Friday, July 15, 2016

The Wowligan

When I saw the Wowligan (the "wee owl cardigan") pattern by Kate Davies, I was in love. I adore knitted owls, I adore cabling (a good combination!), and I adore little girl sweaters. I'd purchased four skeins of Knit Picks Galileo yarn in "Gosling" ages ago, intending it for a sweater for Rosa. It matched the pattern requirements, so I started this as soon as I finished my Left Bank Cardigan. 

Oh, love! Where to start? The yarn was luscious to work with -- 50% merino, 50% viscose from bamboo. It's silky and wonderful. The pattern was also a treat! It's knit bottom up, so I had a lengthy period of "knit, knit, knit." Then you knit the sleeves... Then you attach everything at the underarm and keep going. 

In retrospect, I'd add stitches to the cast on for the sleeves, and reduce the number of increases. The cuff fits Rosa,
but I'd prefer if it were a little roomier.

Then, at last, the owls! At first I was going to reduce the number of owls (and even did the math and knit a few rows that way), but then I realized that the "dead space" between each owl is basically the wrong side of stockinette stitching. It looks fine with just two stitches between each owl, but looked a little odd with ten stitches. So I frogged back and knit the owls as instructed. 

At this point, I've opted not to add button eyes for the owls. For one thing, I didn't have enough tiny buttons. For another, I was a bit concerned about the effect of SO MANY BUTTONS around the yoke. Looking through the finished Ravelry projects, I saw some that I loved, and some that I didn't. I'm happier with a "subtle" owl, so there we are. I might go back and stitch some eyes with a darker yarn, but that's not likely. 

I found three perfect buttons in my stash -- They're the same taupe-grey as the sweater, with hints of mauve and teal when they catch the light. Understated, like the owls.

I need to work on my "banding" skills, since I still can't figure out how to pick up stitches. Pick-up-and-knit
I can do and I've made it work for me, but I'd really like to get the hang of just plain picking up stitches!

The only real problem I had with this sweater was that I nearly ran out of yarn! Perhaps my gauge was larger than I thought (I'm horrible about swatching!), but I realized shortly after adding the sleeves to the bodice that I probably wouldn't make it to the end. And having purchased the yarn about two years ago, there was almost no way I'd find some in the same dye lot. I made a desperate decision to omit about 8-12 rows at various points in the rest of the pattern (some before the owls, a few "in" the owls, and perhaps one after that?). The pattern photo showed the yoke coming up pretty high on the model's neck, so I took my chances that this approach would work. To my relief, it did! I had very little yarn left over at the end, so I think I made the right choice here. The sweater is a tad roomy on Rosa, so it will perfect for this year -- and maybe next? I can't wait to see her wearing it.

This sweater only took about 40 days, which was encouraging! I think I'll be starting on another "selfish sweater" soon, using some mohair yarn that I purchased over a decade ago, during one of my optimistic "I'm REALLY going to knit this time! REALLY!" phases. I've come close to getting rid of it so many times, but I think it's actually going to be used now. It would feel good, you know?

But first, some tiny baby socks, because socks are something I want to try and who can say "no" to newborn socks?

Raveled here.


  1. Awww, how sweet! Kate Davies is one of my favorite designers (actually, the original Owls pullover, for grownups, was her first published pattern).
    I love the yarn and the buttons you've used. They'll go really well with almost any color.
    As for picking up stitches, I still don't like doing that. Picking up and knitting is so much easier :)

    1. An owl pullover?! I must look that up! :-) I'm definitely interested in more of her patterns.

      Thank you, Laura Elizabeth! I'm hoping this will be quite a versatile garment, too. And I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who's not fond of picking up stitches! ;-)


  2. Shannon,

    This is such a lovely pattern! It is one that I added to my favorites a while back. You certainly knitted it quickly! I am slow knitter, I knit English style. My grandmother taught me to knit and she is from England. You always choose the prettiest yarns and buttons! I am sure your daughter will look adorable!!


    1. Sarah,

      Thank you for your kind words! I was a bit surprised myself at how quickly this knitted up -- lots of Netflix ;-). How lovely that you learned to knit from your grandmother! As a girl, I had an "adopted" Scottish grandmother who knitted so beautifully (and prolifically!) -- I still think of her often as I knit. I learned English style, but switched to Continental at some point (I think my sister showed me). I had tendinitis in my right elbow some years ago, so Continental allows me to knit without stressing that. At any rate, after the months it took me to finish up my last sweater, I was grateful that this project didn't take quite as long. :-)



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