WORKING REPORT – WATERSPUN PONCHO + SHEEPSHEARING DAY

In an effort to use up leftovers, reduce the stash, and find something mindless to do, I’ve hit upon doing a quick poncho for The Tiny One (age two below, but now in Kindergarten):

TheClassic Elite Waterspun I’m using is left over from a swatching/pattern design exercise I did earlier this year. I’ve got seven colors, but onlyabout 80% of a skein of each. It should be enough for a little kid’s poncho. If not, I’ll pick up an additional skein in another color and add another stripe. Before starting thisproject I swatched out my remnantson a US#9 (5.5mm) at 18 st/26rounds = 4 inches (10cm).

I decided to minimize thinking, so I cast on around 100 stitches in the round, did eight rows of stockinette to make a rolled collar, then placed four markers evenly spaced around the piece. I did a M1 increase just after the first stitch and just before the last stitch in each marked group, alternating these increase rounds with plain stockinette rounds. I’m planning on doing just plain old stockinette, using up each color in turn, saving out the plum for last. I’m not taking special care to always end my colors at an increase corner, I’m just knitting until I run out of the old color, then starting a new one. Depending on how big the thing gets, I’ll use the remaining plum to do some kind of simple edging, one or more rows of applied I-cord, or maybe just some rounds of seed stitch to finish. Any of those treatments should tame the bottom edge enough to minimize rolling. No fringes though. Small children, woolen fringes, twigs and leaves can meld themselves into an inseparable glob that I’d rather not deal with come wash day.

I’m doing this poncho using the two-circs method popularized recently for socks. In the photo above, you are seeing the thing sideways, because the needles meet at the shoulders, not the center front and back. The poncho is identical in all dimensions though, so these points are arbitrary, and don’t really matter. Here’s the logic of the thing:

The two ends of Circular #1, shown in teal above,are used to knit the front. #1 **always** stays on the front of the work. The two ends of Circular #2, shown in orange above,are used to knit the back. #2 **always** stays on the back. At no time does the entire piece end up on one circular needle, nor at any time am I working with an end of Circ #1 in one hand andan end of Circ #2 in the other.

One advantage of this method is that the stitches are nice and spread out instead of being jammed onto one needle. I can call the Target Kid over and try the piece on without having to transfer stitches to a piece of string. I can also add another needle or two if the poncho grows too wide to handle with only two needles. While I don’t find this method of special advantage for socks (immodestly, I’d say I’m wicked fast with standard DPNs), I do like it for large pieces knit in the round, and for sleeves.

I’m still not sure if the neck hole is too big or not. It looks o.k. for now, and fits well over my daughter’s head, but I’ve seen ponchos stretch out due to their weight. When the piece is done I’ll check back. I might haveadd a few rounds of K1, P1 rib (with mitered decreases) to tighten up the neckline. If I decide to do so I’ll pick up stitches on the inside at the base of the rolled collar and knit them up from there, leaving the rolled outer edge as a trim detail.

GORE PLACE SHEEPSHEARING FESTIVAL

Hello to everyone I bumped into yesterday at the Sheepshearing festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. Please excuse me for not naming everyone I met, but I am afraid if I try todo so I’ll leave someone out. The sun was bright,andthe air was cool – perfectwool weather. My daughters and I were there from around 10:15 or so to 3:00. If you saw someone in a crayon-bright flash sweater, followed around by a little girl in vertical orange/yellow stripes and a larger pre-teen in blue, that was us. Also apologies that there will be nophotos of the eventhere. I’m not of the pix-as-part-of-the-experience crowd. I never quite remember to stop what I’m doing at the time in order to document it. I had the camera in the backpack, but somehow it never tunneled out from under my day’s purchases, and never saw the light of day.

In spite of the perfect sweater weatherI was disappointed (as usual) to see how greatly Polarfleece wearers outnumbered wool wearers, there were quite a few notable hand knits in the crowd. I saw a couple of really nice mosaic knit cardigans and coats, several hand-done Arans, a couple of Fair Isle style stranded sweaters plus twoScandanavian-style sweaters(one was a Dale Nagano, the otherpossibly from Norsk Strikkedesign), a whole flock of little kid cardigans, hats and pullovers,several very nicely done Intarsia pieces,a long-length coat done entirely in cables, a Surprise-style vest. I also ran into someone buying yarn for a Rogue at one of the yarn booths. There were other great looking hand-knits around (including quite a few pairs of socks). Please forgive me if I neglected to mention yours.

As far as yarn/fiber vendors – there were about eight, including some animal-to-skein outfits outside the main fiber tent and a booth from Minds Eye Yarns, a local Cambridge, MA store catering to spinners, dyers and knitters in with the sheep and llama farm yarn people. One outfit was selling whole fleeces (apparently you could also bid on the fleeces from the Gore Place sheep if you were there at the right time). I got a couple of skeins of rustic styleAran-weight from the At Nick’s Meadow Farm booth. They’ll end up as a felted pillow, similar to the one I described before. I’ve used their wool before, and found it an excellent value for the type. Joie de Vivre Farm,was there too, with some of their Mostly Merino, in fingering, sport, worsted and chunky weights. I did get a little bit of hand-spun fingering weight Merino from the Greenwood Hill booth. I’ve just added the basic info for their yarns to the collection, no reviews yet, though. I’m thinking it may be enough for a couple of simple lace scarves to be lagered away as future gifts.

Verdict? A grand day out in the only glorious day of spring weather we’ll probably get here this year (we don’t usually have many). Meet me there next year!

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