FO: The Saga of a Poncho

Many, many moons again I did mention something about a poncho.  Despite being banned from knitting garments, I convinced myself and the censorship board that this pattern was do-able.  It’s all in garter stitch, small for a toddler and no awkward shaping.  If only it had been that simple!

The first problem was the stripes, if you look at the pattern closely there isn’t a regular stripe pattern which my small head could not cope with at all.  That and I was using different colours from my stash rather than the colours indicated in the pattern so I kept forgetting which colour related to which.  So I had to ‘regularise’ (it is a word, I promise!) the stripes which took several goes and I had to frog the whole thing several times.  I also work my garter stitch in a 3.75 mm rather than the usual 4 mm recommended for the yarn weight as it gives a neater finish.

Therefore it took a couple of months to get the two small sections (front and back) knitted up and when I did, I hit another crisis.  I haven’t exactly been taught much when it comes to knitting, there are things that I have somehow absorbed along the way and one of those things is what to do with your not-in-use yarn when changing colours on stripes.  In fact, I had two techniques.  One of which is to carry the yarn up the side of the knitting.  Now I quickly fathomed that the spare five colours of yarn being carried up the side of the poncho not only looked unsightly but were too heavy, twisting the piece out of shape.  So I went for technique number two.  Technique number is unfortunately irreversible.  I cut the yarn off each time and bound it off very firmly (I’m good at knots).  This wasn’t a problem until I was finished and had sewn the two halves together then I found out that it was A VERY BIG PROBLEM.  I had only previously worked stripes in places where the edges where going to be sewn together and this wasn’t the case with the poncho.  The knots now showed, A LOT.

I had wanted to make it as a gift plus I’d had to prove that it was dead simple and manageable so there was an awful lot riding on it.  Now, finished, it just looked hideous.  I got very discouraged.  I experimented with various solutions like blanket stitch and rolling a hem but that didn’t work, just made more problems.  So I gave up and threw it in a bag and declared it a UFO.

Many months later, however, my confidence had picked up a little, thanks to blogging, bloggers and Ravelry, so I fished out the offending article and had a little think.  I thought maybe it would be possible to cast on a ruffle along the outer edge which would hide the hideous knots and bumps behind.  I still didn’t know why it hadn’t work, I had done my stripes correctly hadn’t I?

No, apparently there is third technique, in fact the ‘normal’ technique,  to working stripes which I had never met, don’t ask me why.  This is where you cut the yarn as I had done but instead of making each knot into an entire library of a boy scout’s progress you should leave the end loose and darn it in along the new row when you finish the piece.  Oh.  That would have worked.

So I went on Ravelry to ask about how many stitches I should pick up along the edge to cast on my ruffle as I had very little experience of picking up stitches like that before.  It was there that I found out about the proper way to do my stripes (ah if only I had known that earlier!) and that there were other things than ruffles.

Oh, yes, I met applied i-cord.  I-cord fascinates me.  I did French knitting as a child, still have a block of wood drilled and pinned so I can do it, the old wooden cotton reels are ridiculously hard to find now.  Again, it’s one of those magical knitting processes which never ceases to entertain me, one moment a straight row of stitches and then suddenly a cylindrical tube.  Clever stuff.  So applied i-cord was always going to be a winner in my world.

So how to work it?

I actually used a video, I normally prefer written instructions, and although it is long, it was very useful.  I have inwardly digested and learnt.

There was finally hope for my poncho, it might be redeemable!  So I knitted up the i-cord edging and was quite pleased with the results.

After that it was a simple matter to make up the flower attachment and thread the ribbon (carefully chosen when I first started the project) through the eyelets.  My flower buttons went AWOL (that’s my life for you) so I went for a cute teddy bear button which I think is kind of fun.

I had chosen the colours originally for a tropical-y theme so I named my project Leilani, heavenly blossoms.  (I name my clothing projects, is that weird?)  However, I would also like to know why the primrose coloured yarn in certain lights looks like that flourescent tone you get with children’s glow in the dark stickers.

One more project thankfully completed and it will shortly be on its way to its recipient.  The only problem is I think that she’s grown  … ah well, c’est la vie.  And are ponchos in fashion anymore?  Don’t ask me!

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