The Writing Sweater

It’s a cold, wet, dreary, gray day here on the Wet Coast. (And no, for those of you Elsewhere, that’s not a typo, but an apt description.) It’s been just about dark all day, and the edge of our street is one long, massive puddle, thanks to leaf-blocked storm drains.

I’m inside today, editing. Like I often do on days like this when writing is on the agenda, I found myself reaching for my writing sweater.

I should not actually admit to wearing this sweater, and I never, ever leave the house in it. But somehow, on days when the house cools off quickly between furnace cycles and the light is thin and cool, this particular sweater works for writing.

It’s probably as old as I am, or close to it. Years ago, I rescued it from the donation bag when my mum was cleaning out her closet. It’s pretty much indestructible. It has permanent stains that may actually be wood stain from my mum helping my dad build our family’s cabin when I was a toddler. Or maybe they’re from some other project; I don’t know. I do know they’re not coming out. The sweater’s been washed hundreds of times. It’s got a couple of minor pulls, and there’s no doubt from the look at feel of it that it’s been around for a long, long time, but it’s in pretty amazing – if ugly – shape. It once had buttons, I think, because there are button holes, but the buttons themselves are so long gone there’s no hint of them on the knit. Lesser, newer sweaters have gone off to charity in the years since I’ve had this one in my closet. I own softer, more comfortable sweaters now. But somehow, this one keeps hanging around, available for days just like this.

I’m not superstitious about clothes, as a rule. But this sweater only comes out for writing. I don’t know why. I don’t even know why I rescued it all those years ago. But here I sit, writing this, wearing it, anyway.



  1. Leanne Shirtliffe November 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I read the title and thought of SiWC and immediately jumped to this conclusion: is Dugoni going to auction this next year? 😉

    • Kathy November 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Hahaha! No one wants to see anyone – even Dugoni – wearing this sweater. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Boyle November 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I hear you completely! I have the sweater my grandmother knit for me when I was like . . . oh, 18. It barely fits, is worn to death, but I will not give it up for love or money–would never wear it outside the house. But I love that sweater.

    • Kathy November 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. 🙂

  3. Sara Walker Howe November 13, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I have a writing sweater, too. It’s a hand-me-down from one of my mother’s friends, knit back in the 80s, maybe 70s. I admit I have worn it outside, but I can’t now. It has too many pulls in it. And you’re right, there’s something about it. It’s the only sweater I’ll wear when I’m writing. Nothing else feels as right.

    • Kathy November 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      I wonder what it is about the 1970s sweaters?

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