And you thought I was kidding!

Remember when I hinted-promised-threatened that I’d knit you a sweater? Did you think I was kidding? I wasn’t!!!

I was approached by Cari at the end of December, with a request to finish a sweater that her mother had once started. We chatted back and forth, and here I am: knitting a cardigan sweater! I can hardly believe it myself!

Fortunately, in addition to earning a little pocket money I’m also picking up a new technique: intarsia. My process knitter side is thoroughly satisfied, and my anti-product side is thrilled that the sweater will leave my house once I’m done.

I know! You’ve probably seen that dude with a pipe on Stitchy’s site at one point or another. But the way Cari’s mom was working this sweater was a bit more refined – a slim-fitting raglan with fewer buffalo. In any case, I’m in it for the knitting, not the opinion-making ;).

This project is definitely keeping me on my toes. There’s the pattern, Cari’s mom’s notes and graphs, the actual knitting she had already completed (a back and parts of two sleeves), and gauge to match…

…my response to which is BRING IT! This is an adventure! And also, a little fear and GULP!

I started with mimicking some intarsia at the bottom of the sleeves. The bottom bit was knit by Cari’s mom, and the top bit was knit by me.

I think it’s a pretty good match! I’m also certain that the yarn will block beautifully and hide many imperfections – it’s Cascade 200, soft and lovely and forgiving.

So, tell me – am I an incorrigible process knitter, or what?!?


57 thoughts on “And you thought I was kidding!

  1. Lisa

    Oh my goodness, this is exactly what I should make for my grandfather who’s a true cowboy at heart. When I was a kid, we used to sit up watching westerns and listening to country music records with him when he came to visit. This sweater would make his decade.

  2. Jen

    That’s an awesome sweater!! Your Canadian readers will notice right away that it is a Mary Maxim sweater. I grew up in Mary Maxim intarsia sweaters that my Grandma knit for my brother and me. There was a kitten sweater, a Snoopy sweater, a firetruck sweater, a ballerina sweater……all done Starlette acrylic. (I am now a yarn snob and cringe at the thought of Grandma knitting with it, but she was a die hard acrylic fan. )

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  3. Michelle

    Wow, just the challenge and the workmanship itself makes this a worthy project. Also, I am sort of a sucker for preserving history. I remember my mother made a similar sweater, except with mallard ducks, for my Dad. He wore it constantly back then!

  4. Michelle

    Wow, just the challenge and the workmanship itself makes this a worthy project. Also, I am sort of a sucker for preserving history. I remember my mother made a similar sweater, except with mallard ducks, for my Dad. He wore it constantly back then!

  5. Jomy

    I think it’s awesome!!

    And sometimes, any reason is a good reason to try something you’ve been meaning to try for a while—

    and you’re getting a lot out of it… practice in the technique, cashmoney, and something to keep your fingers busy for hours!

    Being the college student I am… I’ve found myself having made a gazillion washcloths practicing different techniques..

  6. Sarahfish

    That’s great! I *almost* did the same sort of thing for someone, but didn’t have time in the end. It was a Thunderbird sweater. Mary Maxim, of course!

    Have fun with it!

  7. Bether

    I’m doing a similar thing! My grandma died in January, and she was working on a pair of argyle socks for my grandfather. She’d finished knitting one and started the ribbing on the other, so I’ve just picked up where she left off. (Also, seamed up the first one.) I like the feeling of continuity.

  8. Sally A

    You are my new hero! I can’t even imagine tackling anything like this and, knowing your work, I know it will turn out perfectly. Can’t wait to see it.

  9. Gwen

    My mom used to own that very sweater! Here I thought it was one-of-a-kind. And she rocked that sweater, in super-scratchy wool, with her knee-high boots and hippie aesthetic.

  10. KarenK

    Oh my, that brings back memories. My Grandfather, Dad, Uncles and my two brothers all got these sweaters many years ago (early-mid 80’s I believe). All made my by grandmother, the knitter. All were different (pheasant, dairy cow, boats, trucks, etc). When she gave me all of her knitting stuff a few years ago – guess what I got? About 30 different patterns for these sweaters from Mary Maxim. They are partly funny to look at but mostly heart warming because you can see the notes that Gran made on the sweaters for different people and that is special.

    Enjoy your project, the reciepient will LOVE it. :)K

  11. TracyKM

    Now, now, I don’t want to hear any MM bashing….I live in MM land πŸ™‚ As a teen, I wore one with a big pheasant and hunting dog on the back. It was VERY heavy but very warm! I don’t know where it went, but I’m crazy enough to wear it again, LOL. Not knit it, but wear it πŸ™‚

  12. Teresa C

    So much fun! I love those MM sweaters.

    I am doing some similar knitting for a friend’s mom who had a stroke. She was in the middle of an entrelac cardigan, so I’m finishing it. I think it is also Cascade 220 or a similar wool.

  13. Gaynor

    My Dad had a Mary Maxim sweater and I was planning to reproduce it for him. Are you doing this to the pattern with the cascade 220? What was the gauge information on your pattern? I was wondering what to use to redo this sweater. Has the pattern been completely modified?


  14. Jodie

    This is definitely something I would put in the category “knitting for evil”, but I totally understand the process knitter thing. Good thing you won’t be wearing it. πŸ™‚

  15. Barbara

    My Grandmother knit Mary Maxim sweaters for everyone in the family, each family group (each one of her kids’ families) got a different design on that families sweaters (Uncle Lee’s family had horses, Aunt Lois’ family had some other animal, etc). Grandma knit about 50 of those sweaters, she knit initials into the pocket on the front. I still have mine tucked away in a box somewhere. Reading your blog today brought back good memories for me.

  16. Sue

    Very nice job. I once finished 2 quilts that a friends mom had started. It felt very good to give them something to remind them of their mom each time they saw it.

    Your knitting is spectacular…thanks for sharing.

  17. Jennifer

    Wow! What a trip down memory lane. You are a fantastic friend. I wonder what sweater will be the Buffalo Sweater in about 30-40-or is it 50 years?

  18. gigi

    ohhhhh i love the mary maxim sweater. my mom was a great one for the mary maxim knitting when i was a kid. she made some of the “tamer” designs, but i remember i really wanted one of those full on mm sweaters sooooooooo bad!

    i learned to knit with a mary maxim book – it was a very slim little book with a cartoon monkey on the cover and on every page there was a picture of this monkey knitting or purling or picking up dropped stitches (with a vacuum). i bring it to the knitting club i advise at the school where i teach and it still works

    the sweater is going to be fab-u-licious

    have fun knitting it up!

  19. Dorothy

    Coming out of lurkdom to say, Man – does that bring back memories! One of my first jobs was teaching knitting at a yarn shop in Anchorage Alaska. Every one wanted to learn to knit Mary Maxim sweaters. The only one I ever knit for our household was a Snoopy sweater for my then 2-year old, but I taught boatloads of knitters to make them!

  20. Natalie

    What an adventure! Am I a total nerd that I kinda like this sweater? Not for actual wear– I could never imagine Senor wearing this– but for it’s kitschy nostalgia? I am a nerd, I guess, but I will enjoy seeing the photos as you finish this up and send it on its way. πŸ™‚

  21. Amy

    I have a collection of these sweaters that my grandmother knit – no buffalo, but a bulldozer (my grandfather was in construction), deer, antique cars, etc. One of the first big sweaters that I knit in my life was one of these for my Dad, about 10 years after his Mom passed away. He’d always worn his as a winter coat and it was dying. So I made a new one. It wasn’t as good (I was young and stupid enough to believe that I could just dive into intasia). But he still has it.

  22. Sue F.

    Mary Maxim is still around, I get their catalog and they have reissued some of their vintage patterns. Were you given yarn from the original supply to use or did you have to try to (gulp!) match it?

  23. Laura Neal

    They still sell this pattern and there is another one that Bob Hope apparently wore that they also sell. I am not a sweater knitter so, I will stay away from that project. Good luck with it!

  24. Ruby

    Your post brought back some great memories. My mother taught me to knit when I was six. One of the projects that so inspired me to keep knitting and becoming a better knitter was the Mary Maxim sweater that she made for my father. He wore it proudly – when it was cold enough to wear. We lived in California and most of the year it was too warm. I hope you post lots of pictures when you are done. Thank you so much for the trip down a very happy memory lane.

  25. blossom

    kathy that’s hilarious! i love the cow heads!!!! i think it can be really retro!

    (i’m in CT now, maybe one day we can meet up in boston, or nyc?)

    happy v’day!

  26. Stitchy

    Mary Maxim is one of my patron saints! Who else offers you such versatility? Whether you’re feeling buffalo-ish, want to proclaim your fetish for square dancers, or craving something more along the lines of a pheasant being riddled with bullets in mid-air, Mary’s got something for you. (I recently gave Carole’s husband my pheasant sweater, for reals.)

    I commend you for continuing Mary’s good work. It looks fantastic! And seriously, Cari’s mom would be so excited that you’re finishing it. Sounds like she had already put a lot of work into it, so it’s great that it’s going to get finished.

    Also, I feel compelled to add that buffalos are not only majestic beasts, they’re delicious.

  27. Robin Ferguson

    My question is HOW DO YOU KNIT SO FAST!!!! I learned to knit last summer. I’m working on my first pair of REAL socks (have done slipper socks and felted socks last December). It is taking me forever! I read in one of your earlier blogs, “must knit faster…must knit faster…” I can really relate! But HOW!? I really love the way you blog everything. Because of your sock blogs I’ve bought Nancy Bush’s books! Any advice?

  28. Connie

    Love the sweater. I actually have been looking for the buffalo motive for my son. I have a different design that I am going to swap out the charts for. I thought these sweaters were all knit with a bulky yarn…is this one different?

  29. Amy S.

    My mom was a knitter and became disabled with Parkinson’s Disease when I was in high school. When I was pregnant with my first child I was rummaging around her old knitting bag (hoping there were a couple of stitch holders still in there I could steal)and found her last unfinished project, a baby sweater for a young cousin who was by then around 10. I finished it and my baby son wore it a couple of times, then someone put it in the washing machine (!!!) and it partly unravelled. This year my brother and his wife had a baby boy and I dug it out, fixed it again and baby Sam–my mom’s fourth grandchild–is wearing it. She doesn’t say much anymore but we can tell she appreciates it!

  30. Danica

    oh! I’ve been looking for that pattern forever!

    Let me know if you’d like to part with it when you’re done! *wink wink* (I would pay $$ of course)

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