The poncho that wouldn’t end

So sorry for the delay (I know you were on pins and needles) I thought I had this one scheduled to be posted, but I did something wacky and it didn’t work.  Anyway, here it is.  There is a poncho that I had fell in love with on Pinterest a while back.  It looked so cozy and comfy while still looking classic and elegant.  I had to have it!  But…it was a crochet pattern.  I didn’t know how to crochet a few months back.  So, alas, no poncho for me.  It never occurred to me to try to knit it, but since I have since learned how to crochet so now it should be no problem. (The pattern for this gorgeous thing is avail for free!)

poncho love

Except, it was.  I started this project more than a week ago.  I had an enormously long starting chain (because I wasn’t following instructions) and when I got several rows into it, I noticed it was just waaay too long.  That wasn’t going to work.  So I pulled out all of my stitches and started anew.

I had to re-roll my yarn into balls, count my starting chain doing many fewer than the first try, and get back to my half and full double crochet stitches.  Then…at the end of my yarn it was not what I wanted.  I didn’t have enough to make it as wide as I had envisioned, and I ran out of one of the colors before the other and had this weird color blocking thing I was not digging at all.

Now here we are at attempt number 3.  I re-rolled all of my yarn into one huge ball (that I am constantly fighting the cats for) dropped my starting chain down by about 15 more stitches, and once again got back to work.

take 3

Mine final poncho ended up quite different than the one I wanted to recreate, but I am liking it.  Next time I attempt it, I will follow the directions better to try to get something closer to the one I first fell in love with.

What I ended up with was very simple to create once I  started the third time.  I made my starting chain of 100.  The first row I made my turning chain and then did half double crochets to the end.  The next 12 rows was a simple turning chain with double crochets until I ran almost out of yarn, and left a very long tail in order to seem together the two end pieces.

In order to finish this piece, what I did was to take the other corner in the same line, the last row of the full double crochet, and count up the number of stitches to equal the same number of rows so the two pieces end at the same point.  On mine, I started seeming them together 19 stitches up from the end.  I used a simple slip stitch to make it a nice flat-ish seem that was not too bulky.

Pointy poncho

I like the end result of this because you can wear it a few different ways.  I like it with the point down in the front.  It feels much more poncho-like to me that way.  But you can also wear it off to the side, more like a wrap, which is cute too.

Side

 

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Getin Knitty With It

Na na na na na na na…Sorry I have had that song stuck in my head today.  So, I found a stash of Wool Ease that I had purchased for a project several months ago, that was abandoned.  So I had this great ball of crisp white wool yarn, a cup of coffee and an evening to myself.  Instead of doing the million or so things on my to do list, I made a scarf.  Yup, that is what I felt I needed to do.

lump of scarf

Things have been moving very fast around here.   Things have been rolling along a bit too quickly for my tastes; I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I needed something to let my brain just mush and not have to think about anything.  Thinking along those lines I had this scarf earmarked for something to make.  I figured I would sit down, play some music, sip some coffee and just knit.

Boy was I wrong.  You see this scarf is adorable, a quick knit – or it should be at least, chunky and airy at the same time.  It uses a few very simple stitches that I am comfortable with, and I just couldn’t get it to come together.  I didn’t know what was going on.  Knit, yarn over, purl to together.  I know these.  But I cast on the number called for, and ended up with one less on the next row.  What was going on?!  I think it was my first yarn over that was tripping me up.

Since I know I am quicker and better at the knit stitch than the purl stitch, I thought I would mix it up.  The directions over at Labor of Love are great.  I understood them just fine, I just couldn’t get my yarn to do what I needed it to do.  (Go check out her lovely orange scarf.  I need to get that yarn because I am just in love with hers.)

What I ended up doing was reverse her directions.  And it worked for me!  I cast on the right number, 12, and purled my way across the first row.  Purl one, yarn over and knit 2 together for the middle ten, purl the last one in the row.  Flip and repeat.

Once I was sure the reverse directions would work I stopped to admire the scarf.

Once I was sure the reverse directions would work I stopped to admire the scarf.  I think this was about 10 rows?

It knitted up so quick and nice.  I was thinking this one would be a gift but I am kind of loving the clean simple white of this scarf.  Oh man!  I hate when I make something for someone, fall in love with it, give it away, and then plan to make one for me…later.  Because I never get around to it.  I can’t be the only one who does that, can I?  At least I know I would feel worse if I kept it for me and didn’t get around to making it for the giftee.

Going to have to call this one: Nailed It – mostly!  While mine fought back, and I don’t think mine turned quite like the one she made, I love it!  I don’t usually want the same thing everyone else has anyway, so I rarely set out to make a carbon copy.  Since it turned out really cute, and I am happy with it, it goes in the win column for me.

scarf

Yes, that is the fabulous new scarf. Now I just need to pry it off of me and put in a gift box….maybe =)

Things have been just crazy! But I have a ton of projects to share =)

So I have not disappeared, but sometimes I wish  I could!  Things have been crazy busy and I haven’t had time to document any of my projects.  I feel so bad!  I have done a ton of projects since my last post, and I plan to continue.

One of the things I have done, was learned to crochet.  It is a ton of fun!  I have been knitting for years, my aunt taught me how and I have made so many scarves that I hate to think of counting them all.  I make washcloths too which are fun, but I never really progressed much after that.  I feel there is so much more I am able to do with crochet though.  I love, love, love that I can stop at any point during a row and not have to wait until I get to the end to pause my work.  It makes working up items in a long line, waiting room, or where ever  so much easier.

If you do not know how to crochet I highly recommend the site I found (via Pinterest of course) that taught me how.  The woman who teaches the lessons is fantastic.  If you have ever wanted to learn, check her out.  She has a whole lot of other fun projects on her site as well.

Anyway – since I followed her lessons I have ventured out on my own and started many new crochet projects.  I have even finished a number of them!
Over the next few days I will detail them here, add a few pictures and any hints/tips I find useful.

I think I will start with what is my favorite project so far, well…this week at least.  It is a poncho.  I had never really been into ponchos, (I alway think back to one of the first season episodes of One Tree Hill where Nathan picks on Haley’s Poncho) but my mom had bought me one last year and I just loved it.  They are easy, comfy, and at least the ones I have had are light.  I hate to be too warm!  I am happiest at around 60 degrees, even though sometimes I freeze my guy out in the winter.  Anyway, when I saw a poncho that was even lighter than the one I had at home, I knew it was going to be on my “need to make that” list.  and oh my!  It was easy.  I think it took me about 2 hours to whip up, and mind you I am not a fast crocheter, as I had only learned the basics about 2 weeks prior.  I also had this small stash of yarn that I was in love and had no clue what to make with it.  It was just so pretty, it looked like peacock feathers, and was soo soft.  (And it was on CLEARANCE!)

I found the pattern over at The Sunroom, and got to work.  It was beyond simple to make.  I did tweak it a bit, but nothing over the top.  It uses the chain stitch, double crochet, and slip stitch.  That’s it.  Easy peasy.  She has the full instructions listed for the ones they have posted, but I will show you what I did.  I imagine for a smaller person the original would do just fine, but for me, being a bit….larger in the chest area, I made mine a bit longer.  Also I wanted it to come down to my elbows and the pattern they had only came to about 3/4 of the way down my upper arm.

Well, moving on.  You do a simple chain, but do it where you aren’t going to get interrupted as you will need to make about 100 chains.

IMG_20130318_195754

They used an 8 mm hook, but as I am limited in what I have on hand, I used a smaller K sized hook (which I think is 6.5 mm) For me the 100 chains is large enough to slip over the tops of both of my shoulders, so if you want something a bit closer in, do less chains in 5 chain increments.  I think 80 90 would look really nice. (I originally thought 80 would be great but I think it is a little too small)  So you join the chain at the end with a slip stitch.  For the first row after the chain, you chain 9 and do a double crochet into the 5th chain on the first row, and continue to chain 6 and double crochet into the 5th chain along the initial chain, and at the end of the first row do a slip stitch to join that round.

single round

The next row you start by doing a double crochet into the bottom of the first one, chain 7 (each row you add one more chain to every section) and double crochet into the bottom of the one in the previous round, slip stitch at the end.  The original pattern called for 10 rows, and if you stop there, at least for me as I am a bit loosey goosey would have been one skein of yarn (85 grams, 102 yards medium weight Yarn Bee brand Andes Alpaca yarn) but I had two skeins and wanted a bit longer poncho, so I forged ahead.  I went another 3 rows, increasing the chains 1 extra for each round, ending with 18 chains in each section.  It turned out so lovely, I have found myself digging through my yarn stash looking for another great yarn to make one of these for me, my mom, my aunt & a few gal pals.  I am just in love.  Now this is not a poncho that is going to keep you warm on a blistering cold day near the ocean.  But even as open and airy as it is, I find it does keep the chill off.

my new project

If you are looking for a cute and quick gift this is an awesome little project that doesn’t take much yarn, time, or skill for that matter.  But it looks so nice.  I think it would be so great if done in a hairy scary eyelash yarn or something light and feathery like a mohair.  It could really dress up a simple dress if done in a yarn with some sparkle to it, I love the dewdrop yarn that has some sequins every now and then worked into it.  Also, you could make this a bit warmer if you did a closer knit pattern.  I am thinking if you did your starting chain with 90, 93, 96 or 99 and doing your double crochet at every 3rd chain rather than every 5th, and for the first round the in between chains would start with 4 rather than 6 chains it would be much warmer and less open.  Great for those evenings dinning outdoors on a patio in early spring or fall.

Just so you can see what doing a smaller starting chain can do – here is a picture of 80 chains with 3 rounds of stitches.  For me, it is a bit too small, I think that 90 would be much nicer, but for a tween, maybe this would work?

80 with 3 rounds

Just a little hint that I think will help.  When I made this, after the first 10 rounds I tried it on and didn’t like how short it was, but not sure how many more rounds I needed to go to get it just right, I left it on and crocheted around and around until I liked the length.  It really helped me so I didn’t have to do a round, secure the yarn, try it on, tug at it to get it just so and see how I like it.  I just kept going until it looked right, tied it off, tucked in the ends and called it done. ponchoForgive the excessive eraser marks.  While I have been busy doing lots of projects, cleaning was not one of them and if my mom ever saw the background…well I just didn’t want her to disown me.  You understand, I am sure.

I am going to have to say: Nailed It!  Since I have worn it 4-5 times since I made it and am loving it =)