The time when you need to do something is when no one else is willing to do it,
when people are saying it can’t be done.”

[Mary Frances Berry]


My husband was admiring an argyle vest at a men’s clothing store. Half to himself he said, “My wife could knit this.” The salesman replied, “Oh no. This couldn’t be knit by hand. This is knit in Scotland on a special machine.”

My husband hurried home to ask if I’d knit him an argyle vest. I groaned inside. Intarsia knitting isn’t my favorite technique. However, I found a pattern that dated back to the 1920s, bought the wool and knit the vest. The back went fast—it had no pattern. The front went slow. I juggled colored yarn on bobbins for at least two weeks and was relieved when I was finished. After it was blocked, he put it on and went downtown. When he returned with a grin on his face, he told me about the salesman and the machine-knit vest.

That was over twenty years ago. This is the only piece of intarsia knitting I’ve ever done. After many washings, it shrunk and I grew two sizes so I wear it now. When I do, I think of that salesman.