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The Eleven-year scarf

It took me eleven years to knit this scarf:

You'd think after eleven years it would be longer

You would think that after eleven years, it would be long enough to wrap around the Earth two times. Yet, it’s only about four feet long. That’s because I haven’t actually been knitting for eleven years, I’ve been knitting for a couple of days and then putting the scarf away for safekeeping for a couple years. Repeat as necessary.

There was a knitting craze at a summer camp I attended in the summer of 1997. One of the groups learned how to knit squares that would be sewn together to make a blanket. As a result, you’d see girls and guys all around campus bent over their knitting needles. I wasn’t in the knitting group, but I decided this was a good opportunity to learn how to knit, so on Parent’s Day we went to Wal-Mart and purchased some needles and yarn. That year I made a really ugly blue scarf.

Once I got home, I wanted another project, so I got some black and white yarn to make a scarf like Mark wore in my favorite, hot, new musical at the time: Rent. I hoped to finish it before going to college, but I got bored with it after a few color changes. So, the scarf was stuffed into my craft box, that I toted along with me to the next four houses and apartments I lived in. Sometimes I pulled it out and worked on it for awhile, but I never managed to finish the darn thing.

Then, this weekend, I was cleaning out my craft box, saw the scarf and decided enough was enough. I pulled out my Stitch N’ Bitch book, read the section about binding off, and finally evicted the scarf from the knitting needles it had called home for over a decade.

Now I am left with a sort of lumpy, scarf with an inconsistent width. I should probably throw some tassels on at the end. I don’t think I’ll actually use it. I’m just glad it’s done.

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23 Comments

DanaDanger • November 30, 2009 at 9:45 am

“I don’t think I’ll actually use it. I’m just glad it’s done.”

This describes almost every long-term project I’ve worked on in my adult life.

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Flora • November 30, 2009 at 11:02 am

Seriously? As someone who’s been knitting since age six, your scarf looks great. The stitches are really even, especially for a project that’s been picked up and put down so many times. If you want to even it out even more, rinse it out in some mild soap and lukewarm water (or put it through the washer if it’s synthetic) and let it dry flat. Then wear it with pride!

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Jenni • November 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

OMG! That makes me laugh so hard. My first knitting project was started when I was 8 and finished when I was ~20. So I totally understand. However, now it only takes me a week to finish a scarf and 3 to finish a hat (I am still really slow, but still faster than my 12 year blanket!)

But your scarf looks awesome! And just don’t point out the mistakes and no one will notice them. : )

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Tamara • November 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

I have half a knitted skirt sitting around in my apartment. It used to be a fourth of a skirt, but I had a burst of work ethic last month and finished one half. I started like 10 rows of the second half before I got bored again. Oh well, next year I might have a warm winter skirt.

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Leslie • November 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm

All right! A finished project. Now maybe you can start a 20 year sweater! I have a couple of them stashed away, and I knit all the time! The scarf looks great, BTW!

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Mom Taxi Julie • November 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Funny how we can’t just throw those kind of projects away!

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Tiffany • November 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I think you should hang it on the wall with a little plaque that says “I finish what I start… eventually!”

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Tiffany S. • November 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Whoohoo – congratulations on finishing your beautiful scarf.

I took a knitting class after I kept reading “Actresses all over LA have taken up knitting to help with their free time between shots.” I figured, if an actress can do it, so can I! Well, it’s freakin’ hard!

I can make a scarf but that’s all. Even one of my scarves has different yarn finishing it off because I ran out, but my husband still wears it proudly.

I did spy my needles and some extra yarn the other day, but I may be officially done (as in I can’t really remember how to do it).

Rug hooking was so much better because you could watch tv while doing it! (nerd alert)

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Leigh Ann • November 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I think it looks great. And you finished!!

I’d like to learn to knit. But given my track record on these kinds of projects, it would probably take me forever to finish anything. I have a half-finished latch hook rug on the top shelf of my coat closet. It’s been there for years. On the rare occasions when I actually get a stepstool and look up there (I’m short), it mocks me and makes me feel guilty.

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Anonymous Fat Girl • November 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm

It’s all about accomplishment girl! It feels good to finish something. I have too many of these projects hanging around so thanks for the reminder. :)

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MB • November 30, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Glad you got your scarf finished in time for winter.

I have one of those unfinished scarfs somewhere. It’s probably even older than 11 years. Now I’m going to have to search for it and actually finish the thing. ;)

Good for you for finishing your 11 year project.

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Lainey • November 30, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Congratulations on finally finishing it!

I’ve been crocheting a stoplight wall hanging since I was 17. I’m now 31. I’m not sure it will ever get done.

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Deb • November 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

My mother started cross-stitching my college mascot on a sweatshirt for a graduation gift. I got my degree in 1992. I’ve still never received the sweatshirt.

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Cristy • December 1, 2009 at 12:43 am

Congratulations on finishing your scarf!

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Benita • December 1, 2009 at 9:30 am

11 years for a 4 foot scarf, eh? I wonder how long it would you take to knit a sock? :p

As much as I knit, I have a scarf lounging in a box that is nearly done, but I got sooooo bored with the pattern that I had to quit or go bonkers. Luckily the person I was knitting it for never knew about it, so I’m safe.

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I'm not fat, I'm big boneded • December 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I started crocheting a baby blanket for my yet to be born little sister…she’s 9 now. And, I don’t even know for sure where it’s gotten to. I am working on a throw blanket now, and I probably won’t get it finished until I’m 40. I’m 28 now.

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Bethama • December 2, 2009 at 7:42 am

I don’t think I’ve ever spent eleven years on one scarf – in fact, I have a pretty serious rule AGAINST scarf-making – but just last week, I tore through an old box of finished items that never got the ends tied in because I thought it’d take forever. It took an hour, tops. Now I know.

Granted, most of this stuff was so old that it was wildly misshapen because I’ve learned a LOT about proper sizing in the last few years, but still, it was cathartic.

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Ro • December 2, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Now that is priceless! A brand new eleven year old scarf. I’m sure I have many projects I should/could finish someday somewhere. Anyways it looks great. Nice job!

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quix • December 2, 2009 at 11:26 pm

It looks adorable! I would totally wear that thing with pride. Especially after 11 years. Good for you for finishing. :)

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Susan • December 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

Can you really measure it in years? How about love? It took you 11 seasons of love:) Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…times by??:)

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sheryl • December 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I say Wear it Proud!!! – you made it and it’s one of a kind. I have about 20 projects going for last 5 years – and whenever anything gets finished – it’s a great day indeed.

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K • December 4, 2009 at 7:09 am

Speaking as a semi-obsessed knitter… I think scarves are the most boring thing to knit, ever.

I’ve only done two and they both took me about four months to finish, which is longer than anything else I’ve made. I am yet to try a sweater! I’d much rather do a hat, have it done within the week and wear it on Saturday :)

(I only knit in my lunch breaks.)

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Kiki • December 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

@Tiffany S. – You can totally knit while you watch TV! I even know people who knit at the movies. I myself can’t stand to watch TV without yarn and needles in hand – I feel like I’m wasting time otherwise.

But in the spirit of never finishing stuff… I have started at least half a dozen pairs of socks in my life. I’ve only ever finished one. And I have a cashmere glove that’s been waiting for its mate now for a couple of months. I’ve finished two sweaters, hated them both, and torn them both out and recycled the yarn. I do knit some really nice shawls, though. Delicate knitted lace is about the only thing that holds my interest long enough to finish.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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