Wove in the ends and sewed on the buttons yesterday morning for the January Aran. I like this cardy -- it has a comfortable Wisconsin-ness to it, good for a fine winter afternoon puttering in the garden, or a rainy day curled up with a good book.
For some reason, my right slants are much tidier than my left slants (I've noticed this with decreases, too -- note to self, fix this!). But it smooths out pretty well with blocking. I really like the three-dimensional effect that comes with Aran patterns.
Here are some suggestions for future January Aran knitters --
Allow some extra "seam allowance" stitches where you want the cuts to be, maybe one or two. This is not mentioned specifically but sort of implied, when Elizabeth says to sew down the turning, but it is much further along after the section about designing one's own fishtrap/cable layout, so I had quite forgotten that I had read it a week earlier. Worth remembering, if only for those nervous about cutting their knitting. It would also have helped me avoid that section of the armholes where the cable seems to completely disappear along the outside edge, where it blends into the reverse-stockinette of the sleeve; I should have added an extra line of that lovely single-twist to make it stand out, as I did at the edge of the button band. I would also suggest, especially if you want to use Sheepswool, that you consider putting 2 stitches between cables; I used 1, and although it can be blocked hard enough to show both clearly, 2 might be better.
When you are sewing the reinforcing lines before cutting, make sure that the top stitch on either side of the cut-to-be is securely sewn down. The cutting makes this particular stitch especially vulnerable, and even more so if you've left the top row live for picking up a collar. If you've made a line of "seam allowance" stitches, then you can sew between this last stitch and the others, back and forth for a few machine-stitches to hold it down.
I had a really hard time with the formula Elizabeth gives for figuring the buttonhole spacing. She says, "Count the stitches of one front, subtract 6, divide the remainder by 6, and subtract 3 from the result. The number left will be the number of stitches between each of the seven 3-stitch buttonholes, with 3 extra stitches at the bottom." This never worked for me -- she seems to be saying that a buttonhole will take up 3 stitches, whereas as given it covers 5 (it makes a hole 3 stitches wide). Possibly instead of "*knit the number of stitches you have calculated, make another buttonhole, and repeat from *," she meant that you should end up with x stitches between the buttonholes, counting the last K2tog of the buttonhole's edge -- I don't know. My own formula ended up being more like (t - nb) / s = x, where t is the total number of stitches in the buttonhole band, n is the number of buttonholes needed, b is the number of stitches needed to work the buttonhole (5, in this case), and s is the number of spaces between the buttonholes, including the half-spaces at the bottom and top. Considering that I was never very good at algebra, this was pretty brave of me, I thought. I still ended up doing this, though --
to fit in that pesky remainder, using the pins to mark the buttonholes-to-be.
The Sheepswool has a pleasant roughness to it, and it softens considerably with wet-blocking. Dry, it has an appealing lanolin smell, although in the water it smelled distinctly daggy. I had not a single knot, and only a few thin spots here and there -- I barely broke in to the seventh skein (needed it only for the last cast-off), so six might do someone else, but seven should be enough to make this size cardigan with a bottom band. I rather like the jackety look of it without that bottom band, so I've left it off. I was rather intrigued by the deerhorn buttons on the website, and Meg herself (!) advised me to ask that the wool and buttons be matched in color, so maybe my batch of wool is a bit browner than might be expected from "pale gray".
"Arans are now your oyster; enjoy them"! "The rest of the designs in this book will now seem childishly simple, and will, I hope, have the appeal of a child -- a nice child; not too pretty, not too prissy, but with good genes and reasonable upbringing"....