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Knitting Pipeline is sponsored by Quince & Co. and Knitcircus Yarns

Friday, May 13, 2011

Episode 43 Owls: Mystical, Magical, and Knittable

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Thank you to Quince & Co for sponsoring this episode of Knitting Pipeline. Sign up for their free newsletter.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and condolences.

A Winner!

The winner of the Owl Sweater Project Bag is Hybridgirl!  Thank you to Three Bags Full for 5 beautiful handcrafted project bags.  You can still get FREE shipping through May 31, 2011 by using the promo code "piper" at check out.

Leave a comment below to enter the drawing for two owl patterns by Susan B. Anderson.  One is Hoot Hat and the other is just being released!  I've been following Susan's blog for a long time.  Check it out!

Pipeliner Tip

Tracy is knitting Those Mitts by Leslie Friend for high school graduation gifts.  She is using the colors of the college of their choice in the mitts. 


People have been fascinated by owls since before recorded history. Prehistoric man painted owls on cave walls. Owls are a part of folklore and mythology. Owls have represented good, they have represented evil. Owls have been the portent of death and the messenger of birth. They have been associated with goddesses, witches, wise men, and prophets. Possibly no other bird has been so feared, loved, despised and revered. There are 133 species of owls world wide and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. They live in snowy landscapes and in deserts and everything in between. When I looked at the many species of owls I was amazed at the variety…and yet each one does look like an owl. The flat beak and the large eyes embedded in spherical discs are two characteristics that stand out among the majority of owl species.

So what makes owls different from other birds and why do people over centuries love them and fear them?
Owls are nocturnal birds and although we often hear them we seldom see them. This nocturnal activity makes them more mysterious than a bird that hops about on the ground or flies during the day. Nighttime is often associated with evil and the unknown. Their large somewhat human eyes and their keen sense of hearing and seeing also makes us think they know something that we don’t know. Although they are nocturnal it is not true that they cannot see during the day. The fact is that their sight is very good in the daylight but their prey is usually active at night.

Like humans, owls have binocular vision. The vision from each eye overlaps. Most birds have monocular vision which is why you see a robin cocking its head to look downward. They cannot see as well straight ahead.

Owls eyes are sometimes as large as human eyes but of course owls are much smaller. Even the largest owls are only a little over 2 ¼ feet long. Their eyeballs are not round like ours though. They are tubular; therefore, an owl cannot look to the side without turning its head.

Wise Old Owl

A wise old owl sat upon an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren't we like that wise old bird? 
    ~~Edward Hersey Richards

The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that won't believe.
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbeliever's fright.
~~William Blake

Needle Notes

Owls (Sweater) by Kate Davies knitted by 12 Pipeliners
Owlet (Child Sweater) by Kate Davies knitted by 7 Pipeliners
Who? (Hat) a Free pattern by Sara Amoroso.  knitted by 10 Pipeliners
Give a Hoot (Mittens) knitted by 5 Pipeliners
Owlie Sleep Sack and Owlie Hat by Teresa Cole  Free knitted by 2 Pipeliners
Hoot! (Hair Accessory) by Ysolda Teague knitted by 3 Pipeliners
Hoot Cardigan by Brenna Kotar
Owl Baby Vest by Jodi Haraldson (Free) by 4 Pipeliners
Hoot Hat by Susan B. Anderson
Tooley Owl by Amanda Berry
Birdie Backpack by Alison Stewart-Guinee

Book Notes

The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter
Mother West Wind Tales by Thornton W.  Burgess
Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling (who studied the classics at University, quite possibly the owl connection from Greek Mythology)
I Heard the Owl Call my Name by Margaret Craven
Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne.  Owl could spell Tuesday.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Athene had a Little Owl.  Owls were a sign of victory if one flew over troops in battle.  Owls are on ancient Greek coins.  Many owls inhabited the Acropolis and were protected there.

Owls announced the death of Julius Caesar and Agrippa.

The Blethering Room

Estelle KAL update.  Quite a few of us started over because our gauge was off.  Pipeliners Goldybear, Redbird1, and JanMarie met for an evening of Estelle KAL Knitting in Public.

From left, Goldybear, Redbird1, and JanMarie.  I am so happy that our Estelle KAL brought these three together.
A pair of Barn Owls had fans from all over the world when they raised their owlets on a webcam.
Molly's Blog

Activity TV has an origami owl-shaped bookmark.  There is video instruction and written instructions.

Owl Bookmarks

Owl Bookmark in action.

Turkey eavesdropping on podcast.

Nature Notes

The four main owls in our area of Central Illinois.

Great Horned Owl  largest owl in our area.  yellow eyes and ear tufts.
Barred Owl: an owl of deciduous woodlands. Known as Eight-Hooter because of its call:  . "Who, who, who cooks for yooooooouuuuu?"
Screech Owl  Smallest owl in our area.  Sounds like a cell phone.
Barn Owl  light in color.  heart-shaped face and long legs.  Somewhat endangered due to dwindling number of habitats.

In the Piping Circle

We are begining our competition season!  Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums will be competing at the St. Andrew Highland Games in Springfield Il on May 21, 2011.

Music is from Garden of Healing by Healing Music from  The tune is Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, an American folk tune.

Haste ye back and hold your knitting close!


Britni :) said...

Oh, I love Susan B. Anderson's patterns! Her books are wonderful and I can't wait to purchase the newest one with farm animals!

Square Root said...

I can't wait to knit the owl sweater! So cute.

Judiuni said...

I love owls! Thank you for this episode I loved it.

Janet said...

Such a great podcast. Thanks for all the owlie info. So fun.


Ana said...

It would be great to win this...we Floridians love our owls as they especially like to dine on our snakes and Palmetto bugs (refined name for "roach"!) The less of the Palmetto, the better!

Did you know that it is illegal to even own an owl feather without a permit?

Thank you for the interesting podcast!


Sheri said...

Great episode Paula. I love owls and Susans patterns. I get to meet her next weekend at the Kentucky Fiber Festival! I'm sooooo exicited.

Lisaknits said...

Great episode

Nancy/Aizome said...

Loved learning all the info about owls! We have a number of those Thornton Burgess books. Makes me want to get them out and reread them again. I love the idea of fingerless mitts for grad presents, too--brilliant! We will be making some owl origami bookmarks, for sure. Thanks for all your work on the podcast. I look forward to the weekend to hear your next episode.

Pat said...

Paula, Really enjoyed this Owl Podcast! Might just knit up some of those owl patterns, especially the hats, they are so cute!

Carla said...

Great show- thanks

Nicole said...

Love it! I've had the Kate Davies Owl sweater in my queue for a couple months now and can't wait to knit it. I'm sure it'll be the next thing I make for myself!

knittynurse said...

Oh my, that owl hat pattern for kids is totally adorable.

Moknita said...

Loved the owl episode. My daughter and I visited a wild bird rehabilitation center and got to see a variety of different owls. They are magnificent.

RachelUnraveled said...

The owl themed episode was great! I once accidently disturbed a barn owl that was in an abandoned mine adit. I am an archaeologist and we have to record historic mines when we come across them. We must have disturbed the owl when we got near the entrance because he came flying out straight at us! I wish I had gotten a better look but I was just too startled. It was very cool though!

cindymen said...

Thanks for the owl information. Your story about the owls you observed reminded me of one of my childrens' favorite stories: Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell.

ciproano said...

Paula, what a wonderful podcast about owls! They really have captured our imaginations for thousands of years as few other birds have, and they continue to do so. I love the owls in JKRowling's Harry Potter universe. My son was an ardent fan of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole books by Kathryn Lasky (now being made into a movie), in which the characters were owls. And I must mention one of my favorites, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen; it's one of those young adult books to be enjoyed by everyone (and had a movie, but don't miss the book).

I've enjoyed knitting several items with owls and I'm currently working on a Daybreak in the colors of the snowy owl. Now I have more owly items to add to my Ravelry queue!

PuffyGriffinclaw on Ravelry

Stephanie said...

Not sure if you have seen this owl video, with a black cat
I love owls, we occasionally see very large great horned owls in VA.

Amanda said...

This was so informative! It's funny to me, because as I sit here and listen to the podcast I am also listening to the owl that lives outside of my building! I am wondering what type it is now! Thank you for the lovely podcast - now back to my Estelle!

TopHat said...

I loved the owl theme! My first exposure to owls was a report I did in second grade about the pygmy owl. :) I knit my son a vest with the owl cable motif and we get compliments on it all the time!

Michelle said...

I LOVE Susan's patterns! They're so cute and fun to work up! Just found out my husband was laid off today, so winning a fun little pattern would be a great pick me up!

Unknown said...

I find owls just fascinating. I also love Susan's designs! Also have you seen the Cat and owl playing video on youtube? Check it out here it iso cute!


Robin said...

Thanks for the info on the owls. Love them and Susan!

Malia said...

would love to win the owl pattern. My daughter is decorating my grandson's room with owls & this would be perfect

knittingknirvana said...

Owls are so much fun and Susan's patterns are always a pleasure to knit!

The Chabot Family said...

HOOT HAT! I love it! I can't wait to make it!

Miss Mai said...

I am totally inspired to make some owls! A knitted owl hats will be awesome for my little boys!

sheepish1 said...

Love the podcast, I am a huge fan of Susan too, and have several of her patterns, but not the owls. Keep up the great podcasting!!

tammy said...

would love to win!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win the owl patterns...I've studied spotted owls and need to add more owls to my collection.
Roni2375 @ravelry

Hapi2Run said...

Great episode... love the theme. My daughter is crazy about owls, and I love knitting Susan's patterns, so I hope I win so I can knit them for her!

stephigordon said...

I love the owl theme and that owls are "in" these days.... ( : Would love to win - thanks for the chance! Stephanie (indigodogmt on Ravelry)

peartreejan said...

Really nice podcast, I will definitely visit again. I would love to have Susan's owl patterns. I recently purchased her new book Spud & Chloe at the Farm and am hoping to have her sign it Saturday at the KY Sheep & Fiber Festival. Wish me luck!
p.s. I remember the book Mother Westwind's Neighbors from when I was a little girl. I will have to try to track down a copy.

Anonymous said...

Loved your Owl podcast. I know a lot of people that are "into" Owls and I am slowly becoming one of them. I adore Susan's pattern, the owl pattern would be awesome to win.
Rav ID: plashus

Kathy said...

I learn so much from your Nature Notes, and I love that owl pattern!

CandyTots said...

We live in South Africa and have the privilege of a family of Eagle owls living in our area... we often wake in the night to hear them hooting in the trees.

I would love to win these patterns to make for my boys in honor of these wonderful creatures!

Anonymous said...

Love all the owls! Also love Susan Anderson's owl patterns- would be great to win!

Tara Vanderkamp said...

I never win but it's worth a try, I love the look of those owls, how cute.
Tara Vanderkamp

Catharine Williams said...

I have lots of little grand kiddies that would love a grandma knit owl, thanks for the chance.

Rhinonotes said...

Paula - I loved this themed episode! I've followed Susan for several years and love these little owls! Love the hoot hat too :)

kdy12570 said...

My 6 year old daughter is obsessed with owls! It started last summer with the Guardians of Ga'Hoole book/movie (we had to stop reading it b/c it was a bit violent for her age, but she still loves it!), and now she loves Hedwig from HP (I have to admit I egged her on in that regard--huge HP fan!!). Anyway, she knits, loves owls and we would love to make these this summer. I'm also checking out all the other links you posted. Thanks for having this contest!

Sara said...

I followed Susan B. Anderson over here to your blog and podcast. They are fantastic! And for my first look here, I was totally in love with the information on owls! I'll be back! Thank you!

amyroz said...

Thanks for the chance to win! I am so glad to have found your website.

hybridgirl said...

What a fascinating episode. I have to admit that I know very little about owls and have been a little slow on the owl knitting bandwagon. I'm still recovering from the 1970's owl fad. We had owls made from English walnuts on burlap. We had ceramic owls. We had an orange plastic key ring hanger with sparkles. I'm sure I made one of the iconic counted-cross stitch owls.

Now, I'm much more attracted to owls because of the focus on nature and real-live owls instead of stylized owls. I have yet to see an owl in it's natural habitat. We are going camping next weekend. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to hear one and maybe see one.

I still can't believe I won the project bag.

Jody said...

We see a great horned owl once in awhile when we're walking our dog at night. She always stops and looks up!

Lynn said...

I love Susan's other owl patterns and look forward to seeing this one. Thanks for the chance to win!
"flowerdancer" on Ravelry

mhchong said...

Just discovering your blog... The knitted owls look adorable!

Anonymous said...

I made an owl vest for my daughter when she was young. Got it out of a pattern leaflet I purchased at Lee Wards.

Juliaknit said...

I love owls! Thanks for another great episode and a chance to win the patterns.

Anonymous said...

Loved the episode. Always enter your great give aways

melonkelli said...

So much information about owls! The kids have been taking apart owl pellets and are talking about them at school. Who knew?

Lisa said...

I love owls too! Did you get to see Molly in the Owl Box last year? It was box in CA that had a camera installed to watch the eggs hatch, the owls grow up, and even a second batch the same year! Thank you for another great podcast.
Lisa (ColoradoKid on rav)

Pam said...

I enjoy your podcast. I would love the owl pattern.

Anonymous said...

I would love the owl pattern,,,I do follow Susan Anderson and have knitted several of her patterns
rav name: missellen

Bronwyn said...

Like many others have said, Susan B. Anderson writes great patterns. I've knit a few patterns from her Itty Bitty Toys book, and I found the patterns to be well-written and, of course, adorable.

Tonight, DS slept with a hard plastic owl that he hasn't touched in months. Weird coincidence. It wasn't until I saw his owl that I remembered to enter the contest. :)

Pat Salvatini said...

Great variety of owl information. Thanks.
rav name: plynn

Debbie said...

Hi Paula,
I always enjoy your podcasts! Thanks for the nice giveaway ... I'd love to win one of the owl patterns.

chris said...

Your podcasts are so awesome, love all the theme info you include in post. I am a huge fan of Susan B. Anderson and would love to try the owl patterns. Thanks

Angela said...

I love owls, so this podcast hit the spot! Thank you for another enjoyable listen.

Unknown said...

I loved learning there were others who know the "Wise old owl" poem, as my grandmother quoted it frequently when I was a child. And now I'd love the pattern to make the owl hat for my grandson and teach the poem to him!

Shaila said...

Paula thank you so much! Your podcasts are so educative - this one was superb! I am going to get my kingergartner to read the children's books listed here & will be looking forward to knitting him an owl sweater too!

Peg said...

I am excited to see the new pattern by Susan B Anderson for the owl. Add me to the drawing!

Julie said...

Paula, this was a fascinating episode! It reminded me of the only two times that I have actually seen an owl. The first, one of my earliest memories, was when I was about three or four. We were visiting my grandfather in Quincy, Illinois, and either he or my mother must have seen the owl in the tree outside the house and brought me to the window to see it, too. I have this very clear memory of looking out and seeing the owl, and then hearing it later, as I was going off to sleep.

The second time was in the mid-80s, when I lived in the Albany, New York area. It was the middle of the day, and I was driving on Interstate 87, just outside of Albany. As I passed a big green exit sign, there, perched on the top of it was a large, beautiful, snowy owl. It must have stayed there for a while, because the next day, there was a photograph in the newspaper of that gorgeous bird.

Crystal said...

Wow Great post I loved it as I have a huge love of owls. It makes me so happy to see that they are so popular right now. I would love to win this. Good luck everyone!!!
Rav ID Connorsmom10306

skispinknitter said...

Who, who will win the owl gifts. Skispinner..ravelry or

Wendy said...

Oh, I love Susan's patterns! Another great giveaway that I would love to enter. Thanks for all your hard work with the podcast and all the wonderful prizes Paula.

(Wendeluu on Ravelry)

DaffodilAngel said...

This owl baby pattern is absolutely brilliant and thank you for the very informative owly things. We have the lovely tawny frogmouth owl visit our garden in Tasmania regularly - he is a real treasure.

catspaw said...

Another literary reference. In T.H. White's "The Once and Future King" (one of my all-time favorite books), Merlin has an owl named Archimedes which sits on his shoulder and makes a terrible mess of the magician's clothes. Archimedes helps the young Arthur as he learns about life.

Paula said...

Thanks to everyone for your feedback and for entering the drawing. The contest is now closed and a new one will open on Friday May 20th when Episode 43 is released. Feel free to leave comments if you like.

Caitlin said...

Thanks for another great episode, Paula. I love owls too. My favorite stuffed animal as a little girl was an owl ("Owlie") so this probably has a lot to do with it.

chilten said...

I loved this podcast. It brought back some owl memories with a great horn.

About Me

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I play the Great Highland Pipes, knit, observe nature, and read. My name on Ravelry is PrairiePiper. Find me on Instagram as KnittingPipeline.