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Dear Ann,

Remember 2003? 2003 was great. That was the year we did our second sweater exchange. The first one had gone so well. I made you a big cardi in dusty purple Rowan All Seasons Cotton; you made me a laced-placket pullover in turquoise Rowan Linen Drape.  (I still have mine. Do you still have yours, hmmm?)

So we decided to do it again. You made me a cropped lacy cardi in a fine cotton chenille (we were then, and are now, Rowan superfans), and I knit you all the pieces to a Peter-Pan collared cardi in Rowan Felted Tweed (see?) called Olive. It was from Rowan Magazine 26, of blessed memory.


I remember so well finishing the last piece–the collar–then sewing up the body, setting in the sleeves with loving care. And then, in late December (I remember the month because we were in Nebraska and Kansas for Christmas that year), I got to the button band portion of the program, and the dreaded command to continue in moss stitch “until button border, when.slightly.stretched, fits up left front opening edge to neck.”

What with Christmas and all, I guess I was not in the mood to do any slightstretching of any button bands.  Such was my apathy for button bands and their slight stretching that I wandered into a Walmart in Wichita and picked up a couple of balls of something called Peaches & Creme dishcloth cotton. There was a dishrag pattern on the ballband….

Over the ensuing 11 and a half years, you and I kept busy: we knit a bunch of things, children got their learner’s permits, I acquired a dog named Olive…and all the while that button band was gnawing at my conscience.

It really was, Ann, my hand to Elizabeth Zimmermann.

A few weeks ago, while doing a major Marie Kondo clear out of my collected stuff (google her if you’re curious: her book is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up), I came across Olive (cardigan not canine), still naked of button bands and with 2 unattached collars (why 2? don’t remember!) and I said, THIS STOPS NOW.


(Olives at rest.)

I spent a few hours finding the pattern book, figuring out where I was, crocheting an edging on the winning collar, and slightly stretching a button band and buttonhole band. (If the slightly-stretching doesn’t get you, the even spacing of the buttonholes will bring you to your knees.) I applied steam. I located buttons. I sewed on buttons with Button Craft Thread.  I wish I had a montage of me doing all these things–it was heroic.

Then I went to Nashville and I handed it to you.  HERE. HERE’S THAT SWEATER YOU WANTED.


(You were surprised. Or maybe it’s the Dreamstate filter I put on this photo.)

Think about it, Ann. If I’d finished it in 2003, it would have gotten all pilled up, it would have gone out of style and you would have given it away–who knows?


(Grey tweed. Blue steel.)

But now, in 2015, Olive is brand-new, and it’s even back in style. It fits you just the way you wanted and exactly the way it fit the model (who I believe is wearing your shoes).

So:  how about another sweater exchange?


Too soon?



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  • It’s even better when a sweater comes together past its due date. I love Felted Tweed.

    • Me, too–and they still make it–a miracle!

  • This gives me hope. I have a Felted Tweed sweater hanging around here somewhere. Maybe when I’ve finished all this other stuff, I’ll dig it out and just knit that stupid border and be done! And isn’t it great that Ann is the same size she was 12 years ago! Well done, you!

  • Missed the blog!

  • Olive is perfect. Just perfect. (Have I said I’m glad you’re back??!!!)

  • You’re at it early this morning! It’s just beautiful! And I know Ann was tickled. I did think you were going to veer off into a tale of ballbands though. I have one right beside me ready to have its tails tucked in. Have a great day!

  • Yes, and if finished in 2003, it could have been in the IG photo last winter, along with yesterday’s sweater for wear all your hand knits week. No regrets, though, Kay. You finished it when it was meant to be, and it’s lovely.


  • I follow both of you on Instagram, and seeing those photos made me want to hear the rest of the story! Thanks for blogging again!! Love your stories, your sweaters, and your smart observations. And what a beautiful photo of the two of you!

  • Good to see you both here – my favorite Marie Kondo take off, if you haven’t seen it –

    • L’ingOL here! Yes, thank you for this link.

      • Oh, and the sweater looks great, Kay. I wish I had one just like it.

    • Mary Lou, THANK YOU. I hadn’t seen it. I roared out loud. Now questioning the whole project…..I need a single smooth stone that reminds me of my mother!

  • Nostalgia and redemption. Great way to start the day.

  • I was fine until “my hand to Elizabeth Zimmermann”—-I’m dying. Adding to everyday parlance starting…now!

  • Hi Ladies! xoxoxo from Woolworks, Baltimore. You KNOW we have the perfect meeting place for a Mason/Dixon meet up…..

    • Wow, thank you! I love Baltimore, let’s figure out some pretext for a get together.

  • Feeling a tad more guilty about my husbands 2012 Xmas gift now! Still needs 1 1/2 sleeves.

    • My intention was to make you feel less guilty!

  • I’ve so missed your blog! It always makes me smile or laugh out loud!

  • It’s like you are peeking into my house – which could use a major clean out, and which has a UFO in Rowan Felted Tweed that just needs to be seamed and has been in that condition since 2003, not because I didn’t like how it turned out, but because the seaming just was more than I wanted to take on. This entry is clearly a cosmic signal: it’s time! Well, time to seam the sweater, I’m not taking on a clean out today!

  • Love your books.

  • I’m so impressed that Ann wears the same size as she did in 2003. I can’t say that.

    • I guess I must have been counting on Ann to stay the same size! Imagine my guilt if she hadn’t.

  • So happy you guys are back blogging! There has been a definitive lack of talk about Rowan magazine on the internets. You two are just the ones to be the driving force behind a knit-a-long of Roam from Rowan 40 (

    • At this rate, I probably won’t get to Rowan 40 until 2035!

  • So you can finish a project started in 2003! There’s no statute of limitations? Who knew?

    • You know, now that you say that, I think that was part of my psychological block with this project: it just felt like too much time has passed, that it was somehow ridiculous to pick it up and finish it.

  • Love your blog. Look forward to seeing more.

  • So glad to have your blog back! Feeling more hopeful about my ten UFOs !!

  • Does anyone know if the “Olive” pattern can still be purchased? Or does anyone have a Rowan 26 available for sale?

    • There is some chance that the pattern is available on the Rowan website. I got a lot of my old Rowan magazines on eBay, including this one.

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  • Love you gals… glad you’re back!!!! 🙂

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  • Thank you!

  • At knitter after my own heart. My longest sweater on the needles was 5 years, and I started knitting it for my 4-year-old daughter. Luckily, I hadn’t done a gauge swatch and it was way off so it actually fitted her 5 years later. One of the rare instances where not doing a gauge swatch works to your advantage. (I won’t even mention the baby blanket that was finished when the babies were 14.)

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  • YES!!

  • Every sweater can be a sweet story. Thanks

  • I’m SO glad you two are back! Is that an Alabama Chanin jacket? Would love to know more about it and the other hand- stitching you two have been up to.

    • Yes, it is! It’s unembellished, 2 layers of the lightweight jersey.

      Stay tuned, we have a lot of Alabama Chanin talk ahead. Running stitch is the new knitting. Well almost.

  • Wishing all recent photos of myself could be retroactively dreamscaped.

    • Just pop ’em into Camera+ app and you’re good, Lu, that’s what I do!

      • Liz! I meant Liz!

  • So glad you two are back blogging. Best blog in the knitting world, hands down. Hell, the whole world! Thanks Ladies.

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! [blushing emojis]

  • I love this story because I also had a sweater started about over 6 years ago. Who knows? But I got tired of the many multi colored cotton strands and endless stockinette. I pulled it out and finished the parts this year but now have it tucked away again, I say till after Christmas but we’ll see. Needs ends woven, sleeves sewn in and a neckline picked up and a good soak. I’m not the same size as all those years ago but it’s a boxy sweater. Here’s hoping! By the way, my sweater was a Drops kit bought at Stitches West 12 years ago. I lost the pattern but Drops has all of its patterns free on their website, including this oldie goldy.

  • I have a bunch of felted tweed yarn somewhere, maybe I need to make a sweater…thanks for the inspiration.

    • It’s such a perfect yarn for a lightweight yet substantial sweater. So glad they still make it.

  • Missed you gals, glad you’re back!

  • You’re back! So glad to see and read you both.

  • I feel as excited as my dog when I come home that you’re back!

    • This may be the biggest compliment ever, Jennifer, based on my Olive’s raptures when her people return home. Thank you!

  • What a great story! And the sweater looks so dreamy and stylish!

  • So good to hear you’re back!

  • Thrilled to see you blogging again! In our parallel universes I, too, have been sending kids off to college and all that entails, but definitely not knitting and stitching as much as you have managed. You both remain an inspiration. Keep it coming.

  • What a great story! Love the sweater, the photos, and the blog.

  • So glad to see the blog! The olives! Ann, your shoes/boots, the best. What are they? My Rowan loving self needs to know!

    • I am laughing because I must have internalized the gorgeous Rowan model back in 2003, in particular her shoes! I had to look to see what brand these shoes are. They are from the Sundance catalog at least 10 years ago, brand is Paraboot. Next up: need ankle-length tweed skirt.

  • I missed the blog. Glad you’re back!

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  • Welcome back! I have been following you on instagram but it’s not the same. I’m also Kondoizing and, therefore, knitting the Rowan tweed in my stash. It feels very grown up.

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  • Oh my gosh, I’ve missed you all. So glad you’re back.

  • So happy to discover you two again. Looking forward to reading your blog regularly!

  • You are too much, Kay! Did Ann know you were coming? I already Instagram you; will you be posting about blog updates over there?

  • In honor of your return, I decided to read the blog from the beginning, including comments. 2003 was indeed a great year. Last night I caught myself laughing and telling my dog that I knew how Olive got her name, and the story of the first dishrag….I’ve made it to 2004, tearing up this morning over a Barbie cardigan. Your blog is like a great book!!

  • Yay! I saw a post on FB from my friend Carolyn Hall, and I was so glad to see that y’all are blogging again.

  • I’d like to receive the newsletter and new posts.

  • It has been too long—I’m glad you are back!

  • This gives me hope that maybe I’ll find an almost-finished sweater while Kondo-ing my yarn/book room this week!

  • love the lipstick

  • Am I doing this right?

  • Very impressed by the finished sweater, the charming collar and the casual mention of a crochet edging. I plan to finish a UFO from way back myself, but I worry that I have slightly stretched in other unintended ways since then.

  • I follow you both for the knitting, and consider the KonMari evangelism a bonus. My stash is next on my list to KonMari. I know I won’t find anything as glorious as Felted Tweed sweater parts, but I know I’ll find something!

  • I’m so happy to see that you are posting again. I really enjoyed this post. It gives me hope that I may go back and finish some of my old wipe too.

  • I seem to have a new habit – surreptitiously reading Kay and Ann on my phone during meetings. Twice in one week now, I had to work at keeping a straight face, or have my co-workers realize I wasn’t just doing a quick email check during a meeting! So glad y’all are back!

  • Missed you guys!

  • Impressive. All of it. The finding the two collars, the finishing it, the way Ann is the same #$%^&*ing size….and teh noir Olive on Olive (in)action shot.

  • Something in me loves a Peter Pan collar. . .but what’s with that name? It should be called the ‘schoolgirl uniform’ collar (and probably is in Japan). Peter Pan wears something he borrowed from Errol Flynn in Robin Hood.
    So relieved you two are at it again. I really needed the boost. Every horizontal surface here at Grey Gardens is covered with WIPS. Am wondering if that book you’ve turned your soul over to has any tips for getting several years’ worth of dust out of about two hundred unattached Beekeeper’s blanket poofs?

  • So happy to see theses posts here. As long as you’re back, ahem, how about a new book or three? Fiction! Knitting! How about fictional knitting books, like fishing tales: I once knit a sweater SO BIG!
    I’m having trouble with KonMari, but because of you two I’m a 10 pound loser AND when things aren’t crazy I get 8 hours of sleep a night. Maybe I’ll finish my EasyPeasy sweater then KonMari it the heck out of here.
    Welcome back, dear women.

  • SO very happy to see you again! I will be in Rhinebeck and will definitely stop by and say hello again!

  • So nice to see you back blogging and what a great sweater!

  • So glad you are back. I hope with out too much of a gap again. I recently knit a log cabin out of sock yarn to use up left overs. Of course the strips got to be too long for my remainders so I had to get MORE sock yarn. It was very bright and lovely. I promptly gave it to a new baby. This was the right thing to do because when I went to visit the new baby she was using the baby blanket (much simpler than the log cabin) that I knit for her last baby. This I took to be sign that her mother is the proper person to give knitted things to.

  • Welcome Back!

  • Welcome back!!

  • I love a happy ending.

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  • It is awesome that Ann is the same size she was then.

  • The cardigan is your friendship personified. How wonderful!

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