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Dear Ann,

As I shuffled out of my winter hibernation den, one of the first things I noticed was: whoa, that chair in the bedroom has a LOT of knitting stuff on it.

In the pile: plastic bags containing yarn, linen bags containing projects I forgot I had started, random nubbins of wool wedged into the seat cushion, needles I thought I’d lost, photocopied patterns—to name a few.

All of a sudden that bountiful chair, a source of comfort and storage all winter, is bugging me. It’s spring! Where are my broom-clean surfaces? Why can’t I find any of my US 5s? How do I set things to rights?

A motivated, organized person might spend a half hour sorting, putting like things with like things on shelves and in cupboards, and restoring needles to their place in the needle-hanger thingy. Maybe frog a couple of projects that no longer spark joy.

I set out to do that, I really did. I had the best intentions. But 10 minutes in, I reverted to the activity I like best: knitting. Apartment Therapy is not the boss of me, and clear surfaces are overrated. I like to knit, and the first couple of items on the chair were things that only needed a bit of knitting to liberate them from the chair. For example…

Bawi Sweater

At the start of the year,  I flew through the knitting of my Bawi Sweater.

And then I left it on the chair with half of the stitches of the second sleeve bound off, and half on the needles. How does a person even do that? What emergency occurred, what shiny object beckoned?

I stopped sorting, sat down, and bound off the last stitches. I wove in the (very few) ends, sewed down the fold-over collar, and wet-blocked it.

This was a lot more fun than sorting and organizing, and look: new sweater!

The pattern: Bawi Sweater by aegyoknit.

The yarns: Sōm Aran by Camellia Fiber Company in the shade Midnight, held together with Fuzzy Yak Lace in Milk Tea.

The yarns for this sweater were a giddy treat-myself moment when Silbia Ro came to the MDK Holiday Open House last December and spread her magnificent Camellia Fiber Company yarns before us. Trying on Silbia’s sample Bawi Sweater catapulted me into a whole new life in which future me would be bopping around town in a super-luxe, super-stylin’ sweater.

It happened! Future me is here, taking a Classic elevator selfie before bopping around town.

The finished sweater is everything I dreamed of, and more. The fabric is indescribably delicious, light and warm, warm but light, soft as a kitten wrapped in yak down. Favorite detail: the stand-up collar. Despite the oversized shape, I don’t feel swamped, quite the opposite. I feel as sporty as a 1968 Mustang.

I’m trying to decide if I’m fashionable enough for these on-trend big sleeves. Do I have any business owning a sweater that can’t be worn while loading the dishwasher?  Clearly the correct answer is to let somebody else load the dishwasher.

Cannot wait to pair Bawi Sweater with a skirt and ankle boots and an unironic chunky necklace.

Lucky Dog Sweater

Finishing the Bawi Sweater left me with 3/4 of a skein of Fuzzy Yak Lace, too precious to consign to the nether cushions of The Chair. What does a diligent spring tidier do in this situation?

Reader, I cast on a dog sweater.

While working on my Bawi Sweater, I had started thinking about how nice it might be to marl together a strand of Fuzzy Yak Lace with a strand of MDK Atlas. A skein and a half of Atlas, in Clementine, were right there on the chair. A person I admire but do not actually know had just announced to Instagram the adoption of a 7-pound dog who reminds me of Olive.

It was meant to be: I cast on a Lucky Dog Sweater in Atlas and Fuzzy Yak Lace. I spent last Saturday and Sunday tidying the chair—by knitting a dog sweater.

My hypothesis was correct—the Atlas/Fuzzy Yak fabric is sublime, ultra plush. It glows.

Senior fit model Olive outweighs the recipient pooch by 3 pounds so it’s suitably snug. I will never omit the sleeves again, as I did last time I made Lucky Dog. They are the perfect touch of class, and only took minutes. This sweater looks like it came from one of those Madison Avenue shops you have to get buzzed into.

Lucky Dog is an elegantly designed, well-written pattern. It’s my go-to dog sweater. Every minute of knitting this springy little topper was a joy.

Is the chair cleared off? I decline to answer.

Am I happy? You know I am. Knitting over tidying, every time.






  • Thank you – just what I needed to read. Surrounded by my own piles of mess, here I am, peacefully ignoring them and concentrating on what matters – knitting.
    By the way, the sweater looks fabulous on you! Who cares about dishwashers? You rock!

    • Exactly this, Diana.
      Gorgeous sweater and snuggly warm pooch.

      The necessities…with a gracious pause: perfect timing for me (re: the mini mountains of many non-knitting things to sort).
      Thank you Kay for your bit o’ wisdom here.

  • You’re an inspiration Kay.

    • Honestly I’m too good for this world. 😉

      • Love it! 😉

  • Your chair sounds like a treasure trove! Can’t wait to read about the next magical thing you pull out. Enjoy wearing that sassy new sweater!

  • What a Beauty! Noticed immediately at the last knitting class how wonderful your sweater appeared in the little zoom video corner!! Congratulations–I approach cleaning the same way–why do today what can be done tomorrow in the precious time that is available:) Also, knitting provides continuous upper extremity exercise:)

  • Take That Mari Condo and knit with it! Actually, I think there is deep wisdom in her approach but like many other things in life should be adjusted to circumstances. In this case, the high-style of your Bawi sweater. (I want that Aegyo flair, particularly the stand-up collar!) Untidiness will be there forever as we knitters know but the urge to finish a beautiful sweater is often now or never. Can’t wait to see the Bawi with the skirt and boots, Kay! Along with Olive and her also-stylin’ sweater. What a cool cat your doggie is! (I read recently that Mari’s view on things has changed due to her marital and, I believe, motherhood status. Can’t wait to see what she writes about once she takes up knitting as well!)

  • Thank you. Perfect read for the start of Spring. I have that chair and soon shall have a sweater and maybe a lucky dog will have one, too

  • Kondo with a K. I used to be a great speller.

    • Love the big sleeve sweater…and what a cute Lucky Dog!

  • Hi Olive!
    You’re a great model!

  • So happy to catch a glimpse of Olive!

  • Olive always looks stylish !

  • Bawi sweater over long Alabama Chanin skirt? Yes, please!

  • I’ve been on a similar tidying kick with similar results. I am finding UFOs I had forgotten I even had. One sweater just needed the seaming. Somehow the front band/collar had stymied me and it had been ‘drawered’ for a few (years ). I got it out, found it easy to finish and now- a lovely new sweater. I am proud, not only of the end result but that I finished something!

  • I have a chair like that beckoning me to clear it off. Hopefully, I will find an almost finished sweater at the bottom of the collection. There is a lot of consolation knowing others share my tendencies to let things pile up.

  • Two delicious FOs outweigh one tidy chair every day of the week. Just the smile and message needed this morning – thank you, Kay!!

  • Reading this made me grin continuously. Thank you for a happy and inspirational start to my day.

  • Kay-your philosophy is perfect and Olive is adorable.

  • P.S. and I can absolutely see the two of you bopping around town.

  • Your big chair might be tidier, but mine is about to get one more project added to the pile thanks to your update on the finished Bawi!
    But thanks for the smiles – and Olive looks smashing in that Lucky Dog!

  • You look great in your great looking sweater Kay! And just reminded me about the weekender sweater in a bag, one of multiple bags in the corner of my living room, that has both sleeves on circulars waiting for a tubular cast off. But can’t get to it yet…. Got to finish banging out that crowberry! But need to watch Lorilee’s section on bobbles again… So been working on the blossom stripe shawl… Yep, you are definitely one of my inspirations!

  • Cleaning is overrated! You version is much more productive!

  • Love both marvelous sweaters !
    Yes, knit over cleaning !

  • A wise woman once told me “Dull Women have Immaculate Homes.” I live by that rule and life is much more interesting. Your Bawi sweater looks fantastic on you!! I

  • That sweater is very au courant and also does not overwhelm your petite figure, probably because of the cropped proportions. You will look great bopping around town in it, but maybe won’t be wearing it for knitting.

  • “Kay says that clear surfaces are overrated”—my mantra for at least the next few weeks.

  • Olive has to be the cutest dog ever…and she looks adorable in her lovely new springy sweater. I have 4 bags of what you found on your chair so am heading off to check out what awaits me…hopefully I am as successful as you by the end of the day.

  • Wow did this hit home? Yes indeed it did. It was like looking in a mirror.
    I completely enjoyed this knowing I am not alone in somehow letting a pile of projects pile up. I do tend to be a finisher so eventually things get done . Not always liked but do get done.

  • Thank you kindred spirit!

  • Ok, at first I thought “ yea ok another sweater!” But when I saw you wearing it! Wow that looks awesome amazing. It’s so neat looking on you. I loved it. I’m going to make me one for sure. But I don’t think I will leave it in that “ chair “ and forget about it. Thanks for your time and interesting article.

  • I enjoyed reading this so much. Thank you 🙂

  • Oh, Kay. Thanks. I’m with you on the overrated clean surfaces and the Lucky Dog pattern (OLIVE!) and the Atlas yarn. Your sweater is fabulous (as are you and the bopping around town). Alas, I know nothing about what is on-trend, but I’m learning and think the big sleeves are great.

  • Kay, so funny and so true. I love the way your Bawi looks on you, very chic and young. Olive’s Lucky dog is such a beautiful marl. Those Madison ave shops will take one look at you and Olive and buzz you right in with white glove treatment!

  • Oh, so that’s what I’m supposed to do with the stack of project bags that keep falling off the table. I’ll pick up the one with the vest that only needs the neck/armhole ribbing done. Somehow picking up stitches defeated me mumble mumble time ago so I just started several other projects. Maybe I’ll even get to wear it before the weather warms up too much! Thanks for the inspiration, now I know what I am doing today. You guys go rock NYC!

  • I’m with you on knitting over tidying! I was wondering what happened to that sweater. I’ve been waiting to see how it would look all finished.

  • Kay, your sweater looks marvelous on you. I wasn’t sure about the big sleeves, but I like them a lot. Thank you so much for this story, I actually have a spare bedroom that probably looks like your chair. I go in with good intentions, but end up knitting. Now a days it is doing things that make me happy.

    • Poor little Olive looks crabbier than ever. ❤️

  • Aww, I love this SO much, Kay! Your sweater looks fantastic! That collar! And what a dear dear dear dog sweater. It’s just the thing. That color! Great decision to knit rather than tidy. Let the dishwasher AI itself into a fully loaded reality. Wide cuffs rule!

  • You are cleaning in a more efficient manner – you will never have to tidy those particular items again! A ’68 Mustang convertible!

  • Love the Bawi sweater and you look great in it. Olive looks so cute in hers also. Does no one knit for cats? Tweenie has had to accept a sweatshirt hoodie with polka dots and sparkly hearts from a major pet supply store, in size Small Dog. But she does like lounging in it. Yeah, love the Bawi. I found five knitting bags in a chair I hadn’t looked at all winter. And they weren’t empty. Bunch of stuff from Sheep and Wool.

  • Love this.

  • But you accomplished both!! I love your approach to knitting and life, and how well you share both 🙂

  • I used to be the person who had a dedicated housecleaning day each week and did all the spring cleaning religiously, but that has changed as I’ve become older and wiser. I often postpone cleaning when something more fun comes along. In my case, it isn’t often knitting because I have grandchildren to make memories with and hobbies of quiltmaking, counted cross stitch and scrapbooking in addition to knitting. Your finished projects look fabulous, and I agree that Olive looks really cute in that sweater!

  • I fell madly in love with CFC at Vogue this year and am definitely queuing Sari Nordlunds Moonflower (in Midnight!). Now I have to marl and and make a dog sweater

  • Kay, your sweater is a masterpiece! For the moment, though, the dog sweater is a more realistic project for me. My tiny dog is 5 pounds of 14-year-old poodle named Pippin. Finding tiny warm things for him is a challenge, but the Lucky Dog sweater may be just what he needs. I have some precious bits of a baby alpaca’s first fleece yarn; this project is what it’s been waiting for. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kay, I performed this ritual last fall and hastened to visit pottery barn to pick up their rigid lidded baskets that stack and used them to create a catalog type display in the corner that is topped by a wide oval holding current projects in process and my various needle storage bags. It looks planned vs a haphazard mess of project bags. Got a few more handled versions that are perfect knitting book storage.

  • “Clear surfaces are overrated” – HEAR, HEAR!

  • One of the reasons I love reading Kay’s articles is that my guilt over obsessive knitting behavior is shared by others. That chair Kay talks about!!!! You must be spying. Every day I say I’m going to organize that mess around my chair. Yes, bags of yarn, UFO’s , needles not put away. downloaded patterns. etc, etc. I even turned my chair upside down ( I should have taken pictures but then the evidence would be there:) and actually cut the bottom lining because some of my favorite markers slipped down past the cushion. No problem, just tapped that lining right back and no one would know. Well, again, if I have any guilt about my “knitting throne” I am relieved that I am not the only one. Cheers

  • Your US 5s… are they hanging out with my DPNs, by any chance? I organized them all a while back… and then put them somewhere! All of them!! I’m going on a search & rescue mission this weekend. Sheesh.

    I love that sweater, but I think those sleeves would drive me nuts. I’m a HUGE fan of 3/4-length sleeves these days, do you think that length would work?? Or would it look weird? Maybe just a tad narrower, too?

  • Spectacular! I feel better about my knitting pile already.

  • Thank you for this. Working on finishing two sweaters, a hat, and some mitts.

  • Two beautiful sweaters. Kay! It just goes to show you, knitting is the best way to clear off a chair.

  • Kay, if I wasn’t busy knitting I’d embroider a pillow that says “Apartment Therapy is not the boss of me, and clear surfaces are overrated.”

  • You look great in that sweater, you not the dog, but the dog looks good too, but you look better.

  • I am intrigued by your jaunty scarf tie, Kay. Looks like it’s doubled, then one end stuck through the folded middle before it’s knotted? Really completes the ensemble!

  • Thank you! I can now look at my armchairS as knitting opportunities instead of tidying failures. Fantastic.

  • Didn’t I read this on your website?
    “Procrastination isn’t all bad because it frees up your day today and gives you something to do tomorrow!”
    Amen to that!! Knit today, tidy tomorrow. Or not.

  • Olive is so precious! She must be quite elderly by now, congratulations on that!!

  • Who knows what wonders you’ll discover next time you dig into that chair? It’s a treasure chest, not a mess!

    • I have that chair. I cleared a few things off the top of the knitting today and found some skeins that need to be used….searching for the project now….it is part of successful cleaning. When I offered to help my mom clean she always said, “we will start with washing all the china and glassware in the china cabinet.” I was thinking of vacuuming. Back to the chair….

  • I love the lucky dog sweater pattern. I made a marled version with Rowan felted tweed held double and shifting colors that is Roux’s favorite sweater. She does not like sleeves so I left them off hers. She is slightly oddly shaped and it is so easy to tweak that pattern so it is comfy! Olive looks spectacular even if while modeling a snug size for her.

  • How do you start a knitting project?

  • Nice sweater do you have any ideas for green-gray-blue yarn for a blue living room??

  • Hard to believe Olive is now a senior dog.

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