Well, actually no one.
Your guesses, in no particular order, were: a hat to put a pony tail through (I really liked that one); a wine or alcohol bottle keeper; a leg warmer (for some really funky shaped leg); a yoga mat carrier (if it wasn't open on both ends); and a hot water bottle cover (again, only if it had one side closed). Creative ideas, good guesses, but all wrong.
I will admit, the contest wasn't completely fair. Unless you've read Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop, (which teaches you to make sweaters without using patterns) there's really no way you could have guessed what that object was.
What it is, in fact, is a sweater sampler. Yes, that's right. Not a sweater, but a sampler. Just like those colonial girls' embroidery samplers, only knit. It was a really fun way to learn some new techniques. I have to say, even though I've been knitting for 10 years, I learned something like 13 new techniques, and became much more comfortable with at least 4 others.
So, what are some of the techniques I learned?
How to make a sturdy knit belt and a kangaroo pocket:
How to knit a lace bind-off (or in English, finish knitting the sweater, incorporating lace at the same time), and how to knit a Fair Isle design using two colors, then add a third color after the fact:
How to create textured stripes:
And of course that fun little Pokemon pocket (which was added after the "garment" was complete). That one was the scariest for me, because it meant taking scissors and actually cutting into my finished knitting and trusting that it wasn't going to totally uravel.
So, what am I going to do with it now that it's complete? Unlike those embroidery samplers, it's not really appropriate wall art. And while my kids definitely enjoyed wearing it and using it for basketball practice, I think I've found a more practical use for it. I'm going to add some elastic to the bottom opening, hang it in the kitchen, and call it a shopping bag dispenser.
Of course, now that I've made a sampler, I have to shore up my courage and make an actual sweater. Remember, I'm the queen of hats and neck warmers and other instant gratification knitting projects. And a sweater is no quick-knit. But, armed with all my new knowledge, I'm going to attempt to knit a sweater for Ian without a net (I mean, a pattern). I'll even try to be patient about completing it. Wish me luck.