Kate Davies Owl Sweater

A bit of knitting today, I finally finished my Owl sweater!

I cast this on just after Christmas and finally finished it a fortnight ago so it’s taken me around six weeks. I could have finished it lot earlier as the chunky yarn knits up really quickly.  However, I only get chance to knit in the evenings when it’s frequently too late and I’m too tired to do anything. The pattern is Owls by Kate Davies and it’s probably one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry.

I used Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky Undyed yarn in Mid Brown Jacob which is available from Laughing Hens.  (It’s actually more brown in real life but i’ve struggled to get a true picture) I love the idea that the yarn is undyed and the colour of the sheep from which it came, here’s a Brown Jacob in all it’s glory:

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There were a couple of reasons for my yarn choice, the main one being it was the one suggested for the pattern and the right yarn for the gauge, the thought of adapting the pattern for a different weight yarn fills me with dread (and I know I’d bugger it up and end up with a sweater that would fit a seven year old!). I had been contemplating some shade of purple but in the end thought an owly colour would be more appropriate. The yarn is quite raw and slightly itchy, every now and then I’d come across a bit of hay. It has softened up quite a bit since washing but it still warrants wearing a t-shirt underneath.

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The sweater is knit bottom up and in the round. The body is put on hold while the sleeves are knit and then it is all joined together before starting the owly yoke. I knit a size 6 which I think is a 42 inch chest, there is a couple of inches of negative ease in the final measurements. I actually knitted a gauge swatch for once and was pleasantly surprised when it was spot on. I based the length of the body and sleeves on an old sweater I have which is the perfect fit. (so nice to have sleeves the right length!) There is an extra Owl for each size increase and I ended up with twenty one on mine. The Owl pattern is really easy with only three rows of cables over the ten row pattern. I was a bit undecided about the button eyes, I initially got some mother of pearl ones but they stood out far too much, luckily I found these tiny brown buttons in my local haberdashers which I think are perfect. Sewing on 42 buttons however was a real chore!

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I blocked the sweater by putting it through a wool wash on my machine followed by a short spin (to the horror of my mother in law who was convinced it would shrink!)   I then laid it out on a towel shaping it to the final measurements.

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Overall I love this pattern, it’s quick and easy and would be perfect for a beginner. It’s exceptionally warm, I haven’t needed a coat when I have worn it so it’s perfect for working on the project. I should get a few weeks wear out of it before the weather warms up and I can look forward to wearing it again when the Autumn comes around again!

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My Autumn/Winter sewing and knitting plans

My sewing has been in the doldrums recently, I just can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to start a new project. I think this is a tricky time of year, in the spring I can’t wait to get started on some Summer dresses but now, well I’m more than a little apprehensive about the dark nights and cold Winter days that lay before me. I decided that while I didn’t feel like doing any actual sewing I should spend my time planning and getting organised. I have put together a list of projects and have not only got the patterns but the fabric and all the notions to go with them. So I have no excuse, if I publish my list here then I’ll just have to get on with it! I really want to try and concentrate on getting the fit right with my makes so have decided to make at least two versions of each pattern, using the first as a wearable muslin before cutting into my more loved fabrics!

I’ve been meaning to try some Deer and Doe patterns for a while, the patterns are drafted with an hourglass figure in mind and so offer the prospect of being a good fit for me. I tried their free Plantain long sleeved tee pattern when it came out at the beginning of the year. I loved it so much I made three which were in constant rotation before I had to change it up for me made May. It’s one of those patterns that looks very simple but seems to be drafted by fairies, it fits perfectly around the shoulders and bust and then gently flares skimming the waist and hips (and in the process hiding any wobbly bits!) I’m planning on making at least two more of these and have this stripey knit and soft duck egg blue jersey as the first contenders.

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I have also realised that I could use another basic skirt pattern in my wardrobe and love the inverted pleats of the Chardon. I’ve had this purple cotton in my stash for a while, meaning to make another Kelly skirt which never happened. I will use this first as a wearable muslin before cutting into this leafy green cotton that I got while on holiday.

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I’ve seen so many Belladones around the blogesphere and have wanted to try it for ages. Although it is a sleeveless dress I’m hoping to be able to wear it layered up with a long sleeved tee, cardigan and wooly tights. I’m going to make it up first in this Navy cotton twill (both fabrics are darker in reality!) I think I will actually muslin the bodice before, a rare occurrence for me! Once I get the fit right I’ll give this Autumn flower fabric a go.

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The Lady Skater was something that I planned to do last year but never got around to. I bought this purple Ponte Roma for it (it’s darker than the picture shows, as are all the other pictures!) but it kept getting bumped down the list and before I knew it Spring was here and it was flowery dress time! I’ve since found this heavy denim blue knit so I’m hoping to have a couple of work horse knit dresses to see me through the colder months.

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I’ve made Simplicity 2444 once before, the fit was nearly spot on but I had a slight hunchback thing going on with the zip. I hadn’t made any adjustments and should really have shortened the bodice to take my short waistedness into account. It’s such a great pattern and I love how the diagonal waist darts mirror the pleats in the skirt. I’ve been putting this off but I think with a couple of tweaks this could become a TNT dress pattern. I bought this grey cotton well over a year ago with no particular plan in mind. The flowers have a velvety nap to them and I think it will lend itself well to an Autumn/Winter dress. I’ve also just recently got this purple tartan (I’m a sucker for tartan!) and in my head I think it might work well with those darts, it could turn out to be a disaster in reality but I’m willing to take the gamble!

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So that is my current plan, I’m going to try and focus and not get distracted by other new patterns but since I’ve drawn up my list Deer and Doe have released the Bruyere shirt! I haven’t got any fabric for this yet but really want to try and squeeze it in somewhere!

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My knitting plans are a little easier and more practical. I will be needing a new hat and really like the look of the Wiksten Jul hat:

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I’ll be needing some arm warmers to go with it and have a couple of options:

The Kumara arm warmers:

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Or possibly these slouchy gauntlets:

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And finally I’m planning to knit Kate Davies’ Owl sweater because it’s cute and will make me happy when I’m wearing it!

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So that’s the plan, I’ve decided to start with the Grey Simplicity as I really want a new dress to wear and hopefully I won’t have to do much to get the fit right!

What projects do you have in the pipeline for the Autumn?