The Blue Sweater

Dec 7, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Community, Maria Ruiz

by Maria Ruiz

Maria often shares stories with us about Santa Barbara history, her travel all over the world, her dogs, and life.

Knit, purl, knit, purl. I can do that, I thought to myself. My youngest son needed a sweater and I wanted to expand my skills, so I leafed through the knitting patterns in the book. There was a Norwegian pattern with white snowflakes and reindeer at the top. I had never knitted a pattern with two colors, but I was going to try.

I drove to Sears and bought blue and white wool yarn. Equipped with a circular needle, straight needles, and yarn, I tackled the project. yarn

I am not an expert, but I had lots of time so why not start a project of learning? The bottom of the sweater was blue and the white stars and reindeer were only across the tops. Slowly I worked my way through the back, the two fronts and one sleeve. Now on the last sleeve, I got about three inches up and ran out of blue. This would be where I learned to check dye lots and how impossible it is to match a color. But I had worked too hard to just give up. I bought a skein of the closest blue and went home.

I finished the sleeve and the odd blue was very visible. My five-year-old didn’t see the flaw and wore the sweater to school that year. By the next year, he had outgrown it; I placed it in the bag for the Salvation Army and thought no more about my project.

Several years later I had to go to a meeting in a new neighborhood where I was in the process of getting lost. I passed by an elementary school and noticed little children leaving the school yard. Most found their mothers quickly and hastened away, leaving one little boy standing by the gate. He was wearing a blue sweater with a pattern at the top. My eyes went instantly to the left sleeve. There it was—the odd color at the top.

I don’t know how many children have worn that sweater, but I felt so good, knowing that it passed through others’ lives, like a part of me contributing to them.

Maria Ruiz was born in Santa Barbara, California; her family had been there since the Spaniards first converted the Indians & created small towns. She graduated from the University of San Diego State in 1972 & taught for 8 years before starting her own business. After retiring she began a ten-year odyssey to visit and live in 57 countries around the world. She just recently relocated to California. Her book, I’ll be in the Fourth Grade Forever, can be ordered on Smashwords & Amazon. Her blog can be found at


  1. Such a sweet story!
    THANKS for sharing
    Good luck and God’s blessings

  2. Lovely story. How wonderful to see the full circle of something made with love and long cherished by others. Wishing you the brightest Christmas season ever.

  3. Lovely story. How fortunate to find something made with love become a blessing to another.

  4. So poignant! Too short. I wanted the story to go on and on. The beginning of another children’s book, M!

    • Thanks Val, You’ve given me an idea. M


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