Completed: The Owls Sweater

2 Jan

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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’ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰


57 Responses to “Completed: The Owls Sweater”

  1. Beth January 2, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    I love the owls sweater! Yours is gorgeous! When I made my version I realized I just didn’t like any of the shaping/decreases, so I frogged and reknit the whole thing (thank goodness it’s a quick knit like you said!) and just made a straight tube up to the owls and it actually came out great IMO. Guess I’m a bit of a boxy shape… haha!

  2. sewlittletime January 2, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    i’ve had my eye on this pattern but totally forgot about it. i really like the owls! i knitted her deco cardigan last winter and it’s lovely.

  3. lisa g January 2, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    love the owls! i so want to learn to knit, but the cost investment keeps me from starting a new hobby… oh and i think the black yarn at the top looks really cool. happy accident!

  4. SewMeow January 2, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Yay! I won! Thanks Lauren and ‘She’ll make you flip”! If this isn’t a good omen for the new year!?

    Love the sweater too, especially the ombre effect!

  5. Michelle January 2, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Great job on your Owls sweater, Lauren. It’s fairly standard for yoked sweaters to incorporate increases/decreases throughout the round, as opposed to the side seams. I don’t think you would have been any happier moving the decreases to the side. In fact, you likely would have had some really funky side boob poof… Kate Davies has some interesting shaping techniques in her patterns. I’ve not knit Owls, but did knit the PaperDolls sweater, and she did some really fab short rows through the shoulder area to create a distinct front/back of the sweater. And as for sewing… The more sewing you do in a sweater, the better. It seems like an oxymoron, but seams are a really good thing on knitted garments!!!

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Ah, that makes sense – the turquoise sweater that I knit last year had those weird side boob poofs, and I guess I caused them with my aggressive decreasing haha. Glad I followed the pattern as written! Thanks so much for your input, I always learn new sweatery-things from you ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. tillybuttons January 2, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Oh I love this soooooo much! It’s just such a delight. Can’t wait until I can knit more than a scarf so I can make this myself… x

  7. Pam January 2, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Wow — Fantastic Post — I’m not a good enough to knit the Owls sweater – but it’s one of my favorites on Ravelry. Fantastic post and I think it looks great — I can’t actually tell the band is different from the pictures. Congratulations on a great result — and hey, if it actually bugs you — you can frog it and reknit if for the rest of the winter/next year:)

  8. Stephanie Hull January 2, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    I was about to say your skirt looked just like a Zinnia!

  9. carolinascallin January 2, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    I think your Owls sweater is beautiful and looks fab on you, too! I wouldn’t have noticed anything awry with the neckline unless you said something. Just thought it was part of the design, lol! Don’t worry a jot about it!

    BTW…3 WEEKS to knit this? Good grief. No wonder beautifully knit sweaters are so expensive! If I’d spent 3 weeks knitting a sweater, it couldn’t be bought for less than several thousand dollars ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy New Year!

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      Three weeks is so fast, though! My first sweater took me three MONTHS haha!

  10. Rochelle New January 2, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    This is so cute!! I actually really like the accidental ombre neckline effect. I think if you did a similar treatment to the sleeve cuffs and bottom hem it would look really neat! Maybe on your next one ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let’s see if 2014 will finally be my year to knit a sweater. …didn’t I say that last year? lol!

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      I’m totally holding it to you this year, though! Do it! KNIT THAT SWEATER AND MAKE ME PROUD!

  11. powell2317 January 2, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    I love this design & the ombre effect collar looks great, even if it was unintentional! I need to improve my kitting skills quick (I only started knitting last week) so I can make sweaters:)

    • LLADYBIRD January 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      This is a pretty simple pattern, so it shouldn’t take too much improving to get the skills to make it up ๐Ÿ™‚

      • powell2317 January 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

        That’s a relief! I think I’ll add knitting a sweater to my list of 2014 plans:)

  12. Kristin January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    This was the first sweater I knit up and actually liked the finished product because it really does look great on everyone! I absolutely love your “mistakes” though – the cuffed arm and the ombre effect at the top. It looks amazing!

  13. Sew Melodic January 2, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    This sweater makes me wish I could knit. Amazing.

  14. Helli January 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    i love everything about this sweater, it’s so flattering bravo!
    and so cute with this kind of skirt โค โค

  15. Jo January 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    It’s lovely! I prefer it with the eyes off too, you’re right, much more subtle. Omg I don’t know what I’d do, running out of yarn like that! What a pain! Proves it’s a good idea to hoard remnants though huh?? Awesome, it looks great- so glad you enjoyed the pattern:)

  16. Miss Celie January 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    I am just going to buy a knitting machine, set it up in my garage, and start whipping out sweaters. I am so so so jealous.

  17. Fabric Tragic January 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Pretty darn cute! You know the insane thing is there are over 7000 versions of these on Ravelry, which at ยฃ4.50 a pop the designer has to have made over ยฃ30,000 on this pattern!! That blows my mind, yay to profitable crafting!

  18. F. K. January 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    I love your sweater! I only recently picked up knitting but I can’t wait to make my first sweater. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Aleksandra @ Liveaboard Takes the Suburbs January 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Love this sweater! I want to make one soooo badly — it looks amazing on everyone who’s made it. I’ve been working on a basic top-down raglan “test” sweater, so maybe I’ll be awesome enough to make something like this sometime soon…

  20. Kat H January 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Wow, gorgeous! Love the ombre effect at the neckline. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Off to add this to my (newly started) Ravelry queue now, haha!

  21. fritha louise January 2, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    The sweater looks amazing, great job! I’ve never really had an interest in knitting, but seeing all the great items you keep creating has made me think I might give it a go this year!

  22. Virginia January 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Am I the only one who looks at the owls and sees a row of little bunnies sitting cross legged with their hands over their ears? Too many hopkins! ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. sallie January 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    I am crazy in love with this! I love how the owls are pretty subtle, like, at first glance I’m just like, “OOoooohh! What pretty cables!” and then I look again and I’m all “WTF!!?!? HOLY SHIT! OWLS!!!” And I also just have to say, that you were my #1 inspiration for kicking myself in the butt and teaching myself to knit this winter! I just tore apart my first hat!!! YAYYYAYAY!!! Blergh. But I’ll get there… someday I’ll knit NINE effing sweaters in one year! Just kidding. I will never be that awesome. You rule ALLLL the schools.

  24. Sylvie January 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    I LOVE THIS IN EXTRA SHOUTY WORDS! Seriously, this pattern makes me think about learning to knit, until I think about all the frustration knitting sounds like it causes. I wouldn’t mind paying someone to make this for me!

  25. Marie January 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Ok, this kind of thing right here, is the kind of thing that makes me want to hate you a bit! How can you be so good at sewing AND knitting?! Despite any issues you had with the pattern and construction, I think this has turned out amazingly. Love it lady!!!

  26. nyssajayne January 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    I am so glad to see someone else bind off in a completely different yarn. I do it all the time. Thanks for reminding me of this pattern!

  27. Laura January 3, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    Ah, I love this! And seriously, three WEEKS? That’s insane. I wish I was a faster knitter – every time you post a new knit I do the whole “OMG, I need that!” and add it to my Ravelry queue. I have at least ten years worth of projects lined up. There will never be enough time.

  28. Geo P January 3, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    Love it! It’s on my to do list since forever, I should start looking for yarn before I finish my Tweedy Dan. Can you add links in the comments? Tweedy Dan . Let’s see if this works. Anyway, love the owls on you, didn’t notice the black at the neck and I was sure that’s a Zinnia.

  29. Miss Demeanour January 3, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    I cannot even tell you how much I love your fringe. You’ve got incredibly strong hair lady and I’m sure that’s what’s allowed you to deal with so much over the last few weeks. I just read your previous post and I can only imagine how rough it’s all been for ya but bloody well done for facing it with gusto and tonnes of fabulous makes. I truly believe what is meant for us never passes us so I know something epic is heading your way. This sweater is also super cute. Happy New Year’s darling hope it brings you all the colours of the rainbow xxx

  30. Sabine January 3, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Such a beautiful sweater. I noticed the pattern on ravelry a while ago. One day I shall make it!

  31. Kelly January 3, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    This looks beautiful! That running out of yarn right at the end really sucks. I was finishing up a baby hat the night before a shower and ended up running out of yarn about 10 rows from the top. Seriously, on the top of a baby hat. what is that, like 5 feet short?? None of my other yarn matched and it was too much to just gather, so I just started over from scratch. That was a dark, irrational moment. Your solution looks great, though, almost intentional ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. June January 3, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    I just caught up w/your blog – sorry to hear about your Dad’s health problems but yay that he’ll be just fine. Ultramarathoner, holy crap. Love the coat and the sweater. Re sweater shaping, look into Amy Herzog’s Knit to Flatter Craftsy class (not the book), she’ll really show you how to place incr/decr to follow your shape exactly.

  33. Megan R January 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Wow, this is adorable! Everytime I see this sweater, I feel like I REALLY need to learn to knit stat!

  34. Laura Mae January 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    Fabulous sweater! I have had the design on my list for ages and now I really want to find some suitable yarn . . .

  35. gingermakes January 4, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    This looks great! This is the sweater that inspired me to start knitting, but I still haven’t made it (never knew what yarn to use since Eco+ doesn’t seem quite right)! Gotta give this a try!

  36. Lisette January 5, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Of course, I love it. What knitter doesn’t dream of making this sweater? It seems so weird to me though that it calls for a bulky yarn.

  37. Kim January 5, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Gorgeous sweater! I actually really like the ombre effect at the top ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the owls look super cute without eyes, this one def goes on my to-knit list!

  38. Lucy January 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    I LOVE your version of this (mine’s the same colour as yours, so you have good taste). I also ran into problems with yardage – I made the sleeves the max of the suggested length range, but discovered I’d run out of yarn halfway through the owls. That sucked, because, y’know, after all that stockinette, the cabling was the fun part. So I had to buy an extra ball, which got lost in the mail (four months later my neighbour’s property manager found it in the kitchen when doing an inspection….WTF?). All up, I took a month to knit this but could have done it in two weeks. It’s seriously fast!

  39. craftsanctuary January 6, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Love, love, love it! As always, you are a step ahead of me…I just ordered yarn for this on Friday! Can’t wait to get started ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. amynxdx January 8, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    I need to learn how to knit now! I fucking love it!

  41. symondezyn January 9, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Oh I really love this version of Owls!! I love how you left the eyes off, it’s still owly and cute but not over the top owly, you know? LOL

    You’re a champ, saving your swatches. I just do mine, then omit the bind off, then unravel them and use them for the start of the project – very adult of me too I guess HAHA!! ^__^

  42. Becca January 12, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    That is awesome! It looks so cute paired with that polka dot skirt and boots. I am so beyond jealous of your knitting talents. Every time you post a new sweater or cardigan, I kick myself for being unable to finish one. ๐Ÿ˜›

  43. missjoiedevivre January 18, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    9 sweaters? Dear god you are a machine! This one is so amazing, I love it! One day, owls, I’m coming for you…

  44. katie metzroth January 18, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Thanks for all the good info. on this sweater. I LOVE what you did with the collar. I’m considering making my sleeves elbow length, but if the sweater is WARM, that may not make sense. Thanks for the tip! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your sweater looks great!

    • katie metzroth May 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

      finished my sweater. inspired by you. blogged about it. Happy Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Tanya January 28, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    Great job! I’ve just finished the sleeves and now I’m stuck. How did you start joining the sleeves to the body? The pattern confuses me because it notes to work from the left sleeve, front Yoke, right sleeve and finally back yoke… So do I add the left sleeve first, and if so, how do I do that since I can’t figure it out unless I start joining the right sleeve first. Siiigh…

    • LLADYBIRD January 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      You can tell the front and back yokes based on the shaping – the back has shaping (at the waist), the front does not ๐Ÿ™‚ Your sleeves should have live stitches at the top, and you should also have some stitches that are held on scrap yarn at the underarms. Basically, all you’re going to do is put alll the live stitches on your needle, in the order written, and then knit across them. There will probably be giant holes under the arms as you knit, that’s fine, you’ll sew them up at the end. Also, bear in mind that the first couple rounds doing this are ROUGH, especially when you start cabling the owls. Hang in there, it gets easier once you’ve knit a couple of rows ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Maggie August 6, 2015 at 2:53 am #

    Hi Lauren!

    You’re owls jumper is awesome! I’m busy knitting my very first jumper, but I need some help with understanding the pattern. I’ve started knitting the back decreases and then it says, ‘k1, k2tog. Work to end of round.’ Does this mean I have to knit ‘k1, k2tog until the end of the round and then start on round two? Ugh! Rookie needs help!

    • LLADYBIRD August 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      It’s hard for me to recall because it’s been a LONG time since I worked with this pattern,but I believe you work the decreases only where directed and the rest of the “work to the end of the round” is plain stockinette stitch. Otherwise, it would say k1, k2tog*, repeat from * to the end of the round. You can also double-check the stitch counts and do the math if that helps ๐Ÿ™‚


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