What’s on my needles, is it a poncho, a wrap, a bolero or a blanket?

After a conversation with a good friend, Helen, she talked to me about a poncho she wears a lot. It’s not a garment style that I have in my wardrobe but it’s been on my list to make one for several years.

We chatted about shapes and styles that are flattering, particularly for plus size sizes and I was keen to design a poncho that was versatile. But, also an easy knit for someone new to cables, with stocking stitch sections for an easy TV knit. That would be your go-to for an extra layer on cooler days, evenings or at the park with the kids when the breeze is a bit more than you expected.

My poncho on the needles, I cast on for the larger size using Stylecraft Special Aran with wool in a blue/green called Spruce.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

I didn’t want to work the piece bottom up and I’ll explain my reasons why. If you aren’t a shawl knitter, a sweater or cardigan knitter, it can be daunting to be asked to cast on a lot of stitches. I almost always use longtail or the thumb cast on which uses the tail of the yarn and the working yarn to effectively knit your first row as you make your stitches.

If you’re familiar with it, you’ll have had the experience of being short of yarn, or having too long a tail at the end. As I knew I’d have to cast on a lot of stitches, I used a piece of yarn from two balls, one for the ‘tail’ and one for the working yarn. At the end of the cast on, and having counted my stitches very carefully, I cut the tail, leaving an end to weave in and worked a wrong side (WS) row with the ball that is now my working yarn.

Why working the poncho one piece sideways wouldn’t work

My other option was to work the Wheatsheaf Cable section to the height I needed, and pick up stitches for the stocking stitch portion of the poncho. I wanted to add buttons and buttonholes, to give you several ways to wear your poncho. That would mean picking up stitches for borders, adding edgings and a lot of faffing about. It would be an interesting and more advanced piece to knit, but how many people would want to knit it knowing the work involved?

Here’s my swatch, showing an icord cast on, an icord end to the cable, side border with icord knitted at the same time and stitches (on the left of the photo) picked up to work sideways from the cable section to make the rectangular piece. It uses different directions, picking up stitches, adding applied icord to finish one edge and an icord cast on for the lower edge of the cable. It’s hard to make it match and have some symmetry.

Here's my poncho swatch, showing an icord cast on, an icord end to the cable, side border with icord knitted at the same time and stitches (on the left of the photo) picked up to work sideways from the cable section to make the rectangular piece.  It uses different directions, picking up stitches, adding applied icord to finish one edge and an icord cast on for the lower edge of the cable.  It's hard to make it match and have some symmetry.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Knitting a wide Poncho bottom up and why?

Why I’m knitting my Poncho bottom up and why that’s a far better idea. The icord edgings I want to give the piece finesse and a neat edge can be knitted at the same time as the rest of the poncho. The button bands and buttonholes are also knitted as you go. The side borders can also have buttonholes if you wish to wear the piece folded like an asymmetric poncho and create the illusion of cuffs.

Working bottom up, even with a lot of stitches, is as easy as knitting a simple shawl, once the knitting is finished, you add buttons, weave in ends and you are done. No picking up, no fancy finishing. If you don’t want to add buttons, you can just fold the piece and seam it closed and only wear it two ways. If you take the time to add a few buttons (super easy) then you have at least three ways to wear the poncho, maybe more.

Ways to wear the poncho, rough sketches over some designers croquis.

Is it poncho, a wrap, a bolero or a blanket? 1
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
Is it poncho, a wrap, a bolero or a blanket? 2
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

The Wheatsheaf Poncho after two vertical repeats of the cable pattern

Poncho laid flat on a wooden background, knitted using Addi 5.5mm circular needle and Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool in Spruce, a blue/green.  The poncho has a decorative cable on the right and left of the wide rectangular piece.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
Poncho laid flat on a wooden background, knitted using Addi 5.5mm circular needle and Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool in Spruce, a blue/green. The poncho has a decorative cable on the right and left of the wide rectangular piece.

What’s next with the poncho pattern and testing?

We’ve been thinking of events and Knit Alongs/Crochet Alongs (KALs/CALs) to have during the year to keep everyone entertained and another designer in our group is also working on a poncho pattern. Our plan is start at the end of January (Sunday 31st) and the Poncho Along will end on 30th April. I’ll have the pattern ready to test and any of my testers can take part in the Poncho Along, with their garment.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest