Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Owl's Well

I've been not-blogging for quite a spell, so there's quite a bit to catch up on.

First up is the Tale of the Owl Mitts. It started with a friend's Instagram post of a pair of fingerless owl mitts captioned merely "Want!" I knew she A. was not a knitter, B. is a big-time bird lover, and C. there was a good chance the pattern or something very like it was on Ravelry. Found the pattern in about 2 minutes and told her about it, offering to make her a pair.

Like many passionate knitters, money can't buy my work. To put a real dollar value on the time it takes to knit something, even a small thing,  makes for a ridiculous price tag that seems all out of proportion.  To set a nominal price is to trivialize the effort and possibly make the item undervalued in a non-monetary sense. So barter is often a good solution. A chunk of my skill and time for a chunk of yours. We still haven't hit on exactly what her part of the trade will be, but figuring it out is all part of the fun.

Meanwhile, I took some measurements, bought the pattern, and pulled the perfect owl-brown alpaca from the stash. I cast on. Knitting the mitts was a fun, cable-y time. But what about the eyes? Eyes are crucial to the appearance of the owls. Most of the versions of the pattern (and Kate Davies' Owls sweater, Owligan, and Owlet) use small buttons, so off to the store I went. What I found were exactly four small stuffed animal eyes with black pupil and clear plastic iris. Pretty good, but even better if the iris was a bright yellow. If I could find the right nail polish, I could paint the back of the clear area, and, reader, I did!

(Bottom portion shows upended eyes with paint/polish drying)

 Add eyes to owls, and the effect is perfect piercing owl stare-eyes!

Mitts were ready for their wearer, and very happily received to keep hands warm in a cold studio.

The owls' stare has also come in handy for admonishing family members. When held up as outward-facing fists, her kids call them "the Owls of Justice." As in, "don't make me get out the Owls of Justice!"

And just to confirm the lifelike gaze of the Owls of Justice, take a look at a Great Horned Owl that once perched on my deck:

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