I am going to start this post with a bit of honesty. I received two bags of Stra from Woolfolk to knit a sample with over a year ago. I wasn’t inspired by a project or the yarn so I popped it into my stash and it sat – and sat – and sat.
Spring forward, and the time came around to purge my stash. I looked at the long neglected Stra, knew we did not have a sample in the shop, and figured I would knit a quick sweater in it. The Field Day Cardigan by Ozetta is second in the list of “pattern ideas” on Ravelry. It looked like a sweater that would be easy to wear and everyone looked great in it on Ravelry's project page. Knowing I was headed to Chicago for H+H, it looked like a great travel project (bonus points).
Now for surprise number one; this yarn is fabulous. Why did I doubt Kristen Ford and Woolfolk? I should know better than that. Yes, it looks a little rustic, like it would be hard to wear with the bits of linen sticking out, but it is not. She is so thoughtful in her creation of new yarns. Stra is lovely to knit, thanks to the Ovis 21 merino, but it feels so right for our Northern California climate. When it blocks, it does so beautifully. The linen keeps the yarn from losing its shape and growing. Just a fab yarn through and through.
Surprise number two? – Ozetta’s (Hailey Smedley) pattern. You know how I love a well written pattern and this one is on the top of my list. Everything thing worked perfectly: stitch gauge, row gauge, number of rows to number of stitches one must pick up. Magical! I did not have a question or doubt the entire way through the pattern. And if you cannot remember a certain technique, she has a list of links for instruction and tips.
When I blocked the sweater, I soaked it in my wool wash, put it in my washing machine on a slow spin and laid it out on the blocking board. After patting it out flat to what the size that looked right, I referred to the schematic to see where I might need to coax the sweater into the exact shape. Guess what? – I didn't need to do a thing. It was right on target with the measurements. Again, magical! I will definitely be knitting more of Ozetta’s patterns in the future.
Side note: As many of you might know, no matter how the pattern is written, I do not knit my sleeves in the round. (See Karen Templer’s blog post on this.) I knit the sleeves flat and for this part of the pattern I made the following modifications:
- I picked up two extra stitches for a seaming selvege (paragraph 1 under sleeves). Remember that in all counts you will have 2 extra stitches.
- In the 4th paragraph of the “sleeve” part of the pattern it says “working a decrease round as established every 5 rounds.” You cannot do that when knitting sleeves back and forth without decreasing on the wrong side, so I knit my decreases every 6th and then every 4th row.