Friday, January 31, 2014

A Victorious Miette in Navy...

I know we're only one month into 2014 (already?!), but I feel like it's going to be safe to say that my newest make will probably be the one I'll be most proud of in 2014. This Navy Miette is my first, finished knitted garment ever!

It's also wearable, comfortable, warm, soft and, if you don't mind me saying so, it's DARN (yarn?) CUTE!


Navy Miette worn with my Christmas Anna Dress

I posted the beginnings of my Miette adventure in September last year and since then, my knitting sessions have come in fits and starts. You see, I've realised that I can't really pay much attention to anything else when I'm knitting. I can't watch anything I need to follow a plot line for, David ends up having a conversation with himself, and I'm there, on the couch, counting stitches, holding my breath and watching my needles. I just can't seem to focus on anything else.

I originally cast this cardigan on about 5 times all up. For some reason, I just couldn't seem to get past the first three to five rows without either adding a stitch or somehow dropping a stitch, no matter how careful I was or how slowly I went.  Eventually, on my 6th try, with an extra stitch somehow making an appearance yet again, I ended up knitting 2 stitches together to get the correct number and moved on. Sometimes, you've just gotta to admit defeat and come up with a creative solution, otherwise you'll never get anything done.

In November, Tasha announced the Knit for Victory challenge and I knew that having a deadline like that would be the boost I needed to get my Miette finished. And guess what? I finished with a whole two days to spare. Who would'da thunk it?



My Miette is in no way perfect. There are places where I lost count, couldn't remember what row I got up to or dropped stitches. There was even that time I knit my first sleeve on the wrong sized needle and I didn't have the heart to frog it so knit my second sleeve on the wrong size as well so that they would at least match...um, yeah. I also probably should have knit up a size larger in the bust - it's not a major issue fit wise, but the shaping around the bust stretches a little too much for my liking. I guess figuring out negative-ease comes with time.

The only major thing I changed was to add 30 extra rows to the sleeves to make them longer and therefore more winter appropriate. I found that if I stopped where the instructions told me too then the sleeves would have been a weird length on me - too short for bracelet length, but too long for short sleeves - and I probably wouldn't have ended up wearing it.

I also opted to leave out the buttonholes in the pattern instructions. Instead, I hand-sewed on navy grosgrain ribbon to the back of each button band before doing them by machine. In hindsight, I'm not sure I'd do it this way again, but it works for this cardigan and I'm happy with how they turned out.




These cute wee buttons were bought especially for this cardigan. They were rather expensive buttons that David found in London last year at the V&A. They are ceramic with 2 little blue birds fluttering around on a white background. I'm not sure I'd ever buy buttons that expensive again, but they are gorgeous and go with the cardigan perfectly. As much as I loved the buttons, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend so much on them. But David, as he always is, was rather encouraging and told me that they could be part of a wedding anniversary gift so I wouldn't feel as bad about being so extravagant. 

Only a seamstress could be excited about getting buttons for a wedding anniversary, right?


All in all, I'd have to say that I rather like this knitting lark and have already bought a ruby-red wool for my next project - the Aiken Jumper.  

I knew that the hardest thing for me about being on a clothes buying ban this year would be that I couldn't buy any more vintage cardigans. I live in cardigans and love a having a big selection to choose from. Now I know that I'm perfectly capable of knitting my own, and I'm so proud to have mastered another creative skill.

So, have you ever thought about giving knitting a go?

xx
Jen

60 comments:

  1. oh, this looks great! I just can't get myself to start on this cardigan, I am afraid that it is way too difficult, but I think I will just give it a go. Love yours and OMG that Aiken Jumper is so beautiful .

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    1. Camelia - I totally know what you mean, but if you break it down, one line at a time, one term at a time, it's not quite as scary as it looks initially! I hope you give it a go!

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    2. Hi, I totally took your advice and my Miette is finished, well almost, I still need to sew the buttons. But I just can`t believe that is finished, in 15 days only( is that a lot ?). It was easier that I was thinking, thank you for your post that made me go in the knitting world!!!

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  2. OOohhh! Lovely! I just finished my first sweater ever too! Same as you I'm not too happy about the fit around the bust, but all in all I like my sweater a lot! I'm going to have to give the miette pattern a go. Your version looks gorgeous, and those buttons are divine!

    Brigid
    the middle Sister and Singer

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    1. Thanks Brigid! I would definitely recommend the Miette as your next project - it looks difficult, but once you break it down, it doesn't take long to knit up :)

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  3. Such a lovely cardigan Jen! Well done, I'm not surprised you're so pleased. Gah it makes me want to try knitting again! I didn't get very far last year when I tried to learn - I found it so hard! It didn't seem to come naturally to me at all, but maybe I just need to persist? X

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    1. Knitting didn't come naturally to me either - but I did it in little bursts and was always surprised by the results. Doing a little bit each day was what helped me to finish :)

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  4. Congrats on your first knitted garment Jennifer. I'd never know the sleeves were knitted on the wrong sized needles if you didn't tell me. I love, love, love the bird buttons and probably would have bought them in a heartbeat.

    After you get a little more experience knitting then you'll be able to follow plot lines again without messing anything up. Knitting while watching movies is the best!

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    1. I'm so hoping I'll be able to start following plot lines in a little while - it seems like it will be so productive, all that knitting and t.v watching :)

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  5. I attempted this pattern ages ago but never went beyond a swatch. I must re-visit it. It's such a pretty cardigan.

    I love love love how you've styled it and the buttons are oh so perfect.

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    1. You really should!! Not being a knitter, it's a relatively quick knit and so satisfying! I love that you could try it on during the process which is what kept me going I'm pretty sure :)

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  6. What a gorgeous little cardigan. I love it! Looks really good. I have been a knitter for a long time and I can see you did a fab job! Visiting from London www.annatestadoro.com

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  7. That's so pretty, and the buttons are totally adorable! It's such a wardrobe classic.

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    1. Thank you so much! It's definitely going to become a wardrobe staple.

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  8. Love this cardigan! It is beautiful and those buttons are to die for!!! Great job! and excellent perseverance ;-)

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    1. I'm actually really lucky we had January 31 as a deadline, otherwise I'm sure I'd only be halfway through! Thanks so much!!

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  9. Congrats on your first sweater! It looks fantastic, especially with that dress!

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    1. Thanks Gail - and thanks so much for all the helpful knit along posts you wrote! They were so helpful!

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  10. I love this! When I finally teach myself to knit (which I think won't be for a while, just trying to be a time manager) the Miette will be on the top of my list. However, I should probably try a scarf first seeming I can't even knit straight

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    1. Kaitlyn, I'm embarrassed to say that I've started a scarf and never actually finished it!! This is almost my first ever finished knitted thing (I knit 2 dish cloths for Christmas presents last year), so I think you could totally just start with something like this :)

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  11. What a knitting milestone! Lovely work.

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  12. It's gorgeous! Love your button choice too. I'm currently making a vintage cardi myself. WIll link it up when complete.

    Jen.

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    1. Jen - can't wait to see it!! What pattern have you chosen?

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    2. Hi Jen,

      It's a Patons knitting pattern from the late 70's. One of my Mum's pattern books (book 617 family new pure wool, patons for ladies). I can't find it anywhere online. I did mention it in a blog post when I started making it. (May last year *gasp*) So, it has been sitting for far too long, waiting for me to finish. Luckily I've had some time and am up to the arms now. Shouldn't be too much longer! I want it to go with one of my retro dresses for winter.

      photos posted to my fb page:

      the book:

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=503727403007649&set=pb.156888377691555.-2207520000.1393652853.&type=3&theater

      photo of the pattern:

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=620819101298478&set=a.156890987691294.27637.156888377691555&type=1&theater

      Jen :)

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    3. Hi again :)

      If you're interested in seeing my finished vintage cardigan here's the link to today's post about it:

      http://jammadestudio.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/vintage-cardigan-project-completion.html

      Let me know what you think :)

      Jen

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    4. Ahhh, gorgeous Jen! I love the colour green you chose and that lacework is perfect!

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  13. Ahhh bitten by the knitting bug. Well done on your first garment! It's very exciting isn't it? And aren't you just the proudest, even with dropped stitches and errors only you'll see?? It looks fabulous. Yep, bitten here too - my Cape Cod was it for me. I ordered some yarn for two more projects (a sweater and cardigan) straight after knitting my second garment and can't wait for cooler weather so I can make a start. It's just too hot to have a knit in progress in my lap at the moment. I have to agree though - it takes all my concentration too. All these knitting bloggers who talk about watching an entire series of Downton Abbey (or some such) have me flabbergasted!

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    1. Totally bitten Jillian! Unfortunately it's not too hot here to knit (even though technically it should be!! Send me some warmth please?).

      And I totally couldn't have watched anything worth seeing while knitting this - far too involved for me :) Though it sounds rather idyllic right?

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  14. Ahhh bitten by the knitting bug! Aren't you just enormously proud, dropped stitches, errors and all? It's the most awesome feeling and you did a fabulous job. I got bitten after my first sweater, the Cape Cod. Then immediately ordered yarn for my next two projects (a sweater and cardigan) after knitting my second garment. Now I'm just waiting for cooler weather so that the idea of sitting with garment in progress in lap isn't so stifling! In the meantime I'm about to start work on smaller projects like hats and mitts. And I agree, it takes all my concentration. these knitting bloggers who watch and entire series of Dowton Abbey(or some such) whilst knitting their garments have me flabbergasted!

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  15. Just lovely! I made this last year and also should have sized up around the bust, that's the tricky thing with knitting, it's hard to know! Still, it looks lovely and not too tight. Those buttons are so sweet!
    If it helps, I have the pattern on my ipad and use Notability to write all over it, crossing off the lines as I finish them. Notability is good, you can wipe out your edits if you have to frog back.

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    1. Hey Lizzie! Oooh, I've never thought about trying Notability before! I had print-outs that I scribbled all over and used a post-it note to try to remember what row I was up too. Erm, not the most technical way to do it me thinks.

      I will definitely give Notability a go for my Aiken jumper though - thanks so much for the suggestion :)

      Also, I loved your Miette - you were wearing it when we met for dinner last year!

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  16. This looks great.I just can't get myself to start on this cardigan, I am afraid that it is way too difficult, but I think I will just give it a go. Love yours that Aiken Jumper is so beautiful .
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  17. Well done! Miette was my first cardigan too! Now I'm obsessed with knitting haha! I look forward to seeing your next creations. This is lovely, and none of the issues you had show :)

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  18. I have got into knitting at the moment. I'm trying to start on a pair of gloves but you're now inspiring me to start the Miette!

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  19. It looks great. Good on you! The Miette is definitely in my queue. I'm plodding away at my 3rd knitted garment, the featherweight cardigan, 3.75mm needles, lace weight yarn, but it creates the most beautiful fabric I'm so inspired to keep going! I think it's going to take me 3 months!

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  20. Wow, this looks so lovely. I love the colour and the buttons match perfectly.
    I have just started knitting this cardigan myself and reading through your blog, looking at your pictures encourages me to continue.

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  21. Well done Jen, this is s beautiful. Those buttons are just amazing, what a fabulous anniversary present! :-) I would never had thought of doing the buttonholes that way and they really look great on this.

    My mother taught me to knit about the same time as I learned to sew, but sewing has always taken priority and all I've knitted are baby socks and mittens, a snood, a scarf and a hat for me! I've had my eye on the Miette for ages, I'm just scared of trying something big that I might not like afterwards. Plus basically I just can't decide on what colour!! Like you, I live in cardigans and I really don't know where to start!

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    1. Nikki - don't be scared! It is a little initimdating at the start, but if you just go slowly, row by row, technique by technique, it'll be knit up in no time. The Miette has definitely given me the confidence to try more ambitious projects. Plus I think Miette looks more complicated than it really is :)

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  22. Love your miette! The sleeves were a weird length on mine too, I ended up shortening them. The button band looks teriffic, even if you're not crazy about it. I think I may end up doing all future button bands with the ribbon and machine, because I just HATE when they stretch out over my bust. The birdies are super cute, and really make the whole thing special. What a great anniversary present!

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    1. The reason I did the buttonholes like that was exactly so they wouldn't stretch out. I found it a bit hard to get the bulk of the button band under my machine needle, hence why I'm not in love with the technique, but I may still do my buttonholes that way because they do look rather professional :)

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  23. Congratulations!! It's absolutely beautiful, and looks great with your Anna Dress. I wonder if the starting over and over at the beginning is a new knitter thing - I had the same problem!

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    1. Extra stitches = so annoying! I just had to give up in the end, and you can't really tell so it's not a biggie. Hopefully you can do something similar with your knitting projects :)

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  24. I have had this cardigan in my to do list for such a long time, and still haven't done it. I'm not a very acomplished knitter, but I do like to have a couple of different knitting projects on the go despite that fact.
    Your version is lovely, and those buttons are gorgeous.

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  25. It's gorgeous :) well done on your first knitting make! It's giving me the courage to have a go myself although I think my first attempt might be a scarf!! x

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  26. It's gorgeous :) I'm about to attempt knitting myself but I think I'll be starting with a scarf!! x

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  27. Wow, this is adorable! I love it on you!!!!! The buttons are an adorable touch-- I'm glad you picked them up!

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  28. You did such a great job!! The sweater is beautiful and fits in to your wardrobe perfectly. Gorgeous buttons too, your husband sounds very sweet :)

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  29. Freakin' adorable!
    The last thing I tried to knit was a hat for my now almost-6-year-old when I was pregnant with him. It came out so big that it didn't even fit my husband's enormous noggin. The next attempt was so small that we had to use it as a doll's beanie!

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  30. What a beautiful cardigan!!! I started learning how to knit two years ago, but still haven't made anything too complicated. I stick to scarfs, headbands and the easy stuff. :D

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  31. So cute, love the buttons! I wish I could knit, maybe I'll give it another go :)

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  32. It's beautiful and the the buttons are perfect for it!!! I love the whole outfit, gorgeous!

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  33. Beautiful! Those buttons are amazing (and perfect for the cardi).

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  34. Wow, it looks great. I'm learning to knit and I am USELESS. The stitches seem to increase or drop without me realising why! You have done brilliantly. And buttons for an anniversary gift, what a lovely husband.

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  35. This is gorgeous! Those buttons are so flippin' adorable. Your whole outfit is just the cutest!

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  36. This is gorgeous! Those buttons are so flippin' adorable. Your whole outfit is just the cutest!

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  37. It looks beautiful on you! I just tried and retried about 3 times to start this sweater last night and gave up because I felt frazzled (and had just finished Andi's Chuck sweater so I thought I was just knitted out!) So I will try again at starting because like you I kept losing or gaining stitches all over! I wouldn't have noticed your sleeves were different at all and I do like the added length on them. Lastly, those buttons are beautiful :)

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  38. navy is such a classy color, love it! I knitted my first one in an orangey shade but my next will defiantly be navy!

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XX
Jen