Over the course of this celebratory year, I will post some of the stories of how we began and all of the amazing, cool, and sometimes hilarious things that we have encountered over the past 20 years.
In January of 1993, just as I received notice that I passed the CPA exam I found myself laid up with the flu, reading John Grisham novels while at the same time living in a real life version of one. My entire world had been turned up on its ear and I was in a major funk.
After many years of hard core quilting, mom renewed her interest in knitting. Hoping to raise my spirits she drug me the yarn to pick out yarn so she could knit me a sweater. After 5 minutes I begged her to take me to the mall instead. Everything I saw struck me as old lady, the displays were less than inspirational, and I was not interested in anything I saw.
In college I worked at Balliets and like most young women of the time had a thing for Berek sweaters. Now reduced to ugly sweater party wear, these were the hottest thing a girl could own back in the day. I spent an entire paycheck ($250) on my one and only Berek, and envied girls who had a collection. And $250 was a lot more money than it is today – I worked full time for two weeks to earn that!
Every time mom washed my Berek I had to listen to a long tirade as to how poorly it was knit, how long it took her to bleach the pink stains from the cheap red yarn bleeding onto the white part of the sweater, not to mention the numerous holes created from the knots in the yarn coming untied. Let’s just say mom didn’t share my enthusiasm for Berek sweaters.
I wanted her to knit me a better version of a Berek sweater, only there were a few problems:
- lack of commercially available patterns for picture sweaters
- difficulty in finding appropriate cotton yarns in all the colors needed
- zero information on how to knit intarsia and make the knitting look as perfect as it does with a single color…and mom is a perfectionist so this simply wouldn’t fly
Hoping to turn my attention away from my unwelcome drama, mom challenged me that if I could come up with the design she would figure out a better way to knit these type sweaters. Always the academic type, preferring an algebra book to an art project, I don’t think mom had high hopes that I could pull it off.
I taped together big sheets of knitter’s graph paper, pulled out my trusty mechanical nerd pencil and went to work. It just so happens that I have a knack for making pictures with little rectangles.
While I was busy bending rectangles to my will, mom was doing her magic with the knitting. Her over-analytical pickiness paid off and she began the process of redefining intarsia knitting. Thinking there were other daughters out there begging their moms to knit them cool sweaters too, we decided to form our own pattern company and by March Sealed with a Kiss was born.