Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finished Project: Great Green Owls

Look what I finally finished!

This sweater is the reason I learned to knit last summer.  I stumbled across it on Ravlery and was instantly in love!  How proud am I that I was able to knit it within a year?!  VERY.

Pattern: Owls, by Kate Davies
Size: 5 (40" bust)
Yarn: 1.6 skeins of Cascade Eco+
Needles: 5.5 mm (for the ribbing) and 6.0 mm for the body and sleeves

I'd originally started a size up, with a 42" bust, but the designer was right when she said this sweater looks best at 1-2 inches negative ease.  I'm glad I frogged* the first few attempts so that I could get this great fit.  I do understand why people go larger though, because this is snug.  Please see my Ravelry project page for more details.

I adore the owls, but I knew I would.  The only thing that I don't like about this sweater is the section above the owls, where the pattern had be do a lot of decreases.  There's a few holes spread out next to decreases; you can see one front and centre in the pic above.  :(  I tried fixing this, but to no avail.  I may come back with a needle and do some duplicate stitches to patch up these holes, as they're really bothering me.

I opted to only add pearly eyes for one owl.  These are the only buttons I had on hand small enough; decent buttons are hard to find here in Yukon.  I actually love these buttons and have enough for all 20 owls, but I'm not a fan of how bright they are against the green.  I'd rather have something more subtler, or at least a deeper colour.  Dark brown wood buttons, or possibly a dark "tarnished" metal?  Or possibly a dark green glass?  But these will do for now.

I made a bit of a booboo that I didn't even notice until I went to join the sleeves and body together to knit the yoke.  Somehow, I'd managed to shift one of my side seam marker 3 stitches toward the back.  This made the two back shaping darts off-centre.  I nearly cried when I realized I'd have to frog it back about 12 inches.  I put it aside for two days, and decided I could live with it when I picked it up again.  When I tried it on, I realized that I would have to "move" the side seams (where I'd be connecting the sleeves) toward the back anyways, since there was too much bulk in the back and not enough in the front.  You know, where I carry my weight.  After some trial and error, I got the amount of stitches worked out so that I had enough fabric to fit across my bust without straining the fabric, and no poof in the back, as other's have noted.

Well, not much poof, anyways.  I probably would've had less if I'd moved the shaping to the sides, but I'm fine with this.  The back shaping emphasizes the shape of my back and prevents any bunching at the small of my back.  Great design!

I'm so proud of this sweater!  I can't seem to choose which log pictures to post, so I'm posting them all!  Of course, it's now way too warm to be wearing this, dammit, since it's summer solstice this weekend and the hottest time of the year here in Yukon.  19 hours and 9 minutes of daylight tends to make things a bit warm for some reason.  But that's fine, in a couple months I'll probably never take this off.


*frogging is a fun term used by knitters (and crocheters?) that means pulling back a project.  Because you rip it, rip it, rip it.  Heh.


  1. You rock! The sweater is adorable.

  2. Congrats! Lovely sweater. I've wanted to knit this too, but I don't have enough time to learn.

    1. Knitting is great because it's easy to pick up and put down, and doesn't require a lot of time to get anything done. But there can be a learning curve if you've never learned before. Don't be afraid to try though! It's a cheap hobby to learn (although it does get expensive later when you MUST buy All The Yarn).

  3. I can't believe you actually have been only knitting a year. Blows my mind.

    I miss the long days of a Yukon summer. I do not miss the mosquitoes.8-)

    1. Heh, thanks. :)

      The mosquitos are just starting to get active, and I'm not looking forward to them when we go camping next weekend. :P

  4. Lovely - I don't knit but that is cute.

  5. Wow, that's so gorgeous! I can't knit a scarf without getting bored halfway through so knitting a whole sweater is mind blowing! Great colour too :)

    1. To be fair, scarves are boring as hell, and I have yet to complete one. A sweater and other more complicated projects are definitely more fun to do, especially when you know you get a great garment that you'll actually use afterward! I've been working on a spring scarf since February, and have knitting two sweaters (if you count a baby sweater) since April. Scarves are the absolute worst first project. Seriously. :)

  6. That is the most phenomenally awesome sweater! That you knitted it a year after first picking up needles is amazing! I love it with just the one owl with eyes myself. It is just the right amount if cute. Really this is just so great.

  7. That's a great sweater, and you've progressed so quickly!

    You might be able to dye the buttons?

  8. This may be TMI and/or too personal but, you wrote about my exact dilemma. You're sweater looks amazing and I love the fit. Size-wise- are you are 42" and went with the 40" because the pattern says it looks better with 1-2" negative ease? I'm a 36" and trying to decide if I should knit the size 3 for a finished 36" bust or knit the size 2" for a 34" finished bust. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi there Erin! Sorry to take so long to get back to you, it's been busy at work and our internet connection has been dumb.

      My bust size is 41.5", giving me about 1.5" negative ease using the 40" size. If you want a fitted sweater, I really think this is needed - I wasn't happy with the version I started at 42".

      If you're wanting 1" of negative ease, you could always knit between the two sizes for the body. Just add a few more stitches (sorry, don't have the pattern on me, so I'm not sure what the stitch counts are - but just find the difference between the two sizes and halve it to find out how many stitches to add to the body width) on the smaller size. You'll need to do a bit of juggling to get the stitch count either up to the larger size or down to the smaller size for the owls themselves, but once you do, you can just keep following that size.

      One thing that helped me was to keep trying it on as I went - I know that can be tough if your blocked swatch grew/shrank after you washed it, but it was useful for figuring out if the garment was coming out too big or too small. Granted, I restarted this sweater...several times, trying to get the sizing down - I even ripped it all out after finishing the body to the armpits! ACK! This was a patience-learning experience. :)

      I don't know if that helped at all. I can't seem to follow a pattern as written, so if I was nervous with 2" negative ease, I'd just add more stitches to the width. But I don't think 2" negative ease is too much if you want a snug fitting sweater.

      Also, if you have a larger bust, you might want to play with the widths in the front and back. The pattern as written have both sides about the same size, which doesn't work if you're busty and thus have more width across the front. That's why I shifted the side-seams (i.e. where I attached the arms) back a bit.

      If you have any more questions or if I'm not making sense, I'll be happy to help more! Email might be quicker, but whatever you prefer!



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