Making ponchos in a post-poncho world

It started with this: Martha looking tan, rested and trim after five months in Alderson prison and wearing a hand-crocheted poncho.

Lisa circa 2005: I'm starting to think I want a poncho.

Me: You don't want a poncho.

Lisa (whining): Make me one!

Me: You don't wear your own hand knits. I'm not making you a poncho.

Lisa: But you're a better knitter.

Me: I'll spend six weeks knitting a poncho and by then it will be out of style. I'm not knitting you a poncho.

Time passes. Say five years.

Lisa: I'm still thinking I want a grey poncho.

Me: Go for it.

Lisa: You make it for me.

Me: Uh huh. There's no way in hell I'm knitting you a poncho.

More years pass. Suddenly a big birthday looms. A really big birthday. The one I commemorate with the gift of a shawl. There was nothing for it but to knit the much-desired thing.

Churchmouse Yarn and Teas provided the perfect pattern. Three skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Charcoal Mix accomplished the task.

This design elevates the poncho to something more timeless and less lumpen than the one pictured above.

Thanks to my lovely neighbor Kim for the modeling. And to Lisa, here's to many, many more! Birthdays, not ponchos.

Free knitting pattern: The Un-Poncho Returns

Nice knitting blogger; she didn't even iron the shirt before snapping the shot.

One of those days, I'm afraid.

But I've gotten to the root of my malaise, it's the yarn. For the past weeks I've been twiddling with all this slubby, rayon, boucle nonsense and it's put me off. These yarns tangle, catch on themselves, refuse to slip nicely from needle to needle, and frankly, are downright obstreperous.

But look at that drape. With the exception of silk, you don't get that with animal fibers. And the boucle gives this simple ribbed garment lots of textural interest.

The above is a reknit of the Un-Poncho, which remarkably still gets pulled from the drawer. It's a terrific traveling piece, in that it can be wadded into a corner of a suitcase and brought out to warm shouders when the air conditioning is too aggressive or simply thrown around your neck to disguise, well, your neck.

It's knit in Fieta Yarns Rayon Boucle in Onyx, a tonal black-on-black with deep eggplant undertones. The drape and sheen keep bringing me back. The knitting of it keeps me cranky. I'm tempted to try this in Louet's Kidlin (check out the Black Orchid--any Brenda Starr fans out there?)

Anyway, I hope the recipient loves hers as much as I do mine.

Free Pattern Thursday: The Coolest Un-Poncho You Totally Will Wear

It's a poncho, wrap, capelet, scarf-cum-schmata

Ponchos are so 2004, but I reach for this little garment again and again. Though it began life as a poncho, it "reads" as a wrap. Bunch it around your neck as a dramatic scarf or cover your shoulders when the early fall air begins to chill.

The Un-Poncho

Yarn: Fiesta Yarns Rayon Boucle in Onyx

Amount: 2 skeins

Needles: Size 9 US


CO loosely 56 sts.

Proceed in k3, p1 ribbing for 34 ins.

BO loosely.


Weave in ends. Bring short end of rectangle over to meet top of long side of rectangle and seam. (If your neck edge seems floppy, pick up stitches around neckline and bind off loosely for a more finished, tighter look.)

Wear with flair and an air of mystery.


To customize your garment, follow this formula:

Measure from your neckline to your wrist. That's the width of your rectangle. To figure the length, divide the width by 4. Multiply that result by 9.
Example: you want the neck to wrist measurement to be 15". Divide that by 4 (3.75"). Multiply that by 9 (33.75") Make 1 rectangle 15"X34".
Plug in your stitch gauge and your row gauge.
With the Un-Poncho, the beautiful Fiesta Yarn does all the work!