A friend and a cardigan – showcasing Miette

Miette in the gardanMiette up closeMiette - the back

Whilst ‘Dolly’ (my dressmaker’s dummy) does a great job (despite a broken leg :( ) I don’t think you can beat seeing this cardigan on its intended recipient.

Thank you to Sharon for agreeing to a few photos. I hope you’ll all see why I thought ‘Miette’ would be perfect for her.

Missed the details? Check them out on my earlier post.

Let’s Pyjama Party!!

Pyjamas & so to bedIf you knew how much I love sleeping (I really don’t get as much as I’d like  – that’s children for you), you’d know that when I saw Karen’s invitation to the Pyjama Party I wasn’t going to say no.

We read far too much Winnie the Pooh in our house and I couldn’t resist the ‘bump, bump, bump’ up the stairs moment, although clearly I’m taller than Christopher Robin and there has been a bit of change of direction.

“Here is Edward Bear (later named Winnie-The-Pooh), coming downstairs now, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping a moment and think of it. And then, he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you.” From Winnie-The-Pooh, by A.A. Milne.

So here are the details.

I really love Tasia’s Tofino Lounge pants but budgets being what they are, I knew I had to make do with what I had. I dug out my copy of Amy Butler’s In Stitches which I’ve had for some time and have coveted quite a few of the patterns but haven’t made anything yet and checked out the ‘Wide-legged lounge pants’. Now I knew I didn’t want full length bottoms. I have loads of those already but for summer I needed another pair of shorts.

I added about 10 cms to the bottom of the templates (rather than the whole leg length) and decided to just make them ‘as is’ in size ‘S’. I used french seams throughout as there is nothing I hate more than itchy seams in sleepwear.

The material, a batik print cotton lawn was from my stash and is something my neighbour gave me when she has a clear out a couple of years ago (her husband had brought it back from a trip to India, I think). I have spent quite some time trying to decide what to make with it. It’s only 100cm wide and I had about 2.5 metres and then there is the pattern that would require matching… so I guess you can see why, beautiful as it is, it has lain unused for some time.

I matched the pattern at the hem by cutting from each end of my length of fabric. It wasn’t until I sewed everything together that I realised that the pattern wasn’t exactly the same at either end, so it doesn’t match up further up. Oh well, at least they’re only pyjamas!!

Rather than making a sash/belt I bought some velvet ribbon.

They look huge on the hanger. When I showed my husband he asked me if they’d go small enough! ( and yes he was being serious!) There is a touch more ease in them than necessary but I decided to leave them as they are. No one wants tight fitting PJ bottoms – do they?

Shorty pyjamas in detail

And the top – well I’m sure you can guess that pattern…

…that’s right, it’s none other than Megan Nielsen’s Briar.

I love this pattern. It is wonderful for someone like me who was rather apprehensive of knits and getting along with her overlocker.

I had traced the pattern and made some alterations way back when Megan did the Briar sewalong but just didn’t have the spare time to do anything with it. This was my first time sewing knits and Megan’s pattern.  I redrew the neckline about 2.5 cms higher and changed the length to come to just below my waist (much as I loved cropped tops back in the 80s nothing will convince me post children to bare my midriff – ever).

I decided not to adjust the width and see how it sewed up. In the end, I probably took it in by about 2 inches. I actually think I need to adjust it further and take some out of the centre front and back as I think it comes up a bit too wide at the neckline and on the shoulders.

I opted for the neckbinding option, personally I’d like it to be narrower so I shall try the other neck option next time. I’d also bind the armholes as I think it would look more balanced.

A word on the grain. Getting my fabric straight was a nightmare. In the end I gave up and just cut the pattern pieces out. I dread to think how it’s going to wash!! I used a lightweight jersey from Tissu which is lovely and soft and my overlocker and sewing machine had no complaints whatsoever. Unfortunately the selvedge edges curled, curled and then…. just for good measure curled some more, probably a whole 3-4 cms on each side. Next time, I shall be getting the clothes pegs out and pegging it to my table. Unless of course someone has any other suggestions?

I am looking forwards to wearing these tonight and can’t thank Karen enough for hosting the pyjama party.

I shall be spending the day browsing all the other pyjamas :)

A ‘Miette’ of knitting

Miette cardigan

I am really taken with this cardigan – I only wish it were mine!

But “how come?”, you ask. Well here’s the tale…

Over winter, I knitted myself a long-sleeved version of Sirdar 2286 in some nondescript yarn from Hobbycraft (not my LYS (Local Yarn Store) of choice, but I was there, I loved the colour and I had a discount voucher… you get the picture, right?). I knitted the 12-13 age size and just added a little bit of extra length to the body and the sleeves. It has been a fantastic knit, came together really quickly and the wool (if only I could remember what it was sigh…) is incredibly warm and toasty, a fantastic colour, can be washed at 40°C and it can be tumble dried!!

Anyway, I was round a friend’s house, in my cardigan and she asked me if I’d make her one. Knowing it wouldn’t take long I agreed. We then got chatting about colours and yarns and she said she’d really like one in cream for Spring/Summer and another in a red colour for autumn/winter.

I hesitated and took some time out.

Now it’s a great cardigan but in wool it’s not a Spring/Summer item. I had a look around for the bulky weight cotton but didn’t turn up anything inspiring and then….

I was browsing Twitter and spotted Amanda from Bimble and Pimble’s tweet about Miettes and pink yarn. I looked it up on Ravelry (as you do!) and did a bit of checking out of the previous makes (including Lauren’s from LLadybird) and I was sold. I knew it would look just perfect on my friend (although I’m not sure she’s convinced about the length just yet – but she will be). I sent her the links to the pattern and some ideas for yarn. Budget was a bit tight so we settled on DROPS Paris in Off White. I confess I was rather worried when the yarn arrived. It looked just like dishcloth yarn!!

But that said, I think it knits up really nicely with great stitch definition that you’d expect from cotton. It does have a slight tendency to split but apart from that it works well as a budget yarn.

Miette caridgan

Andi’s pattern is really easy to follow. Although I had a real ‘durr’ moment when it came to row 25 and you have to break the yarn. I looked up the pattern notes and understood the reasoning perfectly but it still took me about 20 minutes of turning my knitting backwards and forwards to work out just what I had to do – my tip – just follow the instructions, they work!

I went wrong a few times (quite a few actually!) completely due to my own lack of concentration and forgetting my raglan increases. Please, check  your stitches at the end of each row. It may seem a faff but, honestly how much time is it going to save you when 7 rows later  you realise you’re a stitch short?

I had to redo my first cuff. I downsized to the needle suggested in the pattern but it came out so much bigger than the rib on the bottom of the cardigan. I guess my knitting in the round just isn’t the same tension. I ripped back (using this method) and knit it on smaller needles.

As always, I cast off using a larger needle, otherwise I find that those cast off edges just don’t have enough stretch.

Look no twisting - block your knits!

Look no twisting – block your knits!

It also needed some serious blocking. Not sure if it was the yarn, my knitting, the weight of the cardigan or a combination of them all, but the back was really twisted and off to one side. I had a few horrifying moments counting stitches, measuring to check if I’d done something wrong – fortunately I hadn’t. Blocking however was a real ‘fingers-crossed’ moment. Logic told me it should work, but I just wasn’t certain. I used the method described in Knitty.com for cotton and it worked really well and blocked out to the exact measurements that I needed. Phew!!!

So what do you think? The big ‘handover’ is on Friday. Here’s hoping my friend likes it – if not I love it!

Miette cardigan

Wish it were mine…