself (I’m still toiling over my DH’s Christmas sweater….why do men have to be so big?) I’m very amazed with your process!

  • Notify me of new posts by email

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