Sunday, April 12, 2009

Owls in a Tree

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

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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 :)

39 comments:

SJ said...

It looks fantastic! You did a wonderful job of merging the stitch patterns.

If it's any consolation, I always have issues with those first rows after joining body and sleeves on a yoked sweater, so it's not just you.

Kirsten said...

Love!
The combination of the stitches works beautifully!

Jeannie said...

It's beautiful and looks wonderful on you! I'm amazed by people like you that can create sweaters like that. I like the fancy buttons too.

Baby Beth said...

I kind of got lost in what you did but the sweater is amazing! :) I recently cast on my first sweater and will do a progress post (with pictures) soon. And I have to agree to cardigans being more practical...even here.

cinderola said...

I love it! Love the owls, love the color, love the buttons! Awesome job!!

Katy said...

That is a fabulous sweater! I love the owls, the tree bark ribbing, the color...everything.

Rachel said...

Definitely my favorite version of this sweater so far! I think your modifications, especially the stitch pattern on the body, were great design choices. Amazing job!

Cobbalicious said...

That is so clever to use the tree bark ribbing pattern! Neat!

sula said...

I love this--what a great idea! It looks wonderful, I hope you enjoy it, with buttons or without.

hyeknitter said...

Love your modifications, and the color.

Kara said...

This version is amazing! I love all your mods. Really fab job.

Christie said...

Brilliant! So cute!

littlebirdbigcity said...

Wow wow wow! You're amazing! I love those owls too. It's on my list of sweaters to make.

YarnSnob said...

Looks amazing on you.

Allison said...

It looks awesome! Love that green color.

And your anit-cat blocking idea is genius. I just blocked a sweater last night and woke up this morning to find both my beasts sleeping on it. It's not the hair that bugs me but the dirt they pick up from rolling around outside. So next sweater, extra pins!!

cablegal said...

It's gorgeous! Love it. Great work.

Madge said...

Happy spring! Gorgeous job on the cardi...and I love your Hellraiser inspired blocking.

Mel said...

You're back! That is incredible Nell! I'm astounded. I think I like the tree bark pattern better in a cardigan. How cool are the buttons!

Meredith said...

This is so cute! I love the way you combined the patterns.

Oiyi said...

OMG, that owl sweater is beyond beautiful. It's so gorgeous!

Lauralness said...

That is amazing! Great job on such a fantastic finish!

Julia said...

Oh look, you finished! And it completely and entirely awesome! I was delighted to meet you at the hostel as well. I'm going to try to be a better blogger. Or at least more regular - nice job on the sweater!

Archiknist said...

I really like the merging of the two patterns!

And it's definitely not just you with the rows after the join--I've had people email me about my bottom-up raglan patterns, thinking they've done something wrong!

Erin said...

This is really fab. I love the color and all the mods you made. Beautiful!

Lin said...

What a great knit! It looks lovely on.

Jane said...

Wow, that sweater is fabulous. You are an amazing knitter.

soknitpicky said...

Love your version! Very clever and beautiful!

Laurie (Moo!) said...

Oh my goodness, the sweater is beautiful!!

(And while I'm not knocking the model, I have to wonder how Bug would look in it. LOL.)

Sarah said...

That sweater is AWESOME. Great job!!

whitknits said...

This is such a brilliant combination of patterns! I love it.

missalicefaye said...

Genius! Love it. :)

Nonnahs said...

What can I say that hasn't already been said? This is beautiful, and it looks perfect on you!

LizKnits said...

Love your cardigan version of this sweater... it looks fantastic on you!

Knittymuggins said...

OMG. This is such a fantastic sweater and it looks so great on you! I love it :)

knittymuggins

Rima said...

Just incredible work. I love the owls.

ducky said...

What a beautiful sweater-It really looks great on you too!

Ellen said...

Really nice - I am stalking this sweater as I also want to make a cardigan version.

Eklectika! said...

Late to the party, but I have to tell you I love how this sweater came out! You ought to write it up and sell that pattern!

Nell said...

So super cute!!! I love it!