Owl Knittery and An Enormous Ball of Yarn

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I finally got together the courage to knit Kate Davies's O w l s Sweater. The most ambitious thing I've ever knitted was a simple beanie in-the-round in garter stitch. It doesn't get easier than that. Now crochet: that's something I can do. I can crochet fabulous flowers, granny square blankets, scarves, hats, gloves - well, just about anything. That's because yarn + one hooky needle = sense. Knitting on two needles, with cables and circular needle pieces no less, is just silliness. Then I saw the picture of the sweater. And I wanted it. 

So, with the help of our amazing granny a little outside of Oxford, I went in search of yarn. She knew of a lovely little yarn shop in Swindon (Sewcraft) so we took a drive down and had a looksee around the beautiful shop that it stocked full of buttons, yarns, fabrics and other knittery items. Driving to Swindon is no easy task, mind you: it has a Magic Roundabout. 

This is what it looks like:

That's five roundabouts (what we call 'traffic circles' back home) arranged in one giant roundabout. Have a look here to read more about it and see an aerial view. I was extremely grateful that G was driving, and that I didn't grow up in Swindon where I'd need to take my Driver's Test. Phew.

Right-o, back to the knittery. So, I bought my first set of douple-pointed needles (DPNs) and six balls of Stylecraft DK Blue Haze, and then the knitting began. It's an unusual pattern as you knit the entire sweater from the bottom up to the neckline, so you really only get to tackle the cabled owls really late in the project. I was a bit disappointed when I realised that I'd have to put in all the hard work knitting up the body of the sweater before I could begin on the owly yoke.

Here's a photograph of me feeling rather confused knitting a sleeve on five DPNs:

I feel I should add, don't try this at home! Once you get used to it, knitting on DPNs isn't as difficult as it seems. 

Ta-da! Here's the finished product, all knitted up. Do you like the cabled owls? Perhaps they'll look better when the eyes are sewn on.

You may have to use your imagination a bit. 

In the end, I found neck to be a bit too snug for me, so I think I'll unpick and unknit the collar (a process known as tinking - knitting backwards) and then rework it on a larger round with looser ribbing. I rather like the design of the owls but I'm not terribly keen on the fit of the sweater, so I may even save this for a rainy day and knit the owls into another project like a pretty hat, the ends of a scarf or even a little bag. For now, it'll be a work-in-progress because squee my new yarn arrived in the post today and it is A GIANT BALL OF YARN!

That's a normal, 100g ball of Paton's DK Fab Aqua on the left. I couldn't resist the blue-green stripes when I noticed they were on sale, so don't judge me. The enormous, inflated and over-sized red bundle of yarny goodness on the right is 400g of Wendy Aran Mulberry. Mm. 

Here's another photograph to show the size of the ball of yarn - - I've put my knitting needles on top so that you can get some perspective. Did you notice that I'm choosing to knit on DPNs again? That's because I've chosen a rather beautiful swing cardigan pattern (which you can download or view for free here on Ravelry) and this time we knit from the collar down. Oh good.

When I initially ordered the yarn online I thought it was a nice, deep shade of rusty purple. It turned out to be quite red - but if you look at it rather close-up in the light, you can see that it is red with a weave of blue, creating a nice purpley effect in the right light. I can deal with that.

Well, let's see how it goes. I cast on the first row tonight so I'm feeling rather triumphant. Now, time for bed zzz

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