After I injured my ankle the second time at the end of last year, I was in pretty bad shape. That’s why I decided I’d use this spring break to make my body stronger. I figured if I trained the muscles in my foot, the injury would be less likely to happen again. My preferred sport activities are swimming, biking and running, but I took up something new as well: hiking. Frankly, I despised hiking for the longest time after very traumatic and humiliating hiking experiences in the Alps when I was still in school. It’s never too late to expand your horizons though!
Obviously we chose easy tours: the Lone Valley in the Swabian Alp has lots of wonderful hiking trails for the novice hiker. We got to exercise and still enjoy the beautiful landscape, pretty much a win-win situation in my book!
Additionally, traces of prehistoric human life have been discovered at various spots in the valley (for example the so-called “lion man”, a piece of art which is approximately 40,000 years old!) as well as evidence of Neanderthal inhibitation dating back to 50,000-70,000 BC. Visiting these sites was pretty awesome, even if you don’t see all that much. :D
I love the harsh but beautiful landscape of the Swabian Alp. Heidelberg and the Neckar valley have more charm, that much is true, but I’m very partial to places (as well as people) with rough edges. Our hikes felt very inspiring. I’m sure they are the reason why I chose such an atypical (for me) yarn for one of my knitting projects. I wanted something that was tough and down-to-earth, the opposite of my usual knitting projects. Kate Davies’ owls sweater, in my queue for quite a while now, seemed like the perfect fit for a pattern, even moreso because I love her blog posts about the Scottish countryside! That I needed brown tweed yarn for the sweater was perfectly clear to me from the beginning.
The pattern is a quick and easy knit – just as a warning, be conservative when it comes to sizes! The pattern has very little ease. The body is knit in the round, with shaping only at the back, just until you reach the yoke part. Then you have to knit the sleeves first, which is really really mean if I may say so. There you are, looking forward to all the little owls you’re about to knit, and then you’re told you need to make the boring ol’ sleeves first. What a bummer! The sleeves are made using the magic loop technique, a first for me. This tutorial was very helpful. My results were a little uneven, though, because one of my cable needles had a very thick cable. (Only the ribbing was affected though, I had the right kind of cable needle for the stockinette stitches.) Then the stitches of body and sleeves are lined up on one needle so you can finally start the owls, which is soooooo much fun! Yay! :D
I’m a little bummed that the owls at the armpit bunch up in a rather unflattering way. I think it’s both my large upper arms and the fact that I sewed the holes at the armpit together improperly. Otherwise I’m extremely pleased with this sweater! The pattern is fantastic, as are all Kate Davies patterns, the yarn is so soft and warm, and the finished garment is exactly as I pictured it in my head! Thanks to brahdelt and Dari by the way for their advise regarding buttons! I really feel like plain white buttons add to the overall down-to-earth feeling of the sweater. (Even though they cost me an arm and a leg. 18€ for 36 simple mother-of-pearl buttons! That’s INSANE and I was pretty broke for a while there because of it.)
The sweater is so warm in fact, that it’s too warm for our very sunny spring here. After wearing it today, I’m going to pack it away with my winter clothes. I’m not complaining, though! Firstly, I have something to look forward to next winter. Secondly, it’s a sunny spring! What’s not to love about it after that dreary winter? Even on our hikes in February and March we could already see the first signs of life. Isn’t it wonderful every year anew?
Pattern: owls by Kate Davies, size s/m
Yarn: Royal Tweed by Lana Grossa (bulky, 100% merino), colourway 09 “dunkelbraun meliert”, 8 balls
Full disclosure No. 1: I’ve been posting so many projects only few days apart lately not because of my insane knitting speed. I just had quite the backlog of finished objects from the first few months of this year that it took me a while to take pictures of everything.
Full disclosure No. 2: The pictures of the sweater were not taken during a hike. We just went to a small patch of woods near my Dad’s house and took them there. ;)