Crafting: Knitted Poncho
I have mentioned a few times in other posts that I have been slowly rediscovering my creative side. It has been a delightful process! There has been a whole lot of encouragement and an endless supply of ideas!
Today I want to share with you a bit about my foray into the world of knitting. When I was in high school, there were, besides the usual cooking and sewing classes, things like Child Care and Family and Home Management. I took them all - every single one except the Advanced sewing where one was taught the art of fashion design and how to design clothes. The reason behind that decision is definitely a story for another time!! :)
It was in Family and Home management that we learned how to knit. We were taught the basic knit and pearl stitches and given a pattern to knit what was called a baby soaker. (It was what moms used to put over top of those horrible plastic pants that went over cloth diapers.) It was simple and easy and I actually used mine when I finally had our first baby some seven years later. (Yes, I had a Hope Chest.)
After we were finished that project, we were to knit a pattern of our own choosing and, instead of something simple, like the slippers that my classmates chose, I chose to knit a baby dress to go with the soaker. I found my pattern in a magazine that had been sent to my mom by her sister-in-law, who lived in England. It looked very simple and doable. I believe it said it was easy enough for beginners. So, I bought some very pretty, pale yellow yarn and the appropriate size knitting needles and began the dress.
Because it was such a large undertaking, I didn't have enough time in class to finish the dress and so it became part of my homework. At home, there was no help if I ran into problems, my mom didn't knit and my Grandma, who was an avid knitter, was no longer with us. I never thought to ask if any of the neighbour ladies knew how to knit. However, the magazine the pattern was in had photos for beginning knitters to follow along - and I followed along. To make a long story short, when I finished the dress , it was big enough for a baby- a baby elephant!! To this day, I don't know what went wrong and I never knit another thing until many years later.
I did manage to knit a Barbie dress and a pair of Barbie socks for one of our daughters. There was a lady who watched me struggle with the knitting of said doll dress, and I knew she meant well, but she told me I was doing it wrong. I wasn't holding the needles right, etc. She tried to show me how to do it right. I could never catch on and in frustration, I once again abandoned knitting needles for crochet hooks.
Then came the knitted dishcloth era. Once again, I picked up knitting needles and I proceeded to knit several dishcloths that I still have to this day. I was sure that they would unravel when used because I still haven't caught on to the "right" way to knit. The pattern turned out and looked like the photo, so I was happy. But in the back of my mind was the thought that I was doing it wrong.
Son#4 saw the cutest little toque kit at the store one day and asked me if I could knit it for his baby boy. I studied the photo and thought, Why not? Got it home and tried to figure it out - couldn't- and called a friend to see if she knew how to knit. She did and she came over and between the two of us discovered that whoever made up the pattern didn't know what they were doing. After some adjusting of things, we figured out what needed to be changed and my friend taught me how to use four knitting needles on the same project. (Never done that before!) In frustration, I abandoned that project, again because I was doing it wrong, or so I thought.
As my friend was teaching me to knit the toque, and I watched her- I realized that I don't knit like everyone else. I don't hold the needles the same way as the knitters I have seen do. There is no flashing movements and no rythmic movements as the yarn is looped over the needle. What was I doing wrong?? Turns out I wasn't doing anything wrong. Remember the magazine with the baby dress and the step-by-step photos from my high school days? The magazine came from England - in Europe- where they hold their needles differently and therefore knit differently than those knitters on this side of the pond! Finally!!! I was never doing it wrong - just different.
Now, another person has asked me if I could knit something for them, and sent me a photo with no instructions. Again, I called my friend and she came over and the two of us studied the photo and found it to be something that even I could draft up a pattern for and so I figured it out.
I did a practice one and it's going to be a Christmas gift for my three year old granddaughter. I now need to figure out how to make it in different sizes for my two other, older granddaughters and one adult size one for the person who asked me in the first place. I have never knit an article of clothing before!! This has opened up a whole new area of creativity for me and it's one I am enjoying very much!!
Here is the pattern I figured out, Hope it works for you, if you want to try it. There are no guarantees that it will work. I used a very fluffy yarn, which was a pain to work with, but I persevered and it looks adorable on her! I am going to use a "regular" yarn for the next one and hope it turns out just as nice!
Cast on 54 stitches.
First 5 rows: K1, P1, K1, P1 all the way across.
Then for the next 55 rows:
k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 , then knit across until you can do the k1, p1, k1, p1 k1.
Next row: k1, p1. k1, p1, k1, then purl across until you can do the k1, p1, k1, p1 k1.
Repeat both rows until you have the 55 rows and then loosely cast off.
Make two. Measure and sew the shoulders, leaving an opening for the neck.
For the neck (or collar)
Cast on 44 stitches.
K2 P2 across
Do this for 14 rows
Sew the short ends together to make a tube , and then attach it to the neck area of the poncho.
Voila- done. You can sew buttons on the side for a bit of show, like I did, or you can just leave it open like a traditional poncho.
When I sewed the buttons on, I sewed them through both the front and the back. This creates kind of a sleeve effect.