The important thing is, I haz a sweater:

parliament-of-owls

Yes! It is the awesome o w l s by Kate Davies (aka Wazz), and it is glorious. Funny, the day she posted her own finished sweater on her blog back in…no!! November!?!? Wow, I AM slow off the mark these days!!…anyway, back when she first posted her Owls sweater, well before it was a pattern, I was enchanted and immediately started planning a reverse-engineered Owls sweater of my own. Buuuuut my harebrained commitment to Christmas knitting (yeah, I know last year I said I wouldn’t get sucked into that again) and an even more harebrained mania to dye and spin my own yarn for the sweater pushed the start date back and back and back and back until the THIRD iteration of the pattern was published! Ah well. Ravelled here.

I didn’t post my mods in my Rav notes, so I’ll briefly touch on them here:

First of all, I knit this thing top-down, because damnit, that’s how a yoked sweater ought to be constructed! So I pretty much followed Kate’s directions backward, except for a few little changes here and there. For example, I found the final numbers for the neck too tight for my liking, so I skipped to the penultimate count (for me, making the medium/38″ size, that was 76). Then I did the short rows and the yoke increases, and started on the owl chart.

I did the owls a wee bit differently than most folk, and not just because I was making them upside-down:

owls2

Top-down owls are formed by following the cable chart upside-down by physically turning the printed-out chart upside-down and following it that way, which is very easy as the crossings are exactly the same. The actual mods I made to the owls themselves were to the belly and the feet: instead of just working 7 plain rows for the belly, I used garter stitch to make the wing/belly areas more distinct from each other (2 sts plain, 4 sts garter, 2 sts plain), which I saw on NeulovaNarttu’s Rav entry for this project. Genius! I treated the feet in a similar fashion, centring four purl stitches under each owl and knitting the rest in stockinette.

I also divided the yoke a little differently, which was particularly easy as the owl count for my size was an odd number (19): 3 owls per shoulder, 6 owls for the back and 7 for the front (because my front side is decidedly more convex than my back!) After that, I added a couple of short rows, some vertical bust darts, and away we went to the hem. I actually added the sleeves just as the sweater reached about mid-boob level, because I find that sleeves make a top-down sweater hang differently, and if your intention is to try it on as you knit to ensure the best possible fit, you might as well do it whole-assed. Plus, you get the sleeves out of the way nice and early, when you still have lots of enthusiasm for the project!

So, yeah. Owls! A teensy bit scratchy, but a couple more trips through a conditioner bath might help. Despite the slight itch factor, the Cascade Eco Wool I used for this knit was a lot softer than I thought it had any right to be. What a pleasant surprise it was to pull those enormous squishy skeins from the envelope from Red Bird Knits! And only the day after I’d made the order, too…hurray for online yarn stores in the GTA! This sweater took less than a skein and a half of the stuff, which was incredible to me. I will be revisiting this line soon, make no mistake!

The needles/hooks/spindles have been kept very busy during my absence, but I’ve become something of a dilatory photographer, so there aren’t many pics of interest to be posted. But right now I’m working on a Tangled Yoke Cardigan in EL Silky Wool, a pair of plain-vanilla socks for the G in Wollmeise (what can I say, the boy has good taste) and a Laminaria shawl for my mother in my own handspun, dyed in Pigeonroof’s ‘Dovecote’ colourway. So there should be some interesting pictures soon…if I don’t take another near-year off…I kid, I kid.