the rejected handmade sweater…illustrated with crappy pictures™

I've decided to make my 3 year old a sweater. 

It is going to be awesome. Reconstructed. Upcycled. This is what all the cool crafters are doing.

I am determined (despite my sleep deprivation) to get some late night crafty time in. 

So late one night, I sneak away upstairs to sew.

And sew. 

I trade sleep for sewing. But it is worth it. I am having "me" time! I am sewing!

I am so high from creativity that the next day, during his nap, I blanket stitch the edges with contrasting yarn.

Finally, it is finished! I am so excited!

He is going to love it!

When he wakes up from his nap, I proudly present it to him. 

I ask him to try it on so I can take pictures.

He poses for me, hamming it up for the camera as usual. 

I am elated. He loves it!

But the moment I put the camera away…

He wants nothing to do with it. 

I ask him why he wants it off and he tells me. 

He doesn't like it. He tells me he doesn't want it. That he will never wear it.

I will not allow my crafty ego to be bruised.

He is just being a 3 year old. Surely he actually likes it. He is just being a contrarian. 

So I decide to try some of my brilliant reverse psychology.

I'm certain that if I mention giving the sweater to "another little boy" that jealousy will kick in and he'll change his negative tune. 

This is not what happens.

Instead, he begins suggesting people we could give the sweater to.

I decide to not mention it for the rest of the day.

I do have one more trick up my sleeve. 

The bedtime story.

I tell a story about a magical brown sweater that allows the wearer to be transported anywhere they want. It has mystery and adventure and magic all rolled into one!

I just know it will work. I just know he'll be wearing the sweater and pretending to visit exotic lands the very next day. He might even ask to put it on tonight!

He listens to the whole story intently.

When I finish, he pauses for a few moments. I am sure this worked!

To my delight, he says…


but to my dismay he says…

And well, that was that. 



(Yes, my son is 3 in this story, because this happened when he had just turned 3. I found the sweater in the back of his closet last week. It still fits. He still hates it. My deflated crafty ego is requiring me to tell you that I've since then made him other things that he tolerates and wears.

The sweater will be offered to his younger brother this winter. Fingers crossed.)


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60 Responses to the rejected handmade sweater…illustrated with crappy pictures™

  1. Sommer says:

    Oh I just love all of your posts and crappy drawings. They make me laugh every time and no doubt put a smile on my face, even if I read them over and over.

  2. Heather says:

    This makes me feel so much better about the sweater I knit for my daughter that took me no less than 3 weeks…and she too only wore it for pictures. It turned out so great and looks so cute on her, I chose the pattern and the pinky, super soft yarn because I thought she would love wearing it. Just hoping that she might give it another chance in the fall as it will still fit. I haven’t knit her another thing since but hope to someday!

  3. Carrisa says:

    LOL!! I love to crochet and make stuff for others… sometimes successful ~ sometimes not. Know that feeling all-too-well. 🙂 I’m sure the next one will <3 the magic sweater! 😉

  4. Jess says:

    And here I am on the other side of the spectrum. My 3 year old picked out and insisted that I purchase Saggy Baggy Elephant fabric. Then she spent weeks and weeks begging that I make her a dress out of said fabric. When I did, she wears it religiously whenever it’s clean. People are starting to wonder if she owns any other clothes!

  5. Jen says:

    I get so excited when you have a new post. I don’t know when you get the time to do these, but I’m so glad you do! Keep on with your crafty self!

  6. Angela says:

    Yes! This made me laugh my butt off, this has so happened to me.

  7. Erica says:

    Awwww I would’ve been so bummed! the things I’ve made the girls they seem to genuinely really love. I knitted the baby a little bunny/blanket lovey and he couldn’t care less about it. He does like his taggie I made him though

  8. Felicia says:

    Next time you want to make a sweater, draw some magical crappy pictures. They always make my day happier. 🙂

  9. Jill says:

    At least he posed for the pictures. Mine usually start crying as soon as whatever I’ve made them comes into view.

  10. amy says:

    You. Are. Living. My. Life! lol

  11. Oh I love your crappy pictures and your awesome story telling. LOVE.

    PS: I am totally craft challenged, I’m thoroughly impressed you made a sweater. With contrasting yarn!

  12. Valerie says:

    Finally I read you while I am not nursing, I can laugh outloud, and enjoy your hilarious blog!! So funny. I am so glad you do this! Thank you!!

  13. Lisa Teeter says:

    Yes, I make dresses for my girl and some she did not like as much as I did. Laughed hard!

  14. Best. Blog. Ever.

    Keep up with the stories from the past, you’ll be glad you did later on when you archive all your stories into a book.

  15. Jessi says:

    I spent forever crocheting a sweater while I was pregnant. When she was finally big enough to wear it, it was of course summer! So I also only got a few pictures out of all my work (since by the fall it was too small!) So, not the same, but disappointing nonetheless!

    Keep crafting and thanks for the laugh!

  16. Sarah says:

    This is awful… and I feel your pain the entire time that I’m laughing. It’s painful laughing… horribly painful.

  17. Abby says:

    Amber, you are wonderful and hilarious and I’m rethinking the redo of my sons flip flops as I don’t know if I could mentally take the rejection right now. 😉 Thanks for the laugh!!

  18. If Tina Fey drew crappy pictures, she would probably be you. Seriously, I think you’re the funniestestest person EVER. You make being a parent tolerable. I mean, I love it. But you make the crappy parts of being a parent tolerable. Thank you for your sense of humor. And for the record, I don’t even bother making my kids shit because they hate it all. I probably suck more at making stuff than I convince myself that I do and they’re just more real than me, but they can cut a sista down right quick. So bravo for making a sweater!

  19. hilary says:

    Think how frustrated you’d be if you’d KNIT the sweater! Not that this, um, has ever happened to me. Oh, no.

  20. Alice says:

    I too spent hours knitting a sweater for my oldest, who wore it twice complaining all the time about how itchy it was, it wasn’t. Luckily I had a second boy who wore it a few times as well. Eventually they learn how to feign enthusiasm for stuff we’re excited about…. I hope.

  21. Kylie says:

    my very good friend Tracey, knitted my 5 year old a beautiful jumper (sweater) – she took a lot of time, and I think it is beautiful and he refuses to wear it. Not only does he say it’s itchy but he is clearly embarrassed if people see him wearing it (when I make him) – I feel your pain.

  22. melissa says:

    the exact same thing happened to me and my 3 year old–except it was a cute little red sailor skirt instead of a sweater. she hates it with a passion. freaks out every time i try to put it on her! so yes, this one will be passed down to younger sister who is not as picky about what i put on her!

  23. Amber Dusick says:

    Okay, your Tina Fey comment just made my ego swell about 10%. Love her. And my in-laws think I look exactly like Tina Fey (although nobody else sees it) so this adds a layer of funny.

  24. JulesC says:

    OMG this has happened to me too many times between my three kids, ages 9, 7 & 4. The most recent one was a hoodie I made for my daughter that she refuses to put on. Why do we keep trying? LOL! I love all your posts!

  25. Dina says:

    When my daughter was six months old, I decided to make her some applesauce from scratch. I mean she loved the jar stuff. So I went out, bought a whole bunch of organic apples, peeled them, cooked them, pureed them. Gave them to my daughter. Who took one bite and threw up. Nice.

  26. Kristin says:

    I *knitted* a vest for my son, out of stupidly expensive yarn, complete with a big “A” on the front. Here’s the reaction I got: We tried many stories, suggestions, tricks … Nope. And I, too, found it the other day and gave it another try. No way. No way in the world he will ever wear this thing.

    Also. Crafting scenarios are even worse in my house, as it generally ends in screaming and kicking because the 12-month-old refuses to sit on floor, in high chair, on my lap unless she is touching the VERY same item as her almost-four-year-old brother. Which he of course doesn’t want her to even look at. And is also very likely toxic and not meant to be ingested by said 12-month-old. But I keep trying. Each time, he is screaming at her, she is screeching and arching her back, trying to get at that damn glitter stick …

    Also. I, too, visited with new friends when I was a childless dog-lover – friends who GAVE THEIR DOGS TO THEIR PARENTS after having kids. I was so absolutely aghast. Nauseated. This would not be me. These people were heartless. My dog was my life. Read “was.” Poor dog barely gets a nuzzle from me any more, and I even asked my dad once if he wanted to keep her for “a while,” because she was “more loved” at his house. I’m so heartless.

    Thank you for making me laugh as you remind me: It’s all completely normal. We’re not the only ones going through *any* of this!

  27. emma says:

    love this, expecially the bit about making up a story about a magical brown sweater. I cannot count the number of times I have told a wonderfully creative story for a specific purpose with zero effect.

  28. sara says:

    I took my son to the fabric store. I told him I was going to make him some new pajamas, and told him he could pick out the fabric. So he picked some banana fabric and some monkey fabric. I made him pajamas from the EXACT SAME PATTERN out of both fabrics. He LOVES the banana jammies. They are his favorite. Sometimes we run into problems if they’re in the laundry. He would have NOTHING to do with the monkey ones (made from the EXACT SAME PATTERN!!!!) until almost a year later (fortunately I made them really big so they still fit). Toddlers are so fickle!

  29. shannon says:

    this is the story of my sewing for my daughter! ha ha ha! i’m glad i’m not alone.

  30. Jess B. says:

    Oh, totally relatable! I love your persistence… but I love your son’s insistence even more! I’ve had many of those conversations with both my 3- and 2-year-olds…

    Keep on drawing!

  31. Amy says:

    I remember being on the other side of this and my mom trying to make me stuff and I didn’t want to wear it. Pretty sure I made her sad because she gave up. But my grandma made me beautiful dresses all the time and I always wore them. My mom did knit us all scarves one year and everyone wore them!

  32. Jen says:

    bahahaha. My friend’s 2 year old says “Yarn OFF!” when asked to try on the little cardigan she’s knitting for her. Painful. Utterly painful. Luckily- I’ve stuck to mostly hats and toys, but there was a frog hat that was NOT well received. Luckily my head is small- so I wore it instead. Forget them. It was/is a COOL HAT darn it! 😉

  33. Marzi says:

    I’ve been following your blog on Facebook for a few weeks now, Amber, and although I’m long since over the “little kids” years (my daughters are 15 and 12), I can say I’ve been there, worn the t-shirt and you make tears of laughter roll down my cheeks every time. I’m sure getting it all down in words and pictures must be very therapeutic!

  34. Amy says:

    Does this ever bring back memories. I knit the sweetest sweater vest for my (then) 2 year old, who screamed and ran every time I tried to put it on him. I couldn’t even get one picture of him wearing it!

    I’m planning on starting baby #2 in handknits from birth, it’ll be a while before he can run 😉

  35. lisa says:

    I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I have resorted to ironing on some spangly gee-gaw to get my daughters to wear the clothes I make them. It never fails, some one will then say “oh what a pretty sparkly cupcake on your skirt, did your mama get that at target”. Nostrils flare. Glow in the dark paint helps too – I have been known to put it on buttons.

  36. Amie says:

    Your blog is my therapy now that I’m a work from home mom with an 11 month old! I crocheted a hat for baby to come home from hospital in. Then I had the idea to make a hat every month of her first year! Worked great until April (Easter bunny hat). I put it on her one day, she grabbed it by the ears, yanked it off, and glared at me. Ever since then, any hats stay on barely long enough to snap picture. But I keep making them so she has one for every month of her first year. I’m hoping she will like putting them on dolls and stuffed animals later.

  37. Ellen says:

    This is so funny; I know that scenario too well! I remember giving my daughter a beautiful handmade (not by me) bear and bunny one Christmas morning. (she was about your son’s age then) She screamed bloody murder. Needless to say, the bear and bunny had to be given away.

  38. foxes_garden says:

    That’s awesome. I gotta get me some glow-in-the-dark paint.

  39. Cheryl M. says:

    I find that if I bring my son to the store to pick out yarn or whatever supplies for whatever I’m making for him, that he likes the end product so much more because he’s been “involved”. I made him a crocheted blanket last summer, and he’s still dragging it around the house!

    Also, I let him pick out cross-stitch patterns for me to make for his room…so far Mickey Mouse is the winning theme.

  40. Emma says:

    LOL i won’t take it so personally next time my oldest rejects something I’ve put hours of blood, sweat and tears into to make for her!!!

  41. Laura says:

    Too funny! I love trying to turn the bedtime story into a lesson in what I’d like them to be doing!

  42. Betsey says:

    I love it. And, I gotta say, if my crafting is self-propelled (i.e. my kid did not design it), I mostly take the approach you take to feeding a 2 year old. I sew it and then toss it on the floor of his room. Higher acceptance rate than any other method.

  43. Andee says:

    I love it. I keep find myself laughing about this post. I am convinced my sister had another baby just so she would have someone that would make the sweaters she makes. Her older son’s won’t wear things she made.

    I stick to knitting toys for my kids instead of clothing.

    Again I love your writing.

  44. Lol I made my son a felt apple once and came in to show it to him and asked him “do you like it?” and he sort of shrugged his shoulders and said “okay” and went off to play with another toy.

    You do such a great job of finding universal themes so many moms can relate to 🙂

  45. Betsey I love this. Will have to try it with my 2 year old!

  46. JoAnna says:

    Hahahahaha!!!!! I have decided to be gentle with myself and NOT MAKE my 4 yo anything else. EVER!!!! Ungrateful little.. I mean, sweet little darling!!!! 😀

  47. Carol Gardens says:

    Your anecdote and sketches made me laugh so hard….even though I had similiar experiences over 20 years ago… seems really funny, today! Keep it up….laughing at the situation you are in is the BEST part of being around the uncivilized irrational little cuties…plus they will not remember any of the stuff that YOU will not be able to forget. You could make a book from these!

  48. Carol Gardens says:

    I think that the screaming part shows that he had a definite idea about personal style…but what a funny image you paint!

  49. Carol Gardens says:

    Absolutely! Make them wish they had a hat as cool as yours!

  50. Carol Gardens says:

    HAhahahahah….what a food critic she could be some day!

  51. Melinda says:

    You always crack me up!! Great attempts with the reverse psychology. It never works does it!?

  52. My entire blog is basically about the clothes I have sewn for my four year old, all of which have been roundly rejected. Even the nightgown that she picked out the pattern, fabric, and buttons for. If I make something that can never be hers, she falls totally in love with it though.

  53. MorleyRox says:

    My friend sent me this after I told her about my mom telling me the other day about how I’d given away some “amazing” sweater she’d spent hours and hours making for me that I gave away to my “little blond friend” when I was 5. She told the story like I would both remember it and should perhaps feel badly about what I’d done. She talked about it like its still a great sadness in her life. I am now 35 by the way. I was telling my friend that this story made me feel really sad but then she sent me this and I found it so funny. It also made me feel so much better.

  54. Amber Dusick says:

    Awwww, I also feel guilty for rejecting my own mother’s handmade clothes. I distinctly remember telling her “I don’t want to EVER wear handmade stuff!” once I started school. Oops. Kids just don’t appreciate stuff like that. Glad it made you feel better!

  55. Kelly says:

    Exact same thing happened with my 2 year old – except I found the answer! I stitched a “secret” Thomas the Tank Engine button on the inside corner and now he loves his “Thomas sweater!” (It’s also worked on a pair of pants I made him recently…Thomas is my new best friend)

  56. Jennifer says:

    Oh my gawd! Love this post HAHA!!! that feeling of emptiness in your gut half expecting to hear your child to read your hidden disappointment and say “Sorry mom, I know you worked SO hard on that sweater I will wear it.” So you can respond “It’s ok sweetie, I understand if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.” but reality checks in and that empty feeling is still in your gut! HAHAHA

  57. I choose the pattern and the pinky, super soft yarn because I thought she would love wearing it.

  58. Ashley says:

    Did it get worn this past winter?

  59. Sabina says:

    Any update on this? Did the younger brother end up loving the sweater? I’m dying to find out! 🙂