Friday, February 06, 2009

Margaret, finished!

When I first saw Margaret in Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the lines -book, I was determined to make myself one exactly like the one in the book. The cardigan in the book was and is just beautiful.

This was my plan and I stuck with it until I had to knit the upper part of the cardigan again and second time around I got little bored and for entertainment added few stripes on the shoulders.

Now that I had stripes with lilac and green (colour numbers 220 and 330 of Studio Maisa Tikkanen yarn) I needed those colours to appear in another pl
ace. So I started off with the skirt (from hem upwards) with lilac (tubular cast-on) and then changed into green before coming back to the main colour to knit the rest of the skirt with it.
The skirt was easy knitting - easy but almost endless. I had the skirt glued to me and where ever I went the skirt came too, until it was finished. I blocked the skirt with blocking wires and was able to stretch out it easily with them. I did not want to overdo it, but the ribbing needed to calm down a bit. It was a triumphant moment when I was able to unite the skirt with the rest of the cardigan. I did that with three-needle bind-off.

I made the button bands differently from the pattern, instead of doing ribbing, I knit them and folded over
(one purl row there to make the folding easier) to the inside and sewed them. I thought and tried picking the stitches from the inside and then doing kitchener stitch to close the band, but could not pick the stitches neatly. I paid extra attention when knitting the bands and then blocked them carefully to have them long enough to match the fronts properly. Very often you see cardigans where the button bands pull and in most cases serious blocking would have done the trick.

I had done the edges of the fronts and the skirt by lifting the first stitch of every row and this gave me one stitch per two rows to work with for the bands. This edge stitch is easy to see and easy to pick up to the needle, but if I had picked only those edge stitches, there would not have been enough stitches for the bands. So *I picked one, made on with backward loop and picked up one again* and repeated this until I had used up all the edge stitches. I did not bind off any stitches around the neck but had them on a waste yarn and used Japanese short-row technique to close the gaps between short rows.

When the button bands were done the cardigan started to remind me of those ethnic dresses women wore here in northern Europe in the old times. Thos
e dresses had short waists and flaring hems just like this cardigan. I could not get rid of the idea and carried on from there. Added little this and that and at some point declared it done. I enjoyed the making: loved embroidering and sewing the tiny beads.

But now then do I love the outcome? The fit is great; the cardigan is easy to wear.
There are few flaws there that I know of but will not underline them here ;-). They are visible, but I try to ignore them. Some are in the workmanship and some in my added design features.
I put so much thought and effort into the cardigan that it does feel a bit empty without her and right now I don't know where to go from here - knitting wise. Once again, it was the process, conquering the difficult parts, finding solutions, thinking about all the details and somehow I am not ready to let her go, not just yet. I am thinking of different sweaters to knit but nothing is going to work out until I can put this process behind and really focus on something new.
But I can't stand idle hands - can you?

Lene

138 comments:

  1. Myriam21:06

    Wow! Margaret is absolutely gorgeous! You are an amazingly talented woman, and I so enjoy your blog.

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  2. Amazingly beautiful!

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  3. It is absolutely beautiful. I have really enjoyed the steps along the post.

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  4. so lovely. such care and creativity and thought in the finishing. bravo!

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  5. Carol21:38

    Wow, a fabulous result. I wish I had your eye as well as talent. Just beautiful!

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  6. It's fabulous, like most things you do!

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  7. Love it! I am surprised you did not add words to it. I was expecting a poem or secret message to your love...but nonetheless it is magnificent. I think your added touches are very pretty. Well done!

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  8. Margaret is outstanding.You have such patience!

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  9. Staggering, and quite beautifully different from the original design!

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  10. Anonymous22:48

    That's not a sweater--it's a work of art. You are so creative and talented.
    Patsy

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  11. Enjoy it now, before one of your daughters sees it -- wow! Sounds like you need to knit some socks. . .

    Elizabeth D

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  12. That is absolutely stunning - I love reading your blog. You are inspirational!....(and there is no such thing as flaws, only design features!)

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  13. OMG! this time you have surpassed even yourself! stunning!
    best wishes from Iceland
    Frida

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  14. Anonymous23:22

    Dear Lene,
    It's fabulous.

    Best wishes form The Netherlands

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  15. It's really beautiful!

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  16. beautiful work, and it looks lovely on too. I love the way you really made the pattern your own, and documented it step by step.

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  17. Margaret is stunning. You are a very talented - and patient - knitter.

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  18. Anonymous23:51

    Gorgeous! I love the details you added and colors you chose.
    Congratulations for finishing a masterpiece.

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  19. Wow. Margaret is unbelievably gorgeous! I think all your changes enhance the design so much! Just...wow.

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  20. Stunning and beautiful. I love what you did for the sleeve cuffs too, it makes it very elegant.

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  21. Aldona from Maine00:42

    Lene, it is absolutely stunning. Your innovative additions to the original design really enhance the overall piece. Like Aline above I was wondering what words, if any, you would add. Brava!

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  22. I love the detail at the cuffs - it really makes Margaret stand out. I hope you are happy with the results - only you will know the mistakes but to everyone else it is a work of art. Wear it with pride and keep up the beautiful work.

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  23. It's exquisite. I love how you made it your own and gave it roots in another tradition - it's totally different from the original, but just as wonderful.

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  24. It is exquisitely done, Lene. You had a vision and you carried it through and have something wonderful to wear and enjoy. Margaret is one of the most beautiful sweaters I've ever seen.

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  25. Instead of words on the lines I was hoping to see some of your lovely embroidered birds perching...but the sweater is beautifully made and I love all your little extras.

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  26. When I got to the picture of the finished sweater I thought, "Oh, wow." — I hardly know what to say besides that. She's exquisite, Lene.

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  27. I wasn't so hot on that pattern initially. I admit it.

    But, wow!!!!!! That is GORGEOUS. I think the lilac, green and the cuffs really do it for me.

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  28. The cuffs, the two colors...she is truly a work of art!

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  29. You made it your own. And it's lovely. I would never have thought of the color bands at the hem, and now I can't imagine it any other way. I also enjoy the embroidery and the beading.

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  30. So beautiful!!! Now I have to buy that book and knit one for myself.

    <3, a longtime lurker :)

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  31. Anonymous03:58

    Really lovely, Lene. Your patience is rewarded
    Margie in Maryland

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  32. If we had ever been able to imagine, "What is the kind of experience we would love for someone to have with a pattern from our book?" --your Margaret would be the answer.

    All that thought and feeling--and an amazing result.

    I'm particularly thrilled by what you did to the cuffs. That is brilliant. Original. No other Margaret like it.

    Love every change you made! To echo other commenters, it's absolutely amazing, beautiful, gorgeous--and looks great with jeans. What more can we ask of a handknit?

    Thanks so much for showing.

    Kay

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  33. Absolutely gorgeous!

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  34. Another lovely sweater from your magical needles! I always enjoy your inspiring blog and your beautiful work. It's fun to watch you finish this project. By the time I'm close to done with a sweater I feel I am already done, and get too impatient for the lovely finishing touches you do! I am envious, and hopefully inpsired too.

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  35. This looks great - I was skeptical about the coloured stripes but it's just ever-so-much-more-so. It was a great idea - but my favourite parts are the cuffs. Love...

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  36. Thanks for sharing the process with us. Outcome is fabulous, beautiful!

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  37. what a great adventure ! I can't believe it's done ! I love the details and how carefully you finished it. Gorgeous!!!

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  38. Oh, Lene, Margaret is stunningly beautiful. Love the extra details you added. She truly is lovingly beautiful.

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  39. Thank you for sharing with us . . . stunning.

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  40. Wow . . . this is fabulous! Congratulations on a job well done.

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  41. Thank you for sharing the details of Margaret with us.

    It is reassuring to read through your process of selecting, executing, modifying and finishing an amazing garment. I often get a bit frustrated when working on a project and the pattern doesn't magically turn into the piece I envisioned. From your example, I'll try to be more tenacious and creative in solving those design issues.

    I love your modifications - this really is your unique and gorgeous project. I admire your talent and skill! I can't wait to read about your next adventure!

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  42. Joan19:33

    This is beautiful, I really like your projects.

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  43. Your Margaret is totally wonderful!
    It's a piece of art.
    I enjoy reading your blog, thank for sharing all your creativity.

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  44. Exquisite!

    I enjoy your notes about the modifications very much. --Sylvia

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  45. Margaret is fantabulous! Yours is the first knitting blog I discovered online and have kept tabs on. Every project seems to outdo the one before. Your color combinations and ability to add exquisitely detailed embellishment set your pieces apart.

    I've put a request in at my local library for the M-D book after seeing this.

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  46. Wow, Lene! It's beautiful! I love the modifications you made to it. One day I aspire to be able to pick from my vast mental catalogue of techniques to solve a knitting problem. You are in inspiration!

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  47. Vastavirtaan suomeksi taas: huippuhieno ja sopii sinulle hyvin!

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  48. Your Margaret is phenomenal!!!

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  49. The sweater is gorgeous! You are inspiring with your added design elements.

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  50. Really, really stunning.

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  51. That is a stunningly beautiful caedigan. just gorgeous. Your workmanship is impressive and inspirational. Thank you for letting us see your beautiful work.

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  52. Janet W. Respess03:34

    This sweater is so very unique and beautiful! The colours and the fit are perfect. I believe you should name it the "Lene".

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  53. liz41903:46

    Love, love, love it!!! I am so impressed!

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  54. Your Margaret is uniquely you and so BEAUTIFUL. I always love seeing your knitting and following along with your design thoughts as you progress through the project. The lovely cuff detail is just perfect. Love the colors together also.

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  55. Anonymous05:41

    Stunning! You've created a beautiful, personalized coat.

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  56. WoW!!!!!! Great job!

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  57. Quite possible the most wonderful piece of hand-knitting I have ever seen, or at least the thing I would most like to own/wear/have knitted! Brava! It's spectacular!

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  58. Lene, I learn so much from your posts. Not just about knitting, but about colour, and patience, and attention to detail, and imagination. And beauty. This might be the more inspirational post to date :-)

    Thank you so very much for sharing this with us.

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  59. Kathleen21:34

    You should be so proud of all the work you put into the sweater. What a fantastic job and the colors are beautiful. I envy your talent (I'm just a beginner knitter and still in the sock and scarf stages). Thanks so much for sharing with us.

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  60. Anonymous23:50

    This is so absolute stunningly beautiful! All of your work is unique and truly extraordinary, and this one once more left me in awe.
    Greetings from Germany
    Ursula

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  61. This is breathtakingly beautiful. What amazing work you have done and the finishing is fantastic. I could go on forever about it. I especially like the way you made it your own, by changing it to suit your taste. Thank you for sharing this project with the rest of us, so that we may learn to be better knitters.

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  62. Lene, that is so incredibly beautiful! It was a joy to watch you go through the process to make something so wonderful - congratulations!

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  63. You are amazing in the way that your little changes add to a design. I did not think I would like Margaret so much, but yours looks great with jeans. I would not have the patience to knit such a long garment with fine yarn, to rip and problem solve, and then to add the embellishments.

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  64. So, so, so beautiful. Amazing. gorgeous. Thanks for showing it --

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  65. Esther23:38

    Wow! I'm just loosing voice and words...Lene, tu es une artiste merveilleuse !(you're a marvelous artist !)What a great "chef d'oeuvre" !(masterpiece)

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  66. Anonymous03:07

    Looks lovely. Not much like the original, but very nice. I can hardly ever knit exactly from a pattern myself, so it's nice to see someone else with the ol' modification compulsion.
    Congratulations!

    Valerie

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  67. I agree - just beautiful! What an inspiration.

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  68. Everyone has said it already, but I will say it again. Margaret is absolutely gorgeous! I am so envious of your creativity. Just beautiful!

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  69. It's lovely! And I have enjoyed reading about the process. There is a little something for you on my blog. Take it for what it is.

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  70. Wow, Lene, what a beautiful cardigan! I love the little details you added, they make your Margaret so special and the buttons are really nice with it. Everything goes so well together.

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  71. Diana Glass20:44

    You have a wonderful sense of color and design! (The little flaws you mention are what make it "hand-knit" and no one else notices them!)

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  72. That is stunningly beautiful! You have done a great job, and the details are amazing.

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  73. I am a crafter and my husband is a woodworker so we understand about there being little flaws that probably only you will ever see. I love how my husband refers to them as his signatures. Or you could think of them like a quilter's humility block!

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  74. stunning. wear it with pride!

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  75. I cannot believe that anyone could handknit anything so beautiful. I am in awe of you. Congratulations.

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  76. This is absolutely stunning, and I love it.

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  77. Anonymous02:55

    Absolutely fabulous! I love the colours. Your knitting is wonderful. Congratulations.

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  78. The cuffs are the perfect personalization! All the lines in the garment are so lovely too.

    I've been away from blogging for a while, but now I see your birds on the front page and they bring a smile.

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  79. So, so very beautiful. I love the added details. You have a masterpiece!

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  80. Spectacular as usual. I think little flaws can be strangely comforting, especially if you're the only one who notices them. Anyway I like to think of them that way :-)

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  81. You've blown me away again. Your mind and your fingers working in tandem are amazing.

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  82. Stunning, just stunning!

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  83. That is amazing!!!!

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  84. Beyond Stunning. I love seeing how a perfect pattern becomes the springboard for another mind to create something nearly the same, but completely original. Wow.

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  85. hallo! it is absolutely perfect.you are the best.

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  86. What an extraordinary sweater! I love how you made it your own - and I appreciate that you shared your thought process here. Such insight and inspiration.

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  87. Inspiring--the piece is beautiful, congratulations!

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  88. Stunning. I love how much of you went into the crafting of this piece. I can see your hands have already started itching for something to do. You'll find it. After all, it is about the process, isn't it? Vicki

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  89. I am speechless, Margaret is totally and utterly beautiful. You have improved an already lovely design.

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  90. Incredibly amazing. What a lovely FO! I would have been dancing for hours after finishing it. (Who am I kidding, I'd still be dancing!) =:8

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  91. Awesome!!

    I quite agree with you --- it's about the process, and I love big projects too.

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  92. So Beautiful! Your attention to detail is bang on.

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  93. Stunning -- absolutely stunning! Bravo! Love those button bands -- they finish the look so professionally. And the cuffs! An inspiration!

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  94. That is absolutely lovely...understated and classy but a little bit saucy at the same time (might be the beads...I loooove the beads). I hope you enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed seeing it!

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  95. Beautiful, beautiful work!!!

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  96. Lene, you have done beautiful work, again. Your adaptations have made this such a unique and stunning garment. Absolutely beautiful.

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  97. It looks great!

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  98. Anonymous21:34

    It is so gorgeous. I love the Scandinavian touches.

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  99. that's gorgeous...i'm so in awe of those who can knit things that fit properly. i get wildly confused by the destructions [they never seem to be instructions when interpreted by me] and usually end up with something that looks like it came from the hands of Morticia Adams...only much, much bigger.
    the only way to make them halfway wearable is then to overdye the whole thing and pretend i'm a rival for Comme des Garcons!

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  100. I'm speechless.

    This 'sweater' (oh how inadequate that word!) is
    the new gold standard bench mark for me.

    Absolutely stunning.

    Congratulations.

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  101. What a beautiful cardigan!!! Actually, I think it makes a beautiful dress.

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  102. That is one stunning piece of work, congrats on that...knitting at its finest!

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  103. Scotlynn19:59

    Simply Stunning!

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  104. How lovely! This is the part I love about knitting...the part where you think, hmmm..I think I'd like some stripes and voila! you just DO IT. and those cuffs? Perfect.

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  105. One of the most beautiful pieces of clothing I have ever seen! Ever!

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  106. Anonymous09:32

    Comment 110 (which speaks for itself): Wonderful!! You are so talented!! /Stina

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  107. Magnifique !
    Très belle réussite et adaptation !
    J'adore !
    Congratulations !

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  108. Anonymous15:55

    Kaunis, kaunis, kaunis. Ihailen viimeistelyä ja silmääsi ajattomalle tyylikkyydelle. En ole kauniimpaa neuletta nähnyt! terv. Nimetön Neuloja

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  109. Dear Lene!
    I've been reading your blog (up-from the beginning) for a while and just about a few days ago I arrived up to date...
    I've seen the pictures on this post a few days ago, and I have yet to close my mouth, I have yet to digest the beauty, the details, the perfection of this sweater.
    All what I've read and see here was more than inspirational, and your Margaret surpassed even those beauties before...
    I made a little tableau from the pictures and printed the page out, and I keep looking at them (sometimes just for the sake of beauty, sometimes for inspiration)... I knit for quite a while now (like about 35 years), but I still only hope that one day... one day I would be able to make something this gorgeous.

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  110. Rita21:18

    My jaw dropped open in awe. It's incredible and looks fantastic on you. I love the details you added. I'm almost stunned into speechlessness, apparently making up new words too. Thanks for sharing your creation and talent.
    ritaknitting at hotmail dot com

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  111. It's gorgeous!

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  112. Stunning!!! So lovely and I really like the colors!

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  113. Anonymous21:20

    Kaikki on jo sanottu moneen kertaan: upea, kaunis, stunning. Kaikki neuleesi ovat taideteoksia!

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  114. Anonymous19:33

    Where are you? We've been hoping for a "Spring will come" post...

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  115. Anonymous22:58

    Absolutely gorgeous! I want one just like yours!!!

    ChrisinWI

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  116. Absolutely stunning!

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  117. Amazing - love all of the photos and details. Enjoy your Margaret!

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  118. Lene, you making us worry...
    Where are you? is everything all right?

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  119. I nominated you for the Sisterhood award. You can look at my blog to pick up the logo and see why. Xtiand
    http://himmelbjerget.blogger.com

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  120. this is simply stunning... I'm speechless...

    beautiful

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  121. Absolutely lovely! I love the cuffs.

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  122. absolutely stunning -- you definitely have an eye for detail! =)

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  123. That is absolutely stunning. Buttoned, with tights, it could be a great winter dress (skating!)

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  124. Stunning! You are an amazing artist.

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  125. Holy Mackerel, that is gorgeous!

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  126. Absolutely stunning! In one of her videos, Elizabeth Zimmermann talked about how she felt at a bit of a loss whenever she finished a lace shawl. Comparable to the time and effort you put into your lovely sweater.

    I am such a Mason Dixon fan!! I haven't made anything from the second book yet. But, I have made a list!

    Yours in knitting,
    Kelley

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  127. I found you through Yarn Harlot's twitter:) That jacket is GORGEOUS! I'm going to have to have another look at the 2nd MD book.

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  128. What a fabulous interpretation of the Margaret sweater. It is absolutely beautiful. I can see why you would miss it, you must have spent countless hours with it.

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  129. Breathtakingly beautiful...

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  130. Hi, I was 'captivated' by your blog title so I had to come and see!

    My my my! What gorgeous outfits!!!!!
    Thank you so much for giving us a chance to enjoy your gift this way.

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  131. Absolutely beautiful, gorgeous and so on. Just wow !

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  132. I have never commented before but I have read every entry in your blog and loved your artistry and the poetry with which you view the world. Your silence is worrying, and I hope you will post again soon.

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  133. Anonymous22:25

    Lene is working here now:
    http://finestitches.blogspot.com/

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