Volstruis by Sally-Jane Cameron


by Sally-Jane Cameron
October 2014
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
25 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches
in Ostrich Stitch pattern blocked
US 4 - 3.5 mm
364 - 486 yards (333 - 444 m)
one size, customisable
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Drakensberg forms part of my Mzansi - South Africa on my Needles collection, available as a stand alone pattern, an Ebook and Print book
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This pattern has been Tech Edited by Clare Devine and all variations have been test knitted.

We have an ostrich farm down the road from us here on the West Coast. It interestingly holds
the Guinness Book of Records award for the smallest full-grown adult ostrich in the world. Being a large flightless bird, the ostrich is an intriguing bird. The first birds were tamed just outside Cape Town in the beginning of the 19th century. Once it was discovered how to harvest their feathers without killing the birds, ostrich feathers exploded into the world of fashion. I do kind of wish it was still fashionable to wear a large feather headdress or feather boa.
While I don’t walk around with ostrich feathers around my neck, I can incorporate the idea into knitting. I used the ostrich plume stitch for this cowl. The name is from the Afrikaans word for ostrich – volstruis.


A lace patterned infinity cowl, knitted vertically and Kitchener stitched closed. There is the option to add fabric to the inside to provide visual and textural interest to the cowl. For those who can’t, or prefer not to, sew there is the option of using two different types of patterns sections to create different looking fabric.

This pattern has various options depending how you would like your finished cowl to look. Please read through the options carefully, then choose the version that suits you best. Be sure to follow the instructions for your chosen version.

Original sewn version: This is the grey pictured version, and my original vision for the pattern. It has a flat knitted lace section with a soft cotton lycra backing sewn on the back, adding interest and variation. The backing also provides stability to the bamboo helping to keep its shape and not drape too much as bamboo can tend to do.

Knit only version 1: This is the same as the original version with no backing, it is just knitted flat.

Knit only version 2: Ostrich Plume stitch, the lace pattern, with extra repeats joined in the round so no wrong side ever shows when wearing the scarf. In this version only one stitch pattern is used.

Knit only version 3: Half of the cast on stitches are knitted in Ostrich Plume and half stocking stitch joined in round, similar to a foot of a sock with pattern on one side. No wrong side shows when the scarf is worn but there is textural interest/ contrast between the lace and the stocking stitch (similar to the sewn version but the plain section is knitted and not fabric. pictured in pink).

Difficulty Level: Advanced Beginner

Skills Needed:
Provisional cast on, lace knitting, Kitchener stitch. The sewn version requires some simple straight side seams. Version two and three of the scarf will require knitting in the round.

3.5mm/US 3 needles

Straight needles are fine for the sewn and knitted version one. You need a circular needle for knitted version two and three as you are knitting in the round.
(Note: Bamboo or wooden needles are easier to use with slippery bamboo yarn.)

4ply Bamboo
I used Vinni’s Colours Serina 100% Bamboo (150–250g; 333–444m/363–484 yds)
Knitted version one and sewn version need 125–150g Knitted version two and three need 200–250g

Cotton lycra for sewn version. Your fabric needs to be the same width as your knitted fabric and at least 5cm longer.

Finished measurements of sewn version: 16cm (6.5”) wide and 148cm (58”) long
This size is given as a guide, you can make the scarf as wide or narrow as you like and the length is determined by the number of repeats you choose to do.

Ostrich Plume Stitch: 25 stitches and 28 rows over 10cm/4” blocked

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or queries cameronsallyjane@gmail.com