Thursday, August 28, 2014

FO: Minty Miette Cardigan

This past weekend marked a momentous occasion Chez Show and Tell Meg - I finished a sweater! 
And by "finished", I mean finished finished - like everything about it is done :) This is my Minty Miette cardigan, a free pattern by Andi Satterlund. It's a retro style cropped sweater with a lace detail that runs around the whole thing.
I do apologize for all the photos of me, lol, I was pretty proud of my self-portrait-style photo shoot, and I ended up with several good ones. It's always nice to pick up a skill you haven't used in a while and find you've "still got it". Plus, these pics were a lot of work to take, lol, and I was sweating by the end - wool/cotton sweater at 5 pm in Florida while jumping onto a chair to set the frame, then running to move the mannequin and position myself and look decent before the timer went off ... over and over and over again, lol. So, enjoy looking at photos of me. 
For those of you who haven't seen my "wip" posts about this sweater, I started it in March - shameful, I know, lol. I made it using Cascade Sierra yarn, which is a 80% cotton/20% wool blend, in the Waterlily colorway. This yarn is now discontinued, so I snapped it up for a great price. 
The pattern is very well written and easy to follow. I made a straight size Large with no modifications - I'd never made a sweater like this before so the idea of changing anything was frightening to say the least. Happily it worked out ok this time :) Somewhere along the line my gauge got tighter than I swatched, resulting in a pretty tight fit. Thankfully, knitting is stretchy, so it still fits fine - it just took some persuading to hit my waist measurement when I blocked it. Now that I've worn the sweater in real life though, I think the fact that it came out a full size smaller is a good thing - the cotton in the yarn has a tendency to stretch out as it's worn and it doesn't have enough wool to make it spring back to its original size, making this sweater grow quite a bit as its worn. In fact, I've read several reviews by others who used this yarn to make this sweater saying that their sweater ended up way too big; so who knew my tragedy would actually be a great thing? Wish I'd know that at the time before it made me stress so much, lol. I enjoyed this yarn all in all - it gives very defined stitches and I LOVE the color - it's the perfect mint green and it goes well with my general wardrobe.
I love the little squiggling lace pattern on this sweater. As you can see, if travels around the neck, down the front, then around the waist without stopping - so cool! Then it's also repeated above the ribbing on the arms. I love the sleeve length too and I made them exactly how the pattern dictated. Trust the pattern, it knows what it's talking about, lol. Also, the ribbing is a fancy twisted rib instead of just regular ribbing. I enjoyed the slight mental/physical dexterity challenge of knitting it and I really love the results. I know some people changed to regular k1p1 ribbing, but I will just put in my two cents - it's worth it! Just give it a try :)
Here's the full back view - including some bra-strap-back-fat ... you're welcome :) The pattern hit me right in between my bust and natural waist, which for my long torso seems to help balance me out. It seemed a little silly length when I first put it on, to be honest, but now that I see the pictures I really like where it sits.
Oh, the saga of these buttons. I searched through my button stash and fell in love with some vintage, gray, genuine mother of pearl ones that were given to me by the lovely Tara. I love that they are real pearl, they had just a little bit of detail with the carved fish eye slit, and the color complemented the sweater beautifully. The problem - I only had 5 in my stash. I immediately thought, "Oh, it should be no problem to find a few more of these fairly generic buttons." Oh, how wrong I was. I searched online and only found maybe 2 or 3 of the same buttons, all of which were sold in larger lots of buttons that I didn't need/want to pay that much for. So, I called Tara and begged to search her stash to steal more of her stuff, lol, which she very willingly allowed. No luck. As I rifled her stash though I set aside any other buttons that were remotely similar, so by the end I had a few others contenders - it even turned out that some of the others I set aside only had 1 or 2 of the buttons hanging around, so it pretty much was meant to be. I brought the buttons to work with me and had my dad polish them up and clean them ... only to drop on in our cart of work and lose it completely. I still have no idea how that could happen. We both saw exactly where the button dropped, and I tore everything apart, even crawling on the floor and sweeping in the corners of the room - it basically disappeared. I was so bummed, I can't even tell you, lol. A few days later I came across my Great Grandmother's little basket of really old buttons ... the whole collection had 1 of these buttons! Huzzah! Anyway, so there are 5 fisheye style buttons, two raised edge buttons, and then one lone carved edge button at the bottom. I was really worried about the pairing at first, but now that I have them sewn on the sweater ... you seriously would never be able to tell unless I point out that they don't all match perfectly. I took those close up shots to show you the difference. They are all the same size, same color, same sheen - I actually really love that they are different now that it's all done.
One of the reasons it took me so long to finish this sweater is because I wanted to stabilize the button bands ... and basically I just never cracked down and made myself try until I got it right. I'm ashamed to admit that this was the first time I used the button hole on my new machine and I was scared, lol. I really shouldn't have worried about it as it was nice and easy when I finally buckled down. It took some fiddling to get them marked correctly so they lined up with the knitted holes, but not too bad. I followed Lladybird's awesome tutorial and all went well. The hand stitching took quite a while, but I watched Frozen while I did it so it wasn't so bad, lol. Now the button bands don't pull and look like my sweater is too small - no fat girl in a little sweater :)
And here is a shot of it how it will actually be worn - realistically I never button my sweaters. I like how it looks unbuttoned too, so that's always good :) 

I've already worn this to church last weekend and I really loved it - I even made my quicky Instagram pic from Sunday my profile pic on Facebook which prompted all kinds of comments from friends. In fact, that is the reason I'm posting this today instead of on FO Friday. I still just love the alliterative title even though the group posting of our finished objects seems to have dwindled away. So, I think you'll be seeing more finished projects on random weekdays now :)

Anyway, I'm really excited to have this cardigan now and I'm also ridiculously proud to say that I made it :) Isn't knitting great?! Now if the weather would just go below 90º so I could actually wear it without fear of a health risk. Come on fall weather!




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