Wednesday, 9 January 2008

'Grow With Your Child' poncho

My youngest daughter requested a poncho. So I designed and knitted her one. As I didn't want to put lots of work into a garment that would be grown out of quickly I decided to design a poncho so that it would be easier to 'grow' it in a couple of years time.

A provisional crochet cast on is used at the neck edge and the main part of the poncho is then knitted downwards, increasing stitches as you go. The increases are placed at four evenly spaced points so that there are four 'points' to the poncho. Later the crochet is unpicked and the resulting stitches are picked up and knitted upwards to make the polo neck.

So that the poncho can grow with your child you need to take the following into account before knitting;-
1) Pick a good quality yarn that will wear well and keep looking good - you are investing in a garment that needs to last several years but also be warm, cosy and practical. I chose a yarn that was 70% Acrylic and 30% Wool. The Acrylic content helps the yarn to last and the wool makes it warm.
2) Make sure that you buy extra yarn of the same dye lot so that you can go back and add extra rows. The bottom rows are long and take a lot of yarn. I put aside 200m (100m blue, 100m red). Only time will tell if this is enough. Make sure you label the wool as reserved for the poncho!
3) Even with the same dye lot it is likely that the old and new sections of the poncho will look different due to being worn, washed, exposed to sun, etc. When thinking about a colour scheme try and design it so that the change to the new yarn will not take place in a solid block of colour. My design used stripes to hide the change.

Follow the directions to adjust the design to any child or adult size. The example given was designed for my 1.4m tall daughter.
Super Bulky weight yarn. I used Boston from Schachenmayr nomotta. The amount needed depends on the size of poncho that you design. I used 6 blue + 7 red skeins to make my daughter's poncho. Each skein is 50 g ~55m.
6mm (or size needed to achieve correct gauge) double pointed needles or circular needle.
Yarn needle and 4 stitch markers.
3-6mm crochet hook - used for provisional cast on. Size is not crucial
1m length of waste yarn - weight not too important but double knitting or bulky is best for this project.
14 sts x 20 rows in Stocking stitch = 4” / 10 cm. Note that I used a smaller needle and a tighter gauge than as recommended for this yarn. I wanted to get a firm fabric that would give protection against the wind and cold.

Deciding number of cast on stitches.

The provisional cast on is at the neck edge. The wear needs to be able to pull the poncho comfortly over their head. A good starting point is to measure the circumference of an existing polo or round neck jumper that you know fits. Based on the gauge above you can then calculate the number of stitches.
For example my daughter's jumper has a neck that is 15" in circumference.
14 stitches is 4” / 10 cm, hence for 15" I need 52 stitches.
Main part of poncho.
Using a provisional crochet cast on, cast on the number of stitches calculated above. the crochet cast on technique is explained in this article at the beginning of the section on Short Row Toe. Don't worry about the reference to socks and toes. The technique can be used for lots of different projects.
For the poncho shown I cast on 52 stitches.
Join the stitches into a round and knit all the stitches. As you knit this first round you should place 4 stitch markers so that they are evenly spaced. For my poncho the stitch markers initially are 13 stitches apart.
Now we work the main part of the poncho in stocking stitch, that is every stitch is a knit stitch. At the same time, increase 2 stitches at every stitch marker on every 3rd round.
The increase round should be worked like this: *[Knit to the marker, 'make 1', slip marker, 'make 1'], repeat from * 3 times.
The 'make 1' increases are described here.

Keep working until the poncho is the desired length. I made mine 23" /58cm from neck edge to bottom of 'point'. Bind off loosely. If desired decorate with a fringe.

Polo neck.
Unpick the crochet cast on and pick up the stitches as described in the article linked to above. Work in K1, P1 rib until neckband is desired height. The poncho shown has a polo neck 2" / 5cm high. Work a round of knit stitches - this creates a 'fold' in the ribbing. Work a second length of k1, p1 rib so that the neckband folds in half on the fold line. Bind off loosely.
'Growing' the poncho later
Unpick the polo neck and a few rows of the main poncho so that the neck opening is larger. Then reknit the polo neck. Add extra length by undoing the bind off at the bottom edge and adding extra rows. If you have added a fringe you will have to undo the knots and then add them again later.


Blogger Paula460 said...

this is exactly what I was looking for! thank you!!!!!! for thinking, making and sharing this great idea :D

27 March 2008 at 08:35  

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