The Knit That Saved My Life

First of all: STOP! We don’t want to cry ANYMORE. And all you nice people keep making us cry harder with all the freaking LOVE you’re sending our way. ENOUGH! Really, though, I don’t know what to say, I’m all kinds of touched. You start this blog thing because, you know, maybe you’ll talk about your knits and maybe you’ll meet some people who also like to knit and next thing you know this awful thing happens and you’ve got good vibes and thoughts and karma and hopes and prayers coming out the wazoo. I never expected it – I’m not really even sure I wanted this – but oh my god I’m so freaking grateful it hurts. ALL RIGHT. I said no more tears and I MEANT IT. NO MORE. It’s party time at this here blog – it’s coming up to the day we wait ALL YEAR for so no more. I’m going say THANK YOU from the depths of our hearts and that’s that.

Let’s talk knits.

On November 28, five days after we found out Georgie had cancer (did I mention he doesn’t have it anymore? No? Well, HE DOESN’T HAVE IT ANYMORE!!!) I became obsessed with Ariann after seeing it over at Margene’s. I bought the pattern and immediately began swatching. The next day I went and bought some yarn. Twenty days later, I’ve got this:

It’s not perfect, technically, but it’s freaking perfect. I have barely taken it off since I finished it. I LOVE THIS SWEATER. I knit it while I worried about my husband and our life together and basically everything under the sun and it calmed me down and distracted me and made me happy at a time when I was probably the least happy I’ve ever been. Happy, hell, I was scared shitless. But the knitting made me feel better.

I knit this sweater while I waited for G to get out of surgery – possibly the worst day of my life – and the sweater kept me sane when I was full of panic. Xanax schmanax. Ariann was my drug of choice.

The pattern is pretty much perfect as written because, well, Bonne Marie is a MASTER, but I did tweak it some. I made the body longer and I’m very happy with the jacket look. And I made the sleeves longer – although they turned out much longer than I intended. I turn the edges under and it looks fine and I don’t care because I love every inch of this sweater. I can pretty much guarantee that it will never be buttoned and I won’t be making the belt.

Sure I ripped it back a few times. Sure I messed up the sleeves a few times. Sure I knit more than I needed to a few times. Ask me if I care. Go ahead. Ask me.

I’ll tell you – I don’t care. Because anything that can make me feel like this at any time in my life, let alone the worst time in my life, is PERFECT in my book!

Pattern: designed by the GENIUS that is Bonne Marie Burns at ChicKnits. (I made the 43″ size – I would recommend sizing up – a lot of people have been coming up small.)
Yarn: Cascade 220, The Heathers, Color #9460 – Dune Heath (I used six skeins just about.)
Needles: Addi Turbo, US size 6 (4.0mm) and 7 (4.5mm)
Buttons: Purchased at Tender Buttons in NYC.
Pictures: Jen stepped up once again. She of the supermodel post – man she can work that shutter, baybee.

If I had the yarn, right here right now, I’d start this sweater all over again. Did I mention how much I love it? Just a little bit?

I love this sweater.


  1. Yeah, okay, I know you say no more, but I’ve been thinking about you (both) for the past couple weeks, and just want to say I’m so glad everything’s okay!!!
    There, got that out.
    Your sweater looks really amazing – and the good vibes knitted into it should last awhile too… I think that’s part of the magic of handknits, we can always remember when they came from.

  2. I’m very happy for you, Ariann and Georgie!! I love this sweater, and you have only furthered my decision to knit her up in the new year. thanks!

  3. Hey, I am confused: didn’t you knit Ariann with Cascade 220? The pictures look like you knit it with a zupah-fine crazy person yarn. Is there a big Cascade 220 secret I’m missing? Please! Answers needed!

  4. That is such a lovely sweater!

  5. it’s beautiful! i love the cascade heathers!!! how many skeins did it take? i love it!!

  6. I can tell from the pictures that you REALLY REALLY LIKE that sweater! 🙂 It’s nice to see that. Beautiful work.

  7. It’s gorgeous! Absolutely lovely. I’m knitting mine out of Cascade 220 too. Perfect yarn for it, really.

  8. Your Ariann looks freaking gorgeous! There is nothing that goes better with good news than a great sweater!

  9. You are right! IT IS PERFECT. It looks fabulous on you! Your smile is the best thing about this post, however;-)

  10. Don’t hold back…how do you really feel about the sweater?!
    Beautiful job!

  11. awe man sweet!

  12. Oh man–being computerless for two weeks I missed the cancer episode. SO GLAD that G is okay–and that you’ll both have each other for decades to come.

  13. Wow. That sweater IS perfect. It looks so great on you – and I can feel the good vibrations coming from you as you dance around in it in those fab pics. Yay!

  14. Beautiful sweater, Cara, and a gorgeous smile. Nice to see that smile again.


  16. Oh, you look so happy, so relieved. The sweater IS perfect!
    I knew it was Jen — those pictures have her signature (or her neighborhood) all over them!

  17. Congrats – celebrate!
    Great sweater, nice recovery. Things are definitely looking up for you and your husband.

  18. It’s so good to hear that all is well again with your Georgie! As for your sweater – yeah that’s a keeper alright. You look marvelous!

  19. Of course your sweater looks fantastic. But what’s even more beautiful is the smile on your face! Full of joy, relief and renewed life!

  20. The sweater looks great on you. It is indeed perfect!

  21. WOW awsome sweater. I am so happy that everything turned out well for you and your husband. Congrats on a beatiful looking sweater and a healthy family. Happy holidays. Go and Celebrate!

  22. I love it!! The color, the fit and all those the lovely pictures…absolutely gorgeous!

  23. gorgeous cardi, gorgeous girl.

  24. I’m so happy to hear about Georgie. The sweater is beautiful, and knitter is even more so.

  25. What a smile, it says it all 🙂 I know what you mean about knitting as the drug of choice. I knitted Blaze from Knitty during a time of stress. It was the perfect pattern. just enough interest so it wasn’t boring but not too complicated for a stressed out mind.

  26. Beautiful sweater, Cara. I just went and bought the pattern so maybe you should get a commission or something. I’m so glad to hear everything is OK with Georgie. Your holidays and birthday will be extra sweet this year!

  27. I am so glad that your husband is okay. What a stressful time it must have been for you, but you obviously put all your time and effort into Ariann, as she looks gorgeous on you and very well made. Congrats to your hubby for his recovery too.

  28. well, it looks perfect in your photos! you made that sweater look so yummy, i might have to download it too!
    please let us know how well the cascade 220 wears. i’ve only used it for felting.

  29. You look fabulous, dahling! CONGRATS on your finished sweater and HALLELUJAH!!! on George being cancer-free. WHEE! How wonderful!!! Hugs around to you all!

  30. The sweater is amazing. Love the dancing shot

  31. I love it and the longer length is making me reconsider it for me. I can’t wear those cropped type sweaters what with my big belly and all. Your photos are gorgeous and you deserve every bit of good wishes and good karma that came your way.

  32. I am so happy for you and George. And the sweater is amazing! You look so happy now. Have a good day!

  33. Gorgeous! The sweater, for sure, but YOU! I see happy in those pictures and that is the best part of this post. MWAH!

  34. Your sweater is beautiful and looks so good on you. I’m so happy to hear that George is fine. The sweater will have some very intense memories attached to it but in the end everything was fine. YAY!!!

  35. very nice cara. and your sweater makes the sweater. what wonderful memories you will always have in that sweater. 🙂 your photographer is fab but I still want to see the flying Clapotis shot!

  36. So, do you love the sweater?
    Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!

  37. So, first of all, I am doing the No More Cancer Shake Your Booty Boogie.
    Second – Ariann is lovely, and you look radiant. Yay.

  38. It — and you! — look fabulous!

  39. Yay! The sweater looks beautiful, and now you’ll always have it to remind of you of this time in your life–all the stress and fear, sure, but also all the HAPPY! Hooray for George! Hooray for you! I’m so glad that this all has a happy ending.

  40. looks fabulous, warm, and comfy! all the things a good handknit sweater should be. congrats cara!

  41. Ariann is absolutely beautiful!

  42. Frankly, I didn’t see the potential of this sweater but your version is a clear winner! It looks fabulous, Cara. I think lengthening it made it a more flattering option for a lot of us.

  43. It’s FABULOUS!!! I’m so so happy for you! And um, were those pics taken in Hoboken!?!?!?! Looks like it, although I guess it could be anywhere but if you were, Doh so close yet so far away!! I cannot tell you again how just happy I am, stunning sweater fits well and the stitches are so even!

  44. Beautiful sweater, but–the pure happiness and joy on your face makes these pictures SPECTACULAR!

  45. delurking to say that i am so happy for your husband and you– hallelujah! sending warm & festive thoughts your way.
    and ariann is gorgeous. so wonderful that it helped you through this time… and it looks lovely on you!

  46. It looks absolutely FABULOUS. And you couldn’t be more glowing 🙂 Beautiful all around.

  47. You’ve sold me! Your sweater looks WAAAAAAAY better than the one in the pattern picture. Yours is beautiful, tempting, and wonderful — I’ll probably even start scoping out yarn choices/costs/possibilities! (I’m not sure I would’ve even looked twice at that pattern, pictured the way it was)
    I see what AmpuTeeHee means — you can be quite convincing!

  48. The sweater is beautiful! It looks so good on you. I really like sweaters that are longer (’cause the rise on jeans sure as heck isn’t cutting it anymore) and the length of your Ariann is perfect.
    And, I’m behind the times, but I’M SO GLAD YOUR FAMILY IS OKAY. What a perfect time of year for celebrations. I’m not sure whether to say congratulations…or thank God (alhamdulillah as they say here) or what, but I’m glad you’ll be ringing in the New Year together with smiles.

  49. While the Ariann is stunning (it really is, my friend!) I have to say that the wonderful smile speaks volumes! Amazing work, C. 😉

  50. Perfect sweater, perfect smile, perfect story! Happy Holidays – and healthy, prosperous New Year. So enjoy your blog.

  51. YOU are the Inspiration! You are GORGEOUS! I just gasped when I saw the pictures – so beautiful – your JOY – those beautiful old homes with their wrought iron fences –
    I am overwhelmed by your generosity and praise!
    Through all of your recent challenges, in spite of all the ups and downs, you have met every one with courage and integrity and love. I celebrate your Heart & Soul!
    ‘Til every river runs dry
    Until the sun honey’s torn from the sky
    ‘Til every fear you’ve felt burst free
    And gone tumblin’ down into the sea
    Listen to me
    Cara, don’t you EVER lose heart! 🙂
    We celebrate with you…

  52. wow! it looks great! I definitely like it without the belt! perfect. I am so glad you had it with you through the hard time.
    I also think those buttons are PERFECT. Go Team Cara! 🙂

  53. Wow is all I can say. It is beautiful and you are beautiful in it. Wear with happiness and pride.

  54. It’s beautiful Cara and I’m glad you are so happy with it. It rocks when you love what you knit.

  55. I love it and you’ve just convinced me, after being on the fence since the pattern was released, just to buy the damn thing myself. I think I have several colorways of 220 in my stash that would work. Yippee!
    And I’m so glad to hear that your husband is cancer free – what a nice end-of-the-year present that is for you.

  56. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Oh yeah, and the sweater’s nice too.

  57. Va va voom!

  58. You are beaming. The sweater is perfection! Congratulations on your most excellent news–good things happen to good people.

  59. That is a beautiful sweater and you look so happy! You just made my margerita-hangover soaked day 🙂

  60. You Look Mahhhvelous! have a happy heart, we can all see it.

  61. What a great advertisement for this sweater! I love the color, too. Once I get some items on my list crossed off, I’ll go see Bonne Marie.

  62. I love the sweater and the color is perfect! It looks awesome with jeans – but I just bet it would look perfect with a little dress too!

  63. Cara – oh my goodness, that sweater is gorgeous! I mean truly gorgeous! I am not meaning to make you cry 🙂 But… I am so happy that your hubby is ‘c’ free and that you are so happy. Have a blessed Christmas!

  64. Fabulous! Love it. It looks wonderful! And even better, is the fact that every time you look at it and wear it, you’ll be reminded of all the good juju wrapped up in that sweater.

  65. Look how happy you are in those pictures! 🙂 That’s the best possible endorsement for a sweater pattern.
    It really is great. Looks warm and comforting, yet also very stylish (a rare combination, y’know?) And I like the buttons you chose for it.

  66. The true power of knitting is written all over your face(yay!) and every post of your blog. PERFECT!

  67. I don’t know, with all those close-ups, it looks technically perfect to me. Really, it looks wonderful, snazzy and so comfy on you. And on top of all that, it’s represents a happy ending. Wonderful! Happy holidays and a joyous new year!

  68. Gorgeous!

  69. I can’t get over how awesome those buttons are. They match perfectly. And the sweater matches you too!

  70. That is sheer perfection. And so glad to hear that Georgie’s cancer-free! A whole lotta love to you both, sweet girl 🙂

  71. Yvonne in Southwest Virginia says:

    She’s beeeyoootiful…and so are you, both inside and out! Happy Yule!

  72. Yvonne in Southwest Virginia says:

    She’s beeeyoootiful…and so are you, both inside and out! Happy Yule!

  73. But do you really like it? *L*
    The sweater is beautiful, and I’m very happy for your good news.
    I’m going to order this pattern right away, based on your review. I wonder how it would look in Noro as I have a lot of it in my stash. I see a plain sweater AND a Noro sweater, for starters.
    All the best…. Joanne

  74. Beautiful sweater and lovely color… I bought the pattern a while ago, your finished sweater is going to make be get going with this sooner than planned!
    Great job!

  75. So happy for you and Georgie and the great news. Ariann looks awesome. A woman in my knitting group is finishing up her Ariann, so I get to see its loveliness in person! She is using a dark green/almost black cascade.

  76. Running off to inventory my stash RIGHT NOW. I must have the appropriate amount of Cascade 220 there….Already have the pattern, and YOU have inspired me, BIG-TIME!!! Wonderful, wonderful.

  77. It IS perfect! Say, were those photos of you taken in jersey city?

  78. I really like it – and because i have a long torso, i believe i would like your version better than the original !!! Bravo !!

  79. RandomRanter says:

    The sweater looks amazing!

  80. Hurray for happy posts! Congrats on a gorgeous FO and a happy, healthy family. 🙂

  81. BANG, BABY!
    That’s “Brooklyn” for “Kick it, muthafucka!” or “That’s RIGHT!” or “Hot Damn!” or “HA!” or “That’s the most amazing goddamn sweater I’ve seen in ages and cancer can just KISS IT!”

  82. One of the happiest things about a Bonne Marie pattern is the perfect, splendid and satisfying way the seams all match up when you are finishing. I don’t even block. There should be some humanitarian award to give for that.

  83. Love the sweater. I think it is perfect WITHOUT the belt! You appear to be having a mild winter in NYC! Would you like some rain and wind from the West Coast – oh yes, we could toss in a bit of snow too!

  84. terry townsend says:

    Hi cara! It is terry from Dr Pollet’s office. first let me say that we are so glad George is ok! we have been following along and saying prayers for you both. The reason for my note is that I ordered the note cards as a gift for Lisa and I did not get them. Is there any way to track them? If you sent them on the 11th , I thought I would have them by now. I had them shipped to Terry Townsend 17 beacon court Brooklyn 11229 and paid through pay pal. Thanks and Have a happy and HEALTHY holiday!

  85. Beautiful sweater. The power of knitting is awesome, isn’t it?!

  86. That looks absolutely great on you.
    And of course, being who you are to me, it makes me want to start a sweater now LOL.

  87. Cara, that sweater is beautiful! 🙂

  88. The sweater is beautiful, and so is the look of pure joy in your smile. So happy. 🙂

  89. You look radiant and ebullient. Your happiness is infectious. I am glad both knitting and other life events are going your way!

  90. OK – I’m in like with Ariann!!!! Between you and Ann and then seeing it in the window at Ann Taylor this morning (as close as it can get), I have now added to my list of projects for 2007
    Again, I’m so happy that G is OK – it is the best news!!!

  91. It looks great on you! And I’m sure you’ll love it for years to come and think back to how back in 2006 your perservered through yet another horrible Thanksgiving. I’m so glad Georgie’s gonna be okay!

  92. It’s not often that I go bananas over a sweater, but if a sweater were a personality, Ariann would be mine. It looks absolutely comfortable and snuggly, yet it has enough sumpin sumpin in the details to make it look tailored and beautiful (that part of the look I’m still striving for).
    I think she looks beautiful on you, and there is a ton of love knit into it that you just shine when you wear it. Fab job!

  93. gorgeous GORGEOUS – as well as perfect – ya know maybe not immaculate (bowing to your own estimation) but PERFECT! I too am looking at the pattern a little differently now – I love the open look – just YUMMY!!

  94. Dude, if mine turns out anywhere near as great as yours, I’ll be doing the happy dance, too. Bonne Marie truly is a genius; Ariann couldn’t be more “me” if she tried — and it’s kind of mind blowing how many of us feel that way.

  95. oh wow. you have some talent there. I didn’t know knitting was all the craze now. I wish i knew how.

  96. You are stunning, Cara. Relief…joy…it all comes out in your smile. I feel privileged to have stood by and witnessed.
    Much love,

  97. Ohhh so pretty! I love it!
    Thank you for the birthday wishes yesterday. Made the day a bit brighter (if that was possible).
    Just 12 days until your day!

  98. Well your smile says it all! Wonderful sweater AND a happy ending! Congrats.

  99. It IS a perfectly perfect sweater. It’s so nice to see you all smiles like that! Now I’m crying…I’m at work, that’s not good. Who cares? I’m just so very happy for you!

  100. Beautimus! I’m so happy about Georgie’s good news. You have a lot to celebrate.

  101. Work it, baby! Arianne and you are fabulous!
    I just love looking at handknits and thinking about the fact that every single stitch was worked individually–every little loop had its day.

  102. Hey, just curious. . . . .do you love the sweater? I mean, really, do you??? tee hee!
    I am so glad that you have so many wonderful memories associated with the sweater (making you calm, happy and of course the FAB news). It will be one of those well-worn, well-loved knits.
    Those are the BEST!

  103. Yippee, what wonderful news about Georgie!
    AND, your sweater is gorgeous!!!!! Now you can have a wonderful birthday!!!

  104. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous — you and the sweater!

  105. It looks fantastic on you! What a great sweater–and great photos too!

  106. It looks really great on you!

  107. Fantastic job! You did a great job, and the sweater looks super comfy. Don’t you just love how therapeutic knitting can be?

  108. You and your sweater are beautiful. Radiant, even.
    I am happy for you and George… and so glad that he is cancer free… and apparently free of future treatments. Bravo! Live everyday and enjoy your good health. Love and hugs from a stranger in Texas!

  109. it looks fantastic!! I love it!

  110. Ariann looks wonderful!!! So comfy too. Will you be able to wear it without remembering the circumstances under which it was knit? Or will that make you happy because G. turned out to be cancer-free? I sometimes have a hard time wearing something knit under duress. What do you think?

  111. VERY HAPPY to hear your good news! Congrats and (((hugs))) to you both!
    And I am now absolutely smitten with a sweater. It’s freakin’ gorgeous! And you look sooo happy you make me think just maybe I could be a little happy if I made it, too!
    Hmm…I’ve never made a sweater!
    Wear that sweater in your own (and hubby’s) continued GOOD HEALTH!

  112. So happy for your good news! And your beautiful Ariann finally made me break down and buy the pattern myself. Great and great.

  113. Yay! Cancer free! Give Georgie a big hug – I am so happy to hear the news I could do a little dance. And the sweater is beautiful, too!

  114. I’m so happy for you!!! And yay for Ariann for coming to the rescuue!

  115. GORGEOUS!!! And I love the sweater too! Here’s a punch in the arm instead of a hug. It saves wear and tear on the makeup. Thanks for sharing.

  116. But, come on, don’t be shy . . . do you LIKE the sweater, or what??
    Glad it put such a smile on your face!

  117. I’ve read in silence and sent good thoughts in silence, but the silence must end. That sweater is awesome!

  118. >>>
    Both you and Ariann are beautiful and I’m so so happy for you and Georgie!
    “Xanax shmanax”, indeed.
    Yep. Knitting can do all that for you.

  119. It looks absolutely amazing on you. So happy to hear that your year is closing on a happy note.

  120. Cara, somehow you brought ‘Ariann’ to life for me. I was a bit ‘meh’ when I saw it on Bonne Marie’s blog – not because I didn’t like the garment (LOVED the garment!), but because I didn’t think it was ‘me’. Seeing yours has made me fall in love with it, and I will be swatching tonight – even though I am behind about 3 Christmas presents and today is predicted to be 38deg C (at 10:50am it is currently 34.5C (94F)). But where I live, it’s 4 seasons in one day, so I could well be requiring a cardi this evening…..

  121. Hey now. Could I get a SMIDGE of CREDIT for being so sure about that color?
    Now I’ve GOT to start mine over my Christmas trip. Must-have. And I’m doing the BELT. Because I’m told a ‘waist feature’ is slimming. So I’m all about the waist features. Maybe I’ll do 2 belts. xoxo Kay

  122. Happy happy joy joy, guys!
    And the sweater’s fab…

  123. YEAH, G!
    I LOVE THAT SWEATER (almost as much as you do!)
    It looks much better in that colorway than in the one on the Chic-knits site! Brava!

  124. PERFECT!!! Bravo on the best-looking sweater EVAH.
    I’m so glad for you both. Here’s to many more happy, healthy years!

  125. I don’t know much about the Ariann but is that a shawl collar? I just finished my first shawl collar and nearly killed the stupid thing!
    BTW, the sweater is gorgeous! If I was a sweater making person (which I’m trying to be) I would make it. 😀

  126. Great sweater,great news. I had a 14 hour day yesterday, so did not get the good news till tonight!

  127. Gorgeous! And you look so happy!

  128. Just seeing those pictures of you wearing that smile, made me happy. The sweater is terrific.

  129. Beautiful job Cara! Looks fantablous on you! Yay for life saving knits!

  130. I don’t know what looks better…the sweater or your smile! You look happy….damn good happy….the best kind of happy!

  131. I’m so bloody happy for you in so many ways!

  132. Congratulations on your good news. That sweater is fantastic. I am still working on the Ribby Cardi (thanks to Margene), but now I think I like yours better. It’s beautiful. I hope you are sending some of your pictures to Bonne Marie’s gallery!

  133. Your smile says it all!! It’s ear to ear. Congrats on EVERYTHING.

  134. The sweater is lovely but that smile of yours… dayum girl you could melt the snow in Colorado right now with that beautiful smile of yours. Mozel Tov again! Give G a huge hug from me 🙂

  135. I love the joy that EXUDES from your pictures! Your Ariann is just exquisite. I’m hoping to cast it on in a heathered brown shade next year.
    Much happiness to you and your husband!

  136. Haven’t said anything till now, but I *was* thinking about you and G. And I’m glad all is well. Shit, “well” isn’t a strong enough word here, how about “fabulous”?!
    And the sweater? Amazing. Looks store bought. Although,that may imply a bad connotation…I mean it in the best possible way.

  137. Did I read that right? That only took you 20 days? Not bad! I can’t imagine myself knittng something like that in only 20 days. Beautiful!
    Congrats on your husband’s great news!

  138. Gorgeous sweater. I love it in the slightly longer length that you did. Hm. May have to rethink that pattern for myself…
    Congratulations on your finish, and more importantly, on your heathy hubby. Hugs.

  139. Fantastic ! and thanks for the Elfmorphosis, it’s a RIOY!

  140. I mean Riot!

  141. Your sweater IS perfect and it will always remind you of a bittersweet time in your life. Wear it well and keep that smile on :-)!

  142. And now I’m gonna cry, because there you are in your beautiful sweater in my beautiful neighborhood, near my wonderful friend’s house, a stone’s throw from my beloved apartment, and I’m in a blizzard 1800 miles away losing sleep about my job.

  143. I love your sweater. You’ve inspired me to make it. So I started it last night ran into a problem, I am making the same size as you. I would love if you could help me on the row 9, the eyelet row, I have 212 sts. But the eyelet row is not working out. Any suggestions. Any advice would surely be appreciated. Thanks Sherrie