A Sweater So Nice I Knit it Twice

By Kay Gardiner
January 30, 2018

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  • I Love the different sleeve color it’s a wonderful design element!

  • I agree that the darker shade for the sleeves is a nice design element!

    Your apartment fire is eerily similar to a condo fire in my building a number of years ago. Same M.O. — elderly resident, her unit gutted, no one hurt, fire contained to just her unit thanks to vintage building construction. And weeks of horrific wet smoke stink despite the jumbo industrial-sized fans everywhere. I was very fortunate in that as soon as the building was deemed safe and I got back in side, Despite it being winter, I flung all my windows open and started fans to suck good air in, and for the most part had a smoke-stink-free condo. Here’s hoping your building is de-stinked ASAP!

    Oh and the first thing I did after evacuating the building? Stood across the street, took a photo, and posted it on social media.

    • It was such an Interesting Event. We were all standing there taking pictures. One sobering sight, though, was that the FDNY had a separate van stocked with giant urns labeled Water and Gatorade. 25 ladder companies, and they were going to be there for a while.

  • I agree, (although not as articulately) the sleeve color is a very cool element.

  • I agree about the lovely sleeve color and the need for January to Just. End. We had 3 days of record-breaking cold, followed by 9 days of broken pipes/waiting for the plumber/weird water, plus I ran my school’s book fair plus I’m on day 11 of the worst cold I’ve ever had. I’m ready for some normal craziness. Bring on Mardi Gras!

    • P.S. Really sorry about the icky smell…

    • We’re twinning! Bring on February, please.

  • So glad you and dogs are OK, but what about your stash?

    I have that Chast cartoon laminated and posted on the fridge to cheer us through till Thursday which I have decided is the first day of spring.

    • I got off very easily in the Smell department; the stash, which is modest, smells fine.

  • I am relieved to hear that the fire was not any worse and that no one was injured. I think there is nothing wrong with knitting the same pattern more than once. I’ve used the same basic pullover pattern three times already (fourth is on the needles). Why not? I love the fit, the crew neck collar and the set in sleeves. It’s a great way to highlight the hand dyed yarn I can’t stop buying.

  • Ooh, I like that sleeve of a different but similar color!! Sorry about the smell…

  • Being a big fan of all colors; I love the sleeves!

    • Running out of yarn is just a color opportunity when you think about it.

  • I have three Relax tops. Knitting a pattern more than once is a joy for me. When you have one template, you know exactly how to tweak the next one. I have learned so much by doing this! And those three sweaters are still my most worn and beloved FOs. BTW, I think your sleeves of a different tone, are charming.

    • Maybe by the third one I will have the courage to stripe! I love your striped version.

  • Love the two colors, gives me ideas! What is the pattern for the blanket in the picture?

    • The blanket is a big experiment in overscale mitered squares + log cabin. Large but not quite finished. Started it around 10 years ago.

      • Thank you, may experiment a bit on my own 😉

  • My favorite holiday is Groundhog Day. Why? Because February 2 means January is behind us March is next and there is hope that spring is within reach.

    • Yes, I agree! People grumble about February, but I’ve always been cheered by the fact that it’s a short month, and it’s a sign that Spring is right around the corner! Oh, and the only revision I would make to Chast’s anti-Advent calendar is to allocate more days to “flu.” Mine (in December) lingered for weeks!

    • Also, Groundhog Day does not require purchasing gifts or cooking anything special. Perfect holiday!

  • There have been many projects I’ve started on thinking, “Oh, this is great! For my next version of this, I’ll …” I’ve never felt that way after finishing. I’ve always been ready to move on to something else.

    • Grr – I meant to add that I’m glad all’s well with the fire & that no one was hurt. That’s scary.

  • We loved that NYer cover as well.

    I hope someone knitterly found your skein on the bus … or someone in the MTA depot passed it on to a knitter.

    • p.s. – glad your apt building (though smelly) is fine, ditto everyone who lives there. Scary. When my (late) father started putting strange things in the microwave, we knew we couldn’t leave him alone anymore.
      Meanwhile, my small town has made NPR news due to several immigrants being given sanctuary in a local church … after some were taken by ICE. Sigh.

      • What is the world coming to?

        It’s funny/sad to think of the microwave as the canary in the coal mine, but I think it will serve that purpose in my house as well. Every once in a while I put a carton of milk in there, or microwave something on Tuesday and forget about it until I want to microwave something else on Wednesday.

  • I have at least seven Mondo Cable pullovers, and I’ve lost count of all the Madeline Basics that I’ve knit. When something’s good, I want it in every color.

  • I usually knit a pattern at least twice, so I completely understand. Esopus is one of my favorite yarns ever and I so wish that I had stocked up on it. If only Jill could get it again!

    • The thing about Jill is that whatever comes after Esopus will be just as good. (That’s how I’m dealing with my Esopus grief.)

  • Glad all is okay! To help with the smoky odor, simmer some cinnamon sticks. Works like a charm–even gets the post-latke party smell out of the house. Which gets old after 4 days!

  • The burning question (sorry, couldn’t resist!) I have is- did the smoke alarms in the building
    go off? What about in your apartment? I have one in my kitchen that goes off more time than I care to admit… And another question is, did you grab any knitting? So glad that no one was harmed and that you were able to get your neighbors dog.

    • Yes the alarms worked! But it took a while in my apartment because by law the smoke alarms are in the bedroom hallway and the kitchen, not the living room where the smoke came in initially.

  • Love the darker color!
    Sorry about the smell. I have it on Good Authority that renting an air ionizer will kill that odor. My sister-in-law used one and she swears by it. It drew the odor out of everything, including a bowl of potpourri.

  • Not surprised you like Roz. Seems like you two are kindred spirits from your writing and her cartoons. Loved the video. Thanks for including it with your accounting of an unnerving event for all. And by the way, love that you did not panic and were kind (and brave) enough to get your neighbors dog.

  • So glad to hear no one was hurt, and that all is well (despite the smell) at your building. If I needed to scoop up furries here, the old girl would be fine (she’s 16 and mostly sleeps), but the cats would surely run to the most inaccessible place in the basement and hunker down. I love this sweater, and am now going to look it up. As for repeating a pattern, I have a few hats I’ve made from Tuesday Night Cowl (I know, I just cinched the top in with some yarn, and it makes a hat I can wear in public, unlike most others, and a few scarves and shawls. Like you, I do love knowing I am going to be happy with the way it turns out.

  • So good that you were at home to rescue Olive and your neighbor-dog! And how fortunate that no one was hurt. There’s much to be grateful for, but I’m with Nancy, above: how’s your stash? If it’s too smoky, you might need to replace some yarns…..
    I’m all for knitting the same great pattern twice. If you know you love the finished garment, why not? I’m currently making a third Dangling Conversation ( oh no – does that mean I’m repeating the same story??)

    And I think we’ve all done a ribbing or stripe of another color to stretch out a too short supply: yours works very well.

    Feel better!

  • I’m so glad you and your guest and Olive and Molly are safe! We had a house fire several years ago. It was scary.

    The smoke-smell remover that works best for us are net bags full of zeolite gravel, like these Gonzo Odor Eliminators:
    We bagged stuff (yarn, FOs, pillows, curtains, shoes) in big resealable storage bags with the zeolites in the bag, and waited. Worked way better than anything else, and we tried just about everything known to the internets.

    On a larger, room-size scale, air cleaners that generate ozone also work. They have to be the ozone-generating type or they won’t work on that awful smoke smell. You can rent big ones.

    The zeolite bags also are effective against dead-mouse-in-closet-wall odor.

    • Grateful for your hard-earned expertise, Susan. Ozone machine is on its way. I don’t think the smell has penetrated textiles, yarn, etc. I think what’s happening is that it’s still wafting in via the vent system in the building, as it comes and goes.

  • I’m the weird girl who loves January. I set no deadlines in January. I can sit under blankets and knit and binge-watch shows in January. I can bake cookies and eat them late at night in January. My office gives MLK day off, so there’s a three-day-weekend (last one until Memorial Day). I do go to work and church and all the rest of it, but otherwise it’s a relaxing, no expectations month. Add in a snow day or two, and all is well. Sadly, February is looming, along with all of the things that I didn’t do in January…

    • Here,here! I’m with you, January is about my favorite month. I think it’s an introvert thing…..

    • Me too! I love winter and January is a nice, cozy month.

  • Love the sleeve colors.
    Grateful no one was hurt in fire. Glad you and dogs are all o k.

  • So glad you made it. And the housebound little old lady made it. And Olive ade it. When the smell bothers you, just remind yourself that you and Olive are still alive – and try simmering some stick cinnamon in a pan of water on the stove. Maybe buy some window fans, which will ventilate your place. I was quite cheered by your mention of the vintage construction being fireproof, as I live in one of those buildings myself.

    January seems to have gone on for three or four months now.

    • The “vintage” fireproofing was stunningly effective. After seeing videos of the fire I cannot believe that it didn’t burn through walls to neighboring apartments. It did blow out windows in the apartment above it, which is kind of shocking. And it was above the awning over the entrance so that went up like a kite.

      • WOW! That’s scary!

  • Thank you for the Roz Chast video. I love that her office is a bit like mine-this and that, nothing quite matches. I am also a “sweaterepeater”. If it fits why not do it again in a whole new color?

  • I felt the same with that NYer cover! I’m surprised the smoke filled so much of your building. It must have been a big fire. So glad you, the guest and 2 dogs made it out! Dogs are so smart. Olive is so smart, she knew you needed to be in charge.

    I live in a 1906 fireproof building. Many years ago there was a fire in the apt above mine. Long story short the firemen (yes, all men) told us to stay in the apt. As they did with the next door neighbor. Later they told us when its a contained fire in these buildings they keep people in their apts because the buildings are so well fireproofed. He said there’s between 6-12″ of sand bet each floor. 20 years after that fire we got a little water damage in our ceiling.

    Fire is another ready to build up a wool stash — since it’s not flammable!

    Btw, did you at one time not knit wool?

    PS I’m inteigued you live in a 1920 building given the windows you have. Was it remodeled at some point? Mine was “chopped up” in the 40s, after The War.


  • Your post reminded me of a generous gift of Esopus from two years ago. I love the yarn but I just can’t see how Steel Cut Oats fits in with the other reddish colors (Vamp, Those Soles, Thai Iced Tea, Mrs Robinson). Had planned to knit Fort Tryon, but for the life of me I can’t see where to put the discordant color. Any suggestions?

  • Thanks so much for Roz Chast link. It was a delight.
    And I’m very grateful you were okay in the fire.

  • I’m glad you and Roz made it out safely. I assume the Big Floral Damask Thing had already left to chase pigeons in the park…;)

    • Oops — OLIVE, not Roz!

  • My sister went to Iceland, summer before last, and brought back enough Lettlopi (and a pattern book I had researched) for 2 sweaters. This past October I finally got into the groove to make the sweaters. One for her, made first, since she waited so (mostly) patiently for her souvenir sweater. By making that first Mora sweater I learned a lot about the yarn and the pattern. I’ve been cranking away at mine, and hope it will be done in time to wear this winter. Once I find a pattern I like, I’m happy to make it again. That said, there are some patterns that are super cute, but the execution just kills me. I made a Wild Vanilla for my niece years ago. She loved it and asked for another when she outgrew the first. I tried, but I just could not get into the groove. And it really is an adorable end product–I just don’t enjoy the knitting.

  • Blackberries and raspberries! Love this.

  • Thank goodness no one was hurt and the damage was (relatively) minimal! I look forward to our New Yorkers, if only to have a comforting view of Mr. T. Surprised this month – being what it is – didn’t have him on the cover – unless of course that’s him dressed up as a snowman.. Your sweater is gorgeous!

    • Didn’t you love that genius Calvin Trillin’s piece in the Roz Chast issue?

  • So glad that no one was injured in the fire, and that the wet smoke smell isn’t lingering as an overwhelming miasma, and that Molly and Olive were both Very Good Dogs. Cookies all around, I hope. I know I would have eaten many cookies myself if there had been a fire under my roof. Heck, I’d still be eating cookies. Life is short.
    But not too short for knitting a happymaking pattern over and over again! Why the heck not? Handknit or other…several years ago I bought the same shoe in three colors (black, blue, and red) and was genuinely disappointed that the store was out of green. I feel a little disappointed now, just writing about it. It was a really pretty green.
    The video visit to Roz Chast’s home was a treat 🙂

  • I love the sleeve color, and am so relieved the fire stayed away from you! As I read, I got a little worried that you were going to tell us that you were posting this from a Best Western or something – glad I was wrong!

  • Kay, so glad to know that you, Olive, Molly, and your neighbors are alright and that your building is in one piece! Your sweater is lovely, and the sleeves are great.

    With regard to knitting the same pattern more than once it has been noted that you have knit a good number of Honey Cowls. I have only knit two, and they were the shortist version. I would like to knit the longer version but the amount of stitches to cast on intimidates me. Still, I have some yarn that I purchased especially, and I’m getting up the gumption to do it (maybe even by next January…) Shall we put it on the calendar?

    BTW, how is the cat since the fire?

  • I’m quite late to the party here, but I just wanted to say I’m so glad you, your house guests, and the two dogs got out okay. Fires are scary–years ago my house caught fire when my family was home one quiet Sunday evening. We all got out, cats and dog included, but the house was unlivable for months and it was an experience I’ll never forget. Amazing how well those old apartment buildings are constructed!

  • Love the new sleeve color and am happy to know others push ahead not quite sure they have enough yarn, but have faith in providence nonetheless. Even though I’m not a knitter, I love your site and blog posts (I crochet).