Letter to a Thief

Dear Sir or Madam,

The things you stole from me yesterday are valuable, which you know, or I would still have them.  The suitcase you took is full of things with this web address on them.  On the chance that you have internet access, and that your curiosity compels you to visit here, I would like to beg you for mercy.

We both know how it happened, and so do the police.  What you may not know is that some of those things were my little girl's 12th birthday presents.  And when I went to retrieve them in order to wrap them up in ribbons for her, that was when I understood what you had done to us.

I can forgive you.  Those items, though I worked hard for them, are replaceable.  And I know times are hard, and you're desperate.  You might even have children, too.

But last night I stayed awake all night, thinking about what I would tell you about the suitcase, if I ever had the chance.  I know.  It's full of sweaters.  And mittens. And hats.  And legwarmers.  I bet you've never seen anything like it.

My guess is that you've never heard of someone who makes their living by knitting.  Well, they can, and do, and although we are few in number, we consider ourselves some of the most blessed people in the world.

How I do it is this:  I make up a knitting design out of my own head, and then I knit the garment, the old-fashioned way, with yarn and needles and my hands.  I do it differently every time, a whole bunch of times, and then those items are all photographed and published into a book.  Then other people can buy the book and make sweaters just like mine.  To sell books, I have to take the suitcase of sweaters all over the world, showing them to knitters, and teaching them how to make their own.  That's my job, and it's pretty special.

The sweaters you now have are the most important way I have of earning a living.  They are my artwork, my portfolio, and my resume. They are also uninsurable, because each one is the only one of its kind.

They are so important and irreplaceable that when they had to be sent away for photos, I couldn't bear to trust them to the mail.  Instead, I bought them a plane ticket and flew them to the photo shoot and back.  It took 6 months to knit them all, one at a time.  Those may have been the hardest 6 months of my life, and my family suffered and sacrificed, too, during that time, so that I could succeed.  The sweaters have never been checked into baggage on a plane.  I can't afford to risk losing them.

To tell you the truth, if I thought you might put the sweaters on and keep warm in the cold dark rain, I would be happy for you to keep them all.  But I don't think you will.  I don't think you could possibly know how precious they are to me, or that there can never be another set.  You probably don't even know that they are different from sweaters people can buy in stores.

There are groups of people organized right now, who are planning to come and see me where I travel next, just to see these sweaters.  And unless you can help me out, I will have to tell them that my knitting now belongs to you.

Please, Sir or Madam, if you happen to be wondering what kind of person has a whole suitcase full of unusual-looking knitwear; Know this about me:  I really can forgive you.  I would like to have had the chance to help you, and if you had asked me, I believe I would have.  But you didn't give me that opportunity, and now I have some very big problems that only you can solve.

I really need the sweaters back.  My family needs them back.  There aren't any others I can replace them with, and they are totally useless to you.  I promise if you come to me I won't ask any questions.  I promise if you help me that I will pray for your well-being.  I promise if you show me mercy, that the Universe will repay you in ways you cannot imagine.

Dear dear Sir or Madam, you are a child of God, and as such deserve my love and care.  Not vengeance or hatred.  Only please help me by giving back what I cannot replace.


Mary Scott Huff
Hand Knitter


What did you think of this article?

  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

  • 1/21/2011 11:23 AM Ginny Graydon wrote:
    My heart breaks for you. Any knitter who has knit even a simple scarf knows the love and care that goes into a handknit item. A non knitter could not even begin to imagine the hurt of this loss. ((HUGS))
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 12:33 PM Shirley Wurts wrote:
    Dear Mary,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Having been a knitter for over 60 years I can't even begin to imagine someone doing this. My husband has also been knitting the last 2 1/2 years and he couldn't believe that somebody could do this either.

    The only reason that I do not like this post is because of what happened to you.
    Hopefully the thief will come forward and do the right thing.

    Good luck and keep up your good work.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 12:51 PM Morgen wrote:
    Oh Mary...can I do anything to help???
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 12:57 PM Joanna wrote:
    Oh Mary, I am sick for you and will add my prayers that your precious items will be returned to you. Having purchased your book and knit several of your designs, I feel your pain deeply and hope for a quick resolution.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 1:23 PM Pat Dixon wrote:
    OMG, this is terrible. I just can't think of anything so horrendous to happen to you.
    I will mention it on my facebook
    They will be returned.I'll pry for that
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 2:54 PM Darlene wrote:
    I've followed your blog for nearly a year now and enjoyed every minute of it. Today, I feel very sad for you and hope the suitcase turns up somewhere and is returned to you. Only a knitter can grieve for the amount of time, effort and money you put into the contents. Best wishes.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 2:54 PM Saralee wrote:
    Only another knitter understands. My heart breaks for you. I'll pray that you get it all back.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:19 PM Tece wrote:
    Dear Mary, I cannot begin to fathom the loss(theft) of your suitcase of beautifully designed and knit sweaters. I am keeping you in my thoughts and hoping for the right outcome! I'm so sorry....
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:37 PM Jane wrote:
    Devastated for you Mary! Sharing this with my knitsibs.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:39 PM Christine wrote:
    Oh my goodness, I am sick to my stomach and want to cry for you! Horrible! I hope the unthinkable occurs and you get them back.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:39 PM Gail wrote:
    I am so sorry. I'm sure this post is full of offers to help you replace the sweaters. If I can knit a sample for you, I will be more than happy to. If I have appropriate yarn, I am happy to provide it, free of charge. I have a massive stash.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:49 PM Bobbie Wallace wrote:
    Oh, Mary, I am SOOO sorry to hear this! I'm hitting the thrifts and consignment shops this weekend to shop for myself (since I lost 30 pounds, whoo hoo!) and will keep an eye out for these. I hope they try to sell them rather than dump them someplace. I just breaks my heart to think of them gone forever.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:49 PM pdxknitterati wrote:
    I feel terrible for you; this is awful. Did your knits disappear in Portland? I know this is being re-tweeted all over, and also posted to FB. I'll put it on my blog, too, but it would help to know where the theft occurred.

    Hoping the thief does the right thing and returns your knitwear. Good luck.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 3:56 PM Janina wrote:
    Oh dear! That's a terrible loss, I'm so sorry. ((hugs))
    I hope the Universe is kind to you in days to come.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 4:02 PM Fulay wrote:
    Dear Mary

    What a sad but lovely post. I am praying for the return of your treasures.

    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 4:25 PM Mari wrote:
    That is terrible.
    Rooting for the return.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 5:02 PM JoAnne wrote:
    I really hope you get your items back. I will say a prayer for you and the person that had to take them. You are a good soul, it will work out I'm sure.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 5:05 PM Kaylynn wrote:
    Oh Mary. There are no words. I will be praying for you....and the 'brief borrower' of your sweaters. Remember, no one can ever take the inspired creative gift that is you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 5:20 PM Donna wrote:
    The contents of this letter brought tears of, "feeling ones pain", but also tear of joy for Mary, who, in spite of this awful thing that has happened to her, still walks in the light and offers to forgive. God is a rewarder. He is a rewarder of those who walk with Him day by day. And He is also a rewarder of those who repent (turn from wrong doing). This can end to be such a beautiful testimony and an opportunity to magnify God and His mercy. I'm praying that "someone's" heart is touched, whether they see this posting or not. Touched to the point of realizing (1) There's no good in wrong, (2) The importance of the contents of the suitcase. And (3) God, His Mercy, and His Goodness is magnified. We do reap what we sow, good and bad.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 6:20 PM erica wrote:
    My heart aches for you. This was so painful to read. I hope the person that posesses your handknits has a change of heart. Lots of love your way!
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 8:03 PM Teddy wrote:
    Dearest Mary,
    My heart is broken for you. What is happening to this world? I got a phone call from my daughter in Buenos Aires, Argentina this morning--a group of 5 young boys robbed her and her boyfriend AT GUNPOINT in what is supposed to be one of the safest and most beautiful cities in the world. They lost cameras, photos, and a bit of money but not their hearts which is so evident in your beautiful sweaters. I am so sorry for her, and for you. It's a loss of innocence as well.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 8:32 PM marissa wrote:
    Nooooo. No, No, No.
    I can't wrap my mind around it.
    What can we do to help???
    NAME IT.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 8:36 PM Jill wrote:
    Oh Mary,
    I am so very sorry to read this post. Your beautiful sweaters. I pray this person, by some miracle, will read your blog and return them to you.

    I count myself privileged to have actually seen and touched these sweaters.

    Please, please, please get Mary's sweaters back to her!
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 9:17 PM Maria wrote:
    I'm praying that this person will be so convicted that they won't be able to eat or sleep until they do the right thing!

    Big hug!
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 10:04 PM Dee Spears wrote:
    very lowdown person that steals anyway but they do not care, nor bring it back. they may try to sell it.
    Reply to this
  • 1/21/2011 10:06 PM Gwennie wrote:
    Oh Mary, I am sick to my stomach about this. I will pray that they are returned to you and not harmed in any way. Please keep us updated.
    Love to you sister.
    love Gwennie
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 7:28 AM jane wrote:
    OMG. I am so sorry this has happened to you. I do not try to earn a living from my quilting/sewing/knitting for many reasons. One very important one, is how do you put a monetary value on a one of a kind piece that took hours and hours to create? I understand your grief totally and wish you the best in retrieving your work. (Perhaps if you spelled thief correctly, your very important message would reach the proper folks....)
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 9:54 AM Denise wrote:
    If there is anything I can do do help please do not hesitate to ask. I just finished a 2 month stint of knitting scarves for a book and I certainly feel your pain!
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 9:55 AM Renee wrote:
    I hope that the thief will, by some strange force, read this and return them. I am heartsick for you!
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 11:21 AM Deb W wrote:
    When God shuts a door, he ALWAYS opens a window! I sincerely hope your sweaters are waiting outside it! With love and prayers for a speedy and successful conclusion! Hugs
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 11:46 AM Anna wrote:
    How very dreadful. I really hope your samples are returned to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 11:49 AM Melissa wrote:
    I cried when I read this!! I am sooo sorry!!
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 12:04 PM Marie wrote:
    I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I am praying for you and for the thief, that you get them back and that he/she is willing to do the right thing.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 12:33 PM Susan wrote:
    Mary - I read about this dreadful offense on Ravelry. So sorry that this has happened to you. I can only hope that somehow, your beautiful knitting will be returned to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 1:55 PM Amie wrote:
    I would keep your eye out on Ebay just in case they make their way into an auction. If so, then you're in better luck because eBay and the police will have a lead. I hope you find the thief soon.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 2:55 PM Alice in the Heartland wrote:
    Hi Mary,
    I join the 100's that are heartbroken at your loss. I'm hoping you have the word out to thrift shops, consignment shops and places like Goodwill who might unsuspectingly take in your lovely sweaters without knowing the back story to them. This is the kind of thing that comes to me in the middle of the night. Just remember there are a lot of us out there just waiting for your call if there is anything we can do. Many Hugs, Alice
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 4:01 PM Rebecca wrote:
    Oh how awful, my hands and heart ache for you, will pray that someone has a change of heart. God bless you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 5:22 PM mimiindublin wrote:
    I came here via Jane at Wildthyme knits.
    I'm so sorry this has happened to you, it is heartbreaking to have worked so hard and lose it in a second. I'll pray that they are returned to you, that good will prevail.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 7:02 PM judi wrote:
    i am hoping your precious knitting will be returned.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 8:31 PM Hands in Delight wrote:
    My heart breaks for you. I am so, so sorry for your loss.
    Reply to this
  • 1/22/2011 10:44 PM Sarah wrote:
    My heart goes out to you, Mary. I hope that person is reading your plead and will find his/her heart to do the right thing. Meanwhile, if I can help you knit up some of the samples from the beautiful book (which I am proud to have my very own copy), give me a shout. I've been told I'm quite a fast knitter and I heart color-work knits
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 5:40 AM Jackie wrote:
    I hope and pray that the conscience of the person who stole your beautiful sweaters will be pricked severely, and that he / she will get no rest until they return them to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 11:02 AM Susan wrote:
    Would it be possible to assign a garment to each of use who volunteers to make one for you? If you can send us the yarn we need I certainly would take the time to help you.

    Where was the suitcase stolen? I hope the knitters in that place are canvassing their area looking looking looking. Those items are so distinctive that anyone wearing one will instantly be recognized.

    Sending you love.
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 11:54 AM Karen wrote:
    Mary - This is so sad. What a nightmare. I know every town has crime, but this event is a blemish on my image of Portland.

    I had been thinking about buying your book. I decided to send you a little love by doing that today.
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 3:25 PM Arianne wrote:
    Spread the word and help Mary get her sweaters back!
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 6:08 PM Dbie Johnson wrote:
    Mary, this just breaks my heart. Your sincere request to get the sweaters back, and why, has touched me in so many ways. I hope you get them back. Your work is gorgeous.
    Can you tell me the name of the book? I have a friend who has started knitting and I would love to buy it for her.

    thanks so much, and good luck getting them back!
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 7:26 PM Adriene wrote:
    Possibly the saddest thing I've read in a long time. I am spreading the word. I am so sorry this happened to you, but I am impressed by your response. You are an amazing person!
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 8:23 PM CBegbie wrote:
    Mary, I have only been knitting for a year now and cannot even imagine the effort and sacrifice it took to make these beautiful sweaters, but I do have 15 years in law enforcement and would like to ask...were there no security cameras in the area? Is there anyone that can check for you? a pic of the suitcase, or similar one? The media can put out a small bolo and include the photos of the sweaters so a 2nd or 3rd party might call in the information if the sweaters are recognized. If there is a 'secret witness' organized in the area they should be notified. If I lived in the area I would be happy to help and do it on my own time, but I do not. I think if anyone else does, and is able, be Mary's champion and see if these things can be done. I hope they checked for prints and swabbed for DNA. It's a long shot but a nice effort anyway. Vburg's are on the rise, a sign of the times, and we pray everyday that it will get better. God Bless, CB
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 8:55 PM Regina wrote:
    Wow...so hard to hear about. Prayers for the best outcome. Be strong and try to have faith. I am sorry...so sorry.
    Reply to this
  • 1/23/2011 10:14 PM Amy wrote:
    Hi Mary--I feel terrible reading your story. I wonder if it might be worth checking ebay for any sweaters matching your descriptions. I think it's probably the place where a thief could make the most money off of a beautiful hand knit sweater. Good luck! I hope they come back to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/24/2011 8:17 AM Quigley's Cabinet wrote:
    I have spread the word on my blog~
    Reply to this
  • 1/24/2011 3:08 PM Jani Brattin wrote:
    Mary, there is nothing I can say to make you feel any better. Only retrieving your beloved hard work items will do that. I hope whom ever took these will turn them in, if they had a place to leave them? You may suggest an easy way for the items to be returned. I pray for you and hope your items are returned, I also pray for whom ever did this. I hope once they realize what they have done they will do the right thing.
    Reply to this
  • 1/25/2011 1:46 PM Karen Frisa wrote:
    I can only imagine how devastating this is! Seeing your photos brings back all the details of the sweaters and all of the careful work that obviously went into them. It would be wonderful if they made their way back to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/25/2011 2:46 PM Shar wrote:
    Mary, I only wish I could do something to help with this awful thing. In addition to checking ebay, it might be worth checking with boutiques in the area where the sweaters were stolen. I certainly hope your sweaters are returned to you in mint condition.
    Reply to this
  • 1/25/2011 7:27 PM Marj wrote:
    Mary, I'm sick to hear of your loss. I saw some of the sweaters when you were here in MT and they are irreplaceable. I sincerely hope the person returns them immediately. Keep checking with the airline.
    I saw one of your violet scarf kits today & it was magnificent. Do you still have them to sell? and how do I buy one? I'll be praying for the return of your beautiful sweaters.
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 2:24 AM janel laidman wrote:
    Oh, I am so sorry to hear about this, I know how important those sweaters are to you. I'll keep my eyes open on craigslist here in Eugene area just in case some make it down here. We had a GPS stolen earlier this year and found it for sale on Craigslist, so it could happen.

    Sending hugs and good thoughts your way.
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 8:38 AM elsa wrote:
    Oh Mary, I'm so sorry for your loss. I live in Portland and I'll keep my eye out for you. Do hope you can retrieve all of your things.
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 9:06 AM Ida wrote:
    I'm so sorry someone was so cruel and thoughtless. I hope he or she realizes how much harm has been caused.
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 10:53 AM Eaglehawk wrote:
    While I am not a knitter, I do make my items out of wood. I completely understand what you are going through. I wish I could do something to help, but not knowing how to knit I know there is nothing I can do other than pray that you get your items back. I hope karma is a swift and decisive response to this person that thought they knew how to use your stuff better than you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 11:44 AM Amy G wrote:
    Mary, I can empathize! I have had my car broken into and my biggest fear was that they took the WIP in my knitting bag. I was lucky - it clearly did not measure up to yours.

    I have to say that as I read your letter, I was struck by something else.....you knit all of those amazing, beautiful sweaters in just 6 months! So, I am also envious.

    Don't let this unravel you!
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 11:51 AM Petra Bockus wrote:
    Such a horrible thing to have happened. I'm so sorry. I hope through some good karma the thief reads your plea and has the decency to return the work of your heart and soul back to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/26/2011 12:34 PM Marna wrote:
    A terrible loss and so unnecessary! I have a feeling you'll get them all back. Keep us posted on what happens.
    Reply to this
  • 1/27/2011 10:06 AM Saralee wrote:
    I can't quit thinking about you and your plight. My heart bleeds for you, and I was wondering how I could help. I do have two of your sweaters completed exactly as you wrote them and a third one partly done. The other one I did I changed the pattern. If what I have knit will help you I'd love to let you use them. Chin up. Lv
    Reply to this
  • 1/28/2011 3:03 PM Rickie vB wrote:
    Dear Mary - I was sad as I read your story. And then I saw the photo of your Baroque bag, the one I finished for my daughter this week, that I showed off to my fiber friends yesterday. The one that came out even better than I ever imagined. And I thought of the hours and hours I put into just that bag. Your loss is unthinkable, and I hope your knitted pieces come back to you.
    Reply to this
  • 1/28/2011 3:04 PM chrissie day wrote:
    OMG I am zillions of miles away but what can I do can I help get some reknit for you.
    If I lost all my show knits I would be lost as you must feel too.Do not worry knitters all over will help.
    send me a pattern AND i will do it for you my work can wait
    God bless
    Reply to this
  • 1/29/2011 9:06 AM Rhysom wrote:
    I hope beyond hope the sweaters return to you. They might.
    I too knit for a "living", and an event as you describe would truly damage or destroy everything I work so hard for.
    Reply to this
  • 2/11/2011 10:46 PM Geri wrote:
    I can't even imagine how bereft you are with the loss (theft) of your beautiful sweaters.

    I'm so glad I got to see you in the original Norwegian Blue at Rhinebeck in 2009.

    I have done a lot of colour work and have lots of time (I'm retired) and would be happy to knit a replacement sweater for you.

    Just say the word.
    Reply to this
  • 2/19/2011 12:50 PM catherine wrote:
    This is a truly heart rending story. I am so sorry this has happened to you. Four weeks ago I made up a piece of tapestry into a cushion for the daughter of my closest friend. It was to be a very special birthday present. The daughter had never made anything like it before, it had taken her ages and I was delighted she asked me to help her. She posted me her needlework and the backing which was material from her granny's old house. I posted the completed cushion back to her and we waited. After nearly 4 weeks we despaired, we thought it was lost for ever. Then yesterday it turned up! I hope your story has an equally happy ending.
    x C
    Reply to this
  • 4/2/2011 9:13 AM Kay Lyn wrote:
    It really is depressing to hear of such a personal crime. As everyone knows that knits, a one of a kind- knit from scratch sweater has so much of your heart put into the garment. When this thief opened your trunk, they took not just mere sweaters. They took your livelihood, your creative zest, and a little piece of your heart. Portland has such a large family of knitters, I hope that through all of the support from the knitting community, you retrieve your sweaters someway, somehow. With all of the good wishes you've accumulated, Karma must work it's magic and bring these knitted items home to you. Best wishes.
    Reply to this
  • 5/14/2011 9:37 AM Rabbitch wrote:
    Oh, I'm so terribly sorry, but I see that some of them have already shown up at a Goodwill store in Portland. I shall keep my fingers crossed for the safe return of all of your beautiful items.
    Reply to this
  • 5/14/2011 11:45 AM Linda Quick wrote:
    (I hate to sew) but if you want, I can knit the pieces. Don't know if it matters, but I'm left-handed.

    I do hope you get your precious items back.
    Reply to this
  • 5/14/2011 3:59 PM annie wrote:
    my heart is breaking for you.... your letter is so powerful and loving; the universe could not be deaf to your plea.
    Reply to this
  • 2/4/2012 11:12 AM Hadley wrote:
    I am so sorry this happened. I hope the suitcase's captor encounters this and feels compelled to get your knits back to you.
    Reply to this
Leave a comment

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.


 Email (will not be published)


Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.