Nutcracker Sweet, Part 8 – finishing up

Wow, what a difference a couple of weeks makes!  Here’s what’s happened since we last saw our friend, the Nutcracker sweater…

completed bodiceBodice knitting:  finished.

FI panel:  about a million ends woven in.

Hems & facing:  sewn down.  Stitching down the hem took a while, because it had to be redone a couple of times to get it to properly lay flat.  I initially sewed it to a row that was too far down the bodice, which made the outside of the hem want to kind of poof out.

Unhappily, I only realized this when it was almost done, so I had to take it out and redo it — tediousness not to be believed  — but I kept telling myself, why foul it up at this stage?

bodice blockingBodice blocking:  completed.  The finished piece is a kind of funky shape, as you can see in the previous picture.  So I had to block it in stages:  here you see the fronts pinned out, in stage 1; the back was pinned out in stage 2.

In the background, on the sofa, is a dark lump that is Morgan the cat.  He’s a little too comfortable & sleepy to actively participate in the blocking this time.

Three-needle bindoff on shoulder seams and across back:  done.  And the bodice fits like an absolute dream, if I say it myself.  Halle-freakin’-lujah.

Second sleeve:  well on its way to being finished knitting — only the cap to go!  And the hem of course.

First sleeve:  hem sewed down, sleeve seam completed and sleeve basted into armhole to check fit.

sleevesThere is good news and bad news in sleeve-land.  The good news is, the armhole & sleeve cap appear to have been rather well designed, and the sleeve cap fits in nicely.  The other good news is, the sleeve length seems to be just about right.

The bad news is, the sleeve itself has a bit of funky shaping — again, apparently, due to a reluctance to include shaping in a Fair Isle section.  The sleeve has increase rows up to the FI band, where the increases stop and take a break while the FI motif is completed; then there are 2 more increase rows above the band. 

It’s not terribly obvious in this picture, but you may be able to see that this gives the completed sleeve an odd sort of little bulge at the seamline, in the upper (darker) section, right above the FI band.  It has the effect of making the FI band look too tight, as if it is pulling in the rest of the sleeve fabric.  One would naturally assume that this is due to the FI knitting being too tightly stranded — but I assure you it is not.

The appearance of "pulling in" is an optical illusion, because you expect that small portion to be widening at the same rate as the rest of the sleeve, and it isn’t.  Your eye follows the seamline of the sleeve from cuff to band:  the sleeve width is increasing at a certain rate before the band, and it increases some more above the band.  This makes one’s eye expect the FI band to follow the same path, which means it should have increases too — but because it doesn’t, it appears to be too tight.

Technically, I suppose, it is "too tight", in the sense of being "not wide enough", since it is a couple of sts short of what it should be.

OK, so that probably seems pretty picky.  I admit I didn’t notice this incongruity myself while I was knitting it; I only noticed it when I tried on the basted-in sleeve.

Unfortunately, at that point it is pretty darned noticeable.  It looks a lot worse when it’s hanging vertically on an arm, which of course is where it will end up in real life.  You’ll have to take my word for it, because I didn’t take a picture, but that last increase row just pooches out a lot.

I am hopeful that I can steam this bad boy into submission, but to do that I’ll need to stretch out the FI part, which (due to the stranding) is not going to be easy.

Oh, well – could be worse – at least it’s on the inside of the arm.

nutcracker originalSo, now that we’re in the home stretch, I’m starting to think about the final touches.

If the hem doesn’t hang quite right when all is said and done, I’m already figuring on sewing in a length of ball chain, a la Chanel, to give it some weight.

I’m not sure yet what to do for the front closures, although I’m leaning towards clear plastic snaps.  There’s a neat trick I’ve seen where you sew one half of the snap butted all the way up to the edge of the fabric, and the other half you sew such that it actually hangs off the corresponding other piece of fabric.  When it’s snapped shut, the two pieces of fabric are supposed to butt up against each other cleanly, with no visible means of closure.  With all that Fair Isle going on at the front, I’m not sure I want buttons cluttering it up.


100% angoraAs for the purchased-and-sewn-on faux fur neckline trim, I’ve abandoned that idea in favor of a much more elegant version:  I’m going to pick up and knit a reverse stockinette rolled edge around the neckline with white 100% French angora!!

Check this stuff OUT!  It’s pretty fuzzy already, and soft like you wouldn’t believe.   Butangora blooms considerably after it’s knit!  I’ve seen another piece that includes the same angora in grey, and it’s extremely furry once it gets a chance to bloom.  Can’t wait!

As for the pockets, I’m a little undecided about those too, but I’m thinking about pale pink MOHAIR pockets topped with angora trim…  the pale pink and the fuzzy texture won’t call nearly as much attention to the hip area as the shiny rose colored satin pockets on the original.  While this 13YO model may be able to handle the extra hip attention, I can’t.

Which leads me to the question of, just what I am going to wear this with?  In Portland, OR, the answer is probably jeans.  I may cook up something ultra-feminine like a pale pink voile skirt, like what’s shown on the model — but chances are I won’t wear it very often.

Finally, since I think it needs just a bit more glam:  I’m contemplating a necklace of Swarovski crystals in coordinating colors, to fill in that decollete with a bit of sparkle…  classy sparkle, you understand.

I’m not an adult, but I play one in real life.

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