Finally Finished

I started this sweater back in February.  We were heading to Florida and it was to be my vacation knitting.  As I worked on it, I began to worry about having enough yarn.  The original pattern called for about 900 yards  I had 1200 yards – as I knew my gauge was off.  I was also using Rowan denim, which shrinks like a pair of jeans, so I also needed to allow extra for that.  By the last few days of the trip, I knew I wasn’t going to have enough yarn, but that was what I had with to work on, so I kept knitting.  By this time I almost had the yoke finished.

When I got home, I called around (and e-mailed) looking for the dye-lot that I needed.  By this time, the yarn had been sitting in my stash a couple of years.  I had no luck finding the exact dye-lot.  I decided to order the numbers that were the closest, in hopes that they would be close enough.  Three different times I did this.  None of them were the same color – they were all too dark.

Don’t call me crazy yet – you haven’t heard the rest of the story.

Next, I contacted my friend Maria to see if she had any in her stash.  Of course she did, but the ends of the skeins had all faded.

Hmmm . . . faded?    Now that’s an idea!

All of my skeins were too dark and I wasn’t ready to give up on my sweater yet.  I unwound the skeins and set them in the window sill.  Every few days I turned them over to keep the fading as even as possible.  After a week or so, I rewound the skein and knit a little to test the color.  It was still too dark, but getting closer.  I let it go another couple of weeks.  I did this with all four extra skeins.  I got questions and teasing from visitors who noticed our window decorations.  But it was all worth it – I had the yarn to finish my sweater.

Or so I thought.

Did I mention that this was  long post?

Did I mention that I usually knit in the car?

I was working on the ribbing (in the car) when Joel dropped me off at the grocery store.  He then proceeded to drive through the parking lot to fill up the  car with gas.

As I came out of Cub, I noticed a long blue thread running by the door.  I did a double take, and then with horror, followed the long blue thread through the parking lot towards our car.  At this point, I started to run, gathering up the yarn as I went -  Ready to tackle any person or car that threatened to come between me and my precious yarn.  When I got to the car, I opened the door to find my sweater safe and sound, but the ball that I had been knitting with was completely unwound.  It all seemed to be in one piece, but it was no longer blue.   It was a greasy brown color.  I knew I didn’t even have a yard to spare, so I brought it home and soaked it.

That night I dreamt of our car careening through the parking lot with a wildly unrolling giant ball of yarn flying behind it, tangling around people’s legs and carts as it went.  (This would actually be kind of funny, if I wasn’t crying and chasing it through the parking lot!)

I soaked the yarn over and over and again, and by some miracle it came clean.  I was able to finish my sweater.   After all that, it is kind of a miracle that it’s finished.  A smarter person would have given up long ago.

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Call me crazy, extremely determined, crazy, obsessed, crazy, dedicated to my craft – whatever – I have a new sweater and I am going to wear it!

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Are there any other knitters or quilters out there that can identify with the measures I was willing to take to finish this project?  I hope there are – as I hope I’m not the only crazy one!

I’d love to hear about it, if you would like to comment on it or link to a blog post with your story!  I’m sure we could all use a little encouragement ;-)

You can find my Ravelry link here.

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About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
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48 Responses to Finally Finished

  1. Asiyah says:

    You’re a stronger woman than me. I would have just chucked the whole thing and forgotten about it!

  2. megsays says:

    Oh my goodness! That is so exciting. It’s such a pretty sweater, and that’s crazy that you finished after such an ordeal (and that the yarn is such a pretty blue color still.) I think I would’ve thrown down the knitting needles in frustration. Great job!

  3. JudyK says:

    With so many cables…..lots of work. I would have finished it too. You did a great job!!

  4. Crystal says:

    Oh my goodness, I wanted to laugh and cry while I was reading this post! You did a great job and the sweater looks great…now it’s time to wear it and enjoy all the toil that went in to making it, LITERALLY!

  5. Paula W. says:

    It’s a beautiful sweater! I wish I could knit as well as you do! And I admire your determination. I don’t know if I would have laughed or cried if I saw my yarn hanging out of the car door!

  6. Doris says:

    OMG, what a great story to tell. I hope you love it now that it is done! I probably would have given up after not finding the right dye lot to begin with, but having went through what you did to fade it to the correct color, then I would have persevered and did whatever I had to NOT to give in to the UFO!

  7. El says:

    You had me laughing once I read the blue yarn outside the door. . .where there’s is a will, there’s a way! While I do knit, I would be more apt to do something crazy like that with my quilting. :-)

  8. Marge says:

    That is one absolutely beautiful sweater! It is the most gorgeous color of blue I have ever seen. I don’t knit, but if I did, I can pretty much guarantee you that I would have quit at the first sign of trouble – when you couldn’t find the right dye lot for more yarn. I admire your sticktoitiveness!

  9. Elizabeth Hanson says:

    The sweater is beautifully. It certainly looks like it was worth the effort. I once drove three hours to purchase one meter of fabric for a quilt. My husband thought I had lost my mind.

  10. Peg Dahlke says:

    Heather, Thanks for the great story. I got more than one chuckle from this. I have gone to similar lengths to find fabric but can’t say that I had to wash the parking lot grease out of any of it. It was worth your efforts! Darling sweater.

  11. Anna says:

    What a story! You deserve a medal. I would have given up. But for future reference, you have inspired me. The sweater is beautiful! Great job. Hope to see Christmas pics!

  12. Kaye M. says:

    What a beautiful sweater! I’m glad you persevered! The color looks consistent to me,I hope you get to wear it alot considering all the energy that went in to making it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. rosa says:

    LOVE,LOVE.It`s abolutely wonderful!

  14. Thank you for my laugh of the day! I can imagine how you felt, each time something happened that made it look like you weren’t going to be able to finish your sweater. And yes, I would have done the same thing, and have. Needless to say some are done, some are waiting, and some may never get done. lol

  15. Ruth Anderson says:

    The only thing crazy about you is taking on a pattern with so many cable in the first place. So pretty, but cables are a pain so I avoid them whenever possible. Carter must be a good babe to leave you time to knit and quilt. Love following your pics of him..Looks just like Daddy. Bet he is proud. Ruth Anderson

  16. Carol Jacobs says:

    This is too funny. I’m taking this tomorrow night to the Intro to Norwegian Knitting class I’m taking.

  17. Shelley says:

    I can totally empathize with you. BUT, by golly .. you persevered and FINISHED it! Well done! Wear it and look *fabulous*! :-)

  18. Linda P says:

    Oh my, Heather, it’s been waaaaay too long since I’ve been here!!! I’m the knitter wanna be, but maybe not to that extent!!! I love your persistance! The sweater is beautiful. I’ve signed up for a couple of classes on Craftsy, one being a knitting course, and will start right after the first of the year!! Wish me luck!!!

  19. What a beautiful sweater. Love the color.

  20. Lyn Smith says:

    Loved reading your story. That’s dedication for you, but it did turn out beautifully. Must admit as I was reading it conjured up all sorts of pictures in my head.

  21. Carrie says:

    ROFL!!! I think I hurt myself laughing. Please know that I was laughing WITH you. I don’t knit – I’ve tried… long tangled story – but I have some passing familiarity with “stubborn” and “obsessed.”

    Your sweater is beautiful and definitely worth all the trouble, trials and fits. I think the first picture is perfect – your body language seems to be saying “so there!” Thank you for the funny story and good job on the sweater – you won!

  22. Jean Ruter says:

    I would all you tenacious, and that is a good thing! The sweater looks great, and it has so much more “character” with the story! I can just see you trekking through the parking lot imagining an unraveled sweater.

  23. kara says:

    My first paper piecing project was a really cute porcupine that I had spent HOURS on. I took it with me to my LQS to find coordinating fabric so I could make it into a pillow cover. My LQS has a pond near it filled with carp and ducks. After buying my new fabric, I walked out on the deck that goes over the pond, and started to put my porcupine block in my bag, when the wind gusted, and took my block out of my hands and dropped it smack in the middle of the pond. Not willing to lose it, I rolled up my pants, but couldn’t wade out far enough, so I proceeded to go back to the fabric shop, where I told them what had happened, and got an empty bolt cardboard to use to fish my block out. I had to wade back in, and wait until the wind pushed it closer, before I was able to grab it. I took my stinky, soaking wet block back home, and soaked it until it was clean again, then laid it out to dry. That was over two years ago, and I haven’t done a thing with it since!

  24. Bari Jo says:

    This is such a pretty sweater! Your knitting amazes me. I want to learn to do that soon! I wish I had a great story like yours – it was definitely worth it and you are not crazy! I cannot believe all you went through… and the parking lot … oh my goodness! :o)

  25. This story is too funny. I love it. I am not sure I would have been willing to persist like you did, but I really know how you feel. I have been there. This cracks me up. Your sweater turned out great, though!

  26. Marie P. says:

    That’s one beautiful and well loved sweater. – Love the new fabrics, the thankful trees are terrific and I love see your excellent photography as well as your very fun and photogenic Carter. Thanks for sharing.

  27. I have a “quilt from hell” story. Back when I was a new quilter with only a few finishes to show, I decided to make a quilt for each of my siblings. My SIL picked out a Lone Star, which was far beyond my skill set, but I decided to give it a go. I was 1/2 way finished with piecing when I hit a point that required a ton of unpicking and re-piecing. I was also pregnant, had a toddler, was working full time, trying to relocate across state in a bad economy. The whole thing got chucked in a box. 4 years later, when it was again the assigned year for that family (we rotated Christmas gift giving at that time), SIL started nagging me about the quilt. With much cursing, I got the top done and got it on the frame to hand quilt it. Then I got a horrible virus which involved severe joint pain that made holding even a pen difficult. The pain did not resolve for over 6 months. But I made myself stitch on that @#&@* quilt every day, even when I was in tears doing so.

  28. adaisygarden says:

    Just gorgeous!! Great job!

  29. Irma M. says:

    That is just too funny! But it is a beautiful sweater. Great job!

  30. Heather, loved your post! Thank you for making us all laugh with you about our yarn fiasco. I so can relate! It has been years since I knitted but I do remember dealing with the same issues with my projects as well. I love the sweater you are very good at it as well.

  31. Jan says:

    HILARIOUS!!!! No, I am sorry, I would have given up or made something different, pretty much from the get-go! I SO admire your determination~this is why you can crank out those quilts. I piddle with one for years! I am not that way about knitting, I will stick a project out, but when something goes wrong, I jump ship usually. But in the end, gorgeous sweater~you were well rewarded LOL!

  32. Chris says:

    I am sitting here laughing but also feeling the “OH NO” for you as I read the story. It could very well be a Lucille Ball sitcom! :) lol Anyway, the sweater was well worth all you went through to get it finished, its definitely very cute and looks nice on. Nice job, and yeah I would do something like that if I needed one more piece of fabric to finish a quilt. I have searched high and low for one piece to complete a project..it just has to be PERFECT! :) lol Have a great weekend.

  33. That story is hilarious and you certainly went the “extra mile” for this project, but in the end it certainly looks worth it! I love how part of the cables are vertical and part are horizontal, just beautiful!

    I’m not sure I have a story that could compete with yours, but I definitely do sit sometimes and ask myself, “Why don’t I just give up?” and “Do sane people really keep going past the point I just crossed?” It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one in this boat … thanks for sharing!

  34. Diane W says:

    How funny!!! That sounds just like my life! Im very blonde and have done some dandies. I love the sweater. I like your style of sweaters and tried to knit one you had knit, but my yarn was too dark and i couldnt see my mistakes in the cables. Will try again after i finish up about 5+ sweaters already started.

  35. Sarah says:

    Hilarious! I’m thinking you were probably 6 months pregnant at the time you were chasing a ball of unravelling wool through the car park too? It’s like slap stick comedy. Good on you though, the jumper looks great.

  36. Martha Greenly says:

    Hi Heather, First I applaud you for succeeding in finishing this sweater. I understand your sense of accomplishment. I had a similar experience with a project I had worked on for over two years.
    I was making The Great American Aran Afghan, using three colors of yarn, and a variegated yarn for the cabled border. Had plenty of yarn for the blocks, but ran into trouble with the border. I had bought one extra skein of yarn but it was hard to predict how much the border would use because it’s usually made in one color. I ran out of yarn after completing three sides. I checked every internet site including Ravelry for the yarn in the same dye lot, no luck. Then I called all the local yarn stores, who also didn’t have it. My main problem was that it had been two years since I bought the yarn. I even tried the manufacturer’s website, who carried the yarn in a different dye lot, but they wouldn’t sell it to me since I only needed one skein. I finally started calling every yarn store within 100 miles of me. I finally found one willing to order the yarn for me from the manufacturer. Once I got it, I quickly finished the afghan border and it now drapes beautifully over my couch in the living room. It was worth all the effort and every time I see it, it makes me happy.

  37. Brenda says:

    Hope you don’t mind, but I had a good chuckle. I can relate, that’s exactly what I would do!

  38. Cassandra says:

    Wow! It’s a beautiful sweater. Congrats on sticking with it and finishing. :):)

  39. A Betty says:

    It is so pretty and such a beautiful color on you that you can be sure you did the right thing! It does remind me of the time I quilted an entire quilt with small meandering, turned it over and realized my bottom tension was off. I unquilted the whole thing and requilted it. I just loved the fabric, the pattern, and the colors, so there was no choice.

  40. Janet says:

    Oh my goodness – funny story; however, I’m glad everything worked out and the sweater is absolutely beautiful. Awhile back you shared your salted nut roll bar recipe. What type of nuts did you use. Thanks!

  41. Mary Ann says:

    I think that kind of determination serves us well in other parts of life besides knitting, quilting and crafting. The sweater is lovely and this story will always make you smile when you wear it.

  42. Linda says:

    Your sweater is amazing—Oh–things have happened to me like that—that you got the yarn to the same color is something….

  43. Shari Nyles says:

    And we usually think of quilts as having stories to go with them!

  44. Joan Davis says:

    I was knitting my husband an aran sweater so complicated I had row counters and stitch markers everywhere. I was really involved in the sticth pattern repeats and row counts, so was not really paying attention until the wool was so tight I could no longer pull any from the skein. I looked to see why and there was my cat with the whole ball of yarn in her mouth. Instinctively I yelled “Cola, no!” Big mistake. I don’t know if I really scared her or if she thought she’d have to give up her prize, but she jumped from the couch, through the stair bannister and ran up the stairs……pulling my knitting off the needles and unraveling it as she went. Once I got the yarn back, that sweater sat in a bag for two years until I was calm enough to rip it back to a line number and stitch pattern repeat to continue on. This story is heartbreaking I know, but then there was the time I left my knitting basket out and the cats redecorated my living room with it. They had yarn wound around things I didn’t know they could get to……but that’s another story for another time.

  45. ColleenM says:

    Good story, gorgeous sweater!

  46. Pingback: Friday Finish | Trends and Traditions

  47. Heleen says:

    Love the story and the sweater too!!

  48. Helen Lebrett says:

    what a fantastic story: so glad you shared it!! You are certainly a determined woman, and that sweater was worth every problem you had to tackle with it!!! Beautiful sweater, and lovely knitting!!! You should be totally proud of yourself for not giving up!! Hugs from Helen in Healdsburg, Ca.

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