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