Sweater Weather

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I was worried that it would be too hot to photograph this sweater this weekend, what with the record-breaking heat in California, but it rained yesterday (!!) and the heat wave passed sooner than predicted. Today it was in the mid-70s and overcast, which is what we in southern California call “sweater weather.”

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This is the Oana Cardigan by Elena Nodel, and I spent most of this summer knitting it. You know how sometimes a pattern comes along and you’re like “I must knit that RIGHT NOW” and you drop everything and buy the yarn immediately? This project was like that for me, with the added urgency that Anne Hanson was offering it as a kit with any of her yarns as a fundraiser for Elena’s cancer treatments. I love Anne’s yarns, I love long, swingy cardigans, and I hate cancer, so this seemed like a perfect storm.

The yarn I chose was Barenaked Wools’ Hempshaugh Fingering, in the “kasha” colorway. It’s 40% merino, 30% silk, and 30% hemp, which seemed like a good blend for a southern California cardigan. I won’t lie, the hemp makes it a little scratchy — but as long as I wear long sleeves under it, I’ll be fine.

Here’s an action shot to show you the swingy-ness:

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The pattern calls for size 6 needles, but I needed to use 7s to get gauge. I was a little concerned about how loose the fabric would be, but I like it this light and swingy. I guessed correctly that this whole thing would get a little bigger if I wet blocked it, and I wanted to wet block it to get the hemp to soften up a bit, so I knit both the sleeves and the body a little shorter than I actually wanted them, which turned out to be a good plan. I’m very happy with the fit!

Here’s the back:

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That little panel of ribbing in the back helps cinch the waist in a little bit. I can’t say enough good things about this pattern; some parts are a little counterintuitive when you’re knitting them, but it all comes together beautifully in the end.

I knit this in the 41.5″ size, and it ended up using every single gram of three skeins of the Hempshaugh. I actually bought a fourth skein because I was worried about running out, and it’s a good thing I did — what I have left over equals exactly the weight of one skein, which means that I’d have had to unravel my gauge swatches and pray to the yarn gods to get to the end of that second sleeve. I wouldn’t have loved having those joins in the cuff, either; cuffs get a lot of wear and they might have come unraveled eventually.

I was going to end this post with a thank you to Elena for the lovely pattern and wishes for better health, but I’ve just learned that Elena passed away in June, which is heartbreaking.  The family’s GoFundMe page is still up, though, and I bet they could use some help paying off the medical bills, so maybe go help them out? Thanks, everybody.

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