Never having knitted anything like a toy before, I wasn’t sure how to go about it. But once the idea took hold, I couldn’t wait to get home and get started. I had some Aspen that I wanted to use because it is incredibly soft and I love the big size of the stitches. I then had to decide what animal I would make. I’d seen knitted bears, rabbits, cats, and even a stingray and an elephant. I figured that if I wanted to be original, I had better come up with something that hadn’t already been done.
I remembered how my friend Melissa (a.k.a. Roxy) tells the kids in the pre-school class that she teaches, that HER favorite animal is the baby owl or owlet. I immediately got started on an owl. I had the idea that I could start with a short I-cord for the beak and work out from there to form a circle for the rest of the face. I used the size of the owl's face to determine how big the body should be. I spaced decreases so that the body would taper towards the feet and still be proportionately tall enough. I made the wings by starting off with one stitch and increasing on one side only. I wanted to mimic the lighter under-feathers, so I worked the underside pieces of the wings in white. To add another texture to the owl, I looped through and tied strands of Aspen along the bottom of the back for his tail and used white again for the under-color.
Aspen 50% alpaca, 50% wool
I thought that Aspen, a bulky yarn of 50% alpaca and 50% wool, would be a wonderful choice for a knit and stuffed toy. Aspen is super soft and works up at about 2 stitches per inch. The large size of the stitches not only makes for a quick knit, but I liked that the look of the stitches added a bit more whimsy to the finished product.
Much of L’Owell was seamed up using the Mattress Stitcha technique that is virtually invisible. The Mattress Stitch is used when two side edges need to be joinedlike when seaming up sleeves or joining a front and back under the arms.
Learn how to seam using the Mattress Stitch.
Here is the free downloadable L'Owell pattern.