Speaking of owls...

Oddly enough, I have another owl project to share with you today. I actually finished the Owls sweater (by Kate Davies) for my teenager about a month ago. The short review: I love it!

Cammy loves her owl sweater!

This pattern had been in my Ravelry queue for quite a while. I hemmed and hawed about making myself a pullover because it is just not practical for someone who works in an office. There are two temps at my place of work: freezing or boiling so cardigans are generally my sweater of choice. I was bummed because these owls are so damn cute! And then my teenage daughter saw the pattern, and fell (like a ton of bricks) in love.

I ordered the yarn spec'd in the pattern, Rowan Purelife Sheep Breeds Chunky, in Steel Grey Suffolk from Webs, one of my favorite online yarn resources.

I got the package of yarn in the mail and tore into it - ready to get started on this fun pattern. Immediately, I loved the color...then I noticed...the smell. Yeah, when they say natural, undyed yarn, they ain't playin'. This stuff smelled like a barn. I was sort of horrified that I spent so much money on yarn that stank up the house and, while I figured I could handle working with the stuff, I couldn't imagine my daughter being willing to smell like a farm animal. I'm pretty sure her boyfriend wouldn't appreciate it either.  So, I called the good folks at Webs at told them my dilemma. They hooked me up with a fiber expert who explained that this particular yarn could be a bit "sheepy"(yeah...they aren't kidding) and that I had two options: I could exchange the yarn for something else, or, I could keep it and wash my finished garment in Dawn dishwashing liquid. I decided to take my chances with option two and I'm glad that I did.

This yarn knits up like a dream. It feels great in your hands and, after blocking, relaxes into shape beautifully. Best of all, the Dawn dish washing liquid did the trick - it took away about 85% of the smell. For what it's worth, I prefer to use a more environmentally friendly soap for my dishes but, in this case, I needed the degreasing power of Dawn to break down the lanolin so I relented and bought a small bottle just for this purpose. If anyone has any suggestions of a more "natural" soap that would have the same effectiveness as Dawn for this use, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Regardless, once the smell was minimized, I can honestly say that I would use this yarn again in a heartbeat.

I love these clever owls!
The Owls pattern itself is so much fun. First of all, who doesn't love chunky yarn and size 10.5 needles? I made good progress every time I sat down to knit. This sweater was done a lot quicker than any other I have knitted. The pattern itself was clear and easy to read, there is no wonder it is so popular on Ravelry (4226 projects listed!) If I make this pattern again, I might go down a size. The sweater is supposed to be form-fitting and it ended up a little roomier than expected on my daughter. But, she loves it and I loved knitting it.

So, you might be asking yourself, what took me so long to write about this? Well, blame it on the weather (we blame a lot on the weather in Wisconsin!) It's not easy to get a teenage girl to model a chunky wool sweater outdoors when it's 95 degrees. But today it is only 85 which means...picture time!

I made my child model this sweater in 85 degree weather.
Overall, for me, this project was a love-fest between the yarn and pattern. I definitely recommend it to all my knitting friends out there. If you are looking for a warm, cute pullover...give this one a shot.

Have a great weekend!



  1. Is diluted vinegar safe to use on wool? I find that if I have a piece of clothing or a towel that is exceptionally stinky for whatever reason, a couple of cups of vinegar in the wash cycle takes the smell away.

    And that sweater is definitely adorable (and I agree with you about the temp at work - it's crazy)!

  2. Oh, I put vinegar in ever load I wash! It is a miracle worker for making your clothes rinsed super-clean. Love it.

    With that said, I am not sure how it works on wool. I think the reason they told me to use dawn was because of its ability to remove grease. Wool that is natural and still has it's lanolin smells because of that. The lanolin can be dissolved by soap that cuts the grease. Thus, cutting the smell. I would stick with something like that when you're trying to de-sheep your wool! :)

  3. It's gorgeous! I love your owl sweater! You've done an amazing job!

  4. I love that sweater, I have the pattern in my queue but haven't got round to knitting it yet. Love how yours came out, it's gorgeous :)

  5. @pinkundine: Thanks! It was a really fun knit. I am thinking it would be fun to make with cotton...maybe it wouldn't be so warm?