Happy New Year, everyone!! Gah, I feel like I really dumped a load on y’all with my last post… sorry about that! I promise to keep things much more concise, at least with the current offerings :) And before we get too far into the new year, I do have one small confession – I actually finished this sweater at the very end of 2013! Whoops! So it’s not my first completed garment of 2014 (and it’s sweater #9 of 2013, wow!), but we’re going to count is as such since that’s when the pictures surfaced :)
Let me introduce you to: Owls!
I’m sure a lot of you knitters already recognize this pattern, since it’s insanely popular on Ravelry. Truth, this was one of the sweaters that really made me want to improve my knitting skills enough to be able to have one of my own! This is the famous owls pattern by Kate Davies and there’s a good reason why it’s so overplayed (in the best way, I mean) – it’s a simple, quick knit and looks flattering on pretty much everyone who makes it up!
Like I said, this has been in my queue for aaaages. So long! Part of what made me waffle on starting it up was finding a suitable bulky weight yarn that didn’t cost a fortune – some of the stuff I was looking was pretty pricey! Eep! I was actually gifted the pattern by Jo for my birthday last year (did you know you can gift patterns on Ravelry? So dangerous…), which really pushed me to try to find a good yarn.
What ended up working for me was the Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky from good ol’ yarn.com. What I loved about this yarn was that it was cheap (I think I paid $3.99 a skein, but it’s normally $5.99!), 100% wool, and it came in colors that didn’t suck. I know a lot of people love that Cascade 128 that comes in a giant yardage, but I never cared for the colors offered and plus, with the amount I needed I would end up with a lot of unneeded yardage. So this worked out perfectly.
Thanks to the bulky yarn, this pattern knit up SUPER fast – I finished it in a little over 3 weeks. That’s a record for me! Definitely needed after how long I toiled on my A to Z cardigan :) The construction for this was pretty interesting – it’s knit bottom-up to the armpits, then you knit each sleeve from the bottom up, then you connect everything and finish the owls and the neck binding. It gets a bit heavy at the end, but fortunately there’s not too long of that.
I love how the owls wrap around the shoulders. So cute!
I knit the pattern as-is, and there were a few things I didn’t care much for during the process. For one, the back decreases were kind of… weird? I think it also gives me a slightly poofy upper back, although it’s more noticeable in pictures. I would have changed to side decreases – it was even suggested to me by a few people – but the construction was so weird that I didn’t quite understand where the sides started, so I just followed the instructions blindly. Oh well! It doesn’t look bad, I just think the bad is a weird place to put decreases! Another thing I did not like was how the sleeves were attached, because you end up grafting stitching at the underarms. There are 4 stitches to graft, but my holes were WAY bigger than 4 stitches! It was like an armpit window or some shit! I managed to close it up and you can’t even tell, but man, that’s more sewing than I want to do on a knit. Sorry.
One last beef, and you’ll probably notice this the second I point it out (if you didn’t notice already ;)) – I ran out of yarn at the very end! I bought the recommended yardage (oh ho ho, I actually bought a whopping 5 yards more than required, like, I’m such an adult), but I obviously goofed something because I ran out of skeins while finishing the owl cables. Shit! And since I ordered this online, I didn’t want to pay for shipping to ship one whole skein to me for like… 5 rows of knitting. I unraveled my two gauge swatches (bummer, because I was saving them to make a blanket o’ gauge swatches, like, someday haha) and still came up short. I hemmed and hawed for a few days, dug around my stash, lurked the yarn store by my house… and eventually realized that the black yarn I used to knit my Blagatha was an *almost* perfect match. Not quite, but close enough. Since the donor yarn is a lighter weight, I held it double and it worked out fine to finish the ribbing. It doesn’t quite match, but it blends into kind of an ombre effect. Fancy!
The most agonizing part about the whole yarn ordeal was that once I blocked the sweater, I realized the sleeves were too long! DERP. So, yeah, I totally had enough yarn! Whatever, fuck that shit. They’ll just stay cuffed and maybe my arms will magically lengthen someday :B
You probably also notice that I left off the eyes on all my owls. I started to sew on buttons, but decided I like them more subtle. So there!
This puppy is WARM! I’ll probably live in this for the remainder of winter. I love how it looks with this silk skirt (which, btw, is vintage, not me-made – but now I’m thinking, ooh, silk Zinnia??). Anyway, full Ravelry notes here!
One last thing… we have a giveaway winner from last year! Ooh, so who’s the lucky recipient of the $25 credit at She’ll Make You Flip?
Congratulations, SewMeow! Go check your inbox! :)
Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks to She’ll Make You Flip for offering such a lovely prize! Guys, if you’re still eyeballing a sweet vintage pattern, let’s up the ante a little! Use the code LLADYBIRDNY25 for 25% your total purchase through January 15, 2014! Yeah! Now don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya ;)