The Manon

At least one Christmas present is finally complete!

Manon by Norah Gaughan, knit up in Malabrigo for my fabulous, super-stupendous step-mother extrodinaire.
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This was an incredible knit… and I am so looking forward to making up one for myself!

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The lovely buttons she chose worked beautifully. I knit up a two stitch i-cord for the button loops, and reinforced the waistband with a whip stitch so the closures wouldn’t distort the ribbing.

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The construction of the sweater was amazing. Knitting up the first triangle was the confidence builder for the jump-of-faith you take on building the next panel… follow the instructions as written and without over-thinking it and you’ll be just fine. Especially if, unlike me, you count correctly and don’t drop a stitch or two as you go along. I ended up posting to a few ravelry groups and writing a quick message to Ms. Gaughan herself because something wasn’t going quite right. In then end, I had to frog the second side of the peplum once I figured out that the reason for the confusion and trouble was due to the incorrect stitch count. It is a good thing to know that Norah was willing to help out with the pattern and offer some suggestions as to where to find more help.

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Oh that peplum!!

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The yarn was yummy to work with, and is so very warm. Being a single ply I know that it will pill, and the stitch definition would be sharper with a plied yarn, but I suspect that it will be worn with great care, and I really needed the fiber to extra, super, soft. Funnily enough, the same day I finished the sweater, my step mom and I had an interesting conversation about wool. She proclaimed that she could tell when a sweater contained 1% wool, and that all wool would scratch. I swore to her that not all wool was itchy, but she wasn’t convinced. Too bad, I thought to myself, you’re getting the sweater anyway and if you don’t like it, I’ll take it back and wear it myself.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky.

As far as fit, I think it worked very well for her shape, which is rather petite. But when I go to knit one for myself, I’ll need to add about two inches to the length of the bodice, below the arm hole shaping, so the waistband will hit below my chest. Although it looks like the design is meant to hit higher than that, I prefer a more “empire” waisted fit.

And in one final note… I am desperately missing my SLR, film-based though it is. Our little PowerShot is a fantastic point and shoot that I never thought I would use at all and is incredibly handy for snapshots of the kids, but the lack of focal length in driving me quite batty. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can find myself a digital SLR…

More Button Trouble

I seem to have an infinite amount of trouble finding buttons that are just right. This can lead me to distraction and keep me up late at night, well, that combined with a nursing infant. Of course, this is leading to a horrible habit of finishing the sweater save for the placement of buttons. This, uh, issue of mine has now caused four sweaters to lie around incomplete… one of them long enough that some critter found it tasty enough to chew through. I still have yet to completely re-knit it. Ah well.

This Christmas I tackled the Manon of Norah Gaughan fame.

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I loved, loved, loved knitting this one up and will write a bit more about that experience once I get my final photos taken. Although I managed to get it knit, soaked, blocked, and pieced together in time for Christmas, I couldn’t manage to choose between the buttons/closures I thought would work. In the end, I decided to let the recipient, my step mother, pick and choose. She’d have to wear it, after all, so why shouldn’t the burden of choice be placed on her?

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She didn’t hesitate, bless-ed woman. Copper buttons coming right up!

I won’t even begin to tell you how many icord variations I knit up in attempt to gussy up the waistband. Let me assure anyone who thought some extra fancy decorative might be extra special; this sweater needs no embellishment. Anything I tried to add just distracted from the beauty of the construction and cabling.

Tragedy!!

Remember this little bsj, waiting for a few buttons, a little dress up, and teeny baby to fill it out?

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Guess what I found when I finally got around to fixing it up!

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Guess there was someone else who decided to “finish it off” for me.

Sigh. It’s too big of a hole for me to fix without frogging, but truth be told, there was one or two mistakes that were driving me a bit batty, so this will be the perfect opportunity to fix them. I’ll get a chance to knit three bsj’s, but only have two to show for it. Live and learn, and buy cedar without abandon.

In other, happier news, all the Manon pieces are going upstairs for a good soak and block tonight!! Woot woot!!

Resting and Waiting and Making

Three weeks…

three weeks or twenty-one days…

twenty one days or two hundred and eighty-eight hours…

if I was being precise, then it would be two hundred eighty-two hours.

I prefer, at this moment, to think in terms of hours… because it seems like this will never end, and three weeks just doesn’t seem to communicate that feeling of desperation as well as two hundred and eighty-two hours. I know I should be, and I truly am, thankful that I will have the opportunity to carry this baby to term, giving her the best chance for a healthy start, but MAN! Four nights of powerful contractions three minutes apart for six hours that prevents one from sleeping is just about enough to send anyone over the edge. Luckily, a trip to the hospital for monitoring proved both how strong the contractions were, as well as how exhausted I was becoming, so I was able to get some good drugs to pull me back. And with a promise that if conditions remained as is then the surgery date would be moved up…. ah… relief in sight and sanity back in cheque!

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But enough whining… one benefit of having so many contractions is the need for rest, which means lots of time off of my feet and more time for knitting! So here is how I’ve been spending my time these past few days, uh, after I caught up on my sleep!

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A few things to notice:
• It’s Manon!! (rav link)
• Using Malabrigo!
• The gorgeous afghan knit up a few years ago by Laura (rav link)
• The tiniest little peek of my new slippers

I started Manon about ten days ago, and I have to tell you, it’s been such an amazing knit!!! The construction is incredible, the changing pattern keeps things interesting, and the shaping looks like it will lend itself to a beautiful fit. And can I just say… the yarn is really really working for me. I didn’t think I would become such a yarn snob, but I am thoroughly enjoying how soft and light this mighty little single is knitting up. Sheesh! I think I’m goign to have troubl giving this one up come Christmas… maybe, just maybe, it will be to big. It would be terrible to have to knit up another one of these!

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And that blanket!! Laura crocheted this up for me before we left California a few years ago, and I have to say, should the house catch on fire–god forbid!–it will be the babies, the dogs, and this blanket that I grab on my way out. I’m assuming the hubby will either be out of town, or he’ll make it out on his own.

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Laura has also knit up another fabulous sweater for the littlest one, which I promise to photograph and post uh, before the imminent arrival. Guess I better do that by tonight, huh, just to be sure?

And the slippers? Why am I excited enough to point out the few pixels dedicated to my new slippers? Well, you see, about seventeen years ago–geez, has it really been that long?–my aunt gave me a pair of slippers for Christmas. They were red cotton velour Isotoner ballet slippers with a suede sole, and every year, I’ve tried to replace them, but alas, they don’t make them anymore. They all have the rubber sole, and those aren’t my beloved slippers. Finally, I gave up the ghost and bought a pair of hand-made shearling slippers from a local store, the Sheepskin Shop, close to my father’s house, and I have to admit, I’m loathe to remove them from my feet! They were definitely more than I was looking to pay, but if I only buy one pair of slippers ever 15-17 years, then it’s a worthy investment… right? I’m still hanging on to the old slippers, but honestly, they’re beyond the point of comfort, even though they still look pretty good for as old as they are. Guess they’ll be perfect to take to the hospital… in two hundred eight-one hours…