BLUE PONCHO – MORE TWISTS AND TURNS

For such a butt-simple project, this poncho has taken me on more twists and turns than I care to think about. Perhaps it’s knitting it for a new teen. Perhaps it’s that I find ponchos to be such boring things to make.

Latest iteration- my choice of the texture pattern is "too heavy" in the opinion of the targetwearer. Something lighter is called for. So I’ve thrown in the towel on coming up with something original, and am retreating to a freebie pattern on the ‘net: the Classic Elite Charmed Poncho.

Of course I won’t be making it in the cashmere blend Charmed or all cashmere Lavish. Prices for Charmed hover around $32. US per skein; Lavish is something like $64. US per skein. I’d need four. Maybe your teen deserves such spoiling, but it’s not going to happen in this house. Besides which, were I to miraculously come up with the funds, she’d expire at the thought of blowing it on yarn instead of a PlayStation game console.

Current plans include sticking with the un-plyed blue Paternayanyarn for the thing. She adores the colors, and being in stash – is already paid for long ago. One other good feature of this pattern is that it’s in ladder stitch (knit stockinette, deliberately unravel every 3rd stitch top to bottom). That means that for the width it’s VERY yarn-efficient. While that’s a good thing if you’re knitting with $64. per skein yarn, it works out well for me, too. The poncho as written requires only 520 yards of yarn. It’s small though – more like a ponchette. I’ll be making this one a bit wider and longer, but will still have plenty in my bag of mixed blues.

Although my gauge is roughly 3spi, as my unplied isn’t as heavy as the original yarns. Not a problem though. Airy works. I’ll do amultiple of3 stitches, plus 8 edge stitches.According to the printed gauge, the original works out to be 16 inches wide before the laddering (18 inches after unravelling). That’s an expansion factor of roughly .125 (18/16). If I work my piece on 53 stitches (15×3 + 8), my before-ladderwidth should be about 17.7 inches wide (17 3/4, rounded up). After laddering, it should be about 19.9 inches wide (20 inches, rounded up). To keep the proportions of the original 18 wide:26 long, I need to make my rectangles about 29 inches long (26/18 = 1.44; 1.44 * 20 = 28.8) . I’ll also add two selvedge stitches which I’ll slip to make sewing up and crocheting an edge easier.

In another serendipitous occurrence, having de-plyed the yarn, I’ve got all this one-ply stuff that matches it exactly.

Why is this a good thing? I note that the original poncho sports a minimal crocheted finish along the edges to stabilize the ends after laddering back. I’ll work the crochet, but I’ll probaby use a simple edging pattern instead of just plain old single crochet. Since crochet’s product is thicker and bulkier than knitting given the same yarn, working the crochet out of one instead of two plies should make the edging more in proportion to the knitting than it would be if I used the whole, unsplit yarn. This plain old stockinette piece will be ultimo boring to knit, but will be an interesting experiment to prove or disprovesome of the points in my pastcrochet diatribes.

So there you have it. Cast on 55 stitches. Working the first and last stitches as a slipped selvedge edge, work in stockinette until the pieceis 29 inches long. Work last purl row and finishing as described in the Classic Elite original. Sew up, finish all edges with some simple crocheted edging to be chosen later. I’ve got to save something to write about later next week, as pix of two large striped blue stockinette rectangles will put everyone to sleep. (Even those who have made it through the math of this entry.)

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