Owls, Owls Always With the Owls – Part 2

So to continue on my Owls adventure…

Just to make it easy on myself, I decided to further modify the pattern by making it a cardigan and knit the button bands as I went in a seed stitch. That part was remarkably easy… Less easy was the decision to change the long sleeves to cap sleeves and add them into the yoke as I started the owl pattern.

Never having done this before, and not being able to find any tutorials on how to do this, I basically winged it. I cast on the number of stitches I decided I would need for the sleeve circumference…

…and then joined it to the other side by slipping the first stitch on the yoke over to my right needle and then crossing the last bound on stitch over it, inverting them to eliminate a gap.

This worked well (There is probably a better way to do this, but I couldn’t think of anything else!). Unfortunately after doing a few rows I decided the arms were too big (no…NO! They actually weren’t, I just doubted my calculations. Sigh.), so frogged and redid the whole process, dropping 8 stitches on each side. There, I thought, that should do it. Um, no.

Then it really went to hell when I started the owls. It wasn’t that I hadn’t done cables before – that part was fun, and so easy after all my worries!

The problem seems to be that I can’t count.

And forgot to add extra stitches before the button band at the end of the owls to match the ones at the start of the pattern. Eeesh. But I didn’t notice this until I had made a host of other mistakes and frogged back…and back …and back.

All told, I restarted those owls a good 5 times. The last time after I had gotten as far as the eyes (knitting when you are exhausted is NEVER a good idea!).

All of the owls above were frogged. The pain. After all the rejigging I settled on 2 stitches between the first owl and the band, which looks much better.

You can imagine my panic/horror when I tried it on after starting the yoke decreases and realised the arm holes were too tight as the yoke pulled up.

Imagine it now…the sinking feeling in your stomach, tightness in your chest. Desperate thoughts of ‘maybe it will stretch enough with blocking’…

Not in cotton/linen it damn well won’t.

So I got a bit inventive. There is nothing quite like desperation for improvisation.

I figured I hadn’t much to lose so what I would do is…gulp…use scissors.

I carefully put in a life line a number of stitches down from the ones that were being held in the underarm:

Then I unravelled:

Then the scary part. I snipped:

After weaving the gazillion ends in the  armholes were treated as normal, with stitches picked up and sleeves knit down.

I am shocked to say this worked amazingly well! I was worried everything would unravel as I picked up stitches, but made sure I wove the ends in and back so they couldn’t pull free, and it did the job.

Now I know this is sloppy practice and do not recommend doing it as a matter of course, but if you are ever about to hang yourself with your own yarn and feel you have nothing to lose, give it a try.

Much like steeking, it is radical, but works!

I ended up putting in grosgrain bands to stablise the hooks I put in and minimize the bulging below:

And here she is in all her glory:

I only sewed in 2 eyes, as I find the one owl peeking out from the pattern a little less cutesy.

I still haven’t figured out how not to look like a complete dork in the ‘finish’ shots.

But am working on it!