I know you're wondering...did the blocking work miracles? The short answer is: yes. :)
I thought I'd let you see the finished (and modeled) Scarpetta before it went out to the world (i.e. was entered in the fair).
The good news is that when I tried it on, I could tell most of the problems I had with it pre-blocking had mostly disappeared.
1. The length hit just past my waist band,
I'm really happy with how the I-cord hem is sitting. I'm half-tempted to knit or twist up a little cord to thread through the rolled hem and tie on the outside. I wouldn't really pull it any tighter, but it might be a cute detail. The rolled hem just seems to be asking for it.
2. The sleeve length was shortened since I pulled aggressively to increase the width.
3. The underarm seam was stretched out enough that it no longer pulls up uncomfortably into my underarm. I still think it looks a little odd, though. You can see here just how high toward my shoulder it goes:
Another thing I struggled with while blocking was getting the collar to lay nicely. I first pulled it to the outside of the neck opening, but it wasn't working. When I re-examined the pattern pictures I noticed they blocked it to the inside of the neck opening.
I also thought that it was too small compared to what I want it to be, but I no longer think so. I don't think I would want it more open. So that is all good.
(I feel like I'm writing "Disaster averted" at every turn!)
This was a great knit. It was always an adventure since I was working with two colours and alternating every row. While working in the round, this is not a big deal. But once I was working back and forth (everything but the bottom part of the sleeves) I had to adapt everything. Because when you're alternating colours you can't knit a row, purl a row like you always do. Once you knit a row with colour A, your next colour (B) is at the "wrong" end. Fortunately, with cable needles, you can go back to the beginning of the row and knit it again with colour B to make your stripes work. Then you purl with A, then purl with B. On and on...knit, knit; purl, purl. But of course, the directions are written for knit, purl, knit, purl. This assumes you're working from a certain direction, and that the wrong or right side of the pattern is facing you on particular rows. Anyway, it keeps you on your toes, and I enjoyed it.
It's also funny to observe that I don't think I would ever buy a shirt in this colouring from the store. But I love to work with it...and then I get to wear it. I noticed the other day that it very much matches the Nutkin socks that I made a couple years ago. Apparently I like these colours more than I think I do.
Because I had so many issues with the fit, I measured my gauge after blocking to compare it to the given pattern gauge. (Something I never normally do.) My stitch gauge was very close: 27 sts/4" (pattern was 26). Although this is very close, if anything it would have made the length and the depth of the underarm a little shorter than prescribed.
My row gauge, on the other hand, was 44 rows/4" versus the pattern's 36! That is a big difference. This should have made my sleeves far too short (which, as I've said, they definitely are not), and affected the width of the shoulders and neckline. This is ameliorated, however, by the fact that the pattern prescribes knitting a certain number of "inches" rather than a certain number of rows. (As in most patterns, stitch gauge is more important than row gauge--not that row gauge isn't important, but usually less so.)
That's all I've got on this one. Hopefully I will enjoy wearing it. Thanks for coming along for the ride and for all of your encouraging words when things weren't going well!
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