Sunday, April 12, 2009

Owls in a Tree

Maybe they're not chicks or fuzzy bunnies, but they're pretty cute just the same...


  • Owls in a Tree by Me, using the Owls stitch pattern and the Tree Bark Rib stitch pattern
  • Cascade 220, 100% Wool, (220 yards / 100 g per skein), ~5.14 skeins, colorway "Lake Chelan Heather"
  • US 3 (3.25 mm) Knitpicks Circular Needles
  • US 4 (3.5 mm) Knitpicks Options Circular Needles

This is sort of a mish-mash of ideas. When Kate Davies posted her Owls pattern, I fell in love with it, however, I didn't make it right away, as I didn't really think I needed a pullover sweater (I'm living in the San Francisco Bay area, where I feel that cardigans are, in general, much more useful).

Eventually I settled on making a "cardiganized" version of Owls in a lighter (worsted) weight yarn, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to use a stitch pattern instead of stockinette stitch for the main part of the sweater. I had been wanting to make some form of Teva Durham's Slinky Tree Bark Rib Tunic (probably something similar to this beautiful version by SiggaSif) for a while, so I compromised by borrowing its stitch pattern and then selected some lovely blue-green heathered Cascade 220 from my stash.


I used Ysolda's method for a Tubular Cast on for 2x2 Rib to cast on the body and sleeves. It worked quite well and produced a nice edge.


I probably should have looked into trying to find a bind-off that would look something like it for the button-band/collar.

Because I knew the ribbing would be very stretchy, I departed from my normal methods and decided not to do any body shaping.


I knit a rectangular body up to the armpits, then I knit two sleeves flat (I did use shaping for them, increasing up the arm), seamed each individually, then joined my body and the two sleeves and began knitting the yoke as one piece. I have to mention that I found it very difficult - or maybe just extraordinarily annoying (even with a long cord on my circular needle) - to knit the first 10 or 15 rows of the yoke. The sketchy part was the tightness and degree of stretching that occured as I tried to shuffle stitches around near (I use this term loosely) the sleeve junctions with the body. Argh. I think the next yoked sweater I make will be knit top-down, instead of bottom up....

After I completed the owls, I did some decreases along the neckline to form a bit of a V-neck. I added a ribbed button-band/collar knitted all at once using short rows to shape the collar and add depth at the back of the neck. I should have added more short-rows and knit the collar taller, as it's a little too short in the back (and tries to flip up sometimes). I may make some adjustments to this at some point if it bugs me enough.


Here it is blocking, with anti-cat devices (a slew of T-pins) deployed:


To create the illusion of shaping and create some hip room, you can see that I stretched the ribbing out a bit toward the bottom of the sweater.

I'm quite happy with the way it turned out - except for the shallow collar in back. There's also some excess fabric in the yoke, such that there's puckering above the owls, so I probably could have decreased a bit and left off one or two of the owls for a smoother look.


My husband tells me it just looks as if they are long-eared owls :)


I ended up with 31 owls ringing the yoke - a lot more than in the original Owls pullover - due to my tighter gauge.


The buttons I've used are polished, cut pieces of rock (ruby in fuchsite from Southern India, for those who are curious) that my husband drilled holes in for me.


I think they go quite nicely, but they're somewhat flamboyant, so I'm not sure the owls will get button eyes. If they do, I'm thinking they will be small and similar in color to the sweater itself. I'll keep my eyes peeled for buttons matching this description....

Happy Easter :)