Here are some hints and tips to help you get the best from your pattern.
A Note on Gauge
When knitting toys I always use needles that are a mm size smaller than recommended for the yarn. You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right but at least knit up some garter stitch using smaller than usual needles, until you get a fabric that you can only see pinpricks of light through.
I have actually knitted this owl in Dk, Worsted and Bulky weight yarn and they have all been fine. I liked the worsted weight one best because it seemed to be a good size for small hands. Because the owl is such a quick and easy project and uses less than half a ball of yarn, I would recommend using whatever you have lying around. I’m really enjoying using Berrocco Vintage at the moment because it’s so soft and so washable.
More About Short Row Shaping
The Owl pattern uses a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish just here.
Two Types of Wings
It seems a little strange that a quick and easy knit like the Owl should have a different set of instructions for each wing. I was originally happy to have just one set of instructions for both wings and was actually about to commit the pattern to paper when I showed it to my Quality Control Tester (aka my 4 year old). I was told that the wings were wrong. “One wing wants to go up and one wing wants to go down”. As it was quite possible that one of these owls may end up in the hands of another equally perceptive preschooler, I decided to offer the mirror image option.
Garter Mattress Stitch
The seams on the top of the Owl’s head are sewn together using the garter stitch version of a mattress stitch. There is a very clear tutorial for how to do this on the Knitty website here (scroll to the bottom for the garter stitch version) there’s also an excellent description in the Stitch n Bitch books by Debbie Stoller.
The following way is an excellent method for sewing the top and bottom of garter stitch knitting, it leaves a nicely hidden seam. This will be useful when sewing the back seam of the owl’s body. The basic method involves weaving the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram:
How you choose to give your owl eyes is up to you, I’ve used felt or buttons before, but you could also use embroidery or safety eyes.
When I cut eyes from felt I choose a button of the right size and make a stencil by drawing around the button and cutting it out of paper, that way the eyes are usually quite even.
If you have any questions or comments which are not covered either in the pattern or here, please contact me through the NattyKnits Etsy shop and I’ll do my best to help you.