Monday, February 7, 2011

3 Little Owl Sweaters

I had done some knitting in my pre-mama years (an unfinished scarf or two, maybe a simple hat), but the knitting bug hit full force in the months before my little babe was to arrive. I hear this isn't uncommon - women picking up needles for the very first time when baby is on the way. While my belly was incubating the little one, my hands were racing to churn out little hats,  booties, and knit toys.

The first sweater I made for Ava was inspired by this project on ravelry. It's foundation was the Offset Wraplan by Sara Morris. The cabled owl pattern (hard to see, since in my I'm-the-mother-of-a-newborn frenzy I never did affix those tiny buttons for its eyes) came from a Penny Straker baby owl and bonnet pattern I ordered online.

Months later while looking through my own baby pictures I came upon this classic:

I'd seen this picture so many times before I almost blew passed it. But as I was about to move on I looked a bit closer and gasped. That pink sweater, knit by my grandmother, was the exact sweater from the Penny Straker pattern I'd ordered, and the owlets were the same ones I'd inserted into Ava's sweater! I thought this was an amazing and very touching coincidence. Excited, I called Grammy, perhaps the only other person I know who would get as excited about this as I was. Unfortunately, my mama didn't know where that sweater I wore in the picture had ended up - hopefully handed down and on the back of a little tot somewhere. So, as you can imagine if you've read my previous post on Grammy the prolific knitter, she had to complete the trilogy by churning out her own version of the Straker owl sweater in a matter of weeks.

A hand knit sweater - hand knit anything, really - is a precious thing. You put your love and thoughts of the person who will wear it into every stitch. These sweaters, knit from a pattern passed down through three generations, embody even more - a richness and connection between mothers and their daughters across time. I love that this pattern became an unwitting heirloom, made new with each generation's take on it. What treasure from the past have you transformed to reflect your current vision, while maintaining its connection to those who touched it before?


  1. Love your knits! Thanks for stopping by my place...blessings,

  2. Ohhh the firs is so cute. These sweaters are adorables.

    Regards and have a nice weekend.

  3. What a beautiful post. I am using a lot of my Mother's needles now, and some of them must have been her Mother's, looking at the design. I haven't knitted any of the old patterns though, because most of them are in 4 ply (not sure what the US equivalent is), and they are on such thin needles too - I am too slow a knitter for them
    Thank you for your lovely comments.
    Jacqui xx

  4. Wow, what a beautiful story! You have really warmed my heart today, so thank you. And I adore ALL three owl sweaters by the way :) xo Laura

  5. what a great story! all the sweaters are lovely