Category Archives: Blue Poncho


It’s the last day of the year, and like everyone else I should be looking back over the year past, and ahead to the year future.

Lessons Learned for 2004

First and foremost – blogging is fun and (I hope) less of an imposition on people than is?writing interminable posts to the knitting-related mailing lists. At least the audience here is self-selected. Plus I’ve never kept a knitting-specific journal before. I find myself going back and looking up what I’ve written before to see how or why I did something in a specific way. Who knew?

I learned a lot this year about the periodicity and use of variegated or hand/dyed yarns. Although the projects on which I employed them aren’t completed yet (Crazy Raglan, Entre deux Lacs Tee, and Birds Eye Shawl), I did spend lots of time figuring out how to get the color effects I wanted given the color cycle repeat lengths. This remains a fascinating topic for me, and as each skein of hand-dyed offers up new challenges, won’t be an area that becomes boring any time soon.

Filet crochet. I’ve done piddly little things in crochet before. Even blankets count as "piddly little" because they are generally very simple in motif and technique. Snowflake ornaments, a table-topper round cloth of simple design, several blouse yokes in the ’70s, a couple of ill-conceived faux Aran style kids’ sweaters, but nothing as complex as the filet dragon curtain. It turned out to be an even bigger project than I thought, and consumed the better part of five months. Lessons learned include the fact that no two companies’ crochet hooks are the same size (even if so marked); the effect that near imperceptible differences in hook size can make on gauge; how to do a near-invisible join on adjacent strips of filet crochet; and how well the old graphed patterns for Lacis and other Renaissance needle arts can look in filet.

Along the way to the filet crochet project I learned that none of the methods of filet knitting I tried worked particularly well, nor were they fine enough in gauge to handle the complexity of the dragon graph. I’m not through with this subject yet. I did do some experiments in alternate techniques that were less cumbersome than the methods I had read about. I’ll probably revisit this in the future.

Entrelac is much faster if you can force your fingers to knit backwards. I’m still no speed demon at left-to-right knitting, but I’m faster at it than I am at knitting and flipping at the end of each mini-row. Especially when those rows are only six stitches across.

I also learned (via my Suede Tee) that novelty yarns can bring a world of interest to a simple, well-drafted pattern, but at the same time can be a *(#@ to knit. Side note:? I am also not that pleased on how the Suede is wearing. The microfibers do tend to be grabby, and catch on even the slightest roughness.

I learned several methods of knitting a lace edging directly onto a piece, rather than making it as a strip and sewing it on later. The most fiddly but most satisfying came via the Forest Path Stole. I used it again on my Spring Lightning Scarf:

Under "miscellaneous," I learned a nifty I-cord trick that applies a band of cord to both sides of a strip of knitting (apologies for the blurry photo):

I also used?a highly trendy but extremely boring to knit kiddie poncho to experiment with double width I-cord treatments to help tame edge curl in large stockinette pieces.

And finally, I learned an important lesson about something to avoid in the future. If any of you have ever looked at a loosely plied yarn like the Paternayan’s normally sold for needlepoint, and thought about how nice only one or two of those plies might be for lace knitting – take heed. Spare yourself. The yarn for the Larger Kid’s simple drop-stitch rectangle poncho took longer to de-ply than it did to knit up. For this one, I still bear the scars…

Next year?

Who knows. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll have noted that I’m more of a whimsy knitter than a planner. Projects leap up and seize my interest. Sometimes that interest wanders before I finish, but I (almost always) go back and work to completion. Eventually.

I’m finishing up a couple more unanticipated last minute gifts right now – more socks, and a pair of quickie Coronet hats from Knitty (one hat = one evening). Then it’s back to the Birds Eye shawl and the Crazy Raglan. While I don’t as a rule knit to deadline, the Raglan is for The Small One, and the one thing certain about 6-year olds is that they’re a moving target growthwise. The shawl is a present that I really should finish by the summer. Unless another killer project like the dragon curtain ambushes and drags me off first…


The blue poncho is done!? I had wanted to do something more elaborate with the crocheted border, but the Target Daughter reminded me that it being for her, I might like to hold off on the wild part. I had forgotten that as an early teen one wants to be different from everyone else in exactly the same way as all of one’s friends. Target Daughter thought that too much crochet would make the piece too frou-frou. and requested something simpler.

I ended up using the chain selvedge edges as my foundation, and working with only one ply of my de-plied yarn (in contrast, the knitted part is worked with two plies). Into each of the existing?elongated selvedge edge stitches I did?this unit:

2 double crochet, (chain 3 slip stitch in base of chain to make picot), 2 double crochet

I fudged as best I could along the cast-on and bind-off edges of the rectangles. This made a very simple slightly scalloped edge, with little picots marching along it. Using the thinner yarn kept it delicate and in proportion to the lacy bits made by the knitted drop stitch technique.

While this wasn’t my favorite project ever knitted, my dislike for this project was mostly due to the interminable un-plying. The piece itself knit up and trimmed out extremely quickly. I really like the post-wash softness of the wool I used, and the airy drape of the finished poncho. If you wanted to achieve a similar effect, use a yarn that’s thinner than the one called for in the original Classic Elite pattern. Although the yarn as a whole before I unwound the plies knits up like a heavy sport weight (not quite DK), my unspinning it made it alot more lofty My extracted single plies?are about a fluffy as opposed to hard-twisted?fingering weight in thickness, two of these fluffy beasts knit on conventional as opposed to the wildly large needles I used would knit up at standard DK gauge (22 st=10cm or 4 inches, probably on a US #5 or so).

Birds Eye Shawl

On to the next project. My Birds Eye shawl, done in Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace in purples, and adapated from the free pattern posted by Sharon Miller on her Heirloom Knitting website. I’m about?6 inches into the thing, measured from the starting point at the triangle’s tip. I’m having fun with it, but I think the variegated yarn is overpowering the eyelet design. Since it’s turning into massive effort for less of a return than I had originally hoped, as described before I’ll work a wide band of eyelets left and right, and a single eyelet column as a spine up the center back. The rest I’ll do in garter or stockinette. I’ve started on this modification, but have had to rip back a few times because I hadn’t quite gotten the math right on the pattern transformation. I was ending up with too many stitches because I was including some YOs that had no accompanying decreases. More charting is my next step. I’ll report back on this in my next post.

More on Blocking

A couple of people have asked where I do my blocking, or if I use a blocking board. I have to admit that I’m not that organized. Until recently I didn’t have a place to stow a piece of wallboard or a commercial blocking board. We have a mostly bare floors house, with?8×10-foot rugs in only a couple of the rooms. Two kids, but no free-range pets. Depending on traffic, whether or not the piece might bleed dye, I throw some beach towels over either the white Berber style rug (my bedroom) or blue fake oriental?rug (family room)?and pin out on the towels.

General Kvelling

See this??

Aside from a couple of fuzzy narrow scarves in garter stitch, it’s Target Daughter’s first knitting project!? She used some bits of leftover Manos del Uruguay?from my stash, and we started with the Booga Bag pattern. I admit we didn’t actually follow it, but we did borrow its general idea – a rectangle of garter stitch, pick up around the edges and work a tube in the round, in stockinette. Make I-cord for handles.

In total I think there’s about skein and a third of the brown/paprika Canyon color, a third of a ball of dark brown (the bottom of the bag, plus the first three or so rows of the tube); and a third of a skein of gold (the stripe and the handles). It’s hard to give exact totals though as all was in little balls and I didn’t bother to weigh it first. We fulled?the bag?in the washing machine by tossing into two hot wash/cold rinse loads of dark colored towels.

Her next project is the one-skein Gusto 10 hat, and mastering double points and decreases. After that it’s on to purling, and wherever else knitting takes her. She’s muttering things about replicating sprites from her GameBoy games, so perhaps it will be Intarsia or stranding…


From my inbox, based on yesterday’s post:? Does knitting really need to be blocked?? It seems so inconvenient to take all these finishing steps when we all want to get the current piece (finally)?done, try it on, and cast on for the next.

It’s?up to you. I find that while blocking is far from an absolute remedy for all knitting ills, it does even out stitch imperfections, improve drape, and even does a little bit to help tame curl. I do a wash/wet block, in which I wash the garment as I intend to for the rest of its life, then pin it out to dry. I never use any of the steam blocking/finishing methods. You can set yarn for life using steam, a mistake is yours forever. But wash/wet blocking can be undone by another trip through the laundry.

I don’t block everything I knit, but I almost always block wool or wool-blend things larger than socks. I also almost always block things I intend on sewing together. If I’ve knit in the round, I’ll block the body and sleeves before attaching them. If the sleeves go on early (like on a Wallaby, where they are joined before the yoke is knit I’ll block the sleeves first, attach them, then block the entire garment when again when all the knitting is done.

I always block lace and cotton knitting – especially counterpane motifs before assembly. Yesterday’s poncho looked MUCH better after it was stretched to even out and maximize the spread of the laddering.

I rarely block hats unless they require post-knitting shaping (like stretching a tam over a plate to give it a beret fold). Some synthetics I block, others not. I didn’t block my Suede T because it was heavy enough to lay flat without encouragement, plus I’d heard that immersion in water changes the yarn’s drape. (I’ll probably dry clean that piece). I did block the Waterspun poncho. Classic Elite Waterspun?is a yarn that looks worlds better after washing and blocking. I’ve made several things from it and always block it before assembly.

So. Do I always block?? No. Do I think blocking is worth the effort?? For most, but not all pieces.


Is now blocked out, stitched together and is being edged. Here’s a photo mid-block:

I’ve pinned out both rectangles one on top of the other, using the same set of blocking wires in an attempt to ensure that they end up being the same size. You can see the lacy ribbed look resulting from the dropped stitch pattern, plus the variegated ended up doing a little zig-zag flash thing on some of the stripes.

The two pieces are now dry and sewn together. I’ve started crocheting around the neck edge for firmness. Since I did a chain selvedge, I’ll use that to my advantage around the neck. By doing one or two more double crochets than would fit flat over each chain selvedge loop, I’ll end up with a firm, scalloped neck trim, possibly with some picots thrown in. Pix tomorrow.

Birds Eye Shawl

In other knitting related news, I’ve started the Birds Eye Shawl available as a free pattern on the Heirloom Knitting website. I’m using Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace in mixed berry colors – mostly purples with some blue and fuschia thrown in. I’m not entirely pleased at the effect because the colors are overwhelming the texture pattern. I might make some mods to the pattern. I’ve gotten about eight inches into the thing. I may keep the birds eye pattern up around the edge of the piece, but switch to a plain garter stitch or stockinette center, possibly with a line of the birds eye ring motifs running up the center like a spine. More thinking is in order…


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.)


Well, teens are known for being fickle and changing their minds. My just-barely-teen is typical. She’s decided she didn’t like the patterns I’d been swatching, and picked out another from my stitch dictionary library. It’s “Serpentine Rib” from Barbara Walker’s FourthTreasury of Knitting Patterns, p. 216. The kid hasgood instincts, though. I have to agree with her. The stuff I’d been playing with looked way too clunky in the scale yarn I was using. We’re both happy now, and I’m off an running.

One very minor glitch – I have to say that I’ve caught the sainted Barbara in a rare mistake. Her graph presents even numbered rows (right side rows) of the pattern. The direction for the set-up and subsequent wrong side odd-numbered rows is given in prose.It’s given as “*P2tog, YO, P8: rep from *, end last repeat p2.It’s off by one stitch (not a big mistake), and it’s pretty obvious if you’ve ever worked faggotting in lace knitting. If you start thewrong side row at that point Walker does, you won’t produce theneat wavy lines of openwork as shown in her illustration.

Here’s my own graph of the corrected pattern, showing both odd and even numbered rows. If you try this one, be sure to remember that it does start on an odd numbered, wrong side row:

In the mean time, I’ve cast on for the poncho and have knit about 2 inches, the first of which is in seed stitch so that the edge doesn’t curl too badly. I don’t like the width though. I may end up ripping back and working one fewer repeats, narrowing the body somewhat. Otherwise I have the sneaking suspicion that I’ll run out of yarn. Not a good sign if I’m unsure this early in the project…


As you probably figured out, I posted a couple of days of entries in advance. So to get back to feedback from Monday, thank you all for your kind words about Dragon. I hope (if nothing else) I’ve proven that projects like this that look overwhelming when done are worked in stages – everything is possible given time and determination. Pick up a favorite chart and try out filet crochet. There’s no law that says you have to do it in teeny string to start. Size #20 or #10 cotton will give nice results and will both go faster than my piece. On to questions:

Dragon Questions

What did you use to block?

The same hardware store brass tubing I used to block the Forest Path stole, and my daughter’s Waterspun poncho. The stole write-up describes them They’re described in more detail at the bottom of this post.

Why are the edges rippled?

As I wrote, I was a bit nervous about how much the piece had contracted in the wash, so when I blocked it I blocked it to the full north-south dimension. I shouldn’t have been so aggressive. I ended up with a piece that’s not under tension north-south in spite of being threaded on stretcher bars. The next time I wash it I will go for east-west stretch instead because I could stand to gain an inch in that dimension, and go for the on-door mounting bars to provide the requisite tension. That should elminate some of the looseness at the left and right edges.

How did you know how big to make the holes for the curtain rods?

After I’d done a couple of rows I tested them out with the bars from the curtain scrap left behind by the previous house owners. They fit. If they hadn’t I’d have figured out an another way to hang the curtain panel.

Are you afraid the curtain rods will discolor the panel?

Not very. It’s true they’re brass, but they’re quite old and the tarnish doesn’t rub off. I don’t intend on polishing them (I don’t want to get polish residue on the curtain). The curtains will get dusty over time. The thread I used is machine washable. In fact,I tossedmy Dragon in the light color/warm water wash just after completion, before blocking. After an entire summer and early fall of being dragged around accumulating hand-dirt, sunscreen, household dust, and the odd fleck of wine it seemed like a good idea.

Did you steal the dragon pattern from these towels? beautiful set of woven towels by Alianora Munro (another member of the SCA). The last set shownhas a very familiar dragon on them. She used the same ultimate source as I did: Johann Siebmacher, Schon Neues Modelbuch, published in Nurnburg, 1597. My version is the one I graphed up for inclusion in my book The New Carolingian Modelbook: Counted Embroidery Patterns from Before 1600. There’s also a nifty drafting of the original in my friend Katheryn’s reissue of patterns from that work under the title Needlework Patterns from Renaissance Germany. (Both books are hard to come by these days, but occasionally surface used or on eBay.)I have also seen at least one commercial chart for a counted thread sampler that has a simplified version of the same motif, but I can’t find it on line right now.

Can you send me the pattern?

No. Why is at the bottom of this page.

Washing machine!! You put THAT in the washing machine?

Well, yes. The string is marked as being warm water machine washable (no dryer, no bleach). I had a load of white and light colored t-shirts with no buttons, zips or adornments to melt, snag, or run, so I put the curtain in along with them for a normal warm water/cool rinse wash. I took it out and blocked it wet. Was I nervous? Not particularly, but I had already made and test-washed a swatch, so I knew that the yarn would survive the process.

Poncho Questions

I’ve only seen the Paternayan yarn in cut lengths ready for needlework. Where did you find whole skeins?

I lucked into it at Wild & Woolly in Lexington, MA – my local yarn store. I don’t know if they had it left over from long, long ago when they might have stocked needlepoint yarn, or if they had it more recently, but by the time I found it at one of their legendary semi-annual sales all that was left was a heavily discountedmixed bag of blues – a refugee from at least two prior mid-winter sales events. I have however seen other retailers on line selling the stuff in large uncut hanks. A quick Google search on "Paternayan wool" will turn them up.

How big will you make the poncho’s rectangles?

I don’t know yet. Probably something like 13 inches wide and 39 inches long each. That’s a nice eye-pleasing 1:3 ratio. When I get up to that point I’ll cut out some paper and tape it together to make sure the target child approves of the size.

Why bother?

Why not? I have to admit that right now I’m on a bit of a yarn diet, constrained by new house expenses to using up yarn from my stash before buying new. The target child saw the bag of mixed blues and fell in love with the color. I knew thatat the fullthree plysI wouldn’t have enough yardage, and that she wanted something lacy anyway. So I began unplying…

Why do you do everything the hard way, figuring out your own patterns or just starting stuff without a good idea of how it will be accomplished?

Again, why not? People knit for different reasons. I enjoy confronting problems, figuring out solutions, and making my own way. Yes, it’s not the most productive method of working as there is more two-steps-forward-one-step-back motion than most people prefer. To me though learning something on the journey is more important than the end product, however nice. So I make a mad plunge forward on almost every project. Sometimes I shelve them for greater or shorter lengths of time. Sometimes everything falls into place and I finish. Usually I do learn something along the way, even if the thing at hand ends upvacationing inThe Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM.

Other Questions

What about the Crazy Raglan and the entrelac piece? Are you going to finish them?

Both were in the same bag and went AWOL during our move. I finally found them over the weekend and will (eventually) finish them. In the mean time, I’ve got other obligations lined up. After the poncho I’m on the hook for a triangular knitted shawl for the sister who didn’t end up with the Forest Path lace stole. I’m thinking of the Heirloom Knitting Bird’s Eye Lace free pattern, done in Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace in purples and blues. Possiblyadding a border strip to the long top edge of the triangle. But if I think too much about that project I’ll get derailed from the poncho, and those sad puppy eyes brook no delay.

And the Cursed Socks?

Those I AM working on right now, in between winding yarn for the poncho. After all, I can’t schlep the swift and ball winder with me to appointments. I’m about half-way through the heel of Sock #2, and hope to be done in the next couple of days soI can write up the pattern for wiseNeedle and post it along with the pattern for the Summer Lightning lacy scarf in time for people looking to knit holiday gifts.

What do you call those nifty lookingcross-hatchedwindows next to the door in your house?

My friend Kathryn (who knows lots of neat stuff) tells me that the proper name for a window divided into small panes is "mullioned." Mullioned windows appear to come in many types, including ones with lead as well as wooden dividers. Lozenge is the name for a diamond shaped pane, so I guess I’ve got a circa 1912 Arts and Crafts style two story bungalow (bungaloid?) with casements featuring mullioned lozenge transoms in the living room and dining room. Which is a long winded way of saying "old house with nifty windows that are a pain to dust."


Now with Dragon put to bed, I can turn to my daughter’s blue lacy poncho. Over the weekend we went paging through pattern books and looking at old projects. She lit upon a couple of lacy looking stitches that she liked.

The first is the mock cable I used as the edging for Justin’s Blanket on wiseNeedle. The thing didn’t photograph well there, and the instructions for that counterpane are in prose, so here’s a wider version of the same idea. (Apologies for the lousy quality of these charts. For some reason my standard Visio to Fireworks graphics prep cycle is spitting out oddlynon-uniform results today.)

The second is a lacy panel adapted from a wider pattern appearing in B. Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. The original isn’t graphed, starts in a different place of the repeat, and is set up for multiple iterations of the ribbon. I pared it down to just one repeat to make a self-contained panel:

Both are lace knitting patterns in that they have something happening on every row. If one is knitting in the flat (back and forth on two needles) you can see that maneuvering to do a P2tog tbl (purl two together through the back of the loop) on a wrong-side row might be awkward. Whichever panel is chosen, it will probably alternate between sections of K2 P2 or K3 P3 rib.

As far as swatching goes, I’ve been playing with my de-plyed Paternayan. Thinking that the 2-ply result of my pains was rather thicker than sport, but thinner than DK, and that I wanted a lacy effect, I started swatching on US #9s (5.5mm), and worked my way up through needle sizes to #13s (9mm). I’m wavering between #11s (8mm) and the #13s. More swatching is in order, especially swatching to see if the 11 or 13 looks best with the plain old ribbed part, and to make a nice, even piece to determine gauge over both textures.

In the mean time, I’ve decided to run the color stripes on the vertical rather than the horizontal. That means I’ll figure out how wide the rectangles will need to be for this poncho, figure out some pleasing alternation/panel widths for the chosen lacy part and ribbed sections, then decide which panels need to be in which of my three available colors (blue variegated, plus wedgewood and slate blue). Once that’s decided it’s cast-on time, working the color stripes with Intarsia joins between them – each from its own ball.

Did I mention “Figure out if I’ve got enough yarn?” Gotta do that to, especially because seven skeins (3 variegated blue, 2 each of my two blues) de-plyed into 10.5 skeins (4.5 variegated, 3 of each blue)equals 1,764 yards That’s 756 yards of variegated blue, plus 504 yards each of the two blues. In total it should be enough, but I may need to get very clever with color placements to make sure I don’t run out of anything.


A lousy picture, to be sure:

But I’m finally finished. Dragon has been washed and is now laid out with my blocking wires. Trapezoidal distortion is an artifact of standing at one end and photographing at an angle, then presenting the photo rotated 90-degrees.

Oncemy panel isdry I’ll darn in the ends, embroider my initials and a date in the corner, and hang the thing on the door. Why am I waiting to darn in the ends until after the initial blocking? Mostly because I knew that blocking would stretch the thing out considerably. I was afraid that if I darned them in before that stretch I’d risk having a puckered area where elasticity was hampered. I do have a little bit of a ripple along the edge of my original cast-on row, (along the tree behind the knight) but I’m hoping that it will settle in over time.

I promise one last picture of Filet of Dragon once it’s hanging up on the door.

Blue Poncho

The unplying continues. And continues… I can report progress though. I’ve almost got enough to begin swatching, and the Target Daughter has picked out a couple of stitch patterns that she likes from other things I’ve knit and from my library. Leading candidates include "Lace Ribbon Stitch" from Walker II (p. 284); K3, P3 rib; and a mock cable. Both are true lace stitches in that they have YOs, and decreases on every row, with no intervening plain rows. I’ve also got three colors of blue to play with. I’m thinking of running them side-by-side Intarsia style, withthe colors corresponding to the lace orribbing panels used. It may be just another poncho, but who says knitting it has to be boring.

More on this tomorrow, too as I get more of the initial swatching and drafting done.


I can now safely agree with everyone who has ever told me that I wasn’t in my right mind. The proof is in the venture I embarked on with my daughter’s blue poncho.

There’s no ponco yet. There’s not even a gauge swatch. What there is is this:

This is one skein of three-ply construction Paternayan RN1685 Wool, after it has been de-plyed into a two-strand and a one-strand ball. While this stuff is most often sold in short lengths used for needlepoint and embroidery, it is occasionally sold in larger hanks for knitters and weavers. Time expended? Just under three hours. Sanity factor, considering this is just one of seven hanks? Nil.

Still, a promise is a promise and sad-child puppy eyes brook no delay. I’m midway through the second skein. Once I get one of each three colors, I’ll begin swatching. With luck by that time ponchos will still be in style.

Dragon Thread

People In Other Countries have asked for more description of the #30 crochet cotton I’m using for the dragon panel. Here’s the scoop straight from the label:

J.P. Coats RoyaleExtra Fine Size#30 Crochet Thread. 100% Mercerized Cotton. Article #160; Color #226 (Ecru). 500 yards per ball. Weight unmarked but registering around 100g on my Kitchen Scale of Dubious Accuracy.

Recommended crochet hook – .75mm/#12. Machine wash delicate cycle, 40-deg C/104-deg F. No bleach, ho dryer, may be ironed on hot. Blocking recommended.

Made in Hungary. Distributed in the US by Coats & Clark, P.O. Box 12229 Greenville, SC 29612; Distributed in Canada by Coats & Clark Canada; Mississaugua, ON Canada L5T 2T5.

While the Coats and Clark website is also listed on the label:, don’t bother looking for Royale there. It’s not listed. Royaleis definately shinier and silkier thanCoats Big Ball Size 30. I’ve never seen Coats Opera thread, so I can’t say how it compares to the Royale. I bought mine at evil big box craft store Michaels. Their own listing says that the stuff is exclusive to their stores.

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