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Knit Your Life: The Swerve

Dear Kay,
The trick with a project called Knit Your Life is not to get too literal about it. Not every twist and turn means something here, though there’s one highly symbolic section I am calling The Seventies. Nuff said.
It did occur to me, as I worked along, that I needed somehow to mark the truly life-altering moments in life. They happen to us all. There are times when life feels like it has screeched or groaned or crashed to a halt. Divorce, depression, illness, death. Things are not the same, period.
You can see here where I tried to create a halt, a place in this pullover where the cables simply stopped:
It didn’t look right, for one thing. The knitter in me knew the all-purl rows were a different gauge, warbly. More important, this isn’t what really happens during life. As long as we’re breathing, we are continuing. So I ripped out those empty purl rows and went with a wholesale swerve:
All the cables slide to the side, row by row, everything lurching out of its normal path.
The swerve messes up everything, but there comes a time when the swerving stops, and you realize that you’re still here. Even if everything is off kilter and the original pattern doesn’t work anymore, there’s nothing to do but to keep on keeping on.



  1. Amen, Sister!

  2. Perfect metaphor expressed in cables. Realistic yet still life affirming. You nailed it.

  3. Yup. The swerve. We all have that moment. Or those moments. Nicely realized.

  4. Loving your process for this!

  5. I like it. It feels right.

  6. The past year of my life has been a swerve. I love your interpretation.

  7. So beautiful, and so beautifully written.

  8. The swerve says it. Perfect graphic representation.

  9. Love this – it’s perfect!

  10. I am deeply moved by this. You created a way to record a response to changes in circumstance similar to the way trees do it. You are a knit artist. Also, you made me cry.

  11. Ann, thank you.

  12. I especially like that not all the cables swerve back to where they were before. Some are roughly in the same place, some aren’t going back. Well-representative for all of our lives – thank you for sharing.

  13. Quin’s observation, “…similar to the way trees do it.” brought me to tears.
    Ann, you’ve created a Life Tree.

  14. This sweater just stuns me with its creativity and its poetry. Just wow.

  15. Interesting how all the difficult times can end up creating a beautiful life.

  16. Brilliant!!!!

  17. Perfect! I love it!

  18. “A wholesale swerve.” Excellent, both as a life metaphor and a design element! Love it!

  19. Swerve is brilliant. Quinn is brilliant.
    Is it wrong to say that I like this better than anything on the show? I am biased, after all.
    xoxoxoxoxoxox Kay

  20. Before I saw the swerves, I was wondering how your cables would handle my favorite metaphor for the scary, brutal, and/or depressing bumps in life: a sharp left turn into the Twilight Zone. I may have to play this idea, some yarn, and some needles. . .;-)!

  21. I can’t tell you how much I love this. What a wonderful piece of conceptual art! (That you’re getting lovely sweater out of this, too, is just gravy.)

  22. In the life of chromosomes, there is a phase of mitosis and meiosis called metaphase. This section looks just like metaphase. But you knew that. Good work.

  23. You know this is brilliant, don’t you? I love it. And, like everything else in life, it’s going to look fabulous with jeans. Just a suggestion, but would you consider over-dyeing it when you’re done? Even if you don’t actually do it, considering it could be part of the fun/angst of it as a “life” project.

  24. Just wonderful. I think the swerves look fab!

  25. Ditto all of the above! (except, i think that actually dying it would alter the basic “reality”).
    You’ve got another hit on your hands Ann.
    Knit on!

  26. I love this. The metaphors, the creation. I want to try this myself, not in a sweater form but a scarf or simple shawl. It is brilliant. Thank you.

  27. This reminds me of the old quilts Grandma made. She could look at the pieces of old clothes and tell stories of the time and person. Very thoughtful.

  28. I think this is my all time favorite knit~I just love it. You and it are truly gorgous!

  29. Love “The Swerve” The initial iteration reminded me of a random cable sweater that you had knit in a child’s size some years ago.

  30. Love “The Swerve” The initial iteration reminded me of a random cable sweater that you had knit in a child’s size some years ago.

  31. Love it!! Ann, you are a genius.

  32. This really resonates with me.

  33. I’m going through a rough patch right now and your sweater made me cry. I love it. Thank you.


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