Christmas Sweater

When my first husband, Mark, went to Bible College, and worked, and worked some more, I worked at the college as a secretary, and had such fun with the other four secretaries that worked in the office with me.  They were the ones that refused to  bake me a birthday cake, but gave me the best birthday party ever.  During the long, cold Colorado nights while Mark worked, my neighbor, Lois, labored to teach me how to knit.  And finally I became pretty good.  One of my first successes was this sweater, which now is all stretched out of shape and pilled with age.  I keep it as a reminder of those days.

sweater 1

I think I wore this sweater on my birthday.  The other four ladies in the office said, “Make us a sweater for Christmas, Marsha.”  Since my birthday is November 7th, I knew THAT was an impossibility for newbie knitter me.  BUT they kept after me, “Have you started our sweaters yet, Marsha.”  “I want a pink one.”  “I want a yellow one.”   And on and on it went until Christmas.

So I came with a solution.  I DID knit a sweater – ONE sweater for all of them.  I got it done, too.  Well, all but sewing it together.  I gave one of them a beautifully packed arm, another one got the second arm, one got the front, and the last one got the back!  Were they every surprised when they opened their Christmas presents!   And I laughed out loud!!!

The anti-climax of that story was that I had to knit three more sweaters before my husband graduated in May.  I’ll tell you, I was so busy!!!  But all four women got their sweaters.  Then Harriette in the business office said, “I’d just like a vest, Marsha”  So I made her a vest.  Then Dorothy in the library said, “I’d like a sweater like your pink one.”  So I made her a pink sweater which was a much more complicated pattern.   I finished those after we had moved to California to take our pastorate, along with a cardigan sweater made from the beautiful Australian yarn that my friend Janet brought me back from her trip.  Finally my patient husband, Mark, said, “You’ve never made me a sweater.”  He wanted an Irish knit sweater which would have been beautiful.  I got the front, back, and one sleeve done, and put the button holes on the wrong side.  After that I never knitted again until two years ago.  And I’ve never made another sweater.

Would you have?

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Lisa Winkler's grandson
Lisa Winkler’s grandson

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Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

50 thoughts on “Christmas Sweater”

  1. I’ve been waiting for this story all day!! I think that blue sweater, or jumper as we say here in Australia, is pretty amazing for a first effort and I can see why everyone wanted you to make them one. I love how you solved the problem ha ha!! Served them right… And poor Mark never got his sweater either.


    1. I still have the pieces. I may have lost one of them, and I’m not sure I’d have enough yarn anyway, but he passed away 18 years ago, and he was tiny, so it wouldn’t fit any other adult even it I did finish it. I was very sad though not to finish it.


        1. Thank you. It was a long time ago, but he was only 47, and very ill. Obviously, or he wouldn’t have passed away. He was a pastor, and as such did a lot of funerals for other people. I was with my two best friends and their husbands in the mortuary to make the arrangements. The mortician came in and sat down, and we all just sat looking at each other for a while. He finally said, “Well, we’re just waiting for Mr Alvord to show up.” I said something stupid like, “I don’t think he’s going to be able to make it today.” He was pretty embarrassed, but it eased the sorrow and the tension.


  2. Yesterday I asked for a knitted hat
    I hope you haven’t started
    Would you change my order now
    Oh please be kind and big hearted

    A sweater warm out of baby blue yarn
    Will keep me warm and cozy
    And while your at it a scarf too
    To wrap around my cheeks so rosy

    (Cash on Delivery)


  3. Oh, my, that sweater is beautiful!!! You underrate yourself, you are obviously an expert. You are motivating me to try again. Do you think I need to go to a class or can I teach myself from lessons on the internet and demonstrations on video? I’d love to make a slouchy, over-sized black hat. I’ve shopped for one for several years, and can’t find one big enough and slouchy enough. If I could MAKE it, that would be awesome! Maybe after Christmas I’ll give it a try……


    1. Just a straight knit or pearl, no problem, you could so that. Any stitches that you haven’t done, to me it’s nice to have a human close by. However I started knitting long before the tutorials on the internet. I had to relearn how to cast on stitches – that’s how long it had been! I found a great tutorial online, and that’s how I relearned. I don’t always know the names or abbreviations for the stitches, so real people have helped me with that. I’ll be glad to help if I can. PS I finally read your name somewhere in my extensive wanderings last night. Is it ok to use it???? 🙂


  4. That sweater looks so warm and snuggly. You’ve reminded me of my gran who could knit Fairisle and Aran faster than I could blink. She supplemented her pension with her knitting, and even when she was in her 90’s and in a ‘home for the bewildered’, all she wanted was a few balls of wool and a pair of needles. She would knit, dropping stitches all over the place, and the carers would unravel it and wind up the balls again, so she could knit some more. Bless her soul. 😀


    1. How sweet! It’s amazing what we remember even when we can’t remember! No wonder you look so young if your grandma lived into her 90’s, You’re still just a kid in AD years. My great-grandma lived to be minutes from her 90th birthday, but she was the longest-lived of the women in my family. The rest just made it into their 80s, and did no knitting, but were busy doing other things. My mon played bridge every week until she her neck was so weak that she couldn’t hold her head up. I knew that was a bad sign – no bridge. She died 2 weeks after that. Her body gave out long before her mind was ready to go. Me – I’ll probably be dropping stitches, but hopefully, like YOUR grandma, I’ll be in my 90s!!! 🙂


  5. I crochet, and know that feeling; fortunately for me, I do one stitch, baby blankets my usual fare. But what a clever way to heed all those calls in the interim!

    And thanks so much for following my blog. 🙂


  6. Thanks so much for the pick! I’m honored! I love your sweater- that seems very difficult for a first project. Your story about the rest of the “gifts” is hilarious. Best for a happy, joyous holiday season!


    1. You would have!! Anyone who can go around wearing a white towel around her head has to have a great sense of humor!!! I loved that picture. I will carry it around in my brain forever!!! hahaha I’ll make you a nice hat! 🙂 Marsha


      1. In that case the deal is off. I should be about…umm!…aahh!…… 36 years old give or take, if it takes 16 years to knit. If I had to choose a colour it would definitely be Ocean on a Mountain Top, my favourite colour, in Silk, not Matt or Vynal please.


          1. By this Christmas. Yes ? Delivered to my chimney by Rudolph’s handler. The one that climbs up and down chimneys and never has a speck of soot on him !


        1. Now, you’re more likely to get that sooner, Ralph. One ocean coming right up. Let’s see, would you prefer California Pacific Ocean blue, Hawaii Pacific turquoise, Atlantic ocean green, or an ocean I’ve never seen? I just want to make sure I get your order correct. Marsha 🙂


      2. They are all so wonderful. I was thinking more of the Ocean around Antarctica, a pure blue with speckles of black. I like penguins !! But I will let you choose as ladies have more of an eye for colour 😉


        1. Seriously, Ralph? Who fed you such sexist rubbish about the function of color in the minds of men? You are clearly stepping on the toes of all the great male fashion designers, decorators, artists, car designers and painters and myriads of other men with an expert eye for color here . Michelangelo will be turning over, withdrawing the hand of God here in a moment. Nonetheless, silky, piercing blue, speckled with stark black, hold the white for your gift it is. It does sound pristinely lovely, bitingly intense, and profoundly fathomless. Coming right up. 🙂 Marsha


      3. Fantastic !! I will go with that colour Marsha. Sexist rubbish ?? Did you know that behind every great man is a woman. That’s why I’m not great 😉 Michelangelo, known by his close friends as Mickey, had a woman standing behind him when he painted, who always said ” Move that chair over there,…….no…….over here. I liked it where it was !! And that colour should be more blended and bluer. I have a friend down the road who will Feng Shui this painting for you dear Mickey.” That’s why he was so great 😉


        1. hahaha I don’t think so Ralph!!! He was up on a scaffold 20 hours a day, lying in one position on his back, with his arms extended above his head. The other four hours he slept or ate. Have you ever read or seen the movie The Agony and Ecstasy? Great book, one of my all time favorites. I read it before taking a trip to Italy. But hold onto that illusion, Ralph. Besides you’re great enough already. All you need is your own tv show, or maybe audition for Spain’s Got Talent. Talk to Simon Cowell, he’s suffering from fallen ratings in London right now, maybe your could help him revive them with your sharp wit. Marsha 🙂


        1. Bye, bye Ralph. Thanks for spending so much time chatting away into the evening hours. It’s always fun to visit with you. Don’t stand under any chandeliers! You’re always welcome back any time. 🙂 Marsha Lee


  7. Great story Marsha. I can remember being told that never knit a jumper for a boyfriend or you will break up, the second really serious relationship I had, I knitted him a jumper, and we broke up. The next time I knitted a jumper for a partner he was my husband, and I knitted that jumper about 22 years ago, I still have the jumper and the husband.


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