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One of the most frequent requests I receive by email is to help knitters ‘translate’ my owls pullover design into a cardigan.

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This is not as straightforward as it sounds. The owls pullover was designed to be a tightly-fitting garment, with negative ease and back shaping (which would sit rather oddly as a cardigan). The pullover is worked in the round (while a cardigan is generally worked back and forth) and this has implications for the way the owl cables are charted and rendered. Additionally, the owl cables are not centred around a front opening (as they would need to be to accommodate the button bands).

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So I have designed the Owligan.

This is a very straightforward pattern, knit up in super-bulky yarn at 2.5 sts to the inch. The pattern is ideal for a beginner knitter, and comes with a number of different options to accommodate different skills and requirements. The sleeves can be knit flat, or in the round; the owl cables can be worked from a chart or from written instructions; and the body can be worked to two different lengths. The short length is shown above (worked in New Lanark Chunky with the yarn held double) and the longer length is shown below (worked in TOFT Ulysses chunky, which really is a super super bulky yarn!).

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Unlike the owls pullover, the Owligan is designed to be worn with quite a bit of positive ease. I’m wearing both the long and short versions of the garment with 6 ins positive ease in these photographs. The pattern is graded in seven sizes, to fit bust measurements of 30 to 55 ins.

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The two yarns I’ve used for these samples are very different. TOFT Ulysses chunky is a smooth, worsted spun yarn which is soft both to knit and wear. It is a beautiful, special and very luxurious yarn – and its price reflects this. New Lanark chunky is a woollen spun yarn with a much more rustic feel. While it is certainly not as soft to knit as the TOFT, the yarn relaxes, expands and blooms considerably after washing (so be sure to always wash your swatch!). Its a great everyday yarn that’s very reasonably priced, and knits up into a wonderfully woolly and robust garment.

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(New Lanark chunky – in shade ‘limestone’)

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(TOFT Ulysses chunky – in shade ‘silver’)

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The Owligan is not only a super-speedy knit, but is also wonderfully wearable – particularly in the current weather! Mel and I have become a little obsessed with knitting Owligan samples – so you might see another couple, worked up in different yarns, popping up here over the next few weeks. . .
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Thanks so much for your comments on the previous post, which mean an awful lot to me. I’ve a wee bit more to say about my recovery, and will do so in the next post.

52 thoughts on “Owligan

  1. Hi Kate, I love this pattern so much I downloaded it yesterday and looking to source the wool. Thank you so much! And the raverly download was so qquick and efficent even for me!

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  2. Bought the pattern immediately of course! Going back to your last post, which told me so much more about you, your bravery and your incredible self knowledge, I passed the post on to my daughter (in America, but who is in much the same situation as you were when you had your stroke), and, believe it or not, it seems to have prompted her immediately to start a move away from university teaching to spending more time at art which she is so good at. Many thanks for that!

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  3. This is beautiful and I am so stoked! I have long wanted the Owls sweater, but never made it because I a VERY busty. Now I don’t have to figure out how to turn it into a cardigan! I could cry from happiness!

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  4. Hi Kate. I tried to enter the coupon code having purchased your owlet pattern not that long ago, but the discount was not applied.

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  5. ugh – I have just finished my OWLS that I made into a cardigan… not nearly as nice as your interpretation. if only I had held off another month!!

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  6. I heard owls on my walk this morning – how fitting to come home to this post. Great idea to make the Owligan in bulky yarn as a light jacket. I love the dress you’re modeling with it, too. A chic spotted owl!

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  7. Well done Kate, they’re gorgeous.

    I actually cardiganised the original Owls pattern, it worked quite well. The next time I knit it I also worked out how to get the neckline snugger to my neck. You obviously like having your neck out in the air, I’m not so keen and a wearing a scarf would detract from the owls. A polo neck jumper under the cardigan would be just too much.

    Please, Kate, when you do another of your wonderful patterns would you please at least consider designing a higher neckline for those of us who don’t like too much of a draught in the neck area?

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  8. Morning Kate,
    I retried this morning and code working fine. I think it was because I had clicked the link from your blog and wasn’t signed in to .ravelry! Senior moment there! Thanks again purchased and downloaded 😄

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  9. I love Owligans! I have bought Owls in a paper copy a few years ago from one of your distributors here in New Zealand. I don’t think the code would work for me, but I’m happy to pay full price for this. It’s super!

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  10. I wish my owl-loving aunt were still alive because I know she would love the Owligan cardi. In the past few days we have heard owls in our neighborhood and even seen one so it must be owl time!
    Would you tell us where you got the dress you are wearing under the Owligan? I love it.
    Am glad to hear that you are comfortable with not being part of academia these days – it is really hard to move away from that (I know). We are so lucky that you are part of the knitting world instead.

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  11. Hello Kate, love the pattern! my daughter loves owls so can see it being a project. To cheer her up after her recent chronic fatigue diagnosis. Unfortunately I can’t get the code to work. But thanks for thinking about us. I found your last post a really moving read and has many echoes of problems my daughter has. I have sent her the link to read it. You’re a real inspiration and wonderful for sharing your story. Wishing continued recover and well deserved success.

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  12. Strangely, a day or two before you posted about your stroke, I’d actually went to search the post out and re-read it. Your life choices since that fateful day have really changed your life – for the better :) I am so happy for you. Love the owligan – excellent play on words :)

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  13. Thank you Kate, I just purchased your pattern – it’s delightful! As a Brit living on the Outer Banks of North Carolina – your blog helps keep me in touch with my favourite Isles. Keep well and creative!

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  14. Just to let you know I just bought the pattern but the discount code didn’t work for me, I purchased Owls in 2012. I went ahead anyway as I am happy to pay for amazing work, ideas and patterns.

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  15. Wonderful! I have been drooling over that sweater for years, just couldn’t justify making it for myself. This, however, is perfect for fall and spring evenings, and some of our Northern Arizona winter days. Some afterthought pockets and I’m set!

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  16. Oh my goodness! How timely this pattern is for me! I “won” 10 balls of a super super bulky yarn in a LYS drawing. Like your New Lanark Chunky, it is also 50 yards per 100 grams with a suggested gauge of 2.5 sts per inch. I have searched in vain for a sweater pattern I liked which would accommodate that bulky a yarn. So I made up my own using Ann Budd’s new top-down book. I am only a few inches into the yoke, however, and I think I will frog it and start over with an owligan. I supplemented my 10 balls of rust-colored yarn with four balls of Delft Blue I found on e-Bay. Do you think I can get the entire owl yoke knit out of four balls? My yarn is Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Bulky, now discontinued …. and probably rightly so.

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  17. I don’t know whether you’ve become wise by knitting owls, or whether you knit owls because you are wise, but it’s no surprise to me that the woman who writes with such honesty and self-knowledge about her life is the same woman who gives us these birds to perch on our shoulders! Love, love this pattern. Thank you!

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  18. Thanks so much Kate – just what I needed right now – a perfect fast owly cardigan! Ordered it right away but paid full price ( I have Owls in my library) because I think there is a lot of extra work here, and designers should be paid for their work. I think I have the perfect yarn – so swatching asap !!!!

    Lynne

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  19. We had a beautiful sunrise this morning, and then I found this — Owligan! — what a bonus! Woo, woo! A very good morning indeed.

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  20. I have long admired the Owlet sweater and now that you have made Owligan I’m all set to knit. I ordered Owligan a few minutes ago and will use my Hand-spun for a beautiful warm sweater.

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  21. I admire you so much and love reading your blog. I bought your book and working up the courage to start a sweater. The owl sweater is adorable. I can’t believe how fast you knit and how clever you are. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Denise

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  22. I did manage (much to my amazement, though not without a self inflicted stupid steeking incident) to create a cardigan Owlet for my friend’s daughter. I’ve always slightly envied her it, so this pattern will allow mw to achieve a grown up version with less stress, such great news!

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  23. Woo woo woot! I think this is a must knit for me. I have two Owls and I was considering a third. I have made 5 Owlets and I am getting requests for two more. Better find some…er… 9mm needles.

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  24. thanks kate for your words..
    my english ist too bad that i could find the right words..
    i think it is the best to do what the heart say :-)
    well done :-)

    best wishes from bavaria and thanks for the pretty snow pictures, we have also :-)))

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  25. I made my littlest an Owlet for Christmas, and I was just contemplating a matching one for me, but this has absolutely swung it. Thanks so much Kate, that sounds like a lot of hard work to get it looking so great. And perfect for this chilly weather!

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  26. Kate, you are truly amazing and an inspiration. I can’t wait to get the Owligan cardigan on my needles. I am currently knitting your Asta sweater. (I promise to send you a picture! I’m using a slightly darker blue in place of the bright baby blue.) I hope I will someday have the pleasure of meeting you and giving you a big hug of thanks for all you do and for sharing your amazing life.

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  27. I am just over six weeks out from AVM stroke surgery and seven weeks out from my bleed stroke. I am also an avid knitter. Your words about your recovery have kept me going. As you know, this is both a crappie and hallowed time.

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