Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#projectsweaterchest Favorite Sweater #3 Owls


Hi, Knitters,

All of the photos are taken from my own older posts about today's sweater.

Today is sweater favorite #3 for #projectsweaterchest! If you are just now joining me, I am cleaning out and organizing and hopefully adding to my big cedar chest where I keep all of my handknit sweaters. I have selected my top 10 current favorites. 


Now on to today's sweater! 

Needles: US 10.75 (Which I don't remember owning but I wrote in past posts that I used this size.)


I originally knit this as a pullover sweater. I knit Owls one size larger than I normally select. I made a 38-inch size when I usually select around a 36-inch size. Even with the up sizing this sweater was way too fitted for my liking. I had the correct gauge and was using the called-for yarn that the pattern suggests. 

If you look at the project page you will see in the photos that this is a very fitted bulky-weight sweater. I truly felt like a sausage when I put it on even after blocking. I was pretty disappointed.

The buttons for eyes ended up being only on one owl in the front and off to the side at first and then I moved the eye buttons to the back later. These are two vintage buttons a friend gave me from her mother's collection so they are very special buttons to me.


As you can see above, the waist shaping is all done at the back and it is a pretty severe waist shaping. 

If you choose to knit the Owls sweater you may want to consider both the size and the waist shaping. I have to say that I really don't like tight clothes so I may be more sensitive than others on the fit issue.


Well, this sweater was originally a clunker to me because it was so tight. I kept it in pullover form for a short while and never wore it or had any urge to wear it. I decided that the only chance the sweater had was if I steeked it down the front to make a cardigan. 

The decision was made without much thought, either the sweater sits unworn or I change it. I had no worries or hesitation about the steeking. I found the center front and since I hadn't planned on steeking I had to go right through the center of an owl. I wasn't sure how this was going to look in the end.


I used my sewing machine to zig zag stitch on either side of the center line before cutting. It was a very smooth and simple steeking process.


Here is the newly steeked cardigan without the button bands. 

It worked out so well! The center owl that was cut in half even looked fine and kind of disappeared after the button bands were added.


I actually had some leftover yarn to use for the button bands so that wasn't a problem. I quickly picked the edges up and knit the button bands. I planned out the buttonholes to fit 4 oval-shaped red buttons that I had in my stash. Red and gray go so well together.


Look how neat and tidy this steek turned out. It's perfection. The changing of this cardigan from a pullover to a cardigan took about a morning's worth of work. It was so worth it.


Here is the finished Owls cardigan. It is now one of my favorite handknit cardigans. If you prefer you could add buttons all the way down. The button bands gave the sweater a little more width and wiggle room on top and then by leaving it open at the bottom the fit is now perfect.


Here is the back view of Owls by Kate Davies. You can see that I moved the eye buttons to one owl in the back. I think it is so sweet looking.

I love the simple clearly written pattern. It is knit from the bottom-up, seamlessly, using an Elizabeth Zimmermann like formula with 3 decrease rounds at the top. The owl cable is so simple. This would be a really great first sweater pattern and first cable pattern. Plus it is knit on large needles with bulky yarn so it goes super fast. 

The Owls sweater also comes in a kid-sizes and is called Owlet. Owlet would be a really great first sweater because it is so tiny. I have the Owlet pattern in my library and want to knit a few up to have as baby gifts in the future.


Kate Davies is one of my favorite designers. She does loads of color work, hats, blankets, sweaters, cardigans.... she is all-around a pretty amazing designer.


I'm off to The Loopy Ewe Fall Fling at the end of the week. I can't wait to teach at this retreat for the second time. It will be a treat. I'll see you on the flip side!

Take care and let me know if you are going to knit an Owls or an Owlet or if you already have knit an Owls sweater. I'd love to hear what you think of the design and how your version fits. At this point there are over 7,500 finished Owls sweaters in Ravelry so I know some of you have probably already knit one.

xo ~ susan

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love hearing about finished objects down the road...we always hear about a brand new item, but I always wonder how much one ends up using (or maybe not) an object as a piece of clothing. Love #projectsweaterchest!!

-MissJR on Ravelry.

kalianapodi said...

You make steeking sound so easy! I would be terrified to cut my knitting in half!

Susan B. Anderson said...

kalianapodi ~ after you try it once you will see how incredibly simple it really is, you just have to get past the idea of the cutting part:)
susan

Rachel Slote-Brown said...

I bought yarn last week to make an Owlet for my son for Christmas. He'll be 18 months by then so I plan on making a size 2. I hope to make an Owl sweater for myself someday so I appreciate what you said about sizes and the sweater fitting tight.

Katy C said...

I remember that your original posts about turning your Owls into a cardigan made me think I should do the same with mine. I never did get get around to it - I think fear may have been a factor. Thank you for the reminder. It surely isn't being worn in its current form.

nursenikkiknits said...

Owls was my first sweater and turned out just as you described. I've never had the courage to risk ruining a newly knit sweater by steeking for the first time. This might be the best way to try it. You have definitely inspired me to give it a shot! In the end, I think that bulky yarn and close fit just don't really work.

Marit said...

I love the colour gray with the red buttons and the owl design, but I like my sweaters roomy. It is difficult to get inspired to knit sweaters because most if not all patterns are tight fitting. I don't want to look or feel like a sausage.

Sam I Am...... said...

I love that sweater and I remember when you knit it and when you steeked it I almost had cardiac arrest! I was a new knitter and didn't know about steeking at all. It scared the living daylights out of me but you did a beautiful job and I guess when you know what you're doing it's not so scary. lol!
I have faved that sweater for myself and my grand boys but maybe for their birthdays next year? I'm really not a very fast knitter so we'll see. As always thanks for all the links and I faved her as a designer if I ever get to be that good of a knitter. I must admit each year I get better and better. Enjoy your class!

penelope10 said...

I knit the Owlet pattern for my daughter when she was about 5! Loved it. Also knit the 6mos size for a friend and now I have Madtosh Pashmina in pink to make for my 2 year old grand baby!
Wish the pattern came in worsted for adults!
Yours looks great in a cardi form!

Penny

penelope10 said...

I knit the Owlet pattern for my daughter when she was about 5! Loved it. Also knit the 6mos size for a friend and now I have Madtosh Pashmina in pink to make for my 2 year old grand baby!
Wish the pattern came in worsted for adults!
Yours looks great in a cardi form!

Penny

Andria said...

Very interesting post. I just knit Kate Davies Braid Hills, and even though I knjt one size up it is just too small. I'm going to try to block aggressively, because it is already a cardigan, I can't use your awesome solution!

Andria said...

Very interesting post. I just knit Kate Davies Braid Hills, and even though I knjt one size up it is just too small. I'm going to try to block aggressively, because it is already a cardigan, I can't use your awesome solution!

Claudia said...

I loved watching your video trying on sweaters. The Owl did catch my eye (and I had seen it mentioned in the Knitter's Life book). When I looked it up on Ravelry I noticed that Jenny Willknitt adapted this pattern as a cardigan (with Kate Davies permission). It's a cardigan adaptation to be knit in conjunction with Kate's pattern. It's added to my queue!

Isla Davison said...

I really want to knit an Owls jumper for myself. I love how you have altered yours to get wear out of it. It looks brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I too, was worried about a bulky weight fitted pullover. I knit mine in worsted weight and kit a larger size to get my usual size. It came out great! Mine is grey too :)

Judy Cinerari said...

That's a brilliant idea for a blocking surface. I've never seen those tiles used that way before. I'm going to do that to block my quilts too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Elena Fuentes-Afflick said...

I enjoyed reading the entire story. I don't like tight clothes either but might not have been brave enough to steek it! Looks lovely!

dane said...

belle transformation c' est sympa bravo a bientôt

Peacefully Knitting said...

I've wanted to knit Kate's design for a very long time but never thought it would be a good fit for me as a sweater, but as a cardigan, holy moly Susan, thank you for the inspiration!!!!

Malin said...

I have knit an Owls for me and I agree that it is very fitted, I still like it though :-) Great idea to turn it into a cardigan though.

I've also made a pink Owlet for my daughter Hedvig (I *had* to) it took just 4 days from start to finish! It has then been used by her little brother and by a younger cousin.