Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Man, oh Manon

Last spring, for my birthday, The World's Best Mother-in-law™ took me to lunch in NE Minneapolis and while we were waiting for our lunch to arrive at the table, she handed me a birthday card. Inside was a gift card (for a sizable amount) to a newish yarn shop I hadn't yet been to (Bella Lana). The shop is on the same block as the restaurant, so after lunch we stopped in and I got to see a shop filled with nothing but luxury yarns. I didn't mention that in addition to the gift card, she gave me a sizable amount of cash (in case I didn't want to spend it my whole gift all in one place). This is only one of many reasons why she is The World's Best Mother-in-law™.

I knew I wanted to knit Manon, but I didn't know how much yarn I needed, so the shop owner let me log onto Ravelry from her computer so I could look it up. I bought enough Sublime extra fine merino/silk/cashmere yarn to do the job, plus I got a new ball winder, as mine was not behaving, and went home, happy with my bag of charcoal yarny goodness and upgraded yarn winding capability.

I have used the ball winder countless times since then, but until a few days ago, I had done nothing about knitting my Manon. Okay, that's not entirely true. In September, I knit the center back triangle, but decided for some reason it wasn't satisfactory, so I ripped it out.

(This is the triangle I knit the other day, but it looks exactly like the one I knit in September.)

I think I thought the k2togs on the right edge looked big and sloppy. whereas the SSKs on the left edge were tighter. They looked exactly the same this time around, only I wasn't as anal about it. I was coming off a stint of working swatches for the Master Hand Knitting program and I tend to get perfectionistic at those times, which causes me to step away from the MHK program for a few months (without understanding why). I do this over and over again. My path to self-actualization is full of clueless detours. My unconscious self knows me far better than my conscious self. Perhaps I should spend more time being unconscious.

For now, I am knitting for pleasure and for myself. Here is the Manon so far:

The bottom half of the sweater is complete. I picked up the back waistband last night and worked about 2" (the part that's curled up along the center back) and I'm about to start the armhole decreases.

Here is a closer shot of the left triplet

I'm knitting for myself because on Friday night I distributed all the Christmas knitting I did at the end of October. The occasion was Christmas Dinner at a Restaurant with the Princesses. (It's a long story. Suffice it to say that we are all writers and all mentally about six years old. I am Princess Fiona.)

It was at dinner that I bestowed upon each princess a pair of Fetching fingerless mittens. I then forced them to model the mitts even though the cuffs were held together with yarn and a tag. You could say they were handcuffed.

Here we have Tina (Princess Xena), in a cobalt blue handpaint from Cascade

Monica, pronounced mo NEE ka (Princess Jasmine), in maroon Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss

Mary (Princes Leia) in Reynolds Odyssey (blues) 100% merino

Rosemary (Princess Buttercup) in Odyssey (purples)

Helen (Princess Wannabe) also in Odyssey (reds)

Chris (Princess Frostine) in Odyssey (greens)

Becky (Princess Aurora) in Odyssey (oranges)

Then there was Katie (Princess Quay of the Milky Way), who received sage green Cashmerino mitts. Katie's favorite color is red, and I knew it, but somehow while I was knitting all those Fetchings (including several extra pairs, because I couldn't stop myself), I didn't count up how many pairs of red mitts I needed and compare them with the number of princesses who love red. Instead I ended up with two extra pairs of green mitts, plus a twin to Tina's cobalt handpainted mitts.

I brought all the extras to the restaurant and told her if she wanted, she could exchange the sage Cashmerinos for whichever ones she wanted. She looked at the other choices in the dim light and decided she was happy with what I had given her until I told her there was one other choice. I pulled a Branching Out lace scarf in cranberry from my bag and before I could even explain what it was she said, "I'll take that!" and snatched it before I could blink.

Monica tried to protest, declaring the situation unfair, because she wanted the lace scarf. While Monica is famous for talking anyone into or out of anything, she had a tough time selling her point because a) she had received a pair of Fetchings in her favorite color (red) and b) she had laryngitis. Plus, I think if it came down to it, Katie could totally take Monica down. Through a flurry of hand gestures and notes written on the backs of receipts, Monica did manage to extract a promise from me to knit her a lace scarf for her 40th birthday, which is coming up in a few months. I guess she won after all. Hmm.

Here is Katie

I can't explain why this photo is so bad. One of us might have been the slightest bit tipsy when it was taken. We were, after all, in the wine cellar of Amore Victoria. Or maybe she was just drunk with happiness, because I let her keep the mitts, too.

I'm starting to think Katie and Monica are conspiring to achieve maximum hand knit acquisition.


Anonymous said...

Hah! I'm glad I'm not the only one who bugs LYS owners into letting me use their computers to check something on Ravelry.

mamakin said...

I was surprised when a LYS owner asked if I had what I was thinking of making on Ravelry. Then offered her computer & suggested I check my favs in case I think of something I'd rather make but forgot about. I was shocked-guess I had the deer in the headlights look I often get when in LYS & just walk around touching everthing. I must say, she was very smart because I found the perfect yarn for several pairs of socks that were on the list & a baby gift that had slipped my mind, so Now I'm going to keep this in mind for the future. Now, if I can get the LYS to also sell on Etsy, the only thing I'll miss will me rubbing my face in the cashmeres & marinos & I can build my stash right from the hospital bed...YES!!!!!
Ah, and I just noticed that your birthday is tomorrow so I'm sending you many wonderful new experiences, gifts of fabulous yarns, time to knit & blog & friends to have coffee or tea with while checking out the latest news ar Ravelry & Phat Fiber...and several glasses of wine! Happy Birthday!