Wheatsheaf Poncho is out now, check out our Test Knitter’s projects
I was late released the Wheatsheaf Poncho Pattern but it was finally released the day before my birthday. I am so grateful, as always, to the amazing Test Knitters who ask questions, knit beautiful items and help to make the pattern the best it can be. It does make a real difference to the end result and I love, love, love to see their photos, close ups of buttons and their yarn choices. Karen used her handspun yarn in a jewel toned heathered pinks. It is stunning and I love the yarn she made just for this pattern. How totally cool is that?
This is the second birthday I’ve spent in full lockdown, which seems a bit weird, but I won’t be the only one. Last year, my son ordered us a pizza each and garlic bread. As we both had Covid at the time, neither of us tasted a thing. I’m happy to say that this year, we had a Chinese meal and it was delicious, no cooking or washing up for me! YAY.
I’m having a birthday sale that ends tonight, all my individual self-published patterns are 30% off with the code Birthday
The code will work in our Ravelry store and our Payhip store, but sadly not in the Lovecrafts store. If you need to wait until payday, you can get 20% off the Wheatsheaf Poncho with the code Wheatsheaf until Sunday night BST.
I’ll be publishing the Wheatsheaf Poncho Pattern very soon and our email subscribers will receive an exclusive discount code, just for them.
Here are some photos of my testers garments, Karen did some short rows on hers, but the others worked the pattern exactly as written.
I love this cool purple that Cathy chose, she’s a beautiful lady and this compliments her colouring so well. The buttons look glittery almost in this photo, but check the one below that for a close up. Cathy knitted the L Size.
Karen’s poncho is in another cool colour, this multi tonal pink handspun is to die for. Karen knitted the S/M size.
I’m always glad to see some different yarns used for testing and when Nita suggested James C Brett Rustic Aran Tweed in the colour way 30 Dat I was delighted. It’s a blend with 20% wool, blocks nicely, washes well and has amazing colours. Isn’t it stunning? It’s also an affordable option. I like this yarn because the colours, like Stylecraft, are consistent and dyelots rarely matter very much. Nita knitted an XL size.
I knitted my Wheatsheaf Poncho with some Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool in the Spruce colourway. It’s a heathered mix of greens both warm and cool. It’s machine wash, softens with each wash and is really affordable for those on a budget. I’m wearing the XL sized Poncho and it used around 520g of yarn, so 1 and a bit 400g balls.
I cast on for a Wheatsheaf Sweater to go with the Wheatsheaf Poncho. It’s a V neck sweater and I’m knitting the Aline version, not least to match my own shape as I’m bottom heavy or pear shaped. I am using Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool in the Oatmeal colourway. I’ll be writing the pattern to work in the round (bottom up) and also a seamed version. I have talked before about how seams add strength and structure to a garment, they also stop it moving around the body when worn.
I also had to consider the cable pattern and what impact that would have on the fabric of the sweater. Because the cable pattern uses more stitches per 4 inches/10cm, I had to add extra stitches to maintain the correct width of each piece of the sweater. That was easy for the sleeves and back of the sweater as they only have one central cable panel. However, on the front which has two cable panels, it required thought to centre the cables, add some stitches between them to make a seam stitch either side of the V neck.
Shoulders and Fit
I do like the trend for drop shoulder sweaters, but with slimmer shoulders and a larger lower body, it’s not a good look for my body shape. I decided to go with the Modified Drop Shoulder, I’ll add a diagram below this section so you can see what that means.
Drop Shoulders typically have the seam part way down the arm, which can be unflattering for those with slim or narrow shoulders as the jumper looks like it’s falling off the body and you end up with a large amount of fabric under the arms.
A modified drop shoulder, in this case, has the seam moved in to sit on my shoulder line, the sleeves are extended to match the difference between the underarm position and the new shoulder/armhole line. The solid line at the top of the sleeve shows the extra length added to the sleeve to ‘fill’ the armhole area but keep the shoulder seam where I want it to be.
Wheatsheaf Sweater Sleeves
The photo below shows both sleeves, on in progress, the other completed and blocked, they are worked flat for my prototype garment, but the pattern will be written to include instructions for working in the round too!
I’ll be starting the test knit for the sweater pattern on the 20th February, if you’re interested, do sign up in the test volunteer thread to receive an earburn/message when the test starts, here. Or, sign up for our newsletter here.
Suitable yarns for the Wheatsheaf Sweater
You need an Aran weight or heavy worsted weight yarn. Cascade 220, Berroco Vintage or Vanna’s Choice would be suitable or any Aran weight yarn. I used Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool because it’s affordable and machine washable.
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.
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.
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.
The Wheatsheaf Poncho after two vertical repeats of the cable pattern
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.
Captivating Cathedral Cowl Pattern Released, don’t miss it
The Cathedral Cowl Pattern Released today has a 15% discount with the code Cathedral, but if you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ll get an exclusive code for 30% off the cowl and the matching hat. For 15% off right now, use code Cathedral
The gothic arch cables give an architectural twist to a simple accessory, available in two widths but with instructions on how to make wider or narrower, the Cathedral cowl is a great unisex garment. Make it in a neutral colour for men and go with your Wow colours for ladies.
The cowl is knitted in the round and worked bottom up, the cables are easy to follow and every other row is just knit the knits, purl the purls, very easy. The yarn I used is available in our store and is machine washable on a wool wash.
Launch offer 15% off the Cathedral Cowl pattern with code Cathedral, offer ends 16th November at midnight GMT.
Newsletter subscribers will get a code for 30% off the hat and the cowl in an email later today with a reminder a couple of days later, so you don’t miss the code, you can sign up here
About this design – I wanted to make a cabled Cowl and was inspired by the gothic arches of cathedrals used in the design of my Cathedral Cables Hat. The upper and lower borders are knitted in a simple rib pattern.
Measurements Size based on 5mm/US8 needles for body of cowl Slimmer Cowl Size 1 Wider Cowl Size 2 Circumference unblocked, it will stretch when worn and during blocking for wool yarns. 22 inch/56cm (33 inch/84cm ) circumference Height of cowl 9 inches / 22.5 cm, 9 inches / 22.5 cm Yardage – 210-340 yds
Written instructions The cowl is worked in the round using either circular needles or double pointed needles (dpns) and worked bottom up. Instructions are charted and written line by line.
The Diamonds and Lace Hat is ready for testing, available in four sizes, Child, Teen/Adult S, Adult M and Adult L to fit most of the family.
Diamonds and Lace Hat Yarn Choices
The Diamonds and lace hat is knitted with DK weight yarn, I used two yarns for the samples so far. For the Teen/Adult S size I knitted this with light grey coloured Austermann Merino Silk worsted. It’s a super soft merino yarn blended with silk and gives amazing stitch definition with all the bounce you’d expect of a merino yarn.
For a more affordable yarn choice, and partly because I fell in love with the colour called Mellow Yellow, I used Stylecraft Bellissima DK yarn.
The smallest size used less than 45g of yarn, approximately 140 yards of yarn. The Teen/Adult Small size used approximately 66g or 165 yards of the Austermann Merino Silk yarn in the light grey. The Adult M should use (with a 10% allowance just in case) 240-280 yards and the Adult L should use around 300-340 yards or so.
Diamonds and Lace Hat ready for testing – Gallery
What comes next in the Diamonds and Lace pattern family?
Do I knit a shawl or wrap to match the hat and cowl, or should I design some fingerless mittens? Let me know what you think.
What yarns are suitable for testing the Diamonds and Lace Hat?