Pas de Valse

Published on Monday June 21st, 2010

Friday was our fifth wedding anniversary.  It’s ten years since I first knew I’d marry Mr. G and next year will mark half my lifetime that we’ve been friends, so I’d say we dance pretty well together by now. Not that we don’t tread on each other’s toes now and then or misinterpret the lead, but swing dancers who have come to learn and have a good time like to say a universal “I’m sorry” before the dance begins so they can jump in with good intentions and humor, and this kind of understanding works well in marriage, too. This is a busy time for us and we had my family in town for a weekend of  baby showers, birthday parties, and general merrymaking, but we slipped away to have breakfast together and luckily I had just the thing to wear to look nice for my beloved.




Pas de Valse! It was almost dry. And I’ve already worn it three more times — this one definitely goes on my list of knitting successes, and that’s a relief. For one, I started it last November, before I knew I was pregnant. I didn’t knit a gauge swatch, which is not behavior I’d recommend for a project like this. Once I got a few inches in and did bother to check, my row gauge was way off. I compensated by throwing in extra rows between the decreases. It still looked awfully short when I reached the armholes, given that it’s supposed to fall gracefully to the hips, but I just crossed my fingers that the blocking gods would accept my offerings. By this time all those extra rows had blown the stitch count to smithereens; I’m not even sure I could tell you what I did with the front extensions except that I tried to make shaping decisions that would keep them looking proportional to the rest of the cardigan.



Somehow, it all worked. The length is perfect. The sleeves are perfect (and this hardly ever happens for me). I want to marry this yarn and have its woolly BFL babies. (A note on the yarn: it’s Oceanwind Knits BFL Fingering, for which the pattern is written and on which I decided to splurge as a 30th birthday present to myself. Four 400-meter skeins were recommended for the 39″ size; I’ve got a full skein untouched and a good chunk of the third remaining, and lucky me because I’ll totally use it for something else, but keep that in mind if you’re thinking three skeins might be more within the reach of your budget. My colorway is Seabreeze, but I was sorely tempted by the Cranberry as well.) It’s soft enough not to itch my neck at all, even with sensitive pregnancy skin, yet it’s lustrous and far stronger than merino — breaking the strand will leave a mark and a sting on your fingers. Marnie MacLean’s pattern is one of the most thorough I’ve ever worked from — so thorough that you have to keep your wits about you and read ahead of yourself repeatedly to make sure you’re proceeding correctly — but it’s worth the effort for a beautiful result.

Tomorrow I have to drive to the coast, which really would have been the ideal location for a Pas de Valse photoshoot… barefoot in the sand against the plunging rocks and pounding sea… but alas, I can’t take my photographer with me. I’m totally wearing the cardigan, though. You’ll just have to imagine it. In the mean time, my husband likes this silly contrast shot to end on:


Look, our deck is now a construction area with a workbench!

(My parents never just come for a visit. They can’t stand to loll about and actually be on vacation, so they do projects and build me things — on this occasion, custom shelves for a closet so it could become a linen closet and clear a bureau for Minnow’s gear. Oh, and they painted a bookcase, too. They might come back next month to rebuild the rotten deck. Yes, they are exceptional parents.)

26 Comments to “Pas de Valse”

  1. Leigh Comment Says:

    That’s lovely! And think the soft blue is perfect.

    Happy anniversary!

  2. mick Comment Says:

    I love the sweater! And you’re right, the fit is perfect. You look gorgeous!

  3. Emilee Comment Says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    That’s a lovely sweater. It works so well with the baby bump! And of course it will be quite lovely after as well.

  4. Mindy Comment Says:

    It’s a gorgeous sweater.

    Happy Anniversary!

  5. Julie Comment Says:

    the pas de valse is gorgeous!! Looks like something you’ll get a lot of wear out of. Your baby bump is the cutest. You look great!!

  6. Katie Comment Says:

    Gorgeous cardigan! And you are glowing like crazy. You look fabulous!

  7. val Comment Says:

    What an absolutely stunning FO! You look so radiant, too!

  8. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    I’ll admit to a bit of jealousy. My parents don’t visit, so I would even relish them coming over and just sitting around!

  9. Anne Comment Says:

    It and you look fantastic! That’s one of my favorite yarns too, and I actually like your styling better than the original TC version!

  10. Gaile Comment Says:

    Your sweater (and baby bump) go well together! Congrats on the impending arrival, the new knit and the anniversary. The colour you chose is beautiful btw!

  11. Denise Comment Says:

    Where to begin…Happy Anniversary!!! The sweater is beautiful… soft and following around the belly. And that belly…my gosh…you look amazing!!!! Counting the days. Enjoy your husband and your time. It will all change soon but only for the better. I can’t wait to “meet” you little one.

  12. Emily Comment Says:

    So beautiful, Sarah – both you and the cardi. It’s a great piece of luck that you started a pre-pregnancy project that would be so conducive to wearing while pregnant, too! And it’s always thrilling when one’s on-the-fly mods turn out perfectly. 🙂

  13. Jodi Comment Says:

    The cardigan is just beautiful — one of my favorite hues, too. You’re looking great!

    P.S. Any chance your parents want to visit Chicago? 😉

  14. Katrin Comment Says:

    I knew it was going to be a gorgeous one when I first saw it! I’ve got to admit I’m kind of jealous of your parents – any chance they would like to adopt me?;) And as always – just holler when you need help, any kind of help.

  15. Kristen Comment Says:

    Beautiful! Both you and the cardigan. And you still have a waist in back!

    Happy happy anniversary!

  16. Ivana Comment Says:

    That looks like one of those cardis that will get A LOT of use! 🙂
    By the way, I have just nominated you for the beautiful blogger award over at my place 🙂

  17. Wendolene Comment Says:

    Gorgeous sweater! The blocking gods were indeed beneficent, and the color is gorgeous on you!

  18. emily Comment Says:

    beautiful cardigan! it’s a happy day when you you “knit”-by-the-seat-of-your-pants on something and manage it make it all work out in the end 🙂

  19. Debby Comment Says:

    Happy Anniversary! The sweater is perfect for you, though I am dropping my jaw at all the mods you did!

    Your parents are so sweet; they are going to make wonderful grandparents, I can see.

  20. Lisa Comment Says:

    You, and the cardi, look fabulous!!

  21. Bryna Comment Says:

    a) great sweater.
    b) congrats on your anniversary… enjoyed your lovely note and thoughts on the matter. 😉
    c) my parents are the same! when they would visit me in nyc and dc i always wanted to sightsee or do things around town i didn’t do on my own… but instead we always ended up hanging shelves or putting contact paper in the cabinets or buying a new vacuum. oh parents. you guys going to be like that?!

  22. balzac Comment Says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    Love this sweater! Great choice of color (as usual).

  23. yoel Comment Says:

    What a beautiful cardi! It looks so versatile, and the color is great on you.

    Happy Anniversary!

  24. knittingoutloud Comment Says:

    You are so cute with sweater and ear muffs (ear muffs were invented in Maine)! Happy Anniversary!

  25. whitney Comment Says:

    Happy (now rather belated) 5th anniversary!

    Your Pas de Valse looks so lovely! I started one awhile back, but in a yarn that didn’t work well for it, and yours has me really wanting to find the perfect yarn and give it another go.

  26. Blue Garter » Blog Archive » Ba-baaai, summer! Bwah! Pingback Says:

    […] know how to sleep anymore — I heard rain on the pavement. This morning I put on a wool sweater (Pas de Valse), a wool hat (”Mama HA’!” exclaims my small one, reaching to pull it off my head […]