FO Spotlight: Giant Blue Rectangle

I finished my poncho commission today! It’s blocked, seamed, and waiting for its owner to pick it up. I think it turned out well.

The rundown

Pattern: Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.

Yarn: Just shy of a thousand yards of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in pale blue. It’s a 50% alpaca, 50% wool blend. I found it very nice to work with.

Size made: A bit larger than the pattern calls for (at the buyer’s request). I think the finished measurements before folding and sewing it were something like 28″ x 57″ instead of 20″ x 52″. I did not knit the optional cowl at the neck opening.

Needles: US8s. I used my new Addi Clicks. Of note, I found that when using the larger needles, the yarn slipped over the join much more easily.

Techniques used: Provisional cast on (I used this crochet chain cast on), spit splicing, mattress stitch, lots and lots (and lots) of stockinette.

Modifications: The size, as noted above. Also, the pattern calls for DK but the Ultra Alpaca is worsted, so I knit it at a slightly looser gauge.

Difficulty: Easy, but it’s important to keep consistent tension as any variations are easy to spot in the finished item.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

Unfortunately I didn’t get a true modeled pic, but I think this gives a pretty good idea of it:

FullSizeRender 322FullSizeRender 321

I “borrowed” a mannequin at my LYS to model it for photos. The color in the pics is actually pretty accurate.

I ended up blocking this puppy twice. The first time, I used my old method, which is to use long circular needles like blocking wires. Since they’re more flexible, I have to use a lot of pins in order to avoid rippled edges. I wasn’t completely satisfied after the first go round so when I got my new blocking wires, I did it again. I didn’t wash and soak the piece as I often do when blocking because I didn’t want the knitting to open up any more–the poncho was already big enough. Instead, I pinned it in place first and then used a spray bottle to wet down the areas I wanted to address. After the second time, I was happy with the results.

IMG_6108

New blocking wires and mats in action in my mil’s basement!

Initially I wasn’t sure about the blue, but by the end I decided I really did like it. It’s probably not what I would choose for myself, but then again, I’m not really sure I’d wear a poncho anyway (I think they look nice on people; they’re just not my personal style*). If I made another one, I would consider doing it in color blocks or adding a stripe or two. There are some awesome examples of both in the finished projects on ravelry.

While this pattern is easy, there are a few details that I think really bring it to the next level. One is the use of the provisional cast on. This is done so that you can go back, pick up those stitches, and bind them off the same way as the bound off edge. That way the two edges match, which I think looks very nice. Another detail is in the shoulder seam. When you fold the poncho width-wise, the direction of knitting on the two ends is different. So, when you’re seaming them together, it’s important to leave a one stitch allowance on one side and a one and a half stitch allowance on the other. That makes the two edges appear to line up, and the seam is then nearly invisible. It’s also important to block it very precisely so that the size and shape will be just right.

So, I’m feeling good about getting another big project finished! Now to knit a sword…

*I use that word loosely when referring to myself!

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14 comments

  1. Carol · June 17, 2016

    Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1marylou · June 18, 2016

    I’ve been tempted to knit the poncho pattern, but seem to have other projects I need to finish. You did a wonderful job and what an accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · June 18, 2016

      Thank you! I’m very happy with it.

      I will say that it’s great TV or knit night knitting since there’s no counting or thinking, just miles of stockinette. So it can be a good break from more complicated projects. But yeah, it’s crazy how projects tend to accumulate when you’re not looking!

      Like

  3. Paula @ Spin a Yarn · June 18, 2016

    Wow! That turned out awesome 🙂 The blanket I’m currently working on looks like the same blue as your poncho. Your customer must really love blue! Aren’t blocking wires the best? I love mine…it makes blocking go so much easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · June 18, 2016

      Thank you! It’s nice when something very simple turns out looking so finished. It was a long slog but ended up being a very rewarding project. The buyer is giving it to someone, I believe, so I think she chose the color with the recipient in mind.

      Blocking wires are awesome! They make it go so much faster and things turn out looking nicer, too.

      Like

  4. Stefanie · June 18, 2016

    It’s a lovely color and a great size. That’s cool Churchmouse Yarns lets you sell the finished product. Many designers have that warning on their patterns about how their patterns can only be for personal use only.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Orange Smoothie · June 18, 2016

    Hey I commend you for doing miles and miles of stockinette stitch! Plus, the provisional cast on, etc. But the stockinette looks lovely! You did a great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Knit Potion · June 19, 2016

    What a lovely FO! And thank you for the great tips about the blocking and the stitch allowance! I’m on the last legs of the same pattern, and those things will be helpful to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · June 19, 2016

      Thank you! Those tips are in the pattern, too, but I thought they warranted mentioning. I can’t wait to see yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bonnyknits · June 20, 2016

    Looks great! What a lot of stockinette, though, whew!

    Liked by 1 person

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