Get to Know Marie Greene and the 4 Day KAL

The time has come to start planning for the 8th Annual Olive Knits 4 Day Knitalong! Hosted by Marie Greene of Olive Knits and featuring a new design by her each year, this is the 8th year of knitters working on the same pattern to knit themselves a garment in just 4 days, and we’re honored to support her KAL with budget-friendly yarn choices! This year’s KAL pattern is Spill the Tea, an adorable top that doubles as a sweater vest. The 4-day KAL begins July 3rd, and you can learn more about the KAL on

Our take on her Spill the Tea was made using High Desert Sport, a 100% American wool yarn, which is the perfect choice if you plan to wear it as a vest. Marie was kind enough to let us interview her for our blog, and you can also learn more about our favorite Knit Picks yarn choices for the pattern when we join her for a Zoom event on June 11th at 4 PM Pacific!

KP: Could you introduce yourself and Olive Knits to our followers?

MG: Hello Knit Picks Friends! I’m Marie Greene, I’m the author of five knitting books (working on my sixth), and the founder of Olive Knits knitwear design, and the Knit Camp app. I’ve been knitting nearly all my life – my grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 10, and it was love at first stitch. Once I picked up those needles, I never put them down! I’m passionate about seamless sweaters, especially, but honestly – I will knit just about anything, anytime, anywhere (except for brioche, which is lovely, but isn’t my jam). I consider myself a teaching designer, because I want to do more than just create beautiful patterns; I include tutorials, tips and guidance to help knitters be inspired AND successful.

KP: This is the 8th Annual 4 Day KAL. What inspired the first 4 Day KAL?

MG: This knitalong started as a silly personal challenge. Back in 2016 I had a rare 4-day weekend with no commitments, and decided to see if I could knit a sweater start to finish over the four days. Why not? I had no sense of whether it was even possible but thought it would be fun to see how far I could get–just for kicks. I shared the experience online to raise the stakes a bit, and believe it or not, I did it! By the end of day four, I had a whole sweater. I remember hanging the sweater on the back of my closet door and panning by it with my phone and the Rocky theme song blaring in the background to share it with those who’d been following along with me. It was a blast, and I was just as surprised as everyone else that I managed to finish it in such a short time. One of my followers suggested I should host a four-day knitalong, and the rest was history. As the years have evolved, it’s really become less about “four days” and more about setting a personal goal to focus on the project and finish it faster than you thought you could. For some knitters, it’s finishing in less than a week (which is always tested and possible for those knitting the smaller sizes), but for many it’s just a chance to knit with the energy and support of community and celebrate a finished sweater at the end. We often convince ourselves that knitting sweaters takes a long time, and this knitalong is designed to show knitters that it doesn’t have to take as long as one might think.

KP: Not counting Spill the Tea, do you have a favorite 4 Day KAL pattern, or was there a previous year’s KAL that was particularly memorable?

MG: It’s hard to say which one is my favorite, but the real standout was Beekeeper. I hadn’t intended for the 4 Day KAL to be an annual tradition, but I made a last-minute decision to host the knitalong again the second year (mostly because I was under deadline for my first book and wanted to keep my community engaged while I was focused elsewhere). Much to my surprise, the pattern went viral, and its success cemented the place of the 4 Day Knitalong on my annual calendar. It’s hilarious that I designed the pattern almost as an afterthought, but it remains one of my most popular designs.

KP: What was your inspiration for the Spill the Tea pattern? We love how it can be worn as a vest or worn as a top to be super versatile. 

MG: Design is not a straight line for me; I usually start with some seedling of a concept, and then swatch and swatch and swatch and SWATCH until something finally feels right. For Spill the Tea, I started with the idea that I wanted to use three colors. I like texture, and I love it when texture and color work together in a cohesive way. I think versatility is important in knitting patterns, too, because it makes the designs approachable for a range of different bodies and personal styles. And while I love stripes, they’re not always super flattering in the midsection. By pairing stripes and dots with an approachable lace design, the result is a flattering wavy detail that balances the visual a little more vertically.

KP: When designing your 4-day KAL patterns, are there specific techniques you try to use or avoid to make the knitting more speedy?

MG: Absolutely! Thank you for asking this question, because I love to talk about this part of the process. I think knitters would be surprised to learn just how intentional and strategic I am about the design process for this knitalong. It’s easy to look at a pattern and think, “Well, I would have done it like this, or like that…” but the truth is that I am very strategic about the pattern to make it a realistic project for the time frame. My goal is to help knitters succeed, not set them up to fail. If I want to use a lighter weight yarn (like sportweight yarn for Spill the Tea), I can’t include sleeves–it’s just not practical for those who want to try knitting it in less than a week or two. If we’re using multiple colors, you can bank on the fact that we’ll be knitting stripes or slipped stitches, or simple textural details; we’re not knitting colorwork for the 4 Day KAL (again, because it’s just not practical for the time frame). I’m also mindful of shaping details, increases, and the amount of focus that will be required throughout the project. If I increase the focus with one element of the pattern, I’ll decrease the focus elsewhere to compensate. With Spill the Tea, I increased the amount of focus for the texture and color elements, but then designed the pattern to be knit bottom-up so that knitters don’t also have to devote their energy to increases or other shaping techniques at the same time.

KP: What’s your best advice for knitters who have never knit a top this quickly but hope to meet the deadline?

MG: My best advice is to have fun, and don’t stress about the time frame. The goal is just to knit a sweater faster than you thought you could, even if it takes you a few weeks or longer. It’s not a competition; it’s a personal challenge. Some knitters LOVE to give themselves the challenge of a deadline, but for others, it’s more about having support from the community to stay focused and finish. If you’re having fun, meeting new knitting friends, and staying motivated to keep knitting, you’re winning. Don’t worry if you make a mistake or if life gets in the way; it happens.

KP: Is there anything knitters who are debating joining should know about participating during the KAL itself that they might miss if they choose to knit the pattern some other time?

MG: Great question! There’s something almost magical about the energy and buzz of this knitalong; thousands of knitters from around the world are all knitting together at the same time, on the same project. The momentum and shared enthusiasm is contagious! Of course you can knit a pattern any time you want to, but there’s nothing quite like the experience of joining so many other excited and highly motivated knitters on the same journey. It’s like going on a virtual cruise with your knitting friends and sharing the experience together in real time.

The 4 Day Knitalong is hosted by Marie Greene on her platform and begins on July 3rd!

1 comment

  1. Marianne / June 4, 2024 / Reply

    I haven’t tried one of these KALs, but this sounds fun! Really enjoyed hearing about the design process. Thank you for this interview.